Zagreb, the capital of Croatia with a 1000 years of history, friendly people and beautiful parks, will surprise you with its rich and fascinating Jewish history.
Take a walk through the ages, starting at 11th century foundation of Zagreb, across the 14th century and the first arrival of Jews to Zagreb, through the golden years of late 19th and early 20th century, when Zagreb developed rapidly, with Jewish community reaching its peak – just before perishing, almost completely, in the Shoah.
We will visit Mirogoj, one of the most famous cemeteries in Europe, designed in 1876 by Herman Bolle, including its Jewish section, that tells the silent story of the Zagreb Jewish community.
DID YOU KNOW? Chaim Bar Lev, Fiorello La Guardia, Academy Award (Oscar), Valium, Theodore Herzl, Goodyear Blimp – all have Croatian Jewish connection…discover it with us!
Stay@: Hotel Esplanade 5*; Sheraton Hotel Zagreb 5*; Westin Zagreb 5*
Discover Istrian treasures such as Poreč, whose city plan follows the 2000 years old Roman town, with the famous, 6th century Euphrasian Basilica and its amazing mosaic, designated as UNESCO World Heritage site, since 1997. We spend the night in Rovinj, considered one of the most beautiful Venetian towns on the Croatian coast. This colourful place hosts one of the most famous artists’ streets with numerous galleries and stores, presenting original art by local artists.
And the sunset of Rovinj is second to none…
Stay@: Monte Mulini 5*; Design Hotel Lone 5*; Villa Valdibora 4*
Today we explore the wonderful Istrian countryside, often compared to Tuscany, with it’s green landscapes, vineyards, forests and little hill towns, such as Motovun or Hum, the smallest town in the world. Enjoy the atmosphere of Opatija, the oldest tourist resort in Croatia, and relieve its golden years between the two world wars, the time when Austro-Hungarian Jewish aristocracy spent their holidays here.
Stay@: Hotel Milenij 5*; Hotel Miramar 4*
A day trip to Plitvice lakes National park is a inescapable highlight of Croatian natural beauty. 16 lakes, numerous waterfalls (how many will you count?), a pleasant walk along the lakes in the lush European forest, endless “Kodak moments”, local food on the road. The drive takes us through some of the most beautiful landscapes and cleanest rivers of Croatia. The day ends on the Dalmatian coast, in Zadar, listening to the famous sea organ, observing the sunset behind Croatian islands.
Stay@: Art Hotel Kalelarga 4*; Hotel Bastion 4*;
Day 5. Split:
The rising star in Croatian tourism, Split is one of our favourite spots in Croatia. A lively city with 1700 years of history, that grew from within a Roman emperors’ palace. Jewish life in the city goes back to the 16th century there were two groups of Sephardic Jews made Split their home; the Ponentine (“western”) with its origin in Italy (Split being back then a Venetian possession) and the Levantine (“eastern”) Jews from the Ottoman territories in Balkans. Both groups later merged into one Sephardic congregation. They were mainly merchants, physicians, and tailors and, thus, in the interest of trade with the Ottoman Empire, they were favoured by the Venetian authorities.
The highlight of each Jewish Tour is a visit of the synagogue, built in the 16th century which has been in continuous use for more than 500 years and today is home to a community of about 100 people. We will see the old ghetto as well as the Jewish cemetery which was founded in 1573 and is located only 10 minutes away from the Old town on the beautiful Marjan Hill that gives a great view over the city.
Stay@: Cornaro Hotel 4*; Piazza Heritage Hotel 4*; Hotel Vestibul Palace 4*
After a 3 hour short ferry ride, arrive to the Island of Hvar. One of the most beautiful islands in Croatia, and by some accounts in the world, is a former lavender capital of Europe. Depending on the time of the year, we can visit lavender fields and learn about lavender oil production, have a safari through its olive orchards, or simply enjoy the breathtaking views of the Adriatic from one of its highest peeks. The Town of Hvar is both a historical and aesthetic treasure, not to be missed. Spoil yourself with a spa treatment and enjoy the sunset with a glass of superb local wine.
Stay@: Hotel Podstine 4*; Spa Hotel Adriana 4*;
Driving along Pelješac peninsula, we stop for wine tasting break in one of the best vineyards in the Mediterranean. Continue to the town of Ston with the longest preserved stone wall in Europe and some amazing food in a local tavern. Following the drive through southern Dalmatian coast, with breathtaking views of the sea and the islands, in late afternoon we arrive to Dubrovnik.
Stay@: Hilton Imperial Dubrovnik 5*; Hotel Excelsior 5*; Hotel Bellevue 5*
Jewish merchants from Albania are mentioned in local archives already in 1368. After the Spanish expulsion in 1492. Dubrovnik became an important transit centre for refugees travelling to Balkan cities under Turkish Ottoman rule. Jews were allowed to settle in Dubrovnik and were given customs privileges to encourage transit trade. They dealt mainly in textiles, silk, wool, leather, and spices, and were allowed to live inside the walls in 1538, but in 1546 a ghetto was established in a small street (still called the Jewish street) enclosed by walls and the gate was locked at night. Visit the museum, in the second oldest Sephardic synagogue in Europe showing the synagogue artefacts and other items belonging to the past. Apart from its Jewish past, Dubrovnik is one of the most recognized destinations in Croatia, with rich history and magnificent sights, including the majestic city walls. The place with unique and multilayered history, Dubrovnik is a place whose visitors can’t wait to come back, again and again and again.
Day 9. Departure