For over 20 years, George R.R. Martin’s Song of Ice and Fire books have transported us to exotic locales without leaving the library. Then the HBO TV series, Game of Thrones, showed us where to find these destinations in our own world. The Red Keep gardens, Meereen, Slaver’s Bay, and King’s Landing, they’re all real locations and they’re waiting for you in Croatia!
Today, embark on your overnight flight to Zagreb, capital city of Croatia.
Welcome to Zagreb! This vibrant city has it all: culture, arts, music, architecture and good eats. Explore the city on your own, relax, or join us on an optional walking tour with a local historian. Visit the medieval Upper Town, Zagreb’s oldest district. Sitting on top of two hills, Kaptol, the old town’s clerical center was once home to the city’s nobility. It is clustered around the city’s elegant neo-Gothic cathedrals and Gradec, lined with pastel-colored baroque palaces. Check out Gornji Grad and the Church of St. Mark's, the Art Pavilion and the Meštrovic Gallery, or the Croatian National Theater. Consider an optional walking tour with a local historian this afternoon. Tonight join the welcome cocktail and cevapcici dinner with our travel companions.
Meals: In-flight, Dinner
- Transfer from airport to hotel included with purchased AESU group airfare
- Welcome cocktail and orientation
- Look up free time suggestions for:
- Optional activity:
- 2-hour walking tour of Zagreb with a local historian
Depart Zagreb early in the morning for a drive south to Plitvice Lakes National Park, one of Europe’s great natural wonders. This is truly one of the most amazing primeval forests, featuring 16 terraced lakes, laced together by waterfalls and miles of wooden walkways and bridges. Take advantage of the park’s free boat and train rides to get the most out of your visit and enjoy a picnic lunch at one of the park’s al fresco dining areas. Our journey continues to the historic port city of Split, Croatia’s second-largest city. This bustling city offers a perfect balance between traditional and modern lifestyles. The jewel in the center of town is the breath-taking Diocletian’s Palace, a UNESCO World Heritage Site and one of the most impressive Roman monuments in the world. Enjoy a typical Dalmatian dinner, then stroll along the lively harbor by the sparkling Adriatic Sea.
Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
- Excursion to Plitvice Lakes National Park including admission to the park
- Plitvice nature hike
- Boat and train rides at Plitvice National Park
- Picnic lunch (weather permitting)
- Diocletian’s Palace, UNESCO World Heritage Site
- Stroll along Split harbor by the Adriatic Sea
- Typical Dalmatian dinner
On our morning tour of Split with a local historian, we explore the ancient palace built in the early 4th century as a retirement estate for the Roman Emperor, Diocletian, who spared no expense on the palace. He imported marble from Italy and Greece, and columns and sphinxes from Egypt. Today the palace is a living monument, with residences and colorful shops that started to occupy the ruins around the 7th century. This afternoon, continue your own exploration of Split, sample fresh local seafood, or relax on the beach.
- Morning sightseeing tour of Split with a local historian
- Admission to Diocletian’s Palace including dungeon
- Adriatic beaches
Spend the day as you wish, or join us on an optional all-day aquatic adventure exploring the Blue Grotto, Green Caves, Stiniva Cove, and the popular islands of Biševo, Vis, and Hvar with lavender fields, lofty peaks, and yacht-filled marinas. Our excursion includes time for swimming, snorkeling, and exploration of the islands.
- Optional activity:
- Full-day excursion to the islands of Biševo, Vis and Hvar
This morning we drive along the dramatic coastline, crossing Bosnia Herzegovina, before arriving at Ston and Mali Ston, both salt-producing towns. The city’s defensive walls are world-famous and second largest in the world after the Great Wall of China. After lunch on your own and time to explore the town, our journey continues to Trsteno Arboretum, the oldest arboretum in this part of the world. It was built in the late 15th century to house plants and seeds brought back from foreign countries by the Gozze family. The aqueduct used for irrigation purposes is still in use today, and the stunning Belvedere Pavilion overlooking the Dalmatian Coast and Adriatic Sea was featured as the gardens of the Red Keep in the Game of Thrones TV series. Later, we arrive in Dubrovnik, ‘Pearl of the Adriatic’ and UNESCO World Heritage Site.
Meals: Breakfast, Cocktail and finger foods at Trsteno Arboretum
- Scenic drive along the coast, crossing Bosnia Herzegovina
- Visit to Ston and Mali Ston salt-producing towns
- Ston’s defensive walls, second largest after the Great Wall of China
- Admission to Trsteno Arboretum
- Guided tour and cocktails at Trsteno Arboretum
- Dubrovnik ‘Pearl of the Adriatic’
Whether this is your first visit to Dubrovnik or you are returning, the beauty of the Old Town will never cease to amaze you. Our local historian will take us on a walk through the ancient city, including Fort Lovrijenac, often called "Dubrovnik's Gibraltar,” and along the 25 meter high city wall which has protected the city from pirates and unwanted guests for centuries. Enjoy some of the best views of Dubrovnik, overlooking the red-roofed, terracotta skyline. Be enchanted by the city’s marble streets, imposing stone walls rising from steep cliffs, churches, monuments and picturesque coves and beaches. During free time, take some time to shop in the narrow streets or opt for a cocktail at one of the cafes carved in the city walls, overlooking the blue Adriatic Sea. Tonight, join us for our farewell Croatian dinner of local specialties.
Meals: Breakfast, Dinner
- Morning sightseeing tour of Dubrovnik led by a local historian
- Admission to Fort Lovrijenac
- Admission to Dubrovnik city walls
- Exploration of Dubrovnik’s narrow streets and cliff-side cocktail bars
- Farewell Croatian dinner
After breakfast the land program ends and we bid farewell to our new-found friends and make plans for a reunion trip.
Meals: Breakfast, In-flight
- Transfer from hotel to airport included with purchased AESU group airfare