11 days/10 nights
Spiritual Journey through Croatia and Bosnia is a private tour with an insight into the sacral heritage of these countries through the unique spiritual experience. Start in Zagreb and visit its Cathedral, continue to Marija Bistrica, a place for pilgrimage famous for its miraculous statue of Our Lady known as the Black Madonna. Visit the sanctuary of Our Lady in Trsat. The path of the Assumption of Our Lady will take you to Euphrasius’ Basilica in Poreč. Explore the Diocletian Palace and visit the Cathedral of St. Duje in Split. Discover the miraculous painting of Our Lady in Sinj. Continue along the stunning Dalmatian coast and stop at Vepric, a small town set into the slopes of a hill dedicated to the Virgin Mary reminiscent of Lourdes. Arrive to Međugorje and take a walk to Apparition Hill by „the way of the rosary“. Visit Mostar along the way and end in Dubrovnik. Explore its rich sacral treasures and admire its amazing beauty.
Join us on this unique journey and immerse yourself in the warmth and serenity of the most popular Croatian and Bosnian holy places, admire the beauty of nature and learn about the cultural and historical heritage of Croatia and Bosnia.Less
Upon arrival at Zagreb airport, transfer to hotel. Zagreb is Croatia’s capital, as well as a business center, university center, city of culture, art and entertainment. Springing up from two medieval settlements – Kaptol and Gradec, which form the core of the old Upper Town, it is a true Central European city and with the surrounding settlements it has about one million inhabitants. Overnight in Zagreb.
Zagreb is a charming city filled with energy but it has also retained a good deal of the old-world graciousness. In the company of a local expert, we will visit the symbol of Zagreb, St. Mark’s church in the Upper Town, the Lotrščak Tower with the most beautiful view of the city, and the Cathedral. Stop for a delicious fresh baked pastry and a cup of excellent coffee in one of the side walk cafes in Gornji Grad. Or sample some great home-made cheeses and fruit as you chat with friendly locals at Dolac, the lively open air market. You can’t miss the famous Tkalčićeva, a charming street with lined up cafes, restaurants, boutique and art shops, mini galleries, souvenir shops and so much more for you to discover.
After lunch we depart to Marija (Maria) Bistrica in the picturesque region of Zagorje, the largest and most important Marian shrine in Croatia. The shrine has a long history. We will visit the parish church of St. Peter, the main pilgrimage site here with a miraculous gothic sculpture of the Mother Mary of Bistrica dating from the 16th century. This church became a Croatian sanctuary in 1715 by the Parliament’s decision. On the hilltop of Bistrica’s Calvary, the Way of the Cross is marked by stone and bronze sculptures and consists of 15 Stages of the Cross showing Christ’s passion.
Browse the market on the impressive town square in front of the shrine where you can buy souvenirs of the statue of Our Lady, of the shrine and of Marija Bistrica. You’ll notice the red gingerbread hearts, a traditional handcraft in this part of Croatia, and handmade wooden toys which are listed by UNESCO as a part of world cultural heritage. Overnight in Zagreb.
This morning we transfer to Opatija on the Kvarner Peninsula with a stop at famous church and sanctuary of Our Lady of Trsat. You will notice from a distance the elegant top of a white church. Trsat is the site of the first settlement of Rijeka, inhabited since prehistoric times. It’s one of the best known symbols of the city. It is a complex comprised of the fortress and church, a Franciscan monastery, a smaller church, a sports hall and exhibition center, landscaped park gardens and a charming cluster of houses. It’s a serene place for enjoying coffee, and the ecclesiastical heart of Rijeka. The church, St Mary of Trsat, has been a shrine to the Virgin Mary and a place of pilgrimage for hundreds of years. The story goes that when, at the end of the 13th century, the Crusaders were taking Mary’s house from Nazareth to Loretto, where they would set it up as a pilgrim shrine, they stopped and rested at Trsat. A church was then built on the site by the Frankopans (who played a large role in the entire development of Trsat), which became a place of pilgrimage. The church contains a great number of renowned religious paintings and a 14th century icon of Our Lady, reputed to be miraculous.
You can reach Trsat using the 16th century stairs of Captain Petar Kružić – the traditional route for pilgrims. Before you start complaining, pilgrims often climb them on their knees as a mark of devotion. But, for your convenience, we will reach Trsat by road. Overnight in Opatija.
Today we explore the beautiful Istrian Peninsula with Poreč being our fist stop. It is home to the famous basilica of St. Euphrasius, a 12th century UNESCO World Heritage site that features artwork, mosaics and stained glass. Next we visit the 3000 year old town of Pula, the heart of the Peninsula, which houses the best preserved Roman amphitheater in the World. Our tour through the old city will include the Roman Amphitheatre and its underground chambers, and the many city gates and walls, Triumphal arch of Sergians, the Roman Forum and mosaic, and the Cathedral of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary.
Our next stop is Rovinj, a lovely town with centuries old red-roofed houses clustered around the hill of a former island. The beauty of Rovinj is crowned by the monumental 18th century baroque Church of St. Euphemia. You will find abundance of great art galleries and art shops here as many of the fine artist, musicians, writers and actors have made this city their home. Opatija.
This morning we depart to Split, the largest town on the Dalmatian coast with a stop at Plitvice Lakes National Park. Admire Lika’s lovely green landscapes of astonishing ecological value. Enjoy this tranquil oasis of natural beauty. It is one of Europe’s most stunning nature reserve parks, and was truly created by nature. The park consists of 16 connecting lakes and sport unique cascades of murmuring waterfalls. Plitvice Lakes National Park was recognized and protected by UNESCO as part of the world’s natural heritage in 1979. We will take a lively walk along the lakes and breathe the fresh mountain air while listening to the captivating sounds of nature. As we take a boat ride across the largest of the lakes the incredible views of the crystal clear water & bubbly white waterfalls will forever be captured in our memories! Soon after, you will enjoy a traditional lunch at a nearby restaurant consisting of delicious pork or lamb, locally grown potatoes, grilled or fried trout and apple strudel, but there are many other choices on the menu, as well. Overnight in Split.
We begin our sightseeing tour of Split, also included in the UNESCO’s World Heritage List, with a visit to the 4th century Diocletian Palace. First, we walk the well-preserved ancient cellars; for here is where one can truly experience this magnificent palace. We continue with a visit to the Cathedral, which is considered to be one of the oldest in the world. The Cathedral was built on the remains of an ancient shrine. And across the Cathedral is the Temple of Jupiter, which today is used as a baptistery. Admire the Cathedral of St Duje, the patron of Split, originally the mausoleum of the palace, for which is considered the oldest Cathedral in the World.
We continue to the town of Sinj, famous for its unique contest of equestrian and military prowess, the Sinjska Alka. Sinj is also home to a miraculous painting of Our Lady, making it a place of pilgrimage. Sinj’s fortifications are first found in written records in about the year 950. It’s believed the fortress was built in the 14th century. Overnight in Split.
We head to Međugorje in Bosnia and Herzegovina with a stop at the shrine of Vepric. This small town is situated on the main coastal road near Makarska and it is set into the slopes of a hill dedicated to the Virgin Mary. The forested, hilly landscape with a brook in the valley is reminiscent of Lourdes, the miraculous Marian shrine in France, which is probably why in 1908 Bishop Juraj Carić founded the Vepric shrine. It has a little grotto similar to the one where Our Lady appeared to the young girl Bernardette Soubirous in 1858. Fully equipped for the large numbers of pilgrims that flock here, the shrine has a chapel, an altar, confessionals, Stations of the Cross and paths for processions as well as buildings for retreats and the pastoral staff that work here. Overnight in Međugorje
The story of Međugorje is well known to most Catholics. In 1981 six teenagers were playing together in the hills between the villages of Međugorje and Bijakovići. It was on this barren hillside that Mother Mary appeared and spoke to them. When the children told their parents the first reaction was skepticism. The apparitions, however, did not cease. She appeared again and again and soon made believers out of even the most vocal of critics. Since then it is estimated that over 15 million people have visited this tiny place. Međugorje has become the one of the largest Catholic pilgrimage sites in the world. Take a walk to the Apparition Hill by „the way of the rosary“marked by wooden crosses and bronze reliefs. Mass can be arranged. Overnight in Međugorje.
We transfer to Dubrovnik with a stop in Mostar. Mostar is the city where a traveler from the north feels the first breeze of Mediterranean air, which is imbued with scents of citrus and sea. The town is exceptional for its unique dwellings and proud monuments. They have been harmoniously assembled over many centuries, thanks mainly to favorable geographical conditions and sound economic climate. Here, you will visit uncommon city sights, including the Old Bazaar, the Turkish House, and any of the many old Mosques. You will also have some free time for a pleasant stroll. It will be among the many old craft shops, choice boutiques and antique stores. Overnight in Dubrovnik.
Dubrovnik will mesmerize you on every step of your walking tour! Visit and adore its medieval and renaissance streets and squares. Start your explorations at the Onofrio’s Fountain, which once upon a time served as the main water supply for the town. Stroll the Stradun, the main city’s promenade. Among many historical and cultural sites in the city, on this tour you will visit the Franciscan monastery with one of the oldest pharmacies in the world and the Treasury of the Cathedral. The Franciscan monastery is built in the Romanesque-Gothic style and along with its cluster is considered to be a masterpiece of architectural arts. The Old Pharmacy, located inside the Franciscan monastery, was opened in 1317. It is the third oldest pharmacy in Europe, but the only one still working. The inventories, ceramics, bowls, laboratory equipment and old medical books of the old Pharmacy are kept in the Franciscan Monastery Museum, among other highly valued and priceless objects of Dubrovnik’s historic and cultural past. Second highlight is the impressive baroque Cathedral with its Treasury, built to replace the Romanesque Cathedral destroyed in the Great Earthquake in 1667. The reconstructed Cathedral is a three-hall building containing a rich treasury and a line of paintings by top art masters, such as Padovani, J. Palma the Younger, G.G. Savoldo, Parmigianino and many others. The Cathedral’s Treasury is situated in the beautiful baroque chapel and it consists 138 reliquaries, most of which are traditionally carried in procession round the city on the feast of St. Blaise. Overnight in Dubrovnik.
Morning transfer to the airport.
Hotel Palace ****, Zagreb or similar
Hotel Astoria ****, Opatija or similar
Hotel Art, ****, Split or similar
Hotel Herceg ****, Međugorje or similar
Hotel Neptun ****, Dubrovnik or similar