Dubrovnik to Bled tour, Croatia and Slovenia
Description of Dubrovnik to Bled tour, Croatia and Slovenia
On this small group tour you’ll travel from Dubrovnik to Bled, visiting the top highlights of Croatia and Slovenia along the way. You’ll travel in a group of 12 or less people, using public transport wherever possible, and staying in small, locally run accommodation, to ensure that you get to know the culture and customs of the countries you’re visiting. You’ll have expert guides accompanying on your trip, most of whom are from the local area.
You’ll explore both historic and natural sites, visiting Roman ruins and walled medieval cities, as well as hiking along the Adriatic coast, through the backcountry near Hvar and in Plitvice Lakes National Park. We make sure that you get to sample plenty of the local food and drink, too. A particular highlight is Pag cheese, a salty, tangy treat made by local people on the rocky island of Pag, Croatia.
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PlanetAs a global tour operator, we’re committed to operating every one of our trips in a way that respects and benefits local people, their culture and economy, while minimising our impact on the natural environment.
We promote small group travelling where the maximum group size is 12. This has much less impact when exploring rural areas, reducing our environmental and social effects. Additionally, our small group sizes allow us to stay in family-run hotels and pensions throughout this trip, for example on the Croatian Islands, where we stay in the homes of local families, and in Bled, where we stay in a pension owned by a local family. We also support small restaurants and cafes, serving locally sourced produce.
By travelling in a group of 12 or less, we’re successfully attempting to tackle over tourism and allow us to explore without having an adverse effect on the nature of our destination. During this tour, we visit the Plitvice Lakes National Park which was awarded UNESCO World Heritage status 20 years ago. It’s an area spanning 19 hectares of wooded hills, encircling 16 turquoise lakes and connected by a network of waterfalls – it’s a very sensitive ecosystem that needs to be protected. The park is home to deer, bears, wolves, boars and over 120 species of birds, including hawks and eagles. On top of that you’ll also find thick, primeval forests of beech trees, fir spruces and white pines. Everyday lots of tourists walk along the paths to admire the beauty of nature, and in order to maintain this it’s important to follow the park’s rules. For example, you’re not allowed to swim in the lakes especially during summer. It’s always important to us that nature is treated with care and consideration. So, a series of wooden walkways have been built across the landscape to keep the impact as low as possible and our leaders are sure to stick to the signposted tracks.
When visiting fragile environments, remote areas and national parks, we operate a ‘take in, take back out’ system. Meaning our travellers gather any rubbish they create whilst hiking and to ensure no litter is left behind.
Choosing the right means of transport is another important decision for us to make sure that we travel sustainably. Even though it’s not always easy to access different places by public transport in Croatia, we use public bus (and even ferry!) as much as possible, for example from Dubrovnik to Korcula and from Split to Zadar we use public buses. And, from Korcula to Hvar and onto Split we use a public ferry instead of a small, private cruise ship just for our group. In this way, the burden on the environment is much lighter since considerably more people can travel on a ferry. Besides having a smaller impact on the environment, public transport gives our travellers a unique opportunity to get in touch with the locals and learn more about local life. In that way we travel like a local, with locals. The remaining parts of the trip are done by private transport, the operators of which are always sourced locally.
All our tour leaders are passionate about responsible travel, so the message is consistent at all times when it comes to environmental issues. In this part of Europe, the main issue is littering, and our leaders address this issue on the ground. This includes the ‘reduce, reuse and recycle’ philosophy. Even though Croatia has no recycling schemes in place, we educate our travellers on littering in general. On this trip, we also encourage travellers to bring their own bottles and refill them instead of buying plastic ones every time.
PeopleIn order to allow our clients to make an informed decision on where a greater proportion of their money should be spent, we avoid including pre-paid full board meals where possible and we do encourage the group to always eat at local restaurants.
Understanding local life is another important part of travel and so we source local activities which we believe are sustainable to the economy by allowing the flow of income from visitors to be distributed to a greater audience rather than remaining concentrated with tourism providers.
Our company strives to create employment opportunities in the countries that we travel to and we employ predominantly local staff and leaders within our operational teams. We also design and operate our trips to feature local suppliers or suppliers who directly benefit the local community and economy. We aim to maximise the benefits generated by tourism for local economies and communities.
We want our customers to get into contact with the locals wherever possible. We have made it our goal to give our travellers a deep and authentic insight into the local culture. This tour actively encourages guests to chat with local people, visit local cafes and bars, purchase local produce, gifts and crafts and discover what life is really like in this region.
Croatia is currently experiencing a tourism boom, so it’s crucial for us to make sure that all activities we do are sustainable. For example, we take a lot of care when choosing accommodation and instead of staying in the big chain hotels opt for locally run guesthouses instead.
In Korcula, the group will visit a local farm just outside the town. This working farm is a Croatian agritourism project that focuses on making its own products. Take the chance to enjoy a homecooked traditional meal on the farmstead and even sample the local wine and schnapps.
On the island of Pag, which is home to sheep, and a determined group of islanders who wring themselves a living from the barren, rocky landscape we meet a local producer of the island's renowned paški sir – Pag cheese. Eaten sliced with black olives or ham, or grated and used instead of Parmesan, paški sir is salty with a sharp tangy flavour. Indulge in some of the cheese along with some local wine, followed by lunch. Visits like this directly benefit the cheese makers.