Croatia: Gem of the Adriatic
with Jeff Hirsch
September 30-October 10, 2024
Slovenia Extension October 10-14
Tour Highlights ~ A Photographic and Cultural Adventure
- Istria, the "Second Tuscany"
- The historic cities of Split, Dubrovnik, and Rovinj
- Krka Falls & Plitvice National Park with its many lakes and waterfalls
- Visits to UNESCO World Heritage Sites, rich castles and monasteries
- The sunny island of Hvar
- Limited to ELEVEN passengers
- Ten days with photo tour leaders Jeff Hirsch and local photo
- Extend your stay with Jeff with the highlights of Slovenia.
"Gazing on this coastline, it's like you've been transported back 50 or 60 years, to the unspoiled European coastlines of classic movies...crystal blue waters, weathered clay tile roofs, picture perfect villages... It's an almost magical scene...pristine mountains and sparkling seas dotted with billowing sails..."
Croatia is one of Europe’s best-kept secrets: a lush region of coves, forested islands, and its crowning jewel, the walled city of
Dubrovnik. This tour, created to give maximum insight into all the beauty Croatia holds, travels from the stone walls and ancient streets of
Dubrovnik to the harbor town of Hvar, the sunniest of the isles, to the lakes and waterfalls of the Plitvice National Park,
and finally ends in ‘The Second Tuscany,” the Istria Peninsula.
Immerse yourself in a unique culture that draws on both Roman and Venetian influences. The riches of these former empires unfold as we follow ancient trails through fertile countryside and along rocky coasts that lead to pristine beaches. We move in step with local life as we make our way through lively fishing villages, bustling markets, and charming hamlets preserved as UNESCO World Heritage Sites. The variety of stunning places in Croatia creates a diverse canvas for photographers. The mountains, national parks, red-tiled roof cities, numerous islands, and sunny paradises of the south provide infinite photo opportunities of beautiful city scenes and landscapes.
The itinerary will guide us, but there will also be unscheduled stops for discoveries along the way, with an eye for the group's interests. You can plan to be out for early and late light when weather and schedules permit. Your leaders will offer guidance and some instruction on the tour and will also be available to answer questions and provide photographic advice.
Continue your stay and discover the ‘Secrets of Slovenia’ and the Julian Alps with Jeff on this amazing extension. Have your camera in hand and capture stunning images of fall foliage, mountain landscapes, glacial lakes, and rivers. Depart Croatia continuing north and enjoy the afternoon in the picturesque town of Piran before heading inland to the Soca River Valley. Try creative long exposures to capture breathtaking landscapes, fast-flowing rivers and waterfalls. Travel through many picturesque villages to shoot traditional hayracks and agricultural details and document a slower pace of life. One of the most picturesque locations in Slovenia is Lake Bled and its iconic church on Bled Island starting with sunrise at the shore and ending with sunset from a stunning vantage point. Enjoy blue hour photography in the lovely city of Ljubljana, capturing the unique historic architecture at blue hour along the river as the city lights come on.
Accommodations are in central locations to maximize your photographic experience. Located in the City walls of Dubrovnik, you can begin photographing as soon as you step outside your hotel door (no elevator within the city walls). Stay inside the park at Plitvice to be walking distance at sunrise and sunset. While on the island of Hvar we stay at a lovely beach resort, and close to land and sea in the Istria Peninsula near Rovinj. We have chosen all locations with the most important thing in mind – getting to the right location at the right time.
Jeff Hirsch is a photographer and photo-educator with over 30 years of experience in the field of photography, digital imaging, and graphic design. A master of "geek-to-english" translation and an Adobe Certified Expert in Lightroom and Photoshop, he teaches photography and photo workflow to individuals and groups. Along with his own class offerings, Jeff also teaches for the International Photography Hall of Fame and the Missouri Botanical Garden as part of their “Shaw Photography Series”.
Jeff is a frequent presenter at camera clubs both locally and nationally where he speaks on a wide variety of photographic subjects including street and travel photography, black and white photography, color management, photo restoration,
book and slideshow creation, photographic workflow and more. Photo education IS his passion.
When he’s not teaching or locked down by a global pandemic, you will find Jeff leading photo tours to beautiful locations at home and abroad including Iceland, Cuba, Italy, Greece, New Zealand, Cambodia, Thailand, and more. Jeff’s ultimate goal on any trip is to help photographers make more compelling and engaging images as they travel the world. Information about Jeff's classes and workshops can be found at: http://www.jeffhirsch.com
What to Expect
The emphasis of the trip is on photography, yet this is much more, one that non-photographic travelers can enjoy just as well. You will need comfortable walking shoes as many of the days are filled with walking the cobblestone streets and bridges with in the cities. Those who wish can always take an optional taxi which the guide can assist you in obtaining. There will also be days with less activity as you travel from one location to another. Your leader will seek out obscure settings to visit and photograph, places you would not find on your own.
This tour is designed to be a photo tour, and, as such, you must be flexible in our scheduling. Much of the itinerary, and when you do it, will depend upon weather and light. You will, however, visit the major sites listed in each city. There will be many early morning and late evenings so you can take advantage of the light. Depending on the location there may be opportunity to have a rest at the hotel during the afternoon.
Jeff is an excellent leader. He made sure that he worked with everyone and he tailored his responses to each of us according to what we needed and wanted from him. He is fun to be with and maintained a strenuous schedule to meet everyone’s needs. For example: He went out with small groups at the end of a couple different days to create long exposures of trolley cars. Another night he found a wonderful selection just steps away from the hotel and sent a text inviting us to join him. He stayed out until all of us had the shot we wanted. His enthusiasm for the area is contagious and his technical knowledge is vast. He shared generously with all of us who needed his help. I would happily go on another trip with him. Your local guide worked with Jeff to make adjustments to the schedule as needed. He is the best local guide I have ever met, top notch in every way.
– J Lashelle
Jeff’s leadership and superb organization led to a gratifying and totally enjoyable travel experience. Jeff is able to teach the technical nuances of my camera to employ the use of my eyes and mind resulting in an outstanding photographic experience. Jeff’s review of our group’s “best images of the day” employs thoughtful and constructive comments that improved our individual photographs.
– Alan Morris
Jeff is a comprehensive and thorough teacher, with a gift for patience and explaining things so that anybody can understand. He is comfortable with the basics, and he is also my most trusted coach when it comes to advanced technology and artistic critique. I grabbed the opportunity to go on a trip he led to Iceland: he was enthusiastic, encouraging, attentive to the needs of the participants, and friendly. My photography took a giant leap forward, and I had a wonderful time. It was my best experience ever as a photographer.
– J May
September 30 Home
Your journey begins with an overnight flight to Dubrovnik, Croatia. All participant flights will need to be multi destination, flying into Dubrovnik, and return from Zagreb, Croatia. If joining the Jeff in Slovenia for iconic landscapes, you will be flying home from Ljubljana, Slovenia (LJU). (Meals on plane)
October 1 & 2 Dubrovnik
Arrive today to Dubrovnik Airport, transfer to the hotel via taxi. Today will be a day to rest from the flight, with a brief introduction to this beautiful city and enjoy a welcome dinner with your photo leader and your Croatian guide.
The “Pearl on the Adriatic: as Lord Byron so famously described Dubrovnik, is a much celebrated town, a World Heritage Site, and is completely encircled by over a mile of beautifully preserved walls built between the thirteenth and sixteenth centuries. Historically, these walls provided protection against all intruders, from the Saracens to the Turks, coming by way of sea. Today, however, it can be strolled at leisure and makes for a delightful introduction to the town’s intricate, stone- paved inner structure.
Enjoy another day of photographing the traditional sites of Dubrovnik’s old city; with your local guide at your disposal, and your photo leader will choose which locations will best suit the interests of the group. Learn about its history of proud and fierce economic and political independence from Venice, marvel at the loving way the town was restored after the shelling in 1991, and take pleasure in discovering its architectural details, enchanting secrets, and narrow alleys. After a break mid-day take part in walking the walls late this afternoon, which surround the city to record its spectacular views. Overnight Dubrovnik (D; B, L or D)
October 3 & 4 Hvar Island
Start the day early with a panoramic sunrise shoot over the city. After breakfast depart Dubrovnik, traveling via a scenic ferry ride to the sunny island of Hvar. Upon arrival to this quaint harbor town, there will be a brief introduction to Hvar, including views of the Franciscan monastery and fortress, the beautiful town square by the sea, and the old theater, the first in Europe to be open to the public. You will have plenty of time to relax and photograph the beautiful scenery that surrounds. Overnight Hvar (B, L or D each day)
October 5 & 6 Split – Plitvice Lakes
There will be another morning photo shoot to capture early light in the old town. Board your return ferry taking you to Split. This city is best known for the palace of the ancient Roman emperor Diocletian, which remains the core of the old city, and is currently an UNESCO World Cultural Heritage Site. Photograph the historic inner city, or along the Adriatic coastline promenade. Continue on to your destination for the evening, Plitvice National Park.
Accommodations are in one of the best locations, with late afternoon access today and early morning tomorrow. The next day take a walking tour around several of the Lower and Upper Lakes of the National Park. This is one of the most scenic parts of Croatia. The entire day will be filled with photographing waterfalls, breathtaking scenery, and sixteen terraced lakes surrounded by thickly wooded mountains and lush vegetation. Capture the serenity of this natural wonder. (Overnight two nights, Plitvice (B, L or D each day)
October 7 & 8 Rovinj – Bale - Istria Peninsula
After an optional sunrise shoot at the lakes, followed by breakfast, continue your travel to the Istrian Coast. Make scenic photo stops on the way and arrive in beautiful Istria in time for a sunset shoot. The region is appropriately named, "The Second Tuscany." In the evening you will have the opportunity to sample some nice local food, pasta, truffles, and local olive oil.
There will be time for photography in Rovinj, along the coast, it is a wonderful old town, with narrow cobblestone streets and a charming atmosphere. You will begin early in the morning for the right light looking over the harbor. Drive out to visit some of the many charming hilltop towns making the most of vantage points to capture stunning panoramas. Return to Rovinj for additional street photography. (B, L or D each day)
October 9 Zagreb
After some early morning photography those NOT going on to Slovenia with Jeff will depart on their drive to the City of Zagreb. You’ll have time late in the day and evening to capture and explore some street scenes and city architecture. Those ON the extension with Jeff will depart for Slovenia. See extension itinerary below. (B, L or D)
October 10 Zagreb
You will transfer to the airport today for your flight home or continue on the Slovenia extension with Jeff. (B)
October 9 & 10 Rovinj, Croatia - Soca Valley
After breakfast depart Croatia continuing north and enjoy the afternoon in the picturesque village of Piran or at a Lipizzaner horse stud farm. Arrive this afternoon at Bovec in the Soca River Valley. There will be evening photography along the river valley or from a vantage point in the Julian Alps.
The Soca River is a distinct emerald green, considered to be one of the most beautiful rivers in Europe. We hope for a beautiful sunset during your time here. There are incredible gorges to discover and waterfalls as you walk along the riverbanks. As well as stunning landscapes, you may be lucky with some wildlife photography and will also take the opportunity to photograph the historical World War I remnants along the trail. Your route takes you on some of the highest mountains in Slovenia offering incredible views across the country into Italy. Overnight (B, L or D both days)
October 11-13 Lake Bled -Ljubljana
Take one of the most scenic routes in Slovenia, over the Vrsic Pass, the highest peak of the Alps, with incredible photo opportunities of the Julian Alps and the Triglav National Park. Arrive late afternoon at your accommodations near the picturesque Lake Bled. After settling in explore the lake with perhaps a chance for sunset photography. One evening you will enjoy dinner in the lovely city of Ljubljana. This is a perfect time for blue hour photography as the lights are turned on along the river, highlighting the unique historic architecture.
Enjoy another two full days exploring the beautiful Gorenjska region. The fashionable mountain resort near the Austrian and Italian borders, is set on the idyllic Lake Bled. It is one of the most stunning places in Slovenia with its church on an island in the middle of the lake. We can visit the island by traditional “Pletna” boat. Bled Castle on the cliff above offers superb views of the lake, and there will be plenty of opportunities to capture landscape photos from this vantage. The nearby Lake Bohinj is also a glacier-made body like Bled, but as it is located in the heart of the Julian Alps it provides a very different setting. After photos stop at the lakeshore, head to the picturesque Savica waterfall. From there, pass through many picturesque small traditional-style villages on your way to the stunning Vintgar Gorge. Overnight Lake Bled (B, L or D three days)
October 14 Ljubljana - Home
Given time there will be another early morning photography shoot of Lake Bled. You will be transferred to the airport in time for your flight home. Ljubljana Airport, Slovenia (LJU). (B given time)
Land cost: $5795*, based upon minimum of 8 paying participants, double occupancy. There will be a small group surcharge of $400 with 5- 7 paying participants. Maximum of 11 participants.
Single room supplement: $595, single rooms are subject to availability We try to accommodate single travelers who request single accommodations, as well as single travelers who are looking for a roommate. If a single room is requested and we are unable to find a suitable roommate, or you are in a single for another reason, you will need to pay the single supplement.
Extension Land cost: $3095*, based upon minimum of 4 paying participants, double occupancy.
Extension Single room supplement: $295, single
*Note: The land cost is based on current exchange rate between the Euro and US dollar. Should these rates change significantly, there may be an adjustment in the trip price.
The land cost includes:
- Group transportation for tour events in the tour
- Accommodations as listed in itinerary, based on two people sharing a room
- Services of driver guide during the tour
- Meals as indicated in itinerary
- Extensive pre-departure information and
The land cost does not include international air fare; air fare tax; airport fees or transfers; additional transfers or accommodations that may be required by those not traveling with the group; meals not included in itinerary; activities listed as optional, or those taken on your own; passport expenses; personal medical or travel insurance; any expenses of a personal nature or those not listed in what is included; tips to guides and service staff. Please contact Strabo Tours if you would like info on International Air.
Deposits, Cancellations AND Refunds
A deposit of $750 ($500 on domestic tours) per person is required. Specific tours may require an additional deposit due to accommodation bookings or transportation requirements. If applicable these will be noted on your invoice. Payment in full is required when bookings are made less than 120 days before the departure date. Space is subject to cancellation by Strabo if payment is not received when due.
If a passenger wishes to cancel, they must send notification in writing to: Strabo International Tour, Co., P.O. Box 580, Dryden, NY 13053. At the time we receive your notification, the following per person charges apply:
- 121 days or more before departure: $300 cancellation fee ($150 fee on domestic tours), plus Strabo’ costs, as well as fees that are charged by the suppliers providing the services included in your tour, and/or the airlines providing the air transportation.
- 91-120 days before departure: $500 ($250 on domestic tours) minimum cancellation fee, plus Strabo’ costs, as well as fees that are charged by the suppliers providing the services included in your tour, and/or the airlines providing the air transportation. Fees may range from 25% to 100% of tour
- 90 days or less before departure or any time after departure: NO Refunds for services that are voluntarily not used by you cannot be made.
Fitness and Health
The trip is not strenuous and anyone who is reasonably fit should be able to take part in most of the activities. You may experience general fatigue due to the long flights and the change in time zones. You will need to be sufficiently agile to climb in and out of the tour van and should be able to carry and manage your own equipment on walks. We will hike trails ranging from easy to moderate. Most hotels do not have elevators. If you have any special needs or any physical condition that you feel might prevent you from fully participating, please contact Strabo with concerns (607) 423-2525
Each participant must be covered by medical insurance that is valid overseas.
We strongly urge you to evaluate your risk and to take out insurance on your trip. It is vital for you to realize that if you experience a delay or find it necessary to cancel or cut short your trip for any reason, you will lose part or the entire sum you’ve invested in it (see the section “Deposits, Cancellations and Refunds” in the trip brochure).
Travel insurance helps to minimize the risk of monetary losses you would incur in the event of a delay of your departure due to weather, airline strike, missed connection, etc., your inability to travel for reasons such as illness, injury, unforeseen financial complications and other personal circumstances, or if you were required to cut your trip short for medical or any other reasons.
There are restrictions and limitations on any insurance program. For this reason, please read carefully the enclosed pamphlet, which outlines their program of trip cancellation, baggage, and medical insurance. Trained agents are available to answer your questions, so don’t hesitate to call the toll-free number in their brochure. It is to your advantage to apply for insurance at the earliest possible time, so don’t delay in making a decision.