History of Croatia small group tours for senior travellers
Spend 19 days touring Croatia, starting in Zagreb then travel south following the coast, where trade and the influences of the outside world made its mark. Travelling with like minded people in our small group we will explore the country in depth with great local guides and stay in key historical area such as Porec, Zagreb and Dubrovnik.
- 1. Explore the beautiful Plitvice National Park, with it's chain of 16 terraced lakes connected by waterfalls.
- 2. Visit Sibenik and the Cathedral of St James, a world heritage site, to see the carvings.
- 3. Visit the famous Emperor Diocletian’s palace complex in Split.
- 4. Visit Ston to view the long city walls stretching up the hillside, built to protect the town and its salt production.
|26 August 2024
Ends 13 September 2024 • 19 days
|25 August 2025
Ends 12 September 2025 • 19 days
|24 August 2026
Ends 11 September 2026 • days
History of Croatia escorted small group tour
Odyssey offers easy, convenient, and relaxed escorted small group tours across Croatia, Western Europe and beyond. We explore Croatia's hidden fairy-tale natural beauty, its ancient Roman, and Imperial heritage, its World Heritage Sites, and world famous cities, all with some truly spectacular scenery along the way. This and more is all waiting to be explored on one of Odyssey’s small group tours of Croatia, designed for the senior traveller, and led by experienced, and enthusiastic like minded people.
On this small group tour of Croatia, you can expect to experience the sights that make this country so unique while also discovering its rich and complex history. Over 19 days, we explore Croatia with the services of local guides. Starting in Zagreb, the capital city, we visit Porec on the coast of the Istrian Peninsula, the island of Cres and the crystal clear waters of Plitvice Lakes National Park. We also explore the Roman and Venetian ruins of Zadar on the Dalmatian coast, Trogir's Renaissance and Romanesque buildings, Hvar's hilltop fortress, the gorgeous old town on the island of Korcula and end our trip in stunning Dubrovnik. Many of these must-see attractions are recognised as a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
The History of Croatia
As we make our way through the diverse villages and cities of Croatia, we begin to build up an understanding of its intricate history, from ancient times to now.
The area we now know as Croatia has been inhabited since the Palaeolithic Age. This was confirmed when the remains of a Neanderthal man, thought to be 130,000 years old, were discovered in a small town outside of Zagreb called Krapina at the beginning of the 20th century. The Neanderthal became known as Krapina Man and thanks to those bones, palaeontologists have been able to conduct important research about human development.
Recorded history begins much later than Krapina Man, around 1200 B.C, when the Illyrians migrated to the region. By 400 B.C. the Greeks began colonising the Adriatic coast and while the Illyrians traded with the Greeks, conflict arose when the Illyrians tried to form an independent state. In 229 B.C. the Greeks, troubled by this, enlisted the help of the Romans which marked the beginning of a series of war which would see the Illyrians defeated and the region converted to a Roman province.
The Romans ruled for 500 years, building roads that brought trade, goods and Christianity to the region. Following the decline of the Romans, Croatia suffered a series of invasions and territorial disputes against the backdrop of dynastic wars. During the medieval period, many towns in Croatia flourished and this meant different powers sought to control the region. For many centuries, the Venetians, Ottomans and Croats controlled various parts of what is now Croatia. All the while, Croatian nationalism grew. Our program helps to make sense of this turbulent history and gives an insight into Croatia's long journey to independence and how different religions and civilisations have shaped its rich culture.
History of Croatia Tour Itinerary - Tracing our way along the coast
Odyssey's Croatia tours follows the coastline, not only because of it's beauty and the hidden gems along the way, but because it also gives a sense of how trade and outside influences made their mark. Before we reach the coast, we explore sites as diverse as the Glagolitic Alley, a memorial of eleven outdoor monuments marking the road between Roc and Hum. These pay tribute to the ancient Glagolitic script, which was invented as a means for making Latin more accessible. Hum is one of the tiniest villages you will ever visit, with an equally tiny gateway leading into it.
After this, we weave our way down along the Dalmatian coast to Dubrovnik taking a route away from the popular tourist trails. This allows you to have an authentic travel experience, seeing everything Croatia has to offer without the crowds.
Included in Odyssey Traveller's tour package is the expertise of our knowledgeable local guides. We will see the murals, paintings and mosaics that (in addition to the Venetian architecture) have shaped and influenced the North of the country. As we travel south, the influence of the Adriatic and trading becomes apparent through the traces of history that live on.
During this vacation in Croatia, our experiences are many and varied. We explore pristine coastal islands and admire the Plitvice lakes before reaching Dubrovnik and having the opportunity to walk its walled city and catch sight of Lokrum Island. The coast part of the tour gives us an appreciation of the incredible Dalmatian coast and the islands that dot the Adriatic waters. The tour combines the incomparable beauty of the region with a fascinating history, creating a truly unforgettable experience.
This tour includes a range of hotel styles. The accommodation has been selected to maximise your experience throughout Croatia. The Croatia small group tour is designed for seniors - both couples and solo travellers are welcome. Our Croatia tour joins the Balkans small group tour, should you wish to extend your European coastal holiday.
You can learn more about Croatia with our country profile For more details, click the ‘Top 5’ or ‘Itinerary’ buttons above! If you’re keen to experience this tour, please call or send an email. Or, to book, simply fill in the form on the right hand side of this page.
Day 1: Zagreb
Accommodation: 2 nights at Best Western Premier Hotel or similar
After making our own way from the airport, we meet at the hotel for a welcome dinner and program orientation.
Day 2: Zagreb
Accommodation: Best Western Premier Hotel or similar
Today we spend the morning visiting the main sights of the city including Stone Gate, Sun Clock and Upper Town. We’ll also visit Dolac Market and Mimara Museum. The afternoon is free to explore more at your own pace.
Day 3: Porec
Accommodation: 3 nights at Valamar Riviera Hotel or similar
Today we transfer by coach to Rijeka for a guided tour of the Croatian National Theatre which contains some ceiling frescoes painted by Gustav Klimt. We continue on to Opatija for a short stroll along the promenade before transferring to Porec.
Day 4: Porec
Accommodation: Valamar Riviera Hotel or similar
In the morning we head to the Lipica stud farm, where they breed and train the horses for the Spanish Riding school in Vienna. While here, we also enjoy an equestrian training performance. On our way back we stop at Socerb to see the ruined castle, taking in the breathtaking views. We then continue on the small roads to Hrastovlje where we see amazing frescoes of Dance of Death (Danse Macabre) at the Church of the Holy Trinity.
Day 5: Porec
Accommodation: Valamar Riviera Hotel or similar
Today we visit the Euphrasian basilica in Porec, taking in its remarkable mosaics before heading to Motovun to view the hilltop medieval hamlet and take in the views. We continue on to Buzet for a lunch tasting session of truffles and other local specialities. After lunch, we drive the short distance to Roc, where we take in the unusual Glagolitic Alley to Hum. This is a series of sculptures that pay tribute to the monks who preserved the national Glagolitic script. Hum is one of the tiniest villages you will ever visit, with an equally tiny gateway into it. Our next stop is the small village of Beram where we visit the Church of St Mary with its wonderful wall paintings illustrating the “Dance of Death.”, on a smaller scale than those we viewed yesterday in Hrastovlje.
Day 6: Cres
Accommodation: 2 nights at Hotel Kimen or similar
Today we travel south to the small town of Rovinj on the coast. Here, we enjoy a stroll to take in the sights of the old town. We then continue to Vodnjan to visit Church of St Blaise, with its famous mummies. Our next stop is Pula where we visit the Roman amphitheatre. We then cross over the mountains to Brestova, to we take the short ferry crossing to the island of Cres. We then drive over the mountain to the small village of Beli, where we visit the eco centre that is working hard to preserve the European Griffon Vulture. The centre always has several on display who are being nursed back to health, and we also take the opportunity to hear about the challenges the workers face in preserving this species. The remainder of the day is spent in the town of Cres, where we have the chance to stretch our legs and take a short stroll around the harbour and old town. This area of the city is very pretty and showcases the Venetian heritage in its extraordinary architecture. Dinner this evening is at our hotel.
Day 7: Cres
Accommodation: Hotel Kimen or similar
Today we spend the full day exploring Cres with our local guide. We stop to view the Venetian gates and the church of Our Lady of the Snow (Church of Saint Mary the Great). Later we transfer south to Osor for a walking tour of the village and to view the stone walls. The remainder of the afternoon is free to further explore the city on your own.
Day 8: Plitvice
Accommodation: Overnight at Hotel Jezero or similar
After breakfast, we take the ferry to Krk and then we drive across to visit the famous Plitvice National park with its famous terraced lakes connected by waterfalls. Here, we enjoy a boat ride and electric train ride to view the spectacular waterfalls.
Day 9: Zadar
Accommodation: Overnight Hotel Mediteran or similar
In the morning we transfer to Nin and visit the Salt Museum and tour around the salt pans before continuing our journey to Zadar. In the evening we enjoy a walk around the harbour and dinner at a local restaurant. We’ll also have the opportunity to to hear the sea organ – a collection of musical pipes set in the sea wall to make sounds as the waves pass through and see the Sun Salutation installation – a design of photovoltaic cells set in the pavement.
Day 10: Trogir
Accommodation: 3 nights at Palace Derossi or similar
Today we travel the short distance to Sibenik, where we visit the Cathedral of St. James, a world heritage site, to see the famous carvings. Next stop is the Krka national park, where we see the waterfalls at Skradinski buk, before taking a short boat ride on the lake to Vivovac island. We also take in the region’s other major waterfall, Roski Slap. In the afternoon and evening, we have free time to explore Trogir, a historic and beautiful city.
Dinner this evening will be at our hotel.
Day 11: Trogir
Accommodation: Palace Derossi or similar
In the morning, we take a tour of Split and visit the famous Emperor Diocletian’s palace complex. We also experience the wonders of the Mestrovic gallery, which is set in the villa that the Emperor designed. We see the extraordinary sculptures in the garden and inside the villa. In the afternoon, we make a quick stop at the Roman ruins of Solin.
The rest of the day we have free time to explore Trogir, a historic and beautiful city.
Day 12: Trogir
Accommodation: Palace Derossi or similar
After breakfast we drive to Omis where we take a cruise along the river Cetina through the gorge to Radmanove mlince (Radman’s mills) where we enjoy a lunch. We then return to Trogir and have free time to continue exploring the city on our own.
Day 13: Hvar
Accommodation: 2 nights at Amfora hotel or similar
Today we transfer to Split and take the ferry to the small town of Stari Grad on the island of Hvar. We take a short tour of the town that includes a visit to Tvrdalj, a small palace built by a poet in the 16th century. We also take in some of the island’s sights on the drive across to Hvar town.
Day 14: Hvar
Accommodation: Amfora hotel or similar
Today has been set aside as a relaxing rest day, with a walking tour of the town this morning, followed by a walk up to the Spanish fortress. After a delicious quayside seafood lunch, the afternoon is free to explore our own interests.
Day 15: Korcula
Accommodation: 2 nights at Hotel Korsal or similar
This morning, we take the fast catamaran to Korcula where we enjoy a guided walking tour of the area. The afternoon is free to explore the aspects of the island that most appeal to you. Suggestions include the Icon Museum, the Town Museum, Abbey Treasury and St.Mark’s Cathedral. Dinner this evening is at our hotel.
Day 16: Korcula
Accommodation: Hotel Korsal or similar
Today we enjoy an extensive Island tour that takes in the Marmont route, built by Napoleonic troops. This route offers a memorable way of taking in the sights of the island. We enjoy stops in Zavalatica, a tiny seaside hamlet, Cara, for a vineyard tour with tasting, and Lumbarda, where we enjoy a tasting of different island wines and local snacks.
Day 17: Dubrovnik
Accommodation: 2 nights at Hotel Zagreb or similar
This morning we take the ferry to the mainland and drive to Ston. We make one short stop to view the long city walls stretching up the hillside, which was built to protect the town and its salt stores. Before reaching Dubrovnik, we visit the extraordinary arboretum at Trsteno, which features extensive gardens with amazing views. The gardens were first planted in the 16th century, and have many exotic plants, not just trees. For a spot of popular culture, scenes from the Game of Thrones television series were filmed here too.
Day 18: Dubrovnik
Accommodation: Hotel Zagreb or similar
Today we enjoy an extensive walking tour of Dubrovnik that takes in many of the main sights of the city like the Franciscan Monastery and pharmacy, War Photo Museum and Rector’s Palace. To finish the tour, we take the cable car to Mt Srd, where we experience majestic views over the city and sea.
Tonight we enjoy a farewell dinner at a local restaurant.
Day 19: Dubrovnik
After breakfast, we say our farewells and the tour draws to a close.
Includes / Excludes
What’s included in our Tour
- 18 nights of hotel accommodation.
- 18 breakfasts, 4 lunches and 10 dinners.
- Transport and field trips as indicated.
- Applicable entry fees and services of local guides.
- Services of an Odyssey Tour Leader.
- Gratuities and necessary tips.
- Detailed tour information booklet.
What’s not included in our Tour
- Return international airfares and departure taxes.
- Comprehensive international travel insurance.
- Items of a personal nature such as telephone calls and laundry.
Participants must be able to carry their own luggage, climb and descend stairs, be in good health, mobile and able to participate in 3-5 hours of physical activity per day, the equivalent of walking / hiking up to 8 kilometers per day on uneven ground.
Make it a private tour
Easing your journey
Crossing international borders with restrictions
The list of requirements to travel internationally has changed and will continue to change for several years. Odyssey is here to assist you in managing your way through these requirements:
For more information see our Crossing international borders with restrictions page.
Book With Confidence
If less than 30 days before your tour starts you are unable to travel as a result of Government travel restrictions, Odyssey Traveller will assist you with a date change, provide you with a credit or process a refund for your booking less any non-recoverable costs.
See Terms and conditions for details.
Peace of Mind Travel
The safety of our travellers, tour leader, local guide and support staff has always been our top priority and with the new guidelines for public health and safety for keeping safe for destinations around the world, we’ve developed our plan to give you peace of mind when travelling with us.
See Peace of Mind Travel for details.
Reading List Download PDF
A Traveller's History of Croatia
An inside look at the complex roots of Croatian history--from the earliest time to the present--as well as the many influences visitors will see on its towns, ports, and islands. One definite conclusion can be drawn about Croatia in the early 21st century: it has established itself as one of the worlds most coveted tourist destinations. Maps and line drawings.
Croatia: Travels in Undiscovered Country
In his travels through Croatia, Tony Fabijancic saw a world of peasants, shepherds and fishermen irrevocably giving way to the new reality of a modern European state. With a deft and sure touch, he records moments that capture the lingering spirit of the old world even as the former fabric of this place is unravelling forever. The author's profound familiarity with the extraordinary regionality of Croatia leads to memorable images of the country, and to sketches and unhurried ruminations on its people, its landscapes, kitchens, cities, and coastlines.
Croatia - A Nation Forged in War
From the ashes of former Yugoslavia an independent Croatian state has arisen, the fulfillment, in the words of President Franjo Tudjman, of the Croats' "thousand-year-old dream of independence." Yet few countries in Europe have been born amid such bitter controversy and bloodshed: the savage war between pro-independence forces and the Yugoslav army left about one-third of the country in ruins and resulted in the flight of a quarter of a million of the country's Serbian minority. In this book an eyewitness to the breakup of Yugoslavia provides the first full account of the rise, fall, and rebirth of Croatia from its medieval origins to today's tentative peace. Marcus Tanner describes the creation of the first Croatian state; its absorption into feudal Hungary in the Middle Ages; the catastrophic experience of the Ottoman invasion; the absorption of the diminished country into Habsburg Austria; the evolution of modern Croatian nationalism after the French Revolution; and the circumstances that propelled Croatia into the arms of Nazi Germany and the brutal, home-grown "Ustashe" movement in the Second World War. Finally, drawing on first-hand knowledge of many of the leading figures in the conflict, Tanner explains the failure of Tito's Communists to solve Yugoslavia's tortured national problem by creating a federal state, and the violent implosion after his death. Croatia's unique position on the crossroads of Europe-between Eastern and Western Christendom, the Mediterranean, and the Balkans and between the old Habsburg and Ottoman empires-has been both a curse and a blessing, inviting the attention of larger and more powerful neighbors. The turbulence and drama of Croatia's past are vigorously portrayed in this powerful history.
In the Eye of the Storm: Political, Diplomatic and Military Struggle for Croatia
Ante Gugo has collected and painstakingly researched all the most significant events which characterized the dissolution of the Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia and the creation of the Republic of Croatia, placing them in an impressive historical as well as political context. He deals not only with the Croatian War of Independence (known as the Homeland War) - which culminated in "Operation Storm" and the liberation of a quarter of Croatian territory from four years of Serb military occupation - but also takes into account the five years preceding the outbreak of the Croatian War of Independence, dissecting the events from the second half of the 1980s that led directly to the Serbian war of aggression against Slovenia, Croatia, and Bosnia and Herzegovina.
The Fracture Zone, A Return To The Balkans
The vast and mountainous area that makes up the Balkans is rife with discord, both cultural and topographical. And, as Simon Winchester superbly demonstrates in this intimate portrait of the region, much of the political strife of the past century can be traced to its inherent contrasts. With the aid of a guide and linguist, Winchester traveled deep into the region's most troublesome areas--including Slovenia, Croatia, Bosnia, Montenegro, Albania, Kosovo, and Turkey--just as the war was tearing these countries apart. The result is a book not just about war but also about how war affects the living. Both timeless and current, The Fracture Zone goes behind the headlines to offer a true picture of a region that has always been on the brink. Winchester's remarkable journey puts all the elements together--the faults, the fractures, and the chaos--to make sense out of a seemingly senseless place.
The Balkans in World History
Andrew Wachtel (ed.)
In the historical and literary imagination, the Balkans loom large as a somewhat frightening and ill-defined space, often seen negatively as a region of small and spiteful peoples, racked by racial and ethnic hatred, always ready to burst into violent conflict. The Balkans in World History re-defines this space in positive terms, taking as a starting point the cultural, historical, and social threads that allow us to see this region as a coherent if complex whole. Eminent historian Andrew Wachtel here depicts the Balkans as that borderland geographical space in which four of the world's greatest civilizations have overlapped in a sustained and meaningful way to produce a complex, dynamic, sometimes combustible, multi-layered local civilization. It is the space in which the cultures of ancient Greece and Rome, of Byzantium, of Ottoman Turkey, and of Roman Catholic Europe met, clashed and sometimes combined. The history of the Balkans is thus a history of creative borrowing by local people of the various civilizations that have nominally conquered the region. Encompassing Bulgaria, Croatia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Serbia, Montenegro, Albania, Macedonia, Greece, and European Turkey, the Balkans have absorbed many voices and traditions, resulting in one of the most complex and interesting regions on earth.
Articles about Croatia
A history of medieval Croatia: The Definitive Guide
The ‘unfaithful Croats’: A history of medieval Croatia. When you think of Croatia, what comes to mind? For many travellers it’s a series of vivid colours: the blue of the Adriatic, the yellow beaches of…
The Balkans: The Influence of the Land on its People
The Human History of the Balkans The aptly-named Balkan region comes from the Turkish word for “mountain“. It was so named because of the vast number and expanse of the mountain ranges that have been…
Venice and its Merchants
An article that takes you on a journey to Venice in the Middle Ages and beyond. The famous merchants of 'La Serenissima' who dominated this medieval powerhouse for hundreds of years. Learn before joining one of the small group tours for mature and senior travellers couples and solo travellers to Venice and many other destinations in Italy.
Dawn of Greek Civilization: The Definitive Guide for Travellers
The Beginning of Human Civilisation Ancient Greece is well-known as one of the earliest civilizations that contributed significantly to human advancement. “Greece reached heights in almost every area of human learning” (Mark 2013). Generally speaking, Ancient,…