Croatia UNESCO Tour itinerary
Many of travelers that visit Croatia know that we have many UNESCO listed heritage and of course they are keen to visit the sites. This tour is about getting to know Croatia by including the tangible and intangible heritage. Each day you will explore something new and in some cases you will become a part of the Croatian UNESCO story by making some of the heritage yourselves.
Day 1 – Zagreb (overnight Zagreb)
Your Croatian experience starts at Zagreb airport where our driver will meet you at the exit gate. Just a short drive to the city center and check in to your accommodation. In a while you will be picked up by our licenced Zagreb guide and taken on a walking tour of the city. This will be a short intro to Croatian history and the history of Zagreb. The guide will take you to all the important sights in the city center, the sights Zagreb is known for. With this walk you will cover all the well known sights of the city – main square, Zrinjevac park, Upper city with the St Mark’s church, Lotrščak tower & the shortest funicular in the world… If you like, the walking tour can also include wine or food tasting.
Day 2 – Croatian Zagorje Tour (overnight Zagreb)
Zagreb – Marija Bistrica (gingerbread crafts) – Lepoglava (lace-making) – Trakošćan castle – Zagreb
This day covers 3 things from our planned list. Just 45 minutes from Zagreb is Marija Bistrica. Thousands of people visit here. It is known as a pilgrimage place for the Catholics but for us its’ interested because it is a center for craftsmen in wooden toys and gingerbread (licitar) hearts, listed as world heritage. You will visit the shops and you can even have a presentation of the crafts and try it yourselves.
The next stop is Lepoglava, a city with a long history. It is a cradle of science, art and history. Interesting for us is the lacemaking in this city, protected by UNESCO. Lepoglava bobbin lace is made by braiding thread wound on spindles, or bobbins; it is often used to make lace ribbons for folk costumes or is sold at village fairs. An International Lace Festival in Lepoglava celebrates the art every year.
This tour is not just about UNESCO, but in Croatian culture and history in general. So after Lepoglava you will visit Trakošćan castle, one of the most beautiful castles in Croatia. The castle is fully furbished with original furniture so you have a feeling that someone is still living there. The nature surrounding it is really nice too.
Day 3 – day tour to Varaždin city and Međimurje county (overnight Zagreb)
Mađimurje is a fairly ”new” popular destination in Croatia, full of surprises. You will visit Varaždin city, once the capital of Croatia. This baroque little city is a real gem that you can enjoy walking through the beautiful little streets.
Next stop is Međimurje. Here is a special way of singing in Međimurje, listed as UNESCO heritage. We can organize wine or local food tasting.
Day 4 – Zagreb – Motovun – Poreč – Rovinj – Opatija (overnight Opatija)
Today you will be leaving Zagreb as your base and we will transfer it to Istria. Istria is a peninsula on the northern part of the Adriatic. This region is a mixture of Croatian and Italian culture and it’s visible on every stop. The inland is all about green hills and fortresses while the coastline is all about Roman heritage and the blue clean Adriatic loving their shores.
The places you will visit along the way is Motovun city, a small, perfectly preserved medieval city, a candidate for the UNESCO. After Motovun next is Poreč, with the Euphrasian basilica complex. This is a 3 naval basilica from the 6th century, the most valuable monument in Poreč.
Day 5 – Poreč – Krk island – Opatija (overnight Opatija)
Today you have another tour lined up. You will visit the island of Krk. It is known as the island of glagoljica letters and also of another UNESCO theme – art of dry stone walling, knowledge and techniques.
You will also visit Opatija – the city known for beautiful villas and gardens and a boardwalk right next to the sea where you can walk for hours. People say that the sole walk heals people – the air and the oils from the local plants make a mix that helps with respiratory diseases. Take a walk of health and just enjoy.
Day 6 – Istria – Plitvice lakes – Zadar city (overnight Zadar)
This day is dedicated to the most popular national park in Croatia – Plitvice Lakes also on the UNESCO heritage list. 16 lakes are interconnected with waterfalls and you will walk for hours among the noisy waterfalls and totally serene lakes. The park will fill your batteries for the next part of this trip.
Just a few hours away is the city of Zadar where you will spend the next two days of this tour. An evening walk would be the perfect scenario to get to know the city. Even Hitchcock admired the sunset in Zadar so be sure not to miss it because he said it’s the most beautiful one he saw.
The rest of the day you can spend in exploring the city of Zadar. Besides the old city and the monumental attractions dating to the Roman times, Zadar is world famous for some modern attractions like the Greeting to the Sun or the sea organ.
Day 7 – Zadar – Šibenik – Trogir – Split (overnight Split)
The sixt day of this trip is all about the city life and architecture. Šibenik is Croatian royal city because it was first mentioned as a gift of the Croatian king Petar Krešimir IV. UNESCO didn’t skip this city either because on the list is the St Jacob’s cathedral built in the 15th and 16th century. One of the most famous features of the church are the 73 heads portrayed in a Gothic decoration around the whole building.
The city of Trogir does not fall behind Šibenik, and is also UNESCO listed. The old town of Trogir is part of the UNESCO World Heritage List since 1977. Trogir is considered one of the best preserved Venetian city in Dalmatia and the critic Bernard Berenson define Trogir as one of the few cities that include many works of art in so little space. Other than the Trogir fortress you can also visit the cathedral. Even if you are not keen to visit the ”most obvious” city monuments, the streets of these cities will just allure you in.
Last stop is Split. Here you will spend the night so of course you can take an evening walk through the old part of the city. The city was once a palace of the Roman emperor Diocletian. The Diocletian Palace is located in Split and is an impressive architectural complex built by the Emperor Diocletian between 293 and 305. In 1979, the Diocletian Palace has been registered in the UNESCO list of World Heritage sites and monuments. You should not miss to visit the Palace basement and Peristil, the main city square. Do not be surprised if you hear people singing there because they say the acoustics are just perfect. The way they are singing it is called Klapa multipart singing of Dalmatia and is intangible UNESCO heritage.
Day 8 – Tour to the islands of Hvar from Split (overnight Split)
Hvar has 2 things on the UNESCO list. The plain of Starigradsko Polje is part of the UNESCO World Heritage Site since 2008. The motivation that has included in the list of UNESCO World Heritage Site is the beauty of its vineyards and olive groves remained the same from the time of the first colonization of the ancient Greeks.
In the minds of most people, lace is made with a material like linen, silk or cotton. Perhaps, for the more luxurious, silver or gold is used. But on the island of Hvar, the nuns at the Benedictine Convent have been using the agave plant for their lace for more than a hundred years.
Day 9 – Split – Sinj – Mostar – Dubrovnik (overnight Dubrovnik)
Sinj is known for Sinjska Alka, a knights’ tournament. The Sinjska Alka is a chivalric tournament that takes place annually, as it has since the 18th century, in the town of Sinj, in the Cetinska krajina region. During the contest, knights ride horses at full gallop along a main street, aiming lances at an iron ring hanging on a rope. The name of the tournament derives from this alka or ring, a word whose Turkish origin reflects the historical co-existence and cultural exchange between two different civilizations.
You get to see one additional UNESCO site, but not in Croatia. Mostar bridge is one of the Bosnia & Herzegovina listed sites. Mostar is the city of merging cultures and stunning architecture.
Day 10 – Dubrovnik (overnight Dubrovnik)
You have finally reached your last destination and it’s time to explore the city. In 1979 this city was added to the UNESCO heritage list. Dubrovnik with its historic center is located at the foot of Mount Srđ, and to this day has kept its urban core consists of the city walls, Gothic churches, Renaissance and Baroque churches and many monasteries, palaces and fountains. Once a republic (like Venice) the city lived from commerce. Let’s not forget to add the modern significance of the city – being a star in famous movies made the city even popular. A lot of people visit the city to see the sights of ”The game of thrones”.