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Timeless Landscapes of Slovenia and Croatia

Autumn in the Balkans

Imagine stepping into a storybook where every scene is a work of art. That is precisely what awaits you in Slovenia and Croatia—two tiny, enchanting photogenic countries that embody “Europe in miniature.”

Slovenia, slightly smaller than New Jersey, and Croatia, a bit smaller than West Virginia, offer landscapes of ineffable beauty. Reasons to travel here are many as the region is ridiculously pretty! Rugged mountains, glacial lakes, alpine meadows, plunging waterfalls, colorful forests, breathtaking vistas and fairytale architecture await enthusiastic photographers.

slovenia autumn esenko 043 - slovenia

Situated at the heart of the Adriatic, these two countries share a common border, now passport-free due to Croatia’s recent membership in the Schengen zone. Surrounded by Austria, Hungary, Italy, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Montenegro, and Serbia, they embody an intriguing myriad of cultures and cuisines.

This is where the Alps meet the Mediterranean—a collision of rugged peaks and sun-kissed shores, at the nexus of four major European biomes—Alpine, Mediterranean, Pannonian lowlands, and Dinarides mountains providing a symphony of diverse landscapes.

These two countries boast some of the highest levels of biodiversity in the European Union. Thirteen percent of their combined territory is protected through nature parks, reserves, and natural monuments. Forests blanket almost 50 percent of the land—habitat for both wildlife and nature photographers alike.

231021 Z1015223 Enhanced NR 1 - slovenia

We start in Slovenia’s historic capital Ljubljana. From Roman ruins to baroque palaces, the pedestrian-only historic city center provides imagery of its past as well as today’s café culture, vibrant riverfront, and bustling markets.

Our group photographs Lake Bled and its iconic church on Bled Island. Lake Bled is one of the most popular places to visit in Slovenia and is one of the most beautiful spots in the whole country. If ever there was a picture postcard setting, this is it!

With a photogenic backdrop of the Julian Alps, we capture the reflective tranquil beauty of Lake Bohinj—Slovenia’s largest lake—with plenty of time to soak in the dramatic fall-colored alpine surroundings. And we travel Slovenia’s pastoral scenic byways to shoot picturesque villages replete with traditional hayracks—often artistically designed, handcrafted, and regarded as a distinctive form of Slovene architecture.

croatia plitvice esenko 001 - slovenia

We cross the border and reach one of Croatia’s most beautiful locations—Plitvice Lakes National Park—where we spend two days photographing its 16 cascading emerald green lakes and 90 dramatic waterfalls in this incredible natural treasure. The park, the largest in Croatia, has been a UNESCO World Heritage Site since 1979 and within the first few moments of our arrival it is easy to understand why.

So, pack your camera, lace up your hiking boots, and get ready to explore Europe’s “miniature” wonderland. Slovenia and Croatia await, inviting you to capture their beauty and immerse yourself in their timeless charm.

Tour Itinerary

Day 1
Depart from home.

Day 2 (October 12, 2025)
Arrive in Ljubljana, Slovenia airport and transfer to our hotel in Slovenia’s Old Town. We take an afternoon photo walk in the nearby historic pedestrian area of the city followed by dinner at one of the excellent nearby restaurants. (D)

Day 3
Today is weather dependent. With predicted fair weather we are up early to reach a photogenic viewpoint to shoot one of Slovenia's iconic hilltop churches and the surrounding landscape. Later in the afternoon we will explore Ljubljana's Old Town. With “not-so-fair weather” we stay in town and wander the charming streets of the old city—camera in hand—and capture the delights of Ljubljana including its dominating castle, baroque churches, diverse architectural details, the bustling marketplace, street artists and the cafes crowding the Ljubljanica River. (BLD)

Days 4-5
Our planned itinerary brings us to the Soča River Valley in the western Julian Alps that border Italy. The Soča is a unique turquoise/emerald waterway that cuts through a rugged maze of narrow gorges sculpted by the river, its whitewater rapids and associated alpine springs and waterfalls.

It’s hard to imagine that this land of aquamarine river rapids and dense forest was once the site of WWI’s Isonzo Front, where 1.7 million soldiers died. This was the biggest mountain battle in WWI between Italy and Austro-Hungarian empire. Here, Ernest Hemingway, an 18-year-old ambulance driver for the American Red Cross, was struck by a mortar shell while serving on the Italian front. His novel, Farewell to Arms—half fiction, half biography—is based on his experience here.

With high elevation road conditions permitting, we drive up to the highest mountain road in Slovenia (almost 7,000ft) where we photograph sunset over the Alps. The mountain views are spectacular. During our ascent, mountainsides of glowing yellow larch trees tempt our cameras. (BLD)

Days 6-8
Three days photographing the picturesque Julian Alps featuring extensive landscape photography of the fall-colored palette reflected in beautiful Lake Bled. At what is, perhaps, the most beautiful scenic location in Slovenia, our attention turns to Bled Island surrounded by the tranquil mountain lake. The 17th-century baroque Church of the Assumption crowns the little island, its bell tower and red shingled roof juxtaposed against these rugged picturesque mountains. The impressive and highly photogenic 11th-century Bled Castle is perched on a sheer 430-foot-high cliff that soars up from the lake. Autumn brings a blaze of color to its surrounding forest. The strategic position of this medieval fortress was once a key stronghold for Napoleon.

Our second spectacular glacial lake is Bohinj—the largest lake in Slovenia. This is another Slovenian picture postcard location where the oranges from beeches and the golden yellows from larches and birches brighten the landscape. Here, charming wooden houses and iconic hayracks compete with fall colors for pixels in our cameras. We have plenty of time to explore this intensely photogenic area to capture that explosion of color in a wide variety of natural landscapes and bucolic scenes of rural life. (BLD)

Days 9-11
We depart Slovenia and enter Croatia where we reach one of Croatia’s most beautiful locations—Plitvice Lakes National Park. We spend these three days photographing the lakes, waterfalls, and caves in this incredible natural treasure. The park, the largest in Croatia, has been a UNESCO World Heritage Site since 1979. This forested park is dotted with 16 improbable turquoise-blue lakes, waterfalls, limestone canyons, and caves carved over thousands of years. The distinctive colors of these lakes range from azure blue to green depending on mineral content and light conditions. The park’s paths are wooden walkways suspended right over the lakes, curving along the clear water, winding around rocky outcroppings, and past the park’s many waterfalls. We plan to be on site in the late afternoon to make the most of the play of golden light and reflections on the water. (BLD)

Day 12 (October 22)
Morning photography in the park, flight schedules permitting. Transfer to the Zagreb, Croatia airport (2 hours) for flights home. A transfer to Ljubljana, Slovenia airport is also possible (4 hours). Please check with us before booking flights. (B)

Tour Details

Oct 11 2025 – Oct 22 2025
Register Now
Fee: $8,595 from Ljubljana, Slovenia
Deposit: $2,000
Limit: 12
Activity Level: Moderate
Single Supplement: $600

Tour Highlights

  • Photograph iconic national park landscapes in Slovenia and Croatia
  • Capture breathtaking mountain landscapes with reflective alpine lakes
  • Trip timed for peak autumn—when the light is ideal, and the larch trees blaze in golden splendor
  • Explore during the peaceful interlude between bustling tourist seasons
  • Enjoy the warm hospitality and wonderful cuisine of these tiny Central European nations
  • Includes all meals, lodging, ground transportation, entrance fees, photo guide and instruction

Tour Details

Oct 11 2025 – Oct 22 2025
Register Now
Fee: $8,595 from Ljubljana, Slovenia
Deposit: $2,000
Limit: 12
Activity Level: Moderate
Single Supplement: $600

Imagine stepping into a storybook where every scene is a work of art. That is precisely what awaits you in Slovenia and Croatia—two tiny, enchanting photogenic countries that embody “Europe in miniature.”

Slovenia, slightly smaller than New Jersey, and Croatia, a bit smaller than West Virginia, offer landscapes of ineffable beauty. Reasons to travel here are many as the region is ridiculously pretty! Rugged mountains, glacial lakes, alpine meadows, plunging waterfalls, colorful forests, breathtaking vistas and fairytale architecture await enthusiastic photographers.

slovenia autumn esenko 043 - slovenia

Situated at the heart of the Adriatic, these two countries share a common border, now passport-free due to Croatia’s recent membership in the Schengen zone. Surrounded by Austria, Hungary, Italy, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Montenegro, and Serbia, they embody an intriguing myriad of cultures and cuisines.

This is where the Alps meet the Mediterranean—a collision of rugged peaks and sun-kissed shores, at the nexus of four major European biomes—Alpine, Mediterranean, Pannonian lowlands, and Dinarides mountains providing a symphony of diverse landscapes.

These two countries boast some of the highest levels of biodiversity in the European Union. Thirteen percent of their combined territory is protected through nature parks, reserves, and natural monuments. Forests blanket almost 50 percent of the land—habitat for both wildlife and nature photographers alike.

231021 Z1015223 Enhanced NR 1 - slovenia

We start in Slovenia’s historic capital Ljubljana. From Roman ruins to baroque palaces, the pedestrian-only historic city center provides imagery of its past as well as today’s café culture, vibrant riverfront, and bustling markets.

Our group photographs Lake Bled and its iconic church on Bled Island. Lake Bled is one of the most popular places to visit in Slovenia and is one of the most beautiful spots in the whole country. If ever there was a picture postcard setting, this is it!

With a photogenic backdrop of the Julian Alps, we capture the reflective tranquil beauty of Lake Bohinj—Slovenia’s largest lake—with plenty of time to soak in the dramatic fall-colored alpine surroundings. And we travel Slovenia’s pastoral scenic byways to shoot picturesque villages replete with traditional hayracks—often artistically designed, handcrafted, and regarded as a distinctive form of Slovene architecture.

croatia plitvice esenko 001 - slovenia

We cross the border and reach one of Croatia’s most beautiful locations—Plitvice Lakes National Park—where we spend two days photographing its 16 cascading emerald green lakes and 90 dramatic waterfalls in this incredible natural treasure. The park, the largest in Croatia, has been a UNESCO World Heritage Site since 1979 and within the first few moments of our arrival it is easy to understand why.

So, pack your camera, lace up your hiking boots, and get ready to explore Europe’s “miniature” wonderland. Slovenia and Croatia await, inviting you to capture their beauty and immerse yourself in their timeless charm.

Tour Itinerary

Day 1
Depart from home.

Day 2 (October 12, 2025)
Arrive in Ljubljana, Slovenia airport and transfer to our hotel in Slovenia’s Old Town. We take an afternoon photo walk in the nearby historic pedestrian area of the city followed by dinner at one of the excellent nearby restaurants. (D)

Day 3
Today is weather dependent. With predicted fair weather we are up early to reach a photogenic viewpoint to shoot one of Slovenia’s iconic hilltop churches and the surrounding landscape. Later in the afternoon we will explore Ljubljana’s Old Town. With “not-so-fair weather” we stay in town and wander the charming streets of the old city—camera in hand—and capture the delights of Ljubljana including its dominating castle, baroque churches, diverse architectural details, the bustling marketplace, street artists and the cafes crowding the Ljubljanica River. (BLD)

Days 4-5
Our planned itinerary brings us to the Soča River Valley in the western Julian Alps that border Italy. The Soča is a unique turquoise/emerald waterway that cuts through a rugged maze of narrow gorges sculpted by the river, its whitewater rapids and associated alpine springs and waterfalls.

It’s hard to imagine that this land of aquamarine river rapids and dense forest was once the site of WWI’s Isonzo Front, where 1.7 million soldiers died. This was the biggest mountain battle in WWI between Italy and Austro-Hungarian empire. Here, Ernest Hemingway, an 18-year-old ambulance driver for the American Red Cross, was struck by a mortar shell while serving on the Italian front. His novel, Farewell to Arms—half fiction, half biography—is based on his experience here.

With high elevation road conditions permitting, we drive up to the highest mountain road in Slovenia (almost 7,000ft) where we photograph sunset over the Alps. The mountain views are spectacular. During our ascent, mountainsides of glowing yellow larch trees tempt our cameras. (BLD)

Days 6-8
Three days photographing the picturesque Julian Alps featuring extensive landscape photography of the fall-colored palette reflected in beautiful Lake Bled. At what is, perhaps, the most beautiful scenic location in Slovenia, our attention turns to Bled Island surrounded by the tranquil mountain lake. The 17th-century baroque Church of the Assumption crowns the little island, its bell tower and red shingled roof juxtaposed against these rugged picturesque mountains. The impressive and highly photogenic 11th-century Bled Castle is perched on a sheer 430-foot-high cliff that soars up from the lake. Autumn brings a blaze of color to its surrounding forest. The strategic position of this medieval fortress was once a key stronghold for Napoleon.

Our second spectacular glacial lake is Bohinj—the largest lake in Slovenia. This is another Slovenian picture postcard location where the oranges from beeches and the golden yellows from larches and birches brighten the landscape. Here, charming wooden houses and iconic hayracks compete with fall colors for pixels in our cameras. We have plenty of time to explore this intensely photogenic area to capture that explosion of color in a wide variety of natural landscapes and bucolic scenes of rural life. (BLD)

Days 9-11
We depart Slovenia and enter Croatia where we reach one of Croatia’s most beautiful locations—Plitvice Lakes National Park. We spend these three days photographing the lakes, waterfalls, and caves in this incredible natural treasure. The park, the largest in Croatia, has been a UNESCO World Heritage Site since 1979. This forested park is dotted with 16 improbable turquoise-blue lakes, waterfalls, limestone canyons, and caves carved over thousands of years. The distinctive colors of these lakes range from azure blue to green depending on mineral content and light conditions. The park’s paths are wooden walkways suspended right over the lakes, curving along the clear water, winding around rocky outcroppings, and past the park’s many waterfalls. We plan to be on site in the late afternoon to make the most of the play of golden light and reflections on the water. (BLD)

Day 12 (October 22)
Morning photography in the park, flight schedules permitting. Transfer to the Zagreb, Croatia airport (2 hours) for flights home. A transfer to Ljubljana, Slovenia airport is also possible (4 hours). Please check with us before booking flights. (B)

Tour Highlights

  • Photograph iconic national park landscapes in Slovenia and Croatia
  • Capture breathtaking mountain landscapes with reflective alpine lakes
  • Trip timed for peak autumn—when the light is ideal, and the larch trees blaze in golden splendor
  • Explore during the peaceful interlude between bustling tourist seasons
  • Enjoy the warm hospitality and wonderful cuisine of these tiny Central European nations
  • Includes all meals, lodging, ground transportation, entrance fees, photo guide and instruction

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Van Os Photo Safaris uses the information you provide to contact you about our upcoming tours, special offers, and trip reports. You may unsubscribe from these communications at any time.
For more information, check out our Privacy Policy.