New 2023 Europe River Cruise Extension - Ljubljana & Zagreb

If you enjoy exploring nature’s beauty, this new Europe river cruise extension to Ljubljana & Zagreb is perfect for you. Over five days, travel through stunning landscapes from northern Croatia into Slovenia.  Here are four incredible locations you will explore: 

Croatia’s capital - Zagreb 

As one of Central Europe’s hidden gems, Zagreb is an arty, quirky, and creative city, quickly becoming an emerging destination for all travel lovers. The city is charming, easily walkable with lots of parks, a vibrant bar culture and friendly locals. Located on the northwest of Croatia to the south of Medvednica Mountain on the banks of the Sava River, Zagreb’s history is rich and its architecture unique.  
Importantly, Zagreb lies at the junction of central Europe, the Mediterranean, and southeastern Europe. Vienna is 370km away, Budapest around 345km and Ljubljana is only 140km away. While Croatia is most famous for its stunning coastline, Zagreb’s central location means you can experience a part of the history of the Hapsburg monarchy and the lifestyle of continental Croatia. Wander to Main Square (Ban Jelacic Square), and the twin-spired Zagreb Cathedral where you can hear stories of witches, witchcraft and witch trials, keeping many travellers riveted by the ancient history of Zagreb. 

World Heritage-listed Plitvice National Park 

Home to a chain of 16 terraced lakes, joined by 90 waterfalls, Plitvice Lakes National Park is a place of extraordinary beauty and Croatia’s most popular location for travellers; the mineral-rich waters carve through the rock and wooden footbridges and pathways snake around the edges and across the rushing water. This is one of the oldest and largest national parks in Croatia and was added to the UNESCO World Heritage List in 1979, the highest waterfall in Croatia, which stands at a massive 78 metres is also found here. Due to the beautiful turquoise lakes and variety of animal and bird species, it has been named as ‘Heaven on Earth’… sometimes you just need to let images speak for themselves.

Slovenia’s capital - Ljubljana 

More of a charming medieval town than a bustling city, Ljubljana is one of Europe’s greenest, smallest, and safest capital cities. Ljubljana offers a cultural and historical feast for the senses - from Tromostovje (The Triple Bridge) designed by Jože Plečnik, consisting of three separate picturesque bridges, to Ljubljana Castle, standing sentinel over the capital on Castle Hill above the downtown area. Originally a medieval fortress, it is thought Ljubljana Castle had been constructed in the 11th century and rebuilt in the 12th century. Another absolute must see is Prešeren Square, located in the centre of downtown Ljubljana, then on to the old town of Ljubljana, located between the castle hill and Ljubljana river, where you will find preserved medieval buildings, popular cafes and restaurants. 

Lake Bled 

Considered Slovenia’s most picturesque location, Lake Bled is found in many folklore stories with one magical story claiming that Lake Bled was created by fairies. It tells of a lake that was once a valley covered in lush grass, where the fairies used to dance on the valley floor once night fell. Out of fear that they would be eaten by grazing sheep, the fairies flooded the valley and created a small island in the middle, creating a new location for their dance parties.
The exquisite blue-green lake, measuring just 1.4km by 2km, has a small teardrop island as its centrepiece and is surrounded by alpine mountains. The island is just under one acre in size and home to several buildings, including a 17th century church Scenic guests can visit. How do you get to the island, you ask? By pletna boat (gondola), a tradition passed down through local families for generations which dates back to 1590. The pletna boat will set you down on the south side at the monumental 99-step South Staircase, built in 1655.

This extension connects effortlessly with Jewels of Europe, Gems of the Danube, Black Sea Explorer, and Danube Delta Discovery river cruises. 

If you are inspired by this journey of beauty through Ljubljana & Zagreb, speak with our expert team for more information on 2023 Europe river cruises.