Grand Tour of Northern Croatia - from Spilt to Istria

Grand Tour of Northern Croatia - from Spilt to Istria

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12 Days
From

$3609

Grand Tour of Northern Croatia - from Spilt to Istria

12 Days

Visiting: Croatia

Tour operator:

Riviera Travel

Tour code:

CDN6

From:
$3609 (USD) including Flights from the UK

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Tour Overview

The northwest region of Croatia, where we spend our first few days exploring is very different from the idyllic Dalmatian Coast of southern Croatia. This heart-shaped peninsula over the Adriatic boasts a landscape of undulating hills and fertile valleys attracting food- and culture-focused visitors.  The region's undeniable and pervasive Italian influence reveals a connection that dates back to ancient times. We'll even hop over the border to visit Italy's Trieste so you can see the similarities for yourself! 

Travelling down the coast, we'll stop at much-loved towns and cities, including Zadar, and cross the sea to visit two of Croatia's largest islands, Krk and Brač. We'll end our Grand Tour in the central-southern region, with time in Trogir and the historic city of Split where we'll see the famous Emperor Diocletian Palace. 

Our Grand Tour is ideal for travellers who want to get under the skin of Croatia at a leisurely pace. 

Highlights

  • Guided tour of Dubrovnik, with its medieval and baroque centre almost untouched by the 21st century - ‘Pearl of the Adriatic’

  • Visit to Krka National Park and its series of stunning waterfalls and lakes

  • Visit a traditional watermill in the fertile Konavle valley and taste its regional specialities, then spend time in the ancient town of Cavtat

  • Guided walking tour of Split including Emperor Diocletian’s monumental palace one of the greatest ancient Roman structures

  • Visit to medieval Trogir, one of Dalmatia’s most seductive old ports

  • Visit to the Peljesac peninsula, enjoy a tasting of locally produced cheeses , prosciutto and wine at a family wine cellar, with time to explore medieval Mali Ston

  • Tour the Dalmatian coastline, one of Europe’s most dramatic, studded with Venetian influenced, perfectly preserved villages

  • The Signature Tour 

  • option includes all of the above as well as: Start your holiday in style with an aperitif and canapés at your hotel

  • Enjoy a cable car ride to the top of Mount Srd overlooking Dubrovnik and gaze in wonder at the breathtaking views of the old city and the remarkable Dalmatian coastline

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Itinerary

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Day 1

Arrival in Split

Arriving in Split, we'll transfer to the hotel for a six-night stay in the charming coastal town of Opatija.

Day 2

Opatija

This morning, we'll enjoy a guided tour of the elegant resort town of Opatija on the Opatijan Riviera. Dating back to the Middle Ages, it became a must-visit destination during the Austro-Hungarian Empire. You'll be forgiven for thinking you're in the French Riviera - there are still many fine villas and residences built for the wealthy and fashionable who spent their summers here hoping to rub shoulders with European Royalty.

Free time in Opatija

During time at leisure in the beautiful town, you could explore the parks and churches. Alternatively, walk along the Franz-Joesf Promenade – a beautiful promenade passing many of the town’s attractions, from gardens and parks to picturesque harbours, bays and coves. Or perhaps stop for a swim in the warm blue waters of the Adriatic.

This evening, you could sample the local flavours in one of the town’s many restaurants.

Included experience:

Guided tour of Opatija.

Day 3

Krk Island

Over 1,000 islands punctuate the Adriatic off the coast of Croatia and, today, we'll visit one of the largest. Located in the Bay of Kvarner, Krk - named "the Golden Island" during ancient times - offers an abundance of natural and cultural beauty.

Krk Island is connected to the mainland by a 1,430-metre-long bridge, which we'll cross on our journey. From the comfort of the coach, you'll be treated to glittering views of the sea and rocky limestone coastline covered in patches of sub-mediterranean foliage and pine forests. Our first stop is the island's eponymous walled town, where we'll enjoy a guided tour.

As one of the oldest towns in the Adriatic, Krk has been inhabited for more than 2,000 years - that pre-dates the arrival of the Romans! As we wander the narrow streets, our guide will bring to life the maze of ancient buildings we see, such as the 5th-century Krk Cathedral, which is part of a larger complex of church buildings featuring different architectural styles. Another highlight is the 12th-century castle by the sea. Built by the Frankopan family, one of Croatia’s leading aristocratic families, it offers wonderful views over the bay - and an atmospheric, open-air venue for summer concerts.

Free time in Krk

After our guided tour, there'll be free time for you to continue to explore or try the local cuisine. Here you'll find a perfect example of the Mediterranean diet - healthy foods made with fresh ingredients, from homemade olive oils and locally grown herbs to freshly caught fish - perhaps this is the reason the people of Krk Island live longer than their mainland counterparts!

Vrbnik

Later this afternoon, we'll drive across the island to Vrbinik, a pretty village set on a rocky hill overlooking the sea.

Known to Croatians as the home of many stone inscriptions, missals, codices, registers and legal manuscripts written in Glagolitic - the oldest known Slavic alphabet - elsewhere, it's more well-known for its dry white wine, Žlahtina. We'll stop at a local winery to taste the golden-hued wine, paired with delicious homemade cheese and prosciutto, before heading back to the hotel.

Included experiences:

Guided tour of Krk and wine-tasting at a winery in Vrbnik.

Day 4

Trieste

Today you'll see not one but three countries! This morning, we'll drive north and cross the border into Slovenia, driving straight through to our first destination, Trieste in Italy.

During our guided tour, we'll be introduced to the city's highlights, including the interesting blend of architectural styles in the Old Town and the well-situated Miramare Castle, located on a hill overlooking the harbour.

At the foot of the hill lies the ruins of a striking Roman theatre, only rediscovered in 1938! It once had a magnificent proscenium decorated with ornate statues and archways looking out to the sea – in Roman times, the sea reached inland as far as the theatre. Another must-see is the San Giusto Cathedral, known for its Byzantine mosaics.

Free time in Trieste

After our tour, you have free time to wander at your own pace and soak up the café culture. Why not try a strucolo de pomi - the Triestine take on apple strudel - with a cup of Illy coffee, the famous brand that was founded here?

After our Signature experience at a Slovenian winery, we'll head back to Croatia - and our hotel - for an evening at leisure.

Included experience:

Guided tour of Trieste.

Signature experience:

On our way back to Opatija, we'll visit a local winery in Slovenia for a tour and tasting. Slovenia is home to the oldest vine in the world, so you can bet these exceptional winemakers know their stuff! 

Day 5

Plitviče Lakes National Park

Today, be prepared to be mesmerised by the beautiful lakes and waterfalls of the Republic of Croatia's oldest and largest national park, Plitviče Lakes.

Located in the mountainous region of Lika, halfway between Zagreb and Zadar, the park is home to a series of around 90 waterfalls that connect 16 turquoise-coloured lakes. The highest waterfall, Veliki Slap - or Great Waterfall - stands 78 metres high but Sastavci Slap is considered the most beautiful waterfall in the park, situated in serene surroundings near Novakovića Lake. Rumour has it, it's affectionately named after a local man who was always seen crossing the lake in his boat.

Here, we'll enjoy a boat ride out for some awe-inspiring views - keep your cameras at the ready! Should you prefer, you can also take the panoramic land train ride around the lakes or, if you’re wearing sturdy shoes, you may want to follow some of the wooden footpaths at your own pace.

Included experience:

Visit to Plitviče Lakes.

Day 6

Rovinj

From the early 13th century to the late 18th century, Istrian coastal towns came under Venetian rule, and today we'll visit one of the most intriguing, Rovinj, known as Istria’s most picturesque fishing harbour. Set on an oval Peninsula, the charming old town has managed to preserve its character. During free time to explore as you wish, you'll really feel like you've stepped back in time as you lose yourself in the medieval lanes and cobbled piazzas. Over the terracotta-coloured rooftops, you'll spot the town's hilltop church modelled on the campanile of St Mark's in Venice - a legacy from the Venetians. And you'll find even more evidence of its past rulers in the colourful buildings by the water's edge.

Leaving Rovinj, we'll head to Bani for our Signature experience.

Included experience:

Visit to Rovinj.

Signature experience:

After our time in Rovinj, we'll head to the countryside to Bani where we'll visit a restaurant that serves dishes prepared with a local delicacy - truffles!

Istrian truffles only grow in a very small area on the peninsular and are highly sought after - trained dogs are used to sniff out this delectable treat. They’re said to rival Italy's truffles in terms of quality and taste - just a few shavings can take any dish from diner-quality to fine dining. 

Day 7

Zadar

After a scenic journey along the coast this morning, we'll arrive in the ancient capital of Dalmatia, Zadar. Centuries under Venetian rule give the city an Italian feel with its old ivory buildings with gently sloping roofs and deep overhanging eaves. Streets paved with marble that's been polished with centuries of wear lead to a Venetian fortress, turned public park, partly hidden by a canopy of trees. 

During time at leisure, you can see a captivating mix of ancient Roman ruins, medieval architecture and modern attractions. Perhaps visit the Romanesque cathedral with its beautifully carved stonework, climb the bell tower for spectacular views over the city’s rooftops or take a stroll on the promenade and linger by the waterfront to hear the rhythmic sounds of the Sea Organ. You could even uncover some of its hidden secrets like the 1,000-year-old chapel tucked away at the back of Kavana Lovre. 

Coffee is another Croatian essential: first thing, mid-morning, after lunch, mid-afternoon, dusk, at midnight, it's always coffee time - so there are plenty of places to stop and watch the world go by.

Included experience:

Visit to Zadar.

Day 8

Split

We'll drive along the Dalmatian coastline on our way to Split. Croatia’s second-largest city is most famous for a single building, the colossal palace of Emperor Diocletian, which makes up much of the city’s Old Town. It’s one of the great structures of the Roman Empire and has survived in amazing condition since it was built at the turn of the 4th century. This morning,  guided walking tour of the fascinating complex will bring its storied history to life. 

Mestrovic Gallery

We'll also visit the Mestrovic Gallery. Housing masterpieces of Croatia's most famous sculptor, Ivan Meštrović, carved in marble, bronze and wood. The building was also based on Meštrović's designs and was intended to be his family's summer residence, studio and exhibition space. Here, you're free to explore his works and the Mediterranean gardens and have lunch before returning to the hotel.

Free time in Omis

Spend the rest of the day and evening at leisure in Omis, exploring or taking advantage of our hotel’s facilities.

Included experience:

Guided walking tour of Split and visit to the Mestrovic Gallery.

Day 9

Free day in Omiš

The town can trace its roots back over 2,000 years and much of its early prosperity is thanks to pirates. The much-feared Omiš pirates, led by the famous dukes of the Kačić family, ruled the waters all the way down to Dubrovnik and any ship passing the mouth of the Cetina near this small town were forced to pay tribute for passage or risk battle. As time went by, the pirates of Omiš grew more powerful, fending off many attacks, including a crusade organised by the then Pope, Honorius III. They were eventually defeated in the 15th century by the Venetians and much of the town's appearance and architectural style can be attributed to the wealth that flowed through the streets under Venetian rule.

Today you are free to wander the narrow streets of the old town and explore numerous squares and piazzas which were the home of public life in the early Modern Period. There are also a number of historic churches to discover, including the 10th-century Church of St Peter, the 16th-century Church of St Rocco and the 17th-century Church of St Michael.  

The town has two fortresses, Mirabella and Starigrad. Once lookout towers and a refuge for the town's inhabitants when they came under attack, now they offer glorious views over the rooftops, the river and the Adriatic to the islands beyond.  

If you'd prefer to put your feet up, you could lay out on one of the nearby beaches. The closest, Velika Plaza is located in the centre of Omiš with golden sandy beaches and shallow waters - the perfect place to relax and have a paddle in the warm waters of the Adriatic. 

Alternatively, take a trip out of the town to the Omiš Riviera, stretching out over 20km along the coastline. From small fisherman's ports with cosy restaurants to secluded coastal villages, you'll find plenty of peaceful places to relax and uncover something new and unique everywhere you stop.

Day 10

Brač

Today, we'll take the ferry to the Croatian island of Brač, the third largest island in the Adriatic and the largest on this dramatic stretch of coast. Its typically Mediterranean landscape is an interesting mix of beaches, pine forests and fertile valleys carpeted with vines, olives and orange trees. 

Once dependent on its grape harvest, the island also relied heavily on the export of its stone – a mixture of marble and limestone – used in the construction of Diocletian’s Palace, the White House in Washington and Berlin’s Reichstag and, closer to home, the high altar in Liverpool’s cathedral.

We'll head to Bol, where we'll be welcomed by the view of a cluster of little fishing boats jostling in its picturesque harbour, fringed by characterful stone cottages. Here, we'll enjoy time at leisure to explore the tangle of winding lanes that are unchanged by time, stopping to admire the cheerful blooms cascading from wrought-iron balconies and shuttered windowsills. Or perhaps you might like to take the opportunity for a swim from the sandy beaches.

Included experience:

Visit to Bol on the island of Brač.

Day 11

Trogir

Visiting the nearby medieval citadel of Trogir, today we'll get to explore one the most beguiling little ports in Dalmatia. Here, the Old Town is actually an island with a wealth of Renaissance and Romanesque buildings lining the veritable maze of charmingly chaotic lanes. At its centre is the Cathedral of Saint Lawrence, whose long cycle of construction is reflected in its contrasting architectural features. 

Wander where your feet take you, cast an eye over one of the many antique shops or just enjoy a coffee in a pavement café – the choice is yours as we enjoy free time in Trogir before our Signature experience over lunch.

Included experience:

Visit to Trogir.

Signature experience:

This afternoon we'll visit a local producer that has been farming in the area for generations and now shares this heritage with visitors. Here, we'll explore the gardens to understand how local delicacies are produced, as well as the importance and cultural heritage of the olive tree, and everything that can be made from it. Exciting all our senses, we will end our visit with tastings of the cheeses, cured meats and olive tapenades produced by the family in the same way for generations.

Day 12

Return home

All good things must come to an end and our Grand Journey of Norther Croatia is (sadly) no exception. Today, we'll transfer to the airport for your flight back home to the UK.

What's Included

The price of this holiday is per person based on two people sharing a twin room. Single and sea view rooms are subject to availability at the relevant supplement. The price includes:;




Direct return flights;
11 nights’ accommodation;
Daily breakfast and 6 dinners;
All local taxes and transfers;
All tours as mentioned;
The services of a Riviera Travel Tour Manager;

Check out our Q&As

  • How long has the tour company been trading?

    For almost 40 years

  • I have reduced mobility; can I still travel?

    We want to ensure you make the correct choice before you book your holiday with us. If you have any concerns regarding the suitability of the holiday due to reduced mobility we would encourage you to contact us to discuss these concerns

  • Do I require travel insurance?

    It is a condition of booking that you carry suitable travel insurance.

  • What is my luggage allowance?

    You will receive details of your luggage allowance with your final travel documents, which are sent approximately 10 days prior to your date of departure.

Reviews of this Operator

David Clarke (Google Reviewer)  

This review is for the...

08-Aug-2023

This review is for the italian Lake Como trip Aug 1-8 Wow what a trip. Riviera from start to finish were excellent the booking and help line answering questions were very good and clear. The travel booklet you get is laid out that it is simple to read and follow with step by step info from booking in to flights to meeting the guides. Our guide Matt Purse was just the best guide and real credit to Riviera with his knowledge and straight forward approach to running the trips. Matt kept us informed and told us all the sort of info you want to know without going over the top....This chap should teach other reps ..thank you so much. The coaches they use are all clean and well equipped with usb chargers and have aircon. The places chosen to visit were well researched even down to where coaches park or drop you off. The Bernina Express was the highlight for our family and matts photo tip was welcomed. The only down point was the hotel,a little dated and evening meal in main restuarant was a bit of a let down. I think we were lucky with our room on level 7 and with balcony as the walls are very thin and noise travels. We would book again with riviera

Barbara Shillaker (Google Reviewer)  

I have been on three...

11-Jan-2024

I have been on three trips with Riviera Travel so far, with two more booked during 2024. Highly recommended. Excellent tour guides. Great program of visits. Great hotels used.

Valerie Pascoe  

We would go again in a heartbeat

22-Jan-2022

Oh my goodness, what a relief it was to actually get away! Full marks to all at Riviera for keeping us up to date before our trip and for the help so cheerfully and patiently given with the extra admin that Covid brought our way. We felt totally safe with the measures taken on board, thank you very much for this. Without exception, Staff were fantastic and our every need was attended to. The additional Covid testing ran smoothly, organised by our Riviera Reps. The guided tours were most interesting: the guides very knowledgeable and more importantly, interesting to listen to. We loved this trip and would do it again in a heartbeat. Thank you again Riviera, you were FAB!

Chris Wilson (Google Reviewer)  

Second escorted tour with this...

25-Jul-2022

Second escorted tour with this company. Did 5 days in Iceland tour. Everything went smoothly, excellent tour guide, Per. Extremely knowledgeable and interesting guy. Very friendly too. Highly recommend. Just let down by the room given at the hotel, but I guess the travel company doesn't have control over this.

Kathryn Jurin, GB  

Riviera South Africa tour - awesome

21-May-2021

Riviera have amazing holidays and tours to choose from. The one we chose was South Africa and wow! It turned out to be our best trip ever - incredible memories we will never forget. We’ve been all over the world which was because of all our experiences, this one was awesome. The organisation of the holiday, the guide and the travel was e cells that. The choice of hotels, meals, restaurants, trips was absolutely fantastic - very good quality and character - nothing bland or boring! The Riviera guide was permanently with us along with a South Africa guide and they were both extremely friendly, professional, informative and you could ask any questions you want! I would massively recommend this holiday/trip and when you’ve experienced it, you realise how reasonable the price is. We reflect on this trip a lot and thank you Riviera for giving us such a wonderful experience.

Trustpilot
Barry, GB  

Rhine Christmas markets cruise

09-Dec-2019

Just completed a 5 day trip on the Rhine. Our first river cruise and a tester for future cruises. The boat was well appointed and the cabin and public areas were spotlessly clean. The staff were attentive and contributed to the very relaxed atmosphere on the boat. The quality of the food surpassed that which we have experiened on sea cruises in recent years. I have written little because it was a faultless experience. We have booked a further cruise (in France) on the basis of our experience.

Trustpilot
Nigel Stewart (Google Reviewer)  

Cruise ship William Wordsworth: A...

15-Apr-2024

Cruise ship William Wordsworth: A cruise ship of excellence, very well appointed, comfortable & indulgent. We departed Budapest and cruised the Blue Danube heading to Vienna. The top deck offers sun loungers, a heated pool, golf and a place to just sit & relax. The cabins have everything you could want for but above all incredible comfortable. The staff are professional, courteous, and attentive and do everything to make your stay a pure pleasure. This is an experience you will remember for many years.

Christine Hardy (Google Reviewer)  

Although most people seem to...

10-Mar-2024

Although most people seem to book and pay for their holidays online, because we live close by we prefer to make a personal visit. In my opinion if they are offering this as an option they should be better equipped to accommodate visits in person. We have not been on our river cruise yet, so can't comment on that yet.

Rob Steele (Google Reviewer)  

My 3rd Riviera trip within...

16-Feb-2024

My 3rd Riviera trip within a year and I wasn't disappointed 😁 This time it was https://www.rivieratravel.co.uk/escorted-tours/southern-india-coastal-route-solo-travellers This trip, although not cheap, it really offers exceptional value for money as you see a lot of Tamil Nadu and Kerela, stay in fantastic hotels, excellent breakfasts every day as well as some lunches and dinners also included. George Bareham, our "Tour Manager" was brilliant, very professional, but also friendly and diligent. Satheeshan, our local guide was helpful and picked me up antibiotics when I got ill, he was a nice chap, if (for my taste) went on a bit and used 20 words when 1 would suffice. Mr Sweeny, our coach driver was fantastic,really professional and an exceptionally good driver. His assistant, Murgon wad a delight, always smiling and attentive. This is a full on trip, early morning starts and quite a packed itinerary, but still leaving time to laze around some brilliant hotel swimming pools. Only a couple of suggestions to improve the holiday. More shopping time in Cochin and change carriers from Etihad who, unfortunately aren't the excellent airline they used to be. But, will I use Riviera Travel again - Yes 😁

Barbara Parkes (Google Reviewer)  

Presently in Croatia staying at...

22-Sep-2023

Presently in Croatia staying at Arauana Hotel, supposedly a 4 star property, but wouldn't give it any star rating. Rooms are small and dirty. Wallpaper blistering. Meals served in a shed like lean-to. Food like warm, greasy and always self service. Second holiday with Riviera this year and neither at standard advertised. Have travelled with them previously and everything was fine, but standards have really dropped. Have booked a holiday with them next year and now dreading it. Certainly don't provide the standard advertised. We have never stayed in such a hovel and have visited youngsters in back packers accommodation which was far better than this supposedly 4 star accommodation. There are no indoor bars or lounges only a shed as a so called restaurant. Absolutely disgusting. Won't be boking with them again

Dates & Availability

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Sunday - Thursday

May 18, 2025 - May 29, 2025
$3858 (USD)

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Sunday - Thursday

Jun 01, 2025 - Jun 12, 2025
$4057 (USD)

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Tuesday - Saturday

Sep 09, 2025 - Sep 20, 2025
$4356 (USD)

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Sunday - Thursday

Oct 12, 2025 - Oct 23, 2025
$3609 (USD)

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Book with Confidence

  • Low Deposit

    Riviera Travel requires a minimum deposit of 250 GBP per person or the full booking value, whichever is less, with the final balance not due until 75 days before departure.

  • Cancellation Policy

    We don't charge a cancellation fee, here is a summary of riviera travel charges.

    Up to 75 days before tour starts: Forfeit 100% of deposit.

    At 74 days before tour starts: Forfeit 50% of booking price.

    At 60 days before tour starts: Forfeit 70% of booking price.

    At 30 days before tour starts: Forfeit 90% of booking price.

    At 14 days before tour starts: Forfeit 100% of booking price.

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