The Ultimate Croatian Epicurean Journey

A 15 day trip to Croatia
11 reviews

If you haven't experienced the renowned cuisine and wines of Croatia, you're in for an extraordinary treat! Highlights include: Truffle hunting and cooking class in Istria, tasting unusually delicious & rare oysters, considered one of the world's greatest seafood delicacies, dining at the best restaurants, wine tasting at Tomac winery, wine paring menu at Bibich Winery, & Tomic wine tasting at Hvar island.

General Information

Photos
A view of Old Market Square in Split, Croatia.
A view of the water from the Old City of Dubrovnik.
Up to 3 Top Croatian Specialists;Compete to Customize Your Perfect Trip
Detailed Itinerary

Places Visited 

Zagreb, Brtonigla, Rovinj, Pula, Zadar, Krka national park, Split, Hvar, Ston, Dubrovnik

Departure Dates 

The travel dates are customizable for this private tour. The recommended travel period is from mid-October to mid-November to coincide with truffle hunting season. This itinerary is based on a suggested start date of November 1.

Detailed Itinerary 

DAY 1 - ARRIVAL ZAGREB (Suggested start date: Nov 1, 2013)

Upon arrival to the airport, your driver will welcome you and take you to hotel Esplanade in Zagreb.
This iconic Croatian hotel, opened in 1925 as a refuge for passengers from the Orient Express, is located in the city center within walking distance to the key attractions.
Overnight hotel Esplanade Zagreb

DAY 2 - PRIVATE ZAGREB WALKING TOUR & WINE TASTING

Your first day will start with a privately guided walking tour of Zagreb. You can learn about Croatia’s capital while strolling the historical city center, starting at the romantic Upper Town.

The tour will take you to St. Stephen’s Cathedral, the most prominent landmark on the city’s skyline, then the Archbishop’s Palace, the oldest surviving building in Zagreb. The Stone Gate, which is the only surviving gateway to the Old City dating back to the 13th century, will then take you to the ancient part of the city – Gradec. This artsy historical area hosts all of the important museums in Zagreb.

Other tour highlights include a visit to the Viceroy’s Palace, Croatia’s president’s personal residence and government offices, and a visit to the Church of St. Mark, known for its distinctive roof of colored glazed tiles.

Late afternoon is reserved for a visit and wine tasting at the Tomac winery. Located on the Plesivica wine road, a mere half an hour from Zagreb, this well known winery has been in the family wine business for over 200 years. With production of 40,000 bottles a year Tomac is a boutique winery, yet known for the quality of their wines. They ferment most of their wines in oak casks in the traditional manner and the vineyard harbors an array of ancient indigenous grape varieties from the Plesivica wine region.

While best known in Croatia for sparkling wines, and excellent white wines, they are now making news with another method; Tomac Amfora is made using winemaking methods that date back 5,000 years.

Tasting includes 4 wine sorts and 2 sparkling wine sorts followed with homemade bread and cheese.

Transfer back to Zagreb in the afternoon.

Overnight hotel Esplanade Zagreb

DAY 3 - ZAGREB – ISTRIA BRTONIGLA

To start your adventure, we will send our rent-a-car agent to deliver your vehicle to the hotel so you can start your self-drive to the town of Brtonigla in the northern Croatian coastal region, Istria.

The Istrian peninsula is considered an epicure heaven due to its rich gastronomy and wine offer. The inland Istria resembles Tuscany, with medieval hilltop towns, numerous acres of vineyards and olive groves.

You will be accommodated in the awarded San Rocco Hotel, proclaimed the best family hotel in Croatia for the last four years.

After you have checked-in to the hotel, you may decide to explore Brtonigla independently, before we invite you for dinner at the San Rocco property. The San Rocco restaurant, drawn by the space where once the family's Malvasia and Terrano wines were produced offers a vast gastronomic array based mainly on typical seasonal specialties, such as fresh locally caught fish, truffles, mushrooms, ham, game and other typical Istrian specialties. This restaurant is included in some of the most important national and international gastronomy guides such as Veronelli, Gault Millan, Magnar Ben... Enjoy your four course dinner paired with special family produced wines.

Overnight San Rocco Hotel, Brtonigla

DAY 4 - INNLAND ISTRIA WITH PRIVATE TRUFFLE HUNTING DEMONSTRATION

One of the core reasons Istria is making news in the culinary world is the Istrian truffle and the Motovun Forest in the Livade town in Istria, which is rich in this rare delicacy. Today, you have the opportunity to take part in a private truffle hunting demonstration.

Our guide and driver will meet you at the hotel and take you to the town of Livade. Upon arrival you will meet a local farmer and his truffle hunting dogs. They will do a special demonstration of truffle hunting for you where you will learn how truffles are harvested and in company of the farmer and dogs you will also have the chance to try your luck in finding truffles yourself.

All of this talk of truffles will leave you hungry but not for long; you will enjoy a 3 course truffle menu at the famous truffle restaurant Zigante.

Afternoon highlight is a privately guided walking tour of Motovun, one of the most picturesque Istrian hilltop towns, made famous by its namesake film festival, held here each summer.

Evening at leisure.
Overnight San Rocco Hotel, Brtonigla

DAY 5 - BRTONIGLA (ISTRIA) – ROVINJ (ISTRIA)

Today you will be chauffeured from Brtonigla to the coastal gem town Rovinj. Considered one of the most beautiful Istrian coastal towns due to its unique appearance, Rovinj is surrounded by 14 islands, islets and rocks. The distinctive Venetian architecture and warm colors along the town’s narrow alleys and streets give Rovinj a very romantic and almost mysterious atmosphere.

During your stay in Rovinj you will enjoy the accommodations at the luxury Villa Tuttorotto hotel. Among best small hotels in Croatia, Villa Tuttorotto has only a handful of exquisite rooms all of which offer stunning views of the Adriatic Sea and the nearby island of St. Catherine. The luxury here is abundant: the teak floors, lavish Italian furnishings, bathrooms lined with antique marble, hand-made rugs, artisan-carved interiors, museum quality antiques, or the indigenous paintings adorning the walls, every detail has been carefully and beautifully designed.

After you have checked-in hotel Villa Tuttorotto, a private guide will take you for an orientation tour of the city.

Evening at leisure.
Overnight Villa Tuttorotto, Rovinj

DAY 6 - PULA SIGHTSEEING & STANCIJA 1907 COOKING CLASS

Day six is reserved for a day trip to Pula, the largest Istrian city which has been its administrative center since ancient Roman times. The history will reveal itself during a privately guided walking tour of Pula including its most famous landmark; the Pula amphitheatre. One of six of the largest surviving Roman amphitheaters in the world, it was once the scene of bloody gladiator fights. Today it is Pula’s main cultural venue and is known for its music and film festivals.

The historic tour highlights include the Hercules Gate, the 13th century Church of St. Francis and Franciscan monastery. As you descend towards the waterfront, you will come across the Basilica of St. Mary of Formosa. Today all that remains are fragments of the once large basilica of Byzantine design. Optional is visit to the Archaeological Museum of Istria, which contains several exhibits from Neolithic times to the medieval period of objects found in Pula and the surrounding areas.

After a morning full of history and sights, it is time to learn about Istrian cuisine. The afternoon will be spent with the proprietor of the completely renovated 100 year old traditional Istrian residence, “Stancija 1904”. Mrs. Drazenka, the proprietor, will be your host on this agricultural estate located in the town of Smoljanci near Kanfanar. Placed in peaceful and idyllic surroundings, the estate covers a large area of carefully tended gardens and old trees.

Under the guidance of Mrs. Drazenka, you will prepare a four course light menu using only local ingredients and following traditional receipts. The menu will depend on the season, but it might just look like this:

- Welcome aperitif of traditional Istrian brandy
- Cold appetizer: sheep or beef fringe OR cold fish and sheep cheese
- Warm appetizer: Fritaja with asparagus and prosciutto OR with sausages OR with black/white truffles
- Pasta making: prepared in a wished sauce (fresh truffles, herbs, fish stew or meat)
- Dessert: Krostule or Fritule, figs and fringe, fruits

Return to Rovinj in the early evening hours.
Overnight Villa Tuttorotto, Rovinj

DAY 7 - ROVINJ – ZADAR

It is time to explore the Croatian Dalmatian coast so you will self drive from Rovinj to Zadar, the central coastal city of Northern Dalmatian coast.

You will be accommodated in the luxury boutique hotel Bastion in Zadar, conveniently located in walking distance to all the attractions. Upon your check in and refreshment, you will take a privately guided tour of this historic city.

A very ancient town, standing on an almost-isle with much of the old town walls still intact, Zadar has many remarkable quarters and monuments just waiting for you to discover. Starting with city central - the Roman quarter which is home of the Forum and the 9th century AD Church of St. Donat built by the Byzantine Emperor Constantine - you will work your way to Zadar’s more recent sights; the Sea Organ and the Installation Greetings to the Sun.

“It must be the most beautiful sunset in the world!” mumbled Alfred Hitschcock while sitting on Zadar’s waterfront 43 years ago.

Overnight hotel Bastion, Zadar

DAY 8 - KRKA NATIONAL PARK & GASTRONOMICAL EXCITE

This morning after you have met your guide and driver at the hotel, you will embark on a discovery journey - a full day guided tour to the Krka National Park.

One of seven National Parks in Croatia, Krka National Park is known for the gorgeous seven travertine waterfalls of the Krka River. The stunning panorama includes a tiny island in the middle of the lake Visovac, between two waterfalls, home to a working Franciscan monastery with a very long history. The Krka Monastery is located in the area of Kistanje, at the point where the canyon widens. Let your expert guide show you the most interesting routes of this magnificent natural heritage.
Krka National Park is very rich in flora and fauna, and among others home to four endangered European species; greater horsehoe bat, wolf, otter and wild cat. The river is rich in shellfish, freshwater and saltwater fish which are among the core menu items found in the local restaurants.

You will continue the day with a visit to the nearby Bibich winery in Skradin. The BIBICH winery tasting rooms is a “must visit” stop along the wine roads of Croatia. Alen Bibich, proprietor and winemaker will welcome you with a selection of some exquisite wines paired with delightful local specialties prepared by Alen’s wife Vesna who is a culinary genius.

After the days exciting events, you will be transferred back to Zadar in the early evening hours.

Overnight hotel Bastion, Zadar

DAY 9 - ZADAR – SPLIT

After breakfast, check out and start your short self-drive to Split, the largest city in Middle Dalmatia and central nautical point for the numerous nearby islands. This is the last stretch of the tour that includes you driving; the rest of the trip is chauffeured.

While in Split, you will be staying at the luxury boutique hotel Vestibul Palace located in the heart of the city, the historic core. The hotel was created by merging three palaces from different time periods (Roman, Gothic and Renaissance) together into a mix of modern luxury and antique class.

After you check in and refresh, a guide will meet you to take you on a private tour of this eternally young city. The city core, Diocletian’s Palace, is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Many valuable historic monuments of culture are located outside the walls of Diocletian's Palace which you will have the chance to explore with your private guide.

Overnight hotel Vestibul Palace, Split

DAY 10 - SPLIT – HVAR ISLAND

In the earlier morning hours, check-out hotel Vestibul and meet your guide and driver for a short transfer to Split port, where you will catch a ferry to Hvar Island. While its history dates back to 4th Century BC, Hvar is now one of the most beautiful and recommended destinations on the Dalmatian coast.

The ferry will take you to Stari Grad town on the island of Hvar. While the luggage is being taken care of by the driver, you will enjoy a private tour of this authentic Venetian port town which charms with the 17th-century St. Stephen’s church and the Bianchini Palace which now houses a Nautical Museum including finds from the original Greek settlement of Pharos.

Hvar island is known not only for it’s exceptional beauty but also for great wines, thus the day will proceed with a wine tasting in the Tomic winery in Jelsa. The Tomic family is one of the most well known wine producers in Croatia. You will enjoy a private tasting of wine and locally-produced olive oil.

To discover some of the islands cuisine, for lunch we will take you to a small settlement Milna, to a family run restaurant Lambik. The three course lunch will be made by Mate Tudor and his wife Miahela, the owners and food enthusiasts extraordinaire, whose kitchen philosophy is to use only fresh locally sourced ingredients combined with their unique cooking style. The restaurant, surrounded by olive trees, offers a beautiful nature panorama and a memorable experience.

After lunch, you will continue the journey to the town of Hvar, where you will settle in the hotel Adriana, Hvar’s leading SPA boutique hotel, and venture out to explore this town famous for yachting and nightlife along the historic sites.

Overnight hotel Adriana, Hvar

DAY 11 - HVAR DAY AT LEISURE

Spend the day at leisure on Hvar with overnight at the hotel Adriana.

DAY 12 - HVAR – STON – DUBROVNIK

This morning after you check out, meet your driver in the hotel lobby for your transfer to Dubrovnik. On the way, you will stop at the Peljesac peninsula, one of the best known Croatian wine regions, as well as the best oysters in Dalmatia - found in the town of Ston.

The small town Ston is where Ostrea edulis, a rare and high quality oyster is farmed in the Mali Ston Bay. This type of oyster is extinct in other areas of the world and has survived only in Morocco and Mali Ston Bay, in sea of the highest purity with the ideal proportion of salt and fresh water. Experts consider them one of the greatest seafood delicacies in the world.

Enjoy a private boat tour to the oyster banks of Mali Ston followed by oyster tasting -- a deliciously special experience!

Continue to Dubrovnik and check in at the hotel Villa Dubrovnik. Villa Dubrovnik’s 56 limited luxury residential units overlook the turquoise Adriatic Sea and the Old City of Dubrovnik. For your convenience daily speedboat transfers into the Old City harbor are provided along Villa’s SPA wellness & beauty facilities with individualized treatments, rooftop SkyBar lounger with memorable vista of Dubrovnik and the a la carte Mediterranean genuine fresco-cuisine in restaurants Pjerin and Giardino.

Overnight Villa Dubrovnik, Dubrovnik

DAY 13 - DUBROVNIK & KONAVLE

Start the day with a privately guided walking tour of the UNESCO World Heritage Site, Dubrovnik Old Town. This unique coastal town was made famous by its remarkable beauty yet it will pull you in with its amazing history and numerous monuments and sites. The view from the City Walls is unforgettable, thus don’t forget to pack your camera.

After the Dubrovnik walking tour, accompanied by your guide, meet your driver for a transfer to Konavle, Croatia’s most southern region.

First stop is Niko Karaman’s winery. Niko Karaman is a local enologist who is quickly making a name for his small winery based on the sumptuous dry wines and exquisite sweet Prosek. While listening to Niko’s presentation of Prosek production you will enjoy the marvelous taste of his Proseka dessert wine that was announced to be the world’s best desert wine in 2009.

Your next stop will be Divanovic flour mill. In companionship of Mr. Ivo Divanovic, you will visit a traditional water-mill and learn about the importance of the mills in the history of this area as well as get to see how flour used to be made back in the day.

This Konavle wine tour will end with a late lunch in Konavle’s most renowned restaurant Konavoski Dvori. The restaurant is settled in an old mill in the lush green valley of Konavle, among centuries old trees and on the banks of a river stream. The region cuisine is known for excellent smoked ham, olive oil preserved cheese, young lamb and veal baked under the iron bell, home-baked bread, grilled trout and other specialties – all of which this restaurant is renowned for.

The scenic drive back to Dubrovnik to follow in the late afternoon hours.

Overnight Villa Dubrovnik, Dubrovnik

DAY 14 - DUBROVNIK DAY AT LEISURE

Spend the day at leisure by relaxing at the hotel’s pampering SPA and wellness oasis, strolling the narrow streets of Dubrovnik Old Town, basking in the sun in some of the numerous outside coffee bars or a day tour to one of the nearby islands.

Overnight Villa Dubrovnik, Dubrovnik

DAY 15 -DUBROVNIK DEPARTURE

Depending on your flight onward, meet your driver for a private transfer to Dubrovnik airport.

Price

What's Included 

14 nights of hotel stays including breakfast, airport transfers, chauffeured daily tours as per itinerary, car rental as per itinerary, private guided tours as per itinerary, wine tasting and five gourmet meals as per itinerary.

 

What's Not Included 

International airfare.

Price 

The price will vary depending on travel dates.