Meet and greet in Vienna mid afternoon. Before meeting choose to arrive early (a day or more recommended) to explore the sights of this Austrian Capital, rich in its architecture, museums and other cultural monuments. Take a break at an outdoor Viennese coffee house, and feel the pulse of the history and grandeur of this city, which, for half a millennium, was the seat of the vast and successful Hapsburg Empire. In the evening, dine in the vineyards of the Viennese woods. Overnight in Vienna
Leave Vienna in the morning and drive south towards the hills and vineyards of Graz. September is grape harvesting season in this corner of Austria, so be prepared to taste some wine! Lunch is served at a restaurant perched near the crest of one of the border hills between Austria and Slovenia; you are certain to enjoy the views of the two countries beneath you. The afternoon is spent walking amongst the vineyards, fruit trees and colorful farm homes, which were your scenery during lunch. Later, drive on to a beautifully situated mountain hotel sitting high above the Valley of the Drava River. From the peace and quiet of this hotel, enjoy the panoramic views of Slovenia’s Julian Alps, the eastern-most part of the “Alps” chain of mountains for which France, Switzerland, Italy and Austria have become famous. Tonight, relax with family style dining, and overnight here. Overnight Harrach
Drive through Lavamund, cross the border to Slovenia and explore the area of the Savinj Alps. Your hosts for the next few days will be a farm family who will introduce you to true Slovenian alpine-style hospitality. Enjoy the traditional food and customs of Slovenia’s high mountain pastoral society, a tradition that continues to this day. Lend a hand and help with milking the goats, or perhaps with making some cheese. Overnight Savinj Alps
Hike in and around the Savinj Alps, and visit with the local people whose farms dot the stunning landscape around you. Visit Rinka, Slovenia’s highest waterfall at 90 m. Enjoy encounters with kayakers, rock-climbers, fishermen, and other sports enthusiasts who are attracted to this wilderness landscape. Overnight Savinj Alps
Exchange your rural pace for some city hustle and bustle. This morning we drive to Ljubljana, Slovenia’s capital. After seeing some highlights of this city we continue driving to the village of Kropa, nestled in a picturesque though steep and narrow valley. Kropa is known for its Iron works, with production dating to the 14th century. Besides producing nails, a tradition exists of producing hand-made, artistic, wrought iron works. Fine examples of this iron “art” may be seen throughout Kropa – just look up to the streetlights. Visit the Blacksmith Museum, and the functioning iron factory where artisans continue their age-old metal crafts. Next, we drive to the heart of the Julian Alps, Triglav National Park. Bypassing the prime tourist resort of Lake Bled, we continue on to the quieter more peaceful Bohinj Lake, situated in the farthest corner of this valley. Overnight Bohinj Lake
Day 6: Full day hiking around Bohinj Lake To be determined
Today's hike takes us through the woods to the magnificent Savica Waterfall. Although the waterfall may seem to mysteriously appear from nowhere it does have a source: a river runs underneath the surface of the rock and escapes to the surface at the top of the waterfall. It is all part of the Karst (cave) landscape for which this part of Slovenia is famous for. When we return to Bohinj Lake, there is an option of going up Mt. Vogel (by way of mechanical lift!) After a walk around the summit area to absorb the views we descend for dinner. Overnight Bohinj Lake
Leave Bohinj Lake and spend the morning hiking in the Vrata Valley under the impressive, imposing, vertical north face of Mt. Triglav, the highest peak in the Julian Alps at 2863 meters. As we continue driving on our way to the other side of this mountain range, we drive through the famous ski resort town of Krajnska Gora and then over the high mountain pass of Vrsic. The vista from Vrsic is breathtaking, consisting of rugged grey alpine peaks and steep green valleys - a mountain paradise to rival any others. We descend to the village of Trenta, at the head of the Soca River Valley and continue to Bovec, a center for adventure and mountain sport enthusiasts. Overnight in Bovec.
Explore the waterfalls and the gorges of the Soca River. Once you have laid eyes on the unrealistic aquamarine color of this river and its changing character, it is easy to see why many people fall in love with it and have described it as the most beautiful river in Europe. Overnight in Bovec.
Drive to Kobarid, visit its award-winning museum (“Museum of Europe”,1993) dealing with the First World War generally and in particular, Slovenia’s role in it. (Ernest Hemingway’s novel “Farewell to Arms” is set in this time and place.) The last inland stop on our “Vienna to Venice” journey is at Lipica . Visit the stud farm of the famous white Lippizaner dancing horses. Finally, arrive at the Adriatic Sea in the afternoon and settle in to your new home, the coastal town of Piran. Piran’s old town center, including the beautifully preserved main square that partly opens out to the sea, is protected as a National Monument. Overnight Piran
Cruise by boat to the other coastal towns of Kopar, Izola and Portoroz. Explore each town’s unique character and enjoy traditional fish picnic lunch and local wine on the boat. Dip into the Adriatic Sea before our farewell dinner. Overnight Piran
Enjoy walking amongst the olive groves, vineyards, and villages where the homes all have red-tiled roofs. This is the Slovenian Karst area. Visit the caverns, stalactites and stalagmites of the Skocjan Caves, a natural area that UNESCO has identified as being worthy of designation as a World Natural Heritage Site. Return to Piran - by now you will understand why it is called “Slovenia’s Venice”. Spend time exploring its narrow cobblestone streets. Overnight Piran
Morning transfer to Venice . Extend your stay in Venice or fly home.