Photo by: D Briski
Location: Dubrovnik Croatia
PHOTOGRAPHY TOUR

Croatia Gem of the Adriatic

Extend your stay in Slovenia for amazing Lake Bled and Soca River Valley landscapes

  • Istria, the “Second Tuscany”
  • The historic cities of Split, Dubrovnik, and Rovinj
  • Krka Falls & 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 with Photo Tour Leaders Cathy & Gordon Illg and local photo guide.
Region

Eastern Europe

Destination

Croatia

Dates

September 30-Oct 10 2023

Duration

10 days

Available Post-Trip Extension

Slovenia Landsapes

$TBD

per person, double occupancy*

*U.S. dollars based upon minimum of 8 participants.

Tour Overview

“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 Europe’s best-kept secrets: a lush region of coves, forested...

“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 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 Istria Peninsula.

The itinerary will guide us, but we also make unscheduled stops for discoveries along the way, with an eye for the group’s interests. You can plan to be out for early and late light when weather and schedules permit. Your leaders will offer guidance and some instruction on the tour and will also be available to answer questions and provide photographic advice.

Continue your stay and discover the ‘Secrets of Slovenia’ and the Julian Alps with Cathy and Gordon on this amazing extension. Have your camera in hand and capture stunning images of fall foliage, mountain landscapes, glacial lakes, and rivers. Depart Croatia continuing north and enjoy the afternoon in the picturesque town of Piran before heading inland to the Soca River Valley. Try creative long exposures to capture breathtaking landscapes, fast-flowing rivers and waterfalls. Travel through many picturesque villages to shoot traditional hayracks and agricultural details and document a slower pace of life. One of the most picturesque locations in Slovenia is Lake Bled and its iconic church on Bled Island starting with sunrise at the shore and ending with sunset from a stunning vantage point. Enjoy blue hour photography in the lovely city of Ljubljana, capturing the unique historic architecture at blue hour along the river as the city lights come on.

Accommodations are in central locations to maximize your photographic experience. Located in the City walls of Dubrovnik, you can begin photographing as soon as you step outside your hotel door (no elevator within the city walls). Stay inside the park at Plitvice to be walking distance at sunrise and sunset. While on the island of Hvar we stay at a lovely beach resort, and close to land and sea in the Istria Peninsula near Rovinj. We have chosen all locations with the most important thing in mind – getting to the right location at the right time.

Tour Itinerary

September 30: Home

Your journey begins with an overnight flight to Dubrovnik, Croatia. All participant flights will need to be multi destination, flying into Dubrovnik, and return from Zagreb, Croatia. If joining the Illg’s in Slovenia for iconic landscapes, you will be flying home from Ljubljana, Slovenia (LJU). (Meals on plane)

October 1-3: Dubrovnik

Arrive today to Dubrovnik Airport, transfer to the hotel via taxi. 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.

Enjoy two additional days of photographing the traditional sites of Dubrovnik’s old city; with your local guide at your disposal, and your photo leader will choose which locations will best suit the interests of the group. 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. Take part in walking the walls, which surround the city to record its spectacular views. Overnight Dubrovnik (D; B, L; B)

October 4-5: Hvar

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. Overnight Hvar (B, L or D each day)

October 6-7: Split - Plitvice National Park

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. Photograph the historic inner city, or along the Adriatic coastline promenade. Continue on to your destination for the evening, Plitvice National Park. Accommodations are in one of the best locations, with late afternoon access today and early morning tomorrow.

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. (Overnight two nights, Plitvice (B, L or D each day)

October 8-9: Piran - Rovinj - Istra Peninsula

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 its 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. Overnight Rovinj (B, L or D each day)

 

October 10: Home

There will be a group departure (very early departure for those not on the extension to accommodate flight schedules) from the hotel to the Zagreb airport. Those on the extension will depart after breakfast for Slovenia with Cathy and Gordon.

Post-Trip Extension

Extension Name

Slovenia Landsapes

Price

$TBD*

Dates

October 10-15, 2023

Duration

5 days

* Based upon minimum of participants.


Continue your stay and discover the ‘Secrets of Slovenia’ and the Julian Alps with Cathy and Gordon on this amazing extension. Have your camera in hand and capture stunning images of fall foliage, mountain landscapes, glacial lakes, and rivers. Depart Croatia continuing north and enjoy the afternoon in the picturesque town of Piran before heading inland to the Soca River Valley. Try creative long exposures to capture breathtaking landscapes, fast-flowing rivers and waterfalls. Travel through many picturesque villages to shoot traditional hayracks and agricultural details and document a slower pace of life. One of the most picturesque locations in Slovenia is Lake Bled and its iconic church on Bled Island starting with sunrise at the shore and ending with sunset from a stunning vantage point. Enjoy blue hour photography in the lovely city of Ljubljana, capturing the unique historic architecture at blue hour along the river as the city lights come on.

October 10-11: Rovinj, Croatia - Piran Slovenia - Soca River Valley

After breakfast depart Croatia continuing north and enjoy the afternoon in the picturesque Piran before heading inland to the Soca River Valley. The Soca River is a distinct emerald green, considered to be one of the most beautiful rivers in Europe. We hope for a beautiful sunset during your time here. There are  incredible gorges to discover and waterfalls as you walk along the riverbanks. As well as stunning landscapes, you may be lucky with some wildlife photography and will also take the opportunity to photograph the historical World War I remnants along the trail. Your route takes you on some of the highest mountains in Slovenia offering incredible views across the country into Italy. Overnight  (B, L or D both days)

October 12-14: Lake Bled - Ljubljana

Take one of the most scenic routes in Slovenia, over the Vrsic Pass, the highest peak of the Alps, with incredible photo opportunities of the Julian Alps and the Triglav National Park. Arrive late afternoon at your accommodations near the picturesque Lake Bled. After settling in explore the lake with perhaps a chance for sunset photography. One evening you will enjoy dinner in the lovely city of Ljubljana. This is a perfect time for blue hour photography as the lights are turned on along the river, highlighting the unique historic architecture.

Enjoy another two full days exploring the beautiful Gorenjska region. The fashionable mountain resort  near the Austrian and Italian borders, is set on the idyllic Lake Bled.  It is one of the most stunning places in Slovenia with its church on an island in the middle of the lake. We can visit the island by traditional “Pletna” boat. Bled Castle on the cliff above offers superb views of the lake, and there will be plenty of opportunities to capture landscape photos from this vantage. The nearby Lake Bohinj is also a glacier-made body like Bled, but as it is located in the heart of the Julian Alps it provides a very different setting. After photos stop at the lakeshore, head to the picturesque Savica waterfall. From there, pass through many picturesque small traditional-style villages on your way to the stunning Vintgar Gorge. Overnight Lake Bled (B, L or D three days)

October 15: Ljubljana Airport - Home

Given time there will be another early morning photography shoot of Lake Bled. You will be transferred to the airport in time for your flight home. Ljubljana Airport, Slovenia (LJU). (B given time)