Jewels of the Adriatic Sea: Croatia and Italy Tour

A 8 day trip to Croatia & Italy 
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The old world charm of Venice and the Istria Peninsula will sparkle like precious gems during your Italy itinerary along the shores of the Adriatic Sea.  Walk in the footsteps of the Roman Empire and in the wake of the Venetian Republic as you delight in a customizable experience of the photogenic woodlands and the crystal clear turquoise of the Adriatic. Ride a gondola along narrow canals and then stroll down the cobbled lanes of a medieval hilltop fortress. Sip wine from a family estate and then discover the enchanting gold mosaics of St. Mark’s Cathedral. Unveil the treasures of the Adriatic Sea found around Venice and Croatia with a week that will bring you to overflowing with delight. For more Italy itineraries, click here for inspiration as you perfect your own vacation along the Adriatic.

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General Information

Photos
Romeo and Juliet balcony in Verona.
Sailing is a popular activity in Croatia because of its stunning coastline.
Detailed Itinerary

Places Visited 

Venice, Verona, Rovinj, Pula, Groznjan, Momjan, Pajin, Opatija, Lungomare

Departure Dates 

Departure dates are flexible and customizable for private departures.

Detailed Itinerary 

Day 1: Venice – Arrive in Charming Venice and Cruise on the Grand Canal

The grand city of Venice still calls back to the eponymous Republic known for its masquerades and feasts, shimmering glasswork and romantic gondola rides through the canals. The labyrinthine cobbled streets lead to more than 400 arched bridges that connect the nearly 120 small islands that create the cityscape. St. Mark’s Campanile crowns the elegant skyline of the historical city at more than 320 feet tall, shining with a golden weathervane that depicts archangel Gabriel. Your flight will land at Venice Marco Polo Airport, where your private transfer will greet you upon your arrival.

The city opens along the Grand Canal where millions of wooden plinths help support the famous marble and stone structures found around the lagoon. You will step into a private boat to begin your introduction to the legendary city as the sunlight washes over the two-mile stretch of the Grand Canal, the island’s main highway while vaporettos glide past and speedboats cast whitewater in their wake. Your guide will welcome you aboard and highlight the iconic gondolas as they drift down the narrow canals with private boats moored against the cobbled pathways.

You will pass the Palazzo Corner della Ca’ Grande, which offers a prime example of the city’s architectural aesthetic during the High Renaissance in the 16th century. The structure was designed to impress passersby and visitors with elaborate Ionic columns on the first floor and Corinthian columns on the second story. Your guide will lead you to the private dock that connects to your luxurious hotel after the tour. The splendors of your accommodation will emanate from the preserved historical charm of aristocratic Venice now blended with the modern amenities.

What’s Included: accommodation, airport transfer, tour

Day 2: Venice – Discover Architecture and Culture with a Tour and Gondola Ride

The sunlight of the morning will wash over the Istrian marble facades and glint on the display of Venetian masks that fill the windows of an artisan shop. The corner bars open their doors to the aroma of fresh espresso as the Rialto Market brims with fishmongers calling to passersby to showcase their marlin, tuna, or ruby prawns. Your guide will greet you in your hotel lobby after breakfast eager to lead you through the marvelous history of the former Republic, beginning in idyllic St. Mark’s Square. The golden bulbous domes of St. Mark’s Basilica soar more than 140 feet above the cobblestones as the church was erected in the 9th century to house the sacred relics snuck out of Alexandria, Egypt.

Gold-leaf mosaics decorate the half-dome doorways along the façade while the interior contains hints of frankincense and myrrh as they linger beneath the 85,000 square feet of mosaics. The sunlight pierces the upper windows and causes the gold frames to glint. The ethereal ambiance accentuates the dramatic supports of the 500 columns with detailed capitals taken from ancient Byzantium. Crusaders in the 13th century returned with treasures from Constantinople, including relics, chalices, and the golden altarpiece as part of the Basilica’s refurbishment. Your guide will then bring you to the Pala d’Oro, the altar screen crafted out of gold and studded with 1,300 pearls, 300 emeralds, and 300 sapphires among the rubies and topazes. After exploring the Doge’s Palace and the surrounding area, you will take to the narrow, hidden canals of the city on a private gondola.

What’s Included: accommodation, tour, breakfast

Day 3: Venice – Enjoy Historical Verona on a Full Day Guided Tour

The gondolas bring the canals to life in the morning light. Nearby, the produce stalls in the Rialto Market create pyramids of bright figs and juicy apples while bakeries fill the lanes with the aromas of focaccia Veneziana, a breakfast pastry that is the perfect accompaniment to a refreshing espresso. Your guide will greet you at your hotel and escort you across the Grand Canal to a car that will take you to the enchanting city of Verona. The preserved town walls continue to protect the historical center as boutique shops offer insight into the chic fashion of the day through their elegant window displays.

Cafes in the Piazza delle Erbe set out tables and chairs for patrons to watch passersby and enjoy the charms hidden in the surrounding 14th-century architecture. The fountain at the heart of the piazza was erected in the late 1300s and supports a 4th-century Roman sculpture. Visitors to the square find the white marble column decorated with St. Mark’s Lion along the western edges mesmerizing, and upon entering the walled city, you can hear the trickling water from the fountain in Piazza Bra. The archways of the preserved 1st-century Colosseum create the dramatic walls that rise more than 100 feet above the cobblestones.

The arena can hold up to 30,000 spectators and remains in use during the popular opera festival in the summer. You can take your time and stroll along the vibrant and seductive streets of Verona, basking in the passing aromas of cappuccino and pastries made of white dough stuffed with dark chocolate. You will soon reach the tunnel that leads into the celebrated home the tragic heroin in William Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet. Notes addressed to Juliet line the archway that leads into the courtyard as a bronze statue shimmers in the sunlight against the surrounding vines that drape over the walls and along the rails of the balcony.

What’s Included: accommodation, tour, breakfast

Day 4: Rovinj – Transfer to Gorgeous Croatia for a Welcoming Tour of Rovinj

The scent of baicoli, buttery cookies, accompanies the decadent aroma of frothy cappuccino and will prove nearly irresistible. The sunlight will shine over the golden spires of St. Mark’s Square as the gondolas return to the canals with gondoliers passing beneath the arching bridges. Your private transfer will escort you from the hotel’s private dock to the banks of the Grand Canal, and you will board a private car bound for Rovinj, Croatia. The landscape turns from the shimmering waters of the lagoon to the lush woodlands and towering granite mountain peaks in the distance.

You will soon cross the border into Slovenia, returning to the gorgeous turquoise glow of the Adriatic Sea. The influence of the Venetian Republic remains visible on sporadic towns that dot the coastline as you venture into Croatia, culminating in the picturesque architecture and inviting ambiance of Rovinj, a jewel on the Istrian Peninsula. Fishing ships wade in the port after a morning scouring the waters of the Adriatic as wooded hills border the edges of the historical town.

Cobbled lanes lead to public squares, and the silhouettes of the 14 islands found along the archipelago are visible from shore. The city began as an island before the Venetians overtook the town in the late 18th century, and the tight streets and alleys turn into stairways that have been shaped and smoothed by the centuries. Cafes place tables and chairs along the walkway, making you feel as though you have returned to the heart of Venice. The skyline resembles that of St. Mark’s Square, crowned by the 17th-century St. Euphemia Church, which stands 200 feet tall.

What’s Included: accommodation, transfer, tour, breakfast

Day 5: Rovinj – Relish Venetian and Roman History in the Croatian Town of Pula 

In the morning, you will be able to hear the quiet waters of the cove lapping against the pebbled shoreline. Nearby, the garden will be blooming with hydrangeas and roses amidst the lingering semi-sweet scent of the Adriatic Sea. The doors to the neighborhood bakeries open in the heart of old town and bring the scent of fritule, a pastry with hints of raisins and lemon zest. The display cases offer images of intricate chocolate cakes and other traditional sweets. After breakfast, your guide will escort you to nearby Pula, the largest town on the Istrian Peninsula, which offers more than three millennia of history. Visions of ancient Rome will pass before your eyes as you wander the historical city center.

The preserved amphitheater at the heart of town dominates the skyline. The 1st-century oval design was crafted out of local limestone and could hold up to 20,000 spectators. Fragments of an overhead canopy remain and offer insight into the secure network that helped protect patrons from the sun. Rounded stones and smooth seats continue to look onto the stage 2,000 years after the structure was erected. The Triumphal Arch of the Sergii was erected between 27 and 29 BC to commemorate the Sergii family who fought on the side of Octavian and friezes of cupids and garlands frame the Roman inscription.

What’s Included: accommodation, tour, breakfast

Day 6: Rovinj – Delight in a Wine and Olive Oil Tour near Groznjan and Momjan

The aroma of the sea will drift past your suite in the morning while the scent of thinly rolled dough with lemon rinds, known as krostule, will fill the dining room of the hotel. The cafes along the heart of the historical city offer fresh espresso while at home, locals brew the strong flavors of Turkish coffee. Your guide will greet you at your hotel after breakfast and lead you inland to experience the gastronomy of the Istrian Peninsula. While the coastline favors delectable marlin and prawns that shimmer with ruby hues, the countryside will glow emerald with the leaves of olive orchards and lush vineyards.

Stop in the hilltop village of Groznjan to enjoy the picturesque setting and 12th-century architecture. The Venetians erected a fortress on the hillsides in the 14th century by creating a system of ramparts and gates. Musicians flavor the town with hints of classical notes or experimental sounds connected to the Jeunesses Musicales International that opened in the late 1960s. Concerts and recitals echo off the stone in the leafy squares around the historic castle. You continue to the village of Momjan to meet with the vintner of a local winery.

The historic estate once provided wines to the Austro-Hungarian aristocracy and the vines spread across the terraces and away from the vintage villa. The sunlight and altitude of more than 900 feet above sea level add to the distinctive flavors produced in the region. In the tasting room, your guide will pour a sample of a traditional Istarska malvazija that has been aged in oak barrels for 12 months. The golden hue accentuates the aroma of vanilla and acacia, giving way to full body on your palate.

What’s Included: accommodation, tour, breakfast

Day 7: Rovinj – Relax in the Enchanting Beauty of Croatia with a Day at Leisure

Croatians take their coffee as a sign of good times and a celebratory life, as apparent in the way locals linger in the cafes around Rovinj throughout the day. They bask in the sea breeze that drifts over the pebbled beaches and enjoy the sunlight washing over the cobblestones of Marsala Tita Square. After breakfast, the day is yours to explore and discover Rovinj or the greater Istrian Peninsula at your preferred pace, taking to town of Pajin to view the medieval Castle or opting to stroll along the famous seaside promenade at Lungomare. Opatija was once an elite seaside resort for nobles of the Austro-Hungarian Empire while the Belle-Époque villas continue to pepper the coastline and are found amongst the forested hills.

The neighborhood of Volosko overlooks the Kvarner coastline with roots as a prosperous fishing village. Boats continue to wade in the gentle waters as fishers lounge in the small harbor to repair their nets. Bright flowers garnish the upper-level balconies along the stone houses, and you can stroll along the narrow lanes to find the welcoming gourmet restaurants that offer a taste of traditional Istrian cuisine with modern touches. Take to the 19th-century grounds of Villa Angiolina where the richly decorated halls feature lavish frescoes along the ceilings and then continue to offer a sense of opulence during concerts or private weddings. The white and light pink façades resemble the layers of a delicate cake with the lavishly manicured garden blossoming in the forecourt.

What’s Included: accommodation, tour, breakfast

Day 8: Rovinj – Depart for Home

The Adriatic Sea splashes against the boulders and stones of the boot-shaped peninsula south of Rovinj, known as the Golden Cape. The natural park offers an idyllic combination of softwood forest and coastline, blending the aromas of cedar and Douglas firs with the semi-sweet breeze gliding off the water. Crescent cookies that resemble raviolis fill the display cases of the charming bakeries in the morning, each brushed with almonds or lemon zest. At breakfast, you will savor the refreshing flavor of an espresso while enjoying the way the sunlight washes over the turquoise hues of the sea. After one last leisurely day, your private transfer will greet you at your hotel after your meal and escort you back to Venice, Italy for your flight home.

What’s Included: breakfast, transfer 

Price

Price 

Please inquire for a custom quote. The price is customized based on final accommodation choices, travel dates, and other custom preferences.