Slovenia, Croatia and Bosnia Escorted Tour by Cosmos Vacations


Slovenia, Croatia and Bosnia Escorted Tour by Cosmos Vacations

April 2017

Just fresh off an amazing tour to #Croatia, #Slovenia and #Bosnia, I want to share some thoughts. I will include the daily itinerary, as well as my own notes, so you can compare, review and decide if this tour is for you!

DAY 1: Ljubljana, Slovenia
Check into your hotel (M Hotel/Ljubljana).
The rest of the day is free for you to see some of Ljubljana, Slovenia’s capital, with a strong alpine architectural flavor. Tonight, meet your Tour Director and fellow travelers.

The Three Bridges of Ljubljana Three Bridges of Ljubljana

Slovenia was by far the biggest surprise, and highlight! Fresh alpine meadows, set against a backdrop of Austrian Alps makes for an incredible intro to a country. That crisp, clean air, and sights of children out playing, families out riding bikes in the newness of Spring, all served to create an instant love of this wonderful country. We spent some time today walking to the downtown (old town) area, took a canal ride for an hour or more, walked the Three Bridges of Ljubljana, and ate lunch near the main centre of this lovely downtown core.

Travellers can get to the Castle by funicular, or on foot via the ancient or more recent paths that lead from Vodnik Square (Old Square) or the Town Hall Square. One can also take a bicycle if they felt so inclined. To reach the Castle Hill, you can also use LPP – Ljubljana public transport

Canals of Ljubljana, Slovenia


DAY 2: Ljubljana–Postojna Caves–Zadar, Croatia
Undoubtedly, one of the highlights on this tour is a visit to the POSTOJNA CAVES. Your included visit is comprised of a TRAIN ride and a walking tour, which will allow you to see what are possibly Europe’s most extensive and best-known caves. Then, into Croatia, traveling along the coast to Zadar. Over the centuries, Zadar was ruled by Venetians, Austro/Hungarians, by Italy after WWI, and today belongs to Croatia. Find out more during the included guided tour
Breakfast, Dinner

(Regrettably it was quite difficult to get decent pictures inside Postojna Caves, so these pics are from the park site (

MY NOTES: The Postojna Caves were nothing short of spectacular, and amazing. It was like a combination of fantasy mixed with nature that is sure to astound even the most road-weary traveler who has been to ‘just about everywhere.’

Zadar was incredible at Sunset, and we had an opportunity to sit on the Sea Organ steps! Take a listen to the Zadar Sea Organ in this video (opens in new page)


DAY 3: Zadar–Split–Dubrovnik
Drive south to Split to visit the former hometown of Roman Emperor Diocletian, his PALACE, and JUPITER TEMPLE, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. See more of the lovely Dalmatian Coast before reaching Dubrovnik.

MY NOTES: My favorite spot this day is a toss-up: Split, with its Mediterranean seaside views, and the magnificent Diocletian’s Palace, were both spectacular and left me longing to see more of this area, but Dubrovnik is definitely a highlight in the Mediterranean, and a destination that everyone should experience, if given the opportunity.


DAY 4: Dubrovnik
Dubrovnik is the best-preserved Croatian medieval city and the liveliest in Dalmatia. Visit the FRANCISCAN MONASTERY and the RECTOR PALACES, where the Local Guide will give you a full commentary, including the history of this beautifully preserved medieval architectural wonder. Afternoon and evening optional excursions are available. Breakfast


DAY 5: Dubrovnik–Neretva Gorges–Mostar, Bosnia-Herzegovina–Sarajevo
Enjoy a scenic drive into the rugged beauty of the Neretva Valley. Stop in Mostar, where a Local Guide shows you the Turkish Quarter with the TURKISH HOUSE, the MOSQUE, and the reconstructed 16th-century bridge. On to Sarajevo, capital of Bosnia-Herzegovina and certainly the most Turkish-looking city in the Balkans—famous for its mosques, markets, and bazaars. Discover the city with a Local Guide and get acquainted with its architectural highlights, including the GAZI HUSREV-BEG MOSQUE.
Breakfast, Dinner

MY NOTES: In Mostar, we had an opportunity to visit Mostar Bridge (Stari Mostar), an originally Ottoman built bridge. This fantastic structure was blown up in 1993 during the Bosnian War and was finally rebuilt in 2004.



Images of Sarajevo


DAY 6: Sarajevo–Plitvice National Park, Croatia
Travel north today back into Croatia to visit the country’s famous PLITVICE NATIONAL PARK. Enjoy a walk with a Local Guide through the breathtaking scenery of this natural wonder. Its 16 lakes, wooded hills, waterfalls, and cascades make it one of Europe’s most loved national parks.
Breakfast, Dinner

MY NOTES: Sarajevo City Tour was a short stop, where a local guide gave us a one-hour walking tour through the city’s downtown core, pointing out some of the most important points of reference from the 1992 Siege of Sarajevo. The fact that it was raining this day, only added to the dreary and sad history that has befallen this lovely city. Sarajevo and Bosnia are working hard to increase tourism to this country, and if given the opportunity, one should definitely include a stop to learn of the history that this region has fought its way through.

Sarajevo Cathedral – downtown Sarajevo


Sarajevo Roses – red stain marks bullet holes and shrapnel spots where 1 or more lives were lost.

The spot where Franz Ferdinand was assassinated.

Stark realties of Sarajevo and Bosnia’s history



MY NOTES: Plitvice National Park is truly incredible, with crisp clean air, easy (and difficult) walking trails to choose from, one should definitely include a stop of 1-2 days in this area if possible (customized itineraries). There are 8 different trails to choose from, ranging in duration 3 hours and 8 hours. You definitely want to see Plitvice Falls as a stop on any of these walks!

Walkways and the Falls of Plitvice National Park


DAY 7: Plitvice–Zagreb–Ljubljana, Slovenia
Get to know Croatia’s capital on the included city tour. The city is packed with historic buildings, such as the gothic St. Marcus Church. Continue to Ljubljana, where a Local Guide will help you appreciate its imperial beauty.

DAY 8: Ljubljana
Your vacation ends with breakfast this morning.

What a beautiful vista as we leave Slovenia, the foothills of the Austrian Alps and its many memories of our travels here. Until next time Eastern Europe!

With #CosmosVacations, there’s no better way to get to know your destination than through the eyes of your Tour Director. Averaging over a decade… we’d like you to meet a Tour Director, who is representative of the type of expert that will be with you on your vacation.

Years of Experience: 27


“I decided to become a Tour Director in order to see the world-and lose weight. Unfortunately, the latter is impossible in Slovenia and Croatia, because the food is incredible. Still, it was worth a try! Since those early years I’ve discovered that the reality of travel is better than I ever imagined. Every day is different, and there is always something new to see and learn.”

Wentz (Vince), or many other derivatives/pronunciations of his name ? was one of the best guides we have taken a tour with, and believe me, owning a travel agency, we have had opportunity to experience many, many guides over the past 13 years. Wentz kept our group punctual, engaged, excited, and well fed (maybe too well fed), as this is the first tour with walking that caused weight gain! We enthusiastically encourage anyone to take part in this tour under Wentz’s excellent guidance. His sense of humour is dry and he knows well when to laugh at himself, and also to get a good laugh out of his travel party!


Five Perfect Days in Tuscany, Italy

by Hanya Yanagihara

There are some places you can’t help but fall in love with at first sight and return to year after year. We’ve chosen some of the world’s most beloved (and touristed) destinations and, with the help of the best travel specialists in the business, have ferreted out their secrets, their treasures, their unmissable experiences. The result is a series of step-by-step trips that will surprise and delight those who’ve never been to the destination before … or who have been a dozen times. Each of our highly detailed itineraries has been vetted and perfected by a Conde Nast Traveler editor, and each can be bought as is with just one phone call. Let the romance begin.

The Challenge
Trying to describe all the pleasures and prides of Tuscany—that fecund, almost ridiculously picturesque region of central Italy—would take more pages than a single issue of this magazine, and even then, we’d just scratch the surface. So visiting the area, whose capital is Florence and which contains a dazzling number of the world’s iconic masterworks, as well as some of its most luscious wines and scrumptious foods, presents two unconquerable problems. The first is a surfeit of affection. Everyone loves Tuscany, so you will never be alone. But take heart: Do you think Goethe, Twain, and Stendhal (enthusiasts all) had those narrow streets to themselves? Going to Italy means joining a centuries-long roster of tourists. The second difficulty is one of time and endurance there is no way to see all of the region s sights, no way to linger over every masterpiece, no way to stroll every beautifully preserved hilltop town. Attempting to do so would take several lifetimes, and most of us have only a week or so.

The Solution
There are many ways to discover Tuscany, of course, but the most efficient, intimate, and unexpected is to use a travel specialist such as Maria Teresa Berdondini of Tuscany by Tuscans. She was skilled at negotiating the realities of visiting Italy and at arranging special experiences that are the stuff of every tourist s fantasy. Together, we worked out an itinerary that shows off an essential Tuscany, one that reveals the best of the region’s tastes, smells, and sights and will appeal to both the first- and fifteenth-time visitor. And while the latter may cry foul over what’s not in the trip (no extended tour of the Duomo? No visit to the area’s Etruscan ruins?), they’ll also make discoveries about an area that, even after a thousand years and countless visitors, still has its secrets.

Sadly, Maria Teresa Berdondini died shortly after I finished writing this piece. She was a wonderful resource and generous travel guide, and I know that the many people she helped to see the best of her beloved Italy felt the same sorrow I did upon learning of her death. I hope that Berdondini would feel some comfort in knowing that another of our top travel specialists, Maria Gabriella Landers of Concierge in Umbria, is carrying on her legacy and will handle all bookings that result from this trip—one Maria’s gift to the world, fulfilled by another Maria. For the Italians, who find poetry in the everyday, it seems an appropriate tribute.

Rest of the Story:

Trips Get Canceled, So Beware

The New York Times Travel Section

Published: July 12, 2009

As tour operators cancel trips amid soft bookings, travelers are paying the price. But it’s possible to avoid getting stiffed if you understand the system.

Operators set dates and prices as much as 18 months ahead so they can be printed in brochures. “Everybody in this industry takes a risk,” said Peggy Goldman, president of Friendly Planet Travel in Jenkintown, Pa. “You make an assumption that people are going to want to take that trip and enough of them will travel to justify what you’ve done.”

Before the economy tanked, this wasn’t much of a gamble. Tour operators didn’t have to worry about finding enough paying customers to cover costs. With demand outpacing supply, trips filled up fast and travelers were trained to book early.

But the recession has changed all that. Besides taking fewer trips, travelers are holding out for last-minute deals. This is forcing tour operators to revise their calculus and cancel more trips.

Tour operators are protected by fine print that basically says: We reserve the right to cancel any trip because of low enrollment. Consumers, on the other hand, face a double standard. While companies are free to cancel anytime, customers who want to back out are usually offered zero refund.