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Why Your Next Small Group Holiday Should Be in Croatia and Slovenia

Historic Dubrovnik, Croatia, offers views of the Adriatic Sea
Historic Dubrovnik, Croatia, offers views of the Adriatic Sea | © Scott Wilson / Alamy Stock Photo
You’ll fall in love with Croatia’s azure coastline and Slovenia’s mountainous terrain, but you don’t have to experience these things alone.

Ride a boat across Lake Bled and trek Dubrovnik’s Medieval walls in good company so you can swap stories over a glass of red Dalmatian plavac or a cool Slovenian craft beer at the end of each daily adventure. Here are more things you can do as a small group in Croatia and Slovenia.

Wander the walls of Dubrovnik

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Old town of Dubrovnik with calm sea, Croatia.
Dubrovnik juts out into the sea | © Scott Wilson / Alamy Stock Photo
Dubrovnik has always been the jewel in the Dalmatian crown, with its terra cotta rooftops and Medieval streets. Hike up to the city walls, where you can see the historic city as it’s meant to be seen: from above. The walk along the walls will take you in a full circle around old Dubrovnik, so you can stop for a ton of group photos along the way to the old town, Fort Lovrijenac and the wine-coloured sea.
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Escape to Montenegro for a day

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Kotor Bay in Montenegro
Montenegro’s Kotor Bay is not half bad as scenery goes | © Jack Malipan Travel Photography / Alamy Stock Photo
Why do two countries when you can do three? A short drive from Dubrovnik, Montenegro makes the perfect group day trip with the stunning Bay of Kotor being just over an hour away. Explore the historic, rugged streets of Kotor or sail across the bay from picturesque Perast to a pretty church on an artificial islet built out of rocks and old ships.
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Explore the labyrinthine streets of Diocletian’s Palace

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The Peristyle within Diocletian's Palace in Split
The peristyle within Diocletian’s Palace in Split | © Samantha Ohlsen / Alamy Stock Photo
Split is an unusual city whose center is built up inside the walls of an old Roman palace once belonging to Emperor Diocletian. The labyrinth of narrow streets winds in and out of plazas clad with Corinthian columns and terrace cafés, leading into hidden, tight alleys that are ripe for exploring.
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Immerse yourself in history at Fortress Klis

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Fortress Klis near Split in Croatia.
Fortress Klis has roots going back more than 2,000 years | © Kiril Stanchev / Alamy Stock Photo
Some 15 kilometres (nine miles) outside Split, this Medieval fortress was once the seat of many Croatian kings and also played a key role in protecting Croatia’s Dalmatian coast from the invading Ottomans. Today, its impressive stone walls surrounded by cypress trees and succulents are worth the trek not just for its history, but for the scenic view over the coast and the islands beyond.
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Hike the stunning Plitvice Lakes

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Boardwalk through the waterfalls of Plitvice Lakes National Park, Croatia.
You can walk on water at Plitvice Lakes National Park | © Jennifer Barrow / Alamy Stock Photo
Just south of Zagreb, Plitvice Lakes National Park is one of the most popular outdoor destinations in Croatia. Spend a day walking along the wooden boardwalks over the pristine blue lakes and admiring the cascading waterfalls.
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Ride a train into the Postojna Caves

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The Postojna caves
The Postojna Caves offer some pretty wild sights | © etabeta1 / Alamy Stock Photo
The impressive Postojna Caves stretch out over a network no less than 24 kilometres (15 miles) long. Since the 19th century, visitors have been able to visit the grand heart of the cave on a small train that takes you 3.5 kilometres (2.2 miles) deep into the complex. Prepare to be amazed by gigantic stalactites and intricate mineral deposits. But the ride to get there is just as spectacular, as you whizz through narrow passages and pass cavernous halls dripping with chandeliers.
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Eat your way through Ljubljana

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Cafes and resturants in Ljubljana city, Slovenia.
Cafés and restaurants abound in Ljubljana | © Frank Bach / Alamy Stock Photo
Ljubljana may be a small box of a town – one with cobbled streets and ornate bridges spanning the Ljubljanica River – but what it lacks in size is made up for in its vast variety of food. Explore the taverns en masse for some hearty farm-to-table fare, Istrian cheeses, fresh fish from the Adriatic, succulent olives, Slovenian craft beer, cold-pressed pumpkin seed oil and home-made gelato. Wash it all down with an espresso from Ziferblat, the city’s unique ‘time’ café, where you pay for every minute of your visit.
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