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Italian Lakes Gardens, Slovenia & Croatian Islands

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Chelsea, Italian Lakes and Cruise.

Explore Villa Balbianello Gardens in Lake Como on your Botanica World Discoveries tour of Europe.

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18 Days including a 7-night small ship cruise. Visit the Chelsea Flower Show then discover the Italian Lakes district then cruise along the Dalmation Coast visiting Plitvice Lakes, Split, Dubrovnik and Kotor. View complete itinerary

Trip code: BTILCCF18
Duration: 18 days
Accommodation: Boutique Small Ships and Comfortable Hotels
Journey: London to Kotor
Meals included: 33

Itinerary

Day 1. London Private Gardens & West Sussex

Commence your tour at 8.30am at the London hotel. Cruise the Thames to visit some beautiful private gardens and barge gardens. Travel to West Sussex for a relaxing two-night stay at a large country estate.
Stay: Two Nights: West Sussex, The Goodwood Hotel
  • Daily Meals Included:
  • • Lunch
  • • Dinner

Day 2. Private Gardens of West Sussex

Visit Sandhill Farm House Garden, the garden of the Principal of the English Garden Design School, Rosemary Alexander. Afterwards visit another exclusive private garden.
  • Daily Meals Included:
  • • Breakfast
  • • Lunch

Day 3. Arundel Castle, Loseley Park Gardens

Arrive to the picture perfect Arundel Castle, seat of the Duke of Norfolk set high on a hill overlooking the River Arun. Afterwards visit Loseley Park Castle and Gardens. Gertrude Jekyll provided plans for the garden in 1905 where even today you can still see the Yew hedges, Mulberry and Cedar trees, before arriving into London this afternoon. Enjoy a special dinner and lecture from Rosemary Alexander, regular judge of the Chelsea Flower Show.
Stay: London, May Fair Hotel, an historical hotel centrally located near Green Park
  • Daily Meals Included:
  • • Breakfast
  • • Dinner

Day 4. Chelsea Flower Show to Milan, Italy

Depart early this morning to arrive at the famous Chelsea Flower Show before the crowds. For over 140 years, the show has been delighting visitors from all over the world with its amazing show gardens and floral exhibits. Spend the day enjoying the show, and later this afternoon, fly to Milan and check into your hotel.
Stay: Milan, Hotel Galles
  • Daily Meals Included:
  • • Breakfast

Day 5. Milan to the Italian Lakes

Enjoy a city sightseeing tour of Milan, before continuing to the magnificent Italian Lakes District. Set within beautiful valleys, explore the serene beauty of Italy’s sparkling lakes. Dotted along the lakes are seasonal flowers set amongst the cypress, chestnut, sycamore and palm trees.
Stay: Two Nights: Stresa, Regina Palace Hotel
  • Daily Meals Included:
  • • Breakfast
  • • Dinner

Day 6. Isola Bella & Isola Madre Gardens

Travel by ferry to Isola Bella, an exquisite island situated on the Borromean Gulf which is entirely occupied by its palace with one of the most celebrated privately owned baroque gardens in Italy. Discover many rare and exotic plants and spectacular blossom with marvellous colours and scents. Then visit Isola Madre, the largest island of the Isole Borromee archipelago. Transformed in the early 19th century, this English-style park is often referred to as a botanical garden on water.
  • Daily Meals Included:
  • • Breakfast
  • • Dinner

Day 7. Villa Carlotta & Villa Melzi Gardens

At Villa Carlotta, see a range of plants, stairways, ponds and fountains. Take a ferry to the picturesque town of Bellagio, often referred to as the ‘jewel of the lake’. Explore Villa Melzi Gardens with its exotic trees, Egyptian sculptures and Roman statues that add to the romantic atmosphere of the garden.
Stay: Como, Metropole Suisse in a lake view room
  • Daily Meals Included:
  • • Breakfast

Day 8. Verona, Giardini Giusti

Today we will travel to the quaint city of Verona, made famous by Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet. Here we will visit the beautiful garden of Giardini Giusti. Spend the night in Verona.
Stay: Verona, Hotel Due Torri
  • Daily Meals Included:
  • • Breakfast
  • • Dinner

Day 9. Bled, Slovenia

This morning cross the border into Slovenia where we make our way to the beautiful town of Bled set on a stunning turquoise coloured lake. Take an afternoon tour of Bled including the castle and church set on Bled Island.
Stay: Two Nights: Bled, Hotel Toplice
  • Daily Meals Included:
  • • Breakfast
  • • Dinner

Day 10. Wildflowers of Slovenia

Today we go into the hills of Slovenia with a wildflower guide to see the unique and endemic plants of the area. Afterwards visit the Bohinj Wildflower Festival, which showcases alpine flowers in the meadows, hills and mountains of the areas surrounding Bohinj Lake.
  • Daily Meals Included:
  • • Breakfast

Day 11. Arboretum Volcji Potok, Ljubljana & Embark Ship

Depart Bled and journey through the scenic European countryside to Slovenia’s most esteemed horticultural facility, Arboretum Volcji Potok. See more than 3,000 roses in bloom with your Botanical Guide. Enjoy some free time to explore Slovenia’s charming capital, Ljubljana. Here you might choose to spend time in the Botanical Gardens, the Museum of Modern Art at own expense or just stroll the beautiful canal, lined with cafes and shops. This afternoon we continue to the town of Opatija, where you will board the Princess Eleganza, which will be your home for the next 7 nights.
Stay: Seven Nights: aboard the boutique small ship, MS Princess Eleganza
  • Daily Meals Included:
  • • Breakfast
  • • Dinner

Day 12. Plitvice Lakes National Park, Croatia

Over breakfast we sail to Senj where we arrive in the late morning and disembark for our excursion to the Plitvice Lakes National Park. This is an area of extraordinary natural beauty with 16 lakes interconnected by a series of waterfalls set within forested hills. There are a number of paths along the wooden walkways that surround the lakes that we can explore this afternoon and enjoy the stunning views. Return to the ship for dinner as we moor overnight.
  • Daily Meals Included:
  • • Breakfast
  • • Dinner

Day 13. Sibenik

Sit back, relax and enjoy the beautiful Mediterranean waters. Arrive in Sibenik in the afternoon for a visit to a local Mediterranean garden. This evening take a tour of the historic centre of Sibenik then choose to dine in one of the many restaurants ashore.
  • Daily Meals Included:
  • • Breakfast
  • • Lunch

Day 14. Split

Arrive in Split in the afternoon in time for a short guided walk through this fascinating city. See the
4th century Palace of Diocletian, built by the Emperor for his retirement, the cathedral and walk through the old town. This evening, choose to dine in one of the many restaurants on the Riva promenade as we moor overnight.
  • Daily Meals Included:
  • • Breakfast
  • • Lunch

Day 15. Hvar & Korcula

Enjoy a free morning on the island of Hvar exploring the old town. Starting in the main square which is the largest piazza in Dalmatia, visit the cathedral, the palatial quarter of Grad and the more humble residential area of Burg. Rejoin the Princess Eleganza to cruise to Korcula. Said to be the birthplace of Marco Polo, Korcula boasts crooked medieval streets, and elegant squares which are flanked with palaces of the old nobility. Tonight dine independently in one of the local restaurants.
  • Daily Meals Included:
  • • Breakfast
  • • Lunch

Day 16. Dubrovnik

Arrive in Dubrovnik this afternoon and enjoy a guided walk through the old town. Its many historic and cultural treasures have earned it designation as a World Heritage-listed site. See the Rectors Palace, the Roman-esque-Gothic Dominican and Franciscan Monasteries, and the Sponza Palace or alternatively travel to Trsteno Arboretum the 15th century renaissance summer residence of the Gueti-Gozze family, with its garden which has been cultivated from the 15th century to the present day.
  • Daily Meals Included:
  • • Breakfast
  • • Lunch
  • • Dinner

Day 17. Kotor, Montenegro

Sail to Kotor today. Enjoy a tour of the city of Kotor including the Cathedral of Saint Tryphon in the old town, and see the ancient walls which stretch for 4.5 kilometres directly above the city. Enjoy a Farewell Dinner, then enjoy a final evening on board.
  • Daily Meals Included:
  • • Breakfast
  • • Dinner

Day 18. Disembark Ship & Depart Kotor

Disembark this morning and be transferred to Kotor’s Tivat airport in Montenegro or Dubrovnik airport in Croatia for your onward flight.
  • Daily Meals Included:
  • • Breakfast

Trip Highlights

  • Rosemary Alexander’s dinner lecture on the Chelsea Flower Show
  • Arrive at the world famous Chelsea Flower Show before the crowds
  • Visit private gardens not normally open to the public in London
  • See Rosemary Alexander’s own private garden, Sandhill
  • Spend three nights in the beautiful Lakes District of Italy
  • Visit Isola Bella & Isola Madre
  • Explore the gardens of Villa Carlotta & Villa Melzi
  • Marvel at the Giardini Giusti Garden
  • Discover Romeo & Juliet’s Verona
  • Spend time visiting the Wildflower Festival in Croatia
  • Uncover the history of the walled city of Dubrovnik
  • Explore the pristine islands of Croatia
  • Visit beautiful Kotor in Montenegro

Map

Included Experiences

  • All sightseeing as mentioned
  • Services of a Tour Manager/Cruise Director & Botanical Guide
  • Airport transfers on first & last day, port taxes, tipping & porterage
  • Economy flight from London to Milan
  • 33 Meals – 17 Breakfasts, 6 Lunches & 10 Dinners        
  • 7 nights aboard MS Princess Eleganza cruising the Dalmatian Coast
  • Stay in centrally located 4-star hotels

Additional Information

Wildflowers of Eastern Europe

  • The Slovenian mountains are often covered with the delicate blossoms of wildflowers. Explore the floral richness of the region with crocuses the first to bloom. Soon after, the meadows in the valleys bloom, followed by the higher slopes. There are very few places in the Alps that are able to boast more diverse flora. This is due to the vicinity of the Mediterranean Sea, supporting thermophilic vegetation on the southern slopes of the lower Bohinj Mountains. Embark on this journey and witness these stunning wildflowers burst to life with their vibrant colours

 

MS Princess Eleganza

  • The MS Princess Eleganza is a beautifully crafted and comfortable small cruise ship, designed specifically for the Dalmatian Coast. With just 19 spacious air-conditioned cabins all with their own private ensuite, you will feel a sense of intimate comfort and relaxation on board

 

Fitness level

  • Our tours and cruises cater to various fitness levels
  • This tour requires a medium level of fitness – Involves walking on uneven surfaces for more than one hour, multiple two-night stays in one location with potential for unexpected changes to itineraries

Trip Notes

  • Itinerary and inclusions are subject to change
  • Prices are for land/cruise and flights as specified only

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