Join us as we travel the back roads through plunging gorges and soaring mountains; discovering clifftop fortresses and Riviera-style villages; tasting delicious local wines and savouring countless regional specialities along the way. This journey through Northern Italy, Slovenia and Croatia captures the beautiful diversity of these three mesmerising countries and is sure to be one to remember.
Welcome to Venice – the magnificent floating city boasting unparalleled elegance, grandeur and romance. Meet your travel companions and Tour Leader at the hotel, before settling into a delicious welcome meal at a local restaurant. Saluti! Accommodation: Hotel Ca’ dei Conti (or similar)
After breakfast, we’ll board the mini-coach and set a course for our first stop – Maser, where a wine tasting session at the historic Villa di Maser winery awaits us. Grapes from this ancient winery are grown in 33 hectares of carefully selected, eco-friendly vineyards – and our palettes are sure to appreciate the care and attention placed in each bottle. Then: onwards to Bassano del Grappa, a historic town that’s famous for its 13th century Ponte Vecchio. After getting better acquainted on an orientation tour, we’ll enjoy some free time for lunch. Later, we’ll pay a visit to the Poli Grappa Museum – where we’ll learn about the history of the local tipple and enjoy a tasting, of course! This evening will be ours to explore Bassano Del Grappa at our own pace or put our feet up back at the hotel. Accommodation: Belvedere Hotel (or similar)
Today we’ll delve into Rovereto’s fascinating history on a locally guided walking tour. As we go, we’ll have the opportunity to visit the imposing Rovereto Castle, Italian Historical War Museum and the Bell of the Fallen – which commemorates those who fell in the Great War in Trentino. Cast with the bronze of all nations who participated in World War I, it’s 100 tolls at dusk are a testimony to world peace. Following our tour, we’ll enjoy a sumptuous included lunch at a local restaurant – before returning to Bassano Del Grappa for an evening spent at our leisure. Accommodation: Belvedere Hotel (or similar)
Before we bid farewell to Italy, we’ll make one more stop in picturesque Belluno. A historic old town with breathtaking views and Renaissance-era buildings – we’ll enjoy an orientation tour with our Tour Leader before lunching at our leisure. Then: we’ll cross the border into spectacular Slovenia. Enjoy the scenic back roads as we travel to the enchanting Lake Bled region – our home for the next two nights. This evening, we’ll be free to spend some time relaxing before tomorrow’s trip to the iconic lake. Accommodation: Triglav Hotel (or similar)
First on today’s agenda: we’ll enjoy a guided tour of mesmerising Bled Castle. One of the oldest castles in Slovenia, our guide will educate us on the fascinating history and let us in on a few secrets, before we settle down to an included lunch in the castle restaurant. This afternoon we’ll take to the water for a locally-crafted pletna boat ride to the small island in the centre of Lake Bled – where we’ll visit the Baroque Church of the Assumption. Upon returning to the mainland, we’ll savour an afternoon spent at our leisure or dining at our hand-picked accommodation’s restaurant. Accommodation: Triglav Hotel (or similar)
This morning we’ll bid a fond farewell to Lake Bled and continue our journey to Slovenia’s capital: Ljubljana. Here, we’ll learn more about the city’s major sights on a locally guided walking tour and take the funicular up to the famous castle for incredible views over this enchanting city. Then: we’ll have the opportunity to visit the impressive Postojna Cave and take an unforgettable train ride through the mesmerising subterranean system. We’ll round up our day in the quaint seaside town of Rovinj – where the evening will be free for us to leisurely explore the narrow, cobbled streets in search of a local restaurant for dinner. Accommodation: The Melegran (or similar)
Today, we’ll have a full day to explore Rovinj at our own pace. Whilst you’re here, we recommend paying a visit to the Church of St Euphemia – the largest Baroque building in Istria with spectacular views over the city. Enjoy wandering through the winding cobbled streets and picturesque squares of Old Town, before stopping for a refreshing drink at a harbourside cafe. This evening, a unique culinary experience awaits at a local restaurant. Accommodation: The Melegran (or similar)
Today’s first stop will be the chic coastal town of Opatija – where we’ll have some free time to wander at our own pace and enjoy coffee at a local cafe. Then: we’ll continue on to the charming village of Rastoke – which is known for its many beautiful waterfalls and 18th-century mills. After paying a visit to a local mill, we’ll arrive at our final destination: the stunning Plitvice Lakes region. This evening we’ll be free to relax at our hotel and enjoy the excellent restaurant at our leisure. Accommodation: Hotel Fenomen (or similar)
A tour highlight is on the agenda this morning! After breakfast, we’ll visit one of Croatia’s most astounding natural sites: the UNESCO World Heritage-listed Plitvice Lakes National Park. Here, we'll explore the walking trails that hug the lakes – and watch as the water transforms from emerald green to azure blue. Once we’ve finished exploring, we’ll continue north to the village of Smiljan – the birthplace of famous inventor Nikola Tesla. Here, we’ll have the opportunity to visit the Tesla House Museum before moving on to the coastal city of Zadar. Tonight, we’ll look back on our incredible adventure and clink glasses over a delicious farewell dinner. Accommodation: Hotel Kolovare (or similar)
The tour may be coming to an end, but we have a few historical treasures to uncover before we say our goodbyes. Our Tour Leader will show us around the ancient Roman and Venetian ruins within Old Town, as well as the grand 12th-century St Anastasia’s Cathedral – before we board the mini-coach one final time to reach our final destination. Upon arrival in Split, our tour will come to a close.
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With more than 30 years’ experience in small group and tailor-made tours across the UK, Europe and Asia, Back-Roads Touring is truly the original Small Group Touring company.
With each tour capped at 18 passengers (14 for Asia tours), Back-Roads curates authentic, off-the-beaten-track travel experiences.
Catering for the mature traveller, Back-Roads has built up a brand rooted in expert local knowledge, sustainable tourism, culinary excellence and premium boutique accommodation.
Their award-winning tour leaders are committed to delivering the ‘Back-Roads difference’ whether that be dining with the group, offering the flexibility to change the itinerary, giving personal recommendations for lunch or bringing each destination to life with their insight and knowledge. Their Tour leaders are dedicated to delivering a truly authentic, personalised experience. The Back-Roads Difference inludes:
Back-Roads Touring was named Best Small Coach Holidays Company for 2015, 2016 and 2017 in the British Travel Awards and have been nominated for two awards in 2018.