The Best of Croatia and Pre-Trip Extension to Montenegro: A photographic and cultural expedition

Tour Intro

2017 leader and dates to be announced.

"Gazing on this coastline, it's like you've been transported back 50 or 60 years, to the unspoiled European coastlines of classic movies...crystal blue waters, weathered clay tile roofs, picture perfect villages... It's an almost magical scene...pristine mountains and sparkling seas dotted with billowing sails..." --International Living

Croatia is one of Western Europe’s best-kept secrets: a lush region of coves, forested islands, and its crowning jewel, the walled city of Dubrovnik. This country offers an astounding array of natural and historic wonders from the rich Renaissance architecture of Hvar to the grandeur that was Rome in Diocletian’s palace in Split. We immerse ourselves in a unique culture that draws on both Roman and Venetian influences. The riches of these former empires unfold as we follow ancient trails through fertile countryside and along rocky coasts that lead to pristine beaches. We move in step with local life as we make our way through lively fishing villages, bustling markets, and charming hamlets preserved as UNESCO World Heritage Sites. The variety of stunning places in Croatia creates a diverse canvas for photographers. The mountains, national parks, red-tiled roof cities, numerous islands, and sunny paradises of the south provide infinite photo opportunities of beautiful city scenes and landscapes.

This tour, created to give maximum insight into all the beauty Croatia holds, travels from the stone walls and ancient streets of Dubrovnik, to the harbor town of Hvar, the sunniest of the isles, to the lakes and waterfalls of the Plitvice National Park, and finally ends in ‘The Second Tuscany,” the Istra Peninsula.

In 2012 on our first photo tour of Croatia, our group of guests took an unplanned day trip from Dubrovnik to Montenegro. Everyone fell in love, and wished we could have stayed longer. Therefore we have added a Montenegro Extension to this tour. You will seek out its hidden gems, and create something new and different from typical locations you see over and over. Montenegro has some of the most beautiful and undiscovered landscape in all of Europe, with turquoise and green lakes, rich forest, and stunning mountains. Travel to the Bay of Kotor, Budva, and Lovcen Lake National Park.
 

Tour Highlights

  • Istria, the "Second Tuscany"
  • The historic cities of Split, Dubrovnik, and Rovinj
  • Plitvice National Park with its many lakes and waterfalls
  • Visits to UNESCO World Heritage Sites, rich castles and monasteries
  • The sunny island of Hvar
  • Limited to twelve passengers
  • Ten days photo leader Kathy Adams Clark
  • Optional extension exploring the beautiful Montenegro

Tour Itinerary

October 3: U.S

Photo By: Luka Esenko

Photo Location: Hvar, Croatia

Your journey begins with an overnight flight to Dubrovnik, Croatia or if you are taking part in the extension your flight will be to Podgorica, Montenegro. All participant flights will need to be multi destination, flying home from Zagreb, Croatia. Group arrival time to be announced. (meals on plane)

October 4: Dubrovnik

Photo By: Jeremy Woodhouse

Photo Location: Dubrovnik, Croatia

Upon arrival at Dubrovnik Airport, transfer to the hotel. Today will be a day to rest from the flight, with a brief introduction to this beautiful city and enjoy a welcome dinner with your photo leader and your Croatian guide.

The “Pearl on the Adriatic: as Lord Byron so famously described Dubrovnik, is a much celebrated town, a World Heritage Site, and is completely encircled by over a mile of beautifully preserved walls built between the thirteenth and sixteenth centuries. Historically, these walls provided protection against all intruders, from the Saracens to the Turks, coming by way of sea. Today, however, it can be strolled at leisure and makes for a delightful introduction to the town’s intricate, stone-paved inner structure.

We explore the town’s main works of art, learn about its history of proud and fierce economic and political independence from Venice, marvel at the loving way the town was restored after the shelling in 1991, and take pleasure in discovering its architectural details, enchanting secrets, and narrow alleys. (Overnight Dubrovnik, Welcome Dinner)

October 5-6: Dubrovnik

Today view the traditional sites of Dubrovnik’s old city; with your local guide at your disposal, Kathy will choose which locations will best suit the interests of the group. Such sights include Orlando’s Column, Sponza Palace, and the Franciscan Monastery with one of the oldest pharmacies in the world. A second full day tomorrow, visit new locations or return for different light. Take part in walking the walls, which surround the city to record its spectacular views. Historical palaces, monasteries, and the ancient walls are all highly photogenic aspects of one of Europe's most enchanting cities. This will be your last evening to capture the old city basking in the sunset. (Two overnights Dubrovnik, B, L or D each day)

October 7-8: Hvar

Photo By: Jacque Boehm Steedle

Photo Location: Hvar Town, Croatia

After breakfast depart Dubrovnik, traveling north along the spectacular Adriatic Coast, past old fishing villages, and new resorts to Drvenik, where you board a ferry to Sucuraj. Upon arrival to this quaint harbor town, there will be a brief introduction to Hvar, including views of the Franciscan monastery and fortress, the beautiful town square by the sea, and the old theater, the first in Europe to be open to the public. With accommodations in town, you will have plenty of time to relax and photograph the beautiful scenery that surrounds us. Hvar is Croatia's sunniest island and home to lush lavender and rosemary fields. This exclusive island is constantly drawing in tourists from all over the world because of its natural beauty and alluring atmosphere. (Two nights Palace Hotel, B, L or D each day)

October 9-10: Split & Plitvice Lakes

Photo By: Jeremy Woodhouse

Photo Location: Plitvice Park, Croatia

There will be an early morning departure for Starigrad, boarding the ferry and traveling to Split. This city is best known for the palace of the ancient Roman emperor Diocletian, which remains the core of the old city, and is currently an UNESCO World Cultural Heritage Site. This unique and most well-preserved Roman palace in the World is a place where you can spend days discovering new things, from the ancient temples, the emperor's mausoleum and endash, now cathedral, and vibrant spirit of the people still living in the palace. Photograph the historic inner city, built around the palace. The site provides Renaissance and Gothic structures: Jupiter’s Temple, the Peristyle, and the Cathedral. Late afternoon continue on to your destination for the evening, Plitvice National Park.

The next day take a walking tour around several of the Lower and Upper Lakes of the National Park. This is one of the most scenic parts of Croatia. The entire day will be filled with photographing waterfalls, breathtaking scenery, and sixteen terraced lakes surrounded by thickly wooded mountains and lush vegetation. Capture the serenity of this natural wonder. (Accommodations are basic with large tour buses arriving for the day, it is however the best location, being located directly in the park, with early morning and late afternoon access. Overnight two nights, Plitvice Hotel B, L or D each day)

October 11-12: Rovinj - Bale Village - Istra Peninsula

Photo By: Luka Esenko

Photo Location: Rovinj, Croatia

Returning to the coast you will travel along the beautiful Bay of Kvarner to the lovely Opatija, a once famous retreat of Middle European nobility, and then on to your final destination for the evening. Bale Village is a gem, it is off the beaten path, which adds to it’s appeal, and just a short drive from Rovinj. You will feel like you’ve been transported back in time as you walk the cobblestone street up to the church. The region is appropriately named, "The Second Tuscany." Istria is a magical land of old hilltop towns, wonderful valleys, and picturesque coastal towns.

There will be time for photography in Rovinj, along the coast, it is a wonderful old town, with narrow cobblestone streets and a charming atmosphere. You will begin early in the morning for the right light looking over the harbor, taking a mid day break, and then enjoy evening photography along the harbor. Take time to photograph the Basilica of Euphrasius, a UNESCO Heritage Site. (Two overnights Hotel La Gasa, B, L or D each day)

October 13: Zagreb

Photo By: Jacque Boehm Steedle

Photo Location: Hvar Harbor Croatia

Depart the Istra Peninsula after breakfast, traveling to Zagreb, the capital of Croatia. There will be time to capture the city’s highlights, the upper town with small cobbled streets, the beautiful sand-stone made cathedral or even the unique Mirogoj cemetery. There will be a farewell dinner after checking in to the hotel. Overnight Astoria (B, D)

October 14: Zagreb-Home

Photo By: Jacque Boehm Steedle

Photo Location: Rovinj, Croatia

There will be a group departure (time to be announced) from the hotel to the airport; the hotel can call a taxi if you do not make the departure time. (B)

Tour Extension

Pricing and Details

US Dollars based upon minimum of 8 paying participants. There is a small group surcharge of $400 if 5-7 paying participants. All our program prices are based on double occupancy unless noted in exceptions.

Single rooms are subject to availability. We try to accommodate travelers who request single accommodations, as well as travelers who are looking for a roommate. If a single room is requested, or if we are unable to find a suitable roommate, you will be required to pay the supplement.

Testimonials

Photo By: Jacque Boehm Steedle

Photo Location: Plitvice Park Croatia

It's really hard to name one highlight because so many things were interesting to photograph, but our bonus trip to Montenegro was a real highlight for me. Overall my expectations for a trip such as this is to get good shooting opportunities - my expectations were exceeded. EXCELLENT. I am so pleased someone recommended your company to me, two very good trips with you thus far.

C. Volpe

Photo By: Maureen Ferry

Photo Location: Rovinj, Croatia

Jacque, The Croatia trip was absolutely wonderful. The location of every hotel was perfect. Getting to the rooms was trying for some, but I would guess that all the hotels in the prime old districts are like that. Other than that the trip was perfect and I would not hesitate to use Strabo again. Also I have never used my tripod and made as many camera setting changes as I did on this trip. I learned several new shooting techniques that improved the quality of my photos.

F. Kurtz

Photo By: Luka Esenko

Photo Location: Hvar Town, Croatia

The trip was a 10! National park was the highlight. Luka is the best - an excellent photographer, knowledgeable, generous with information and an excellent teacher. Great trip.

N Hopwood

Photo By: Carl Volpe

Photo Location: Rovinj Croatia

I give Luka very high marks for this trip. His suggestion of Montenegro was excellent, I have had both great and bad internal guides and I rank Luka up there with the best. 

C. Volpe

Photo By: Maureen Ferry

Photo Location: Dubrovnik, Croatia

The group personality, including the leader and guide, were very compatible. The photographic advise, both technical and stylistic, were expert and offeredd freely at any time. The local guide was essential part of our trip. He made all the arrangements easily and well. He answered every problem I had and was freely given. All hotels in good location, in or adjacent to the Old Town area and made me feel more a part of the history and were very convenient.

D Fitchett

Terms and Conditions

Unless otherwise noted, this information applies to all tours.

Airfare

Contact Strabo Tours if you would like rates on International Airfare. Please note on your trip application form if you would like us to assist you with your airfare needs, a charge is added for this service. If making your own arrangements, it is important to discuss flight times with Strabo Tours before booking any airline tickets. This will avoid you having to pay airline cancellation penalties. Please contact Strabo Tours for destination airfare estimates, specific flight time arrivals, and departures.

The land cost includes:
  • Group transportation for tour events in the tour van.
  • Accommodations based on two people sharing a room, singles are assigned on a first come, first served basis.
  • Services of driver, English speaking cultural guide (if applicable) and photographic leader, during the tour.
  • Meals as listed in itinerary (B=breakfast, L=lunch, D=dinner).
  • Park entrance fees, day tours and excursions as shown in the itinerary.
  • Extensive pre-departure information and services.
The land cost does not include:

Domestic or International air fare; other airfare if noted in exceptions; air fare tax; airport departure tax; airport transfers; additional transfers or accommodations that may be required by those not traveling with the group; excess baggage charges; meals not included in itinerary; activities taken on your own; passport/visa expenses; personal medical or travel insurance; any expenses of a personal nature, such as room service, laundry, beverages not included with meals, medical expenses, photographic equipment, any activities not specified in tour itinerary or listed as optional, or any items not listed in what is included; fuel surcharges; exchange rate surcharges; upon the completion of your trip, modest gratuities to the local guides and the drivers are customary; tips for meals not included in itinerary.

Fitness and Health

The majority of trips are not strenuous (see exceptions below for particular destinations) and anyone who is reasonably fit should be able to take part in most of the activities. You may experience general fatigue due to the long flights and the change in time zones. You will need to be sufficiently agile to climb in and out of the tour van and be able to carry and manage your own equipment. We will frequently hike trails ranging from easy to moderate. Some hotels do not have elevators or air conditioners.

If you have any special needs or any physical condition that you feel might prevent you from fully participating, please contact Strabo Tours with your concerns (607-756-8676).

You should also be aware that medical services or facilities might not be readily available during all or part of your trip. This could include emergency medical care, presence of physicians, or adequate medication.

Exceptions:

The following destinations require more physical activity. Bhutan, China, Patagonia, Peru, Ecuador and the Galapagos Islands, New Zealand, Scotland, Domestic tours. On the African Safari you will spend many hours in a vehicle on game drives, land travel will sometimes be over very bumpy and dusty roads. Galapagos Cruise accommodations are in upper and lower berths (bunk beds) only.

The following destinations require more physical activity. Bhutan, China, Patagonia, Peru, Ecuador and the Galapagos Islands, New Zealand, Scotland, Domestic tours. On the African Safari you will spend many hours in a vehicle on game drives, land travel will sometimes be over very bumpy and dusty roads. Galapagos Cruise accommodations are in upper and lower berths (bunk beds) only.

Deposits, Cancellations AND Refunds

A deposit of $750 ($500 on domestic tours) per person is required. Specific tours may require an additional deposit due to accommodation bookings or transportation requirements. If applicable these will be noted on your invoice. Payment in full is required when bookings are made less than 120 days before the departure date. Space is subject to cancellation by Strabo if payment is not received when due.

If a passenger wishes to cancel they must send notification in writing to: Strabo International Tour, Co., P.O. Box 580, Dryden, NY 13053; fax 208-545-4119. At the time we receive your notification, the following per person charges apply:

  • 91 days or more before departure: $300 cancellation fee ($150 fee on domestic tours), plus Strabo’ costs, as well as fees that are charged by the suppliers providing the services included in your tour, and/or the airlines providing the air transportation.
  • 61-90 days before departure: $500 ($250 on domestic tours) minimum cancellation fee, plus Strabo’ costs, as well as fees that are charged by the suppliers providing the services included in your tour, and/or the airlines providing the air transportation. Fees may range from 25% to 100% of tour costs.
  • 60 days or less before departure or anytime after departure: NO REFUND.

Refunds for services that are voluntarily not used by you cannot be made.

Insurance

Each participant must be covered by medical insurance that is valid overseas.

We strongly urge you to evaluate your risk and to take out insurance on your trip. It is vital for you to realize that if you experience a delay or find it necessary to cancel or cut short your trip for any reason, you will lose part or the entire sum you’ve invested in it (see the section “Deposits, Cancellations and Refunds” in the trip brochure).

Travel insurance helps to minimize the risk of monetary losses you would incur in the event of a delay of your departure due to weather, airline strike, missed connection, etc., your inability to travel for reasons such as illness, injury, unforeseen financial complications and other personal circumstances, or if you were required to cut your trip short for medical or any other reasons.

There are restrictions and limitations on any insurance program. For this reason, please read carefully the enclosed pamphlet, which outlines their program of trip cancellation, baggage, and medical insurance. Trained agents are available to answer your questions, so don’t hesitate to call the toll free number in their brochure. It is to your advantage to apply for insurance at the earliest possible time, so don’t delay in making a decision.

Subject to Change

Itineraries have been carefully constructed to assure participants the best each destination has to offer; however, should events arise that are beyond our control, activities and hotel arrangements are subject to change without notice. The itineraries summarize typical areas you will explore. Since there is no possible way to visit all of them, your guides will plan each day considering the interests of the group and the weather at hand. Be assured that we will make substitutions that are as similar in quality and interest as possible.

Photo Release

Strabo International Tour Company, Inc. reserves the right and permission to use photographs of individuals on tour for use in promotional and publicity purposes. We also reserve the right to use clients photographs for promotional and publicity purposes, when submitted to Strabo International Tour Company, Inc.

Accommodations

Accommodations are in central locations to maximize your photographic experience. In order to be located in the City of Dubrovnik, for instance, where you can begin photographing as soon as you step outside your hotel door, you also have to be prepared to handle your luggage and equipment on the flights of stairs. In order to be close to Plitvice Park at sunrise and sunset, we are staying directly in the park even though the accommodations cater to tourist buses. WE have chosen all locations with the most important thing in mind – getting to the right location at the right time.

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