London - Venice
Titan’s VIP door-to-door travel service collects you from home, for your journey to London Heathrow Airport for a direct, scheduled British Airways flight to Venice. On arrival we transfer to Mestre and the Antony Hotel (4T), with time to settle before dinner is served this evening.
Spend your morning on a sightseeing tour of Venice, a city that revels in the immense power it gained through centuries of control over trade in the Adriatic and successful wars with neighbouring countries. You will see some of the resulting decadence in the grand palazzi which line the famous canals, and in the spectacular bridges that cross them, including the renowned Bridge of Sighs and Ponte di Rialto. This unique city is full of lovingly preserved ancient landmarks and monuments including the spectacular Basillica di San Marco, decorated with acres of mosaics and numerous golden treasures, sitting on one side of the fine Piazza San Marco. You will have free time to explore further or spend more time at the wonderful sites covered on the tour, before returning to the hotel. The rest of the afternoon is at leisure before dinner at the hotel.
Venice - Trieste - Portorose
This morning we head to Portorose, stopping in Trieste for a guided tour. Sitting within the outstretched borders of north east Italy, Trieste was much contested, resulting in a diverse town which attracted artists and poets, including James Joyce. Highlights include the vast Piazza Unità d’Italia that rivals Venice’s own St Mark’s Square for beauty, and the Fountain of the Four Continents (Europe, Asia, Africa and America), completed in 1754 before the remainder were discovered. We have free time for lunch before continuing our journey across the border into Slovenia. Once in the spa town of Portorose, we check into Remisens Premium Casa Roza, Annexe (4T) and relax before dinner.
We have planned a half day tour to begin your introduction to Slovenia, starting with a guided tour of charming Piran, Slovenia’s oldest seaside town, and ruled under the Republic of Venice for several centuries. Admire the beautiful Tartini Square, named after the town’s most famous son - composer and violinist Giuseppe Tartini - and town church, named for the town’s patron saint, St George, followed with the opportunity to taste some local wines. The region has been cultivated for grapes since the Roman’s ruled, and the Mediterranean climate has contributed to some outstanding wines.
Portorose - Postojna - Umag
Today we depart from Portorose and journey inland to see Postojna Cave, a network of over 20km of passages and chambers. The excursion starts with an open-top train ride down into the magnificent underground world of stalagmites, stalactites and inhabitants like proteus, which were at first mistaken for baby dragons! We continue to the idyllic village of Predjama to visit its incredible, impregnable castle. Set into the mouth of a cavern half way up a steep hill, it has everything you imagine with a medieval castle - dank dungeons and secret passageways. Although most of what you‘ll see today was built in the 16th century, the castle has stood on this site since 1202. It was the hideout of rebellious knight Erazem Lueger who stole from the rich to give to the poor, and his daring deeds are retold today. Later, we arrive in Umag, Croatia, and the Hotel Sol Umag (4T), where dinner is served this evening.
Porec - Groznjan
Porec has numerous reminders of its ancient roots. This morning we take a tour to see the 6th century, World Heritage-listed Euphrasian Basilica, known for its beautiful gold mosaics, and Marafor Square where the temples to Neptune and Mars, remains from a Roman forum, still stand. We then journey to Buje to taste some locally brewed beer, a craft which is gaining popularity among its consumers, accompanied with lunch. We complete today’s tour in Groznjan. Every summer, from May, this little town comes alive as music and drama academies open their doors and the well-preserved medieval streets become stages. Some 30 art galleries also fill the stone buildings.
Pula - Rovinj
We have another day of excursions to show you the best of Croatia’s Istrian peninsula. Pula’s legacy of the Roman Empire is most prominently illustrated by the magnificent amphitheatre that they left behind. We visit this three-storey elliptical arena, the sixth largest Roman theatre still in existence, which held 23,000 spectators. We continue to Vodnjan to taste olive oil produced from the surrounding olive groves, and Rovinj for a sightseeing tour of this desirable fishing town. Originally an island, two rows of fortified walls were built around the city by the Republic of Venice which further restricted space, leading to narrow houses on narrow streets with small squares. The small channel has since been filled in to allow for growth but the main sites are still within the remains of the walls, including the Venetian Baroque Church of St Euphemia the largest monument in the town and highest tower in Istria. We return to our hotel late this afternoon.
Umag - Opatija - Zagreb
We depart Umag this morning and spend some time in Opatija, a fashionable seaside resort during the rule of the Austro-Hungarian Empire. Take a stroll along its 12km promenade and you will see the elegant villas and delightful views across the sparkling Adriatic to Croatia’s dramatic coastline. While here, you have the opportunity to partake in chocolate tasting, before returning to the coach to enjoy the views as we continue to Zagreb and the Sheraton Zagreb (4T).
Croatia’s capital has a wonderfully balanced mix of respect for its history and traditions, and a young spirit, kept alive by the flow of university students. We take a walking tour of this great city, which includes a ride on the world’s shortest funicular to reach the base of Lotrscak Tower, the keeper of the old town’s southern gate, where a canon has been fired every day at noon for the last century. Our tour will also take us to admire the colourful roof of St Mark’s Church and walk through the eastern gate where a raging fire came to a sudden standstill in 1731, saving the city. Within the 13th century stone gate is a shrine containing a relic painting of the Virgin Mary, where plaques now hang to give thanks. The rest of the day is at leisure to enjoy Zagreb. Maybe visit a contemporary museum or join the locals in one of the many busy cafés that line the streets.
Day 10 Zagreb - London
We transfer to Zagreb Airport for a direct, scheduled British Airways flight to London Heathrow Airport. On arrival you will be met and guided to your Titan vehicle, for the journey home.