Gourmet Tour of Croatia: Hunt Truffles, Harvest Oysters and More

A 14 day trip to Croatia 
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Croatia will take you on a tasting journey through the old and the new. Begin with Konoba dining in an abandoned medieval village, pluck oysters and mussels from the cliffs, and taste olive oils and recipes unchanged for centuries. Explore an innovative underwater winery, enjoy glitzy modern restaurants and the new-world styles of Istria and Dalmatia. This handcrafted tour will celebrate all of the flavors, balancing unique food adventures with inland and coastal highlights. 

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Most tours are customized for private travel.

General Information

Photos
The city of Zadar lies on the Adriatic coast in Croatia.
Sunset at Rovinj, Croatia.
View of Old Town Dubrovnik, Croatia.
Stradun Street in Dubrovnik
Delicious oysters and fish.
Truffle hunting experience with a trained truffle dog.
Truffle hunt in Rovinj, Croatia.
Tasty plate of fresh oysters.
Fresh olive oil tasting.
The clockface on Cavtat's tower in the main square in Croatia.
Pjaca square in Hvar, Croatia.
Colorful streets of Zagreb, Croatia.
Roman ampitheater ruins in Split, Croatia.
Bicycle in courtyard in Zagreb, Croatia.
Sommelier fills glasses during a tasting.
Zagreb, the capital of Croatia, at sunrise.
St Mark's church in Zagreb, Croatia.
The fortress in Dubrovnik Croatia.
Detailed Itinerary

Places Visited 

Zagreb, Upper Town, Lower Town, Istria, Adriatic Sea, Pula, Rovinj, Old Town, Motovun, Buzet, Groznjan, Plitvice Lakes National Park, Zadar, Sea Organ, Greeting to the Sun, St Donat Church, St Anastasia Cathedral, Trogir, Dalmatia, Split, Diocletian’s Palace, Riva Harbor, Hvar, Jelsa, Vrboska, Stari Grad, Napoleon Fortress, Blue Cave, Bisevo Island, Stiniva Cove, Ravnik Island, Green Cave, Pakleni Islands, Milna, Korcula, St Mark’s Cathedral, Drace, Ston, Dubrovnik, Pile Gate, Dubrovnik Old Town, Dubrovnik City Walls, Mt Srd, Cavtat, Konavle region

Departure Dates 

Dates are flexible and customizable for private departures.

Detailed Itinerary 

Day 1: Zagreb – Soaking Up the First Croatian Flavors

Zagreb will be quick to impress on the senses as a capital city that blends what is new and old of Croatia. Church spires rise crookedly above the cobbled streets, modern apartment blocks juxtapose with tiny alleyways, and the markets deliver a great range of flavors. Touch down in the capital city, and your guide will greet you at arrivals, and then bring you to a five-star hotel in the heart of Old Town. The day will be at your leisure and there is a lot to find when walking the streets around the hotel. Like all capital cities, Zagreb is a mix of influences from across the country, so there will be many good options for your first Croatian dinner.

What’s Included: airport transfer, accommodation

Day 2: Zagreb – Tasting Zagreb on a Ford Model T Experience

The Croatians have always been innovative people, and they have always liked old cars. You will tour Zagreb in a Ford Model T, and although it looks like a vehicle from the 1920s, this modern replica runs on electric. Travel through the Upper Town, and then past the landmarks of Lower Town to soak up the architecture from a unique vantage point. Stop at the city’s market to sample local flavors, as well as small stores that specialize in the tastes of the past. You can try sljivovica, cherry brandy, plum rakia, local honey and typical finger-food from different regions. The afternoon will be at your leisure, and you are given a Zagreb Card, which provides free city transportation and entrance to four of the city’s main museums. Reservations will have been made for an evening dinner at a small contemporary restaurant in the heart of the city.

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

Day 3: Pula to Rovinj – Sights and Subtleties of Istria

The Istrian Peninsula takes some of its influence from Rome and Venice, evidenced by the dramatic amphitheaters and elegant walled cities. Travel westwards to Pula, where the history is laden with early Christianity, Roman emperors, Austrian excess and the Slavs. From the Hercules Temple to the Cathedral and the Forum, you will be immersed in the stories and sights of a distant era. Then it will be onwards to Rovinj where the Church of St. Euphemia is the second most iconic work of architect Giovanni Dizzi, with the first being Venice’s St. Mark’s Basilica. Cobbled streets will bring you past the picturesque squares and tightly-packed townhouses with everything in Rovinj reminiscent of a long and decorous history. There will be only one choice for dinner,  a restaurant in the heart of the old city, just a few steps from the water.

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

Day 4: Rovinj – Truffle Hunting, Product Tasting and Romantic Istrian Dining

Today, you will take a private culinary tour through the Istrian hinterland and into a land of captivating Gothic towns and lush green landscapes. Along the way, stop in Motovun for a sense of Istrian pride, and then roam through the forest with truffle hunting dogs to unearth the flavorful specialties while you feel the enchantment of a hunt. You will taste the truffles in the sublime forest surroundings before you visit a truffle center for trying a wider variety of local produce. Continue the tour in Groznjan, an ancient city that offers its own unique food on boutique-strewn alleyways, and then return to the sea breeze of Rovinj. Tonight you will have reservations at Monte, a contemporary restaurant that produces light and creative Croatian cuisine.

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

Day 5: Plitvice Lakes National Park to Zadar – World Heritage Nature and a Singing Sea Organ

Dense forests of spruce and beech lead you to green lakes and roaring waterfalls. Surreal and sublime, the landscape will arouse your eyes while it massages your ears with nothing artificial to break the sound of the wind and the water. You will be in Plitvice Lakes National Park, a UNESCO World Heritage Site of small lakes connected by waterfalls that tumble over limestone rock. There are various hiking trails to explore, and you will transfer between the lakes on electric trains and electric boats, transportation that maintains the serenity of the landscape. Lunchtime reservations have been made at a traditional house in Lika village, so imagine cottage cheese, roasted lamb, baked potatoes and trout, sour milk and a unique Lika strudel of cheese and plum. From the national park, you will travel to Zadar, where the singing sea organ keeps you company at sunset.

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

Day 6: Zadar to Trogir to Split – History and Highlights of Croatia’s Coastal Towns

The Sea Organ must be heard to be believed as a modern contraption of pipes and whistles, it is fueled by waves and wind that surges against the coast. At times, it resembles a whale song, while at other moments it sounds like a high-ceilinged church. You will start your guided Zadar tour at the Sea Organ to understand the engineering behind the sound. Admire the Byzantine style at St. Donat Church, and then the 13th-century Romanesque revival of St. Anastasia Cathedral. It will be a two-hour transfer to Trogir, another medieval town perched evocatively on the Adriatic. Romanesque and Renaissance buildings stand side by side, each seeming to outdo each other through intricate detailing. Explore one more of Croatia’s UNESCO World Heritage Sites here, the cathedral, before dinner reservations at a restaurant inside another, Diocletian’s Palace.

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

Day 7: Split – Diocletian’s Palace and Croatian Fine Dining

Split will be easy on the eyes and soothing to the mind. Everything weaves out from Diocletian’s Palace, the natural place to start your private walking tour. Cafe terraces and small shops are found within the palace’s walls along with the atmospheric remains of a Roman Emperor’s indulgence. Continue to the coast, where you will grab lunch while you overlook the water and hear stories about Split’s inglorious past. You will have some free time in the afternoon before a dinner reservation at one of Croatia’s most famous restaurants, especially famous after Julia Roberts dined there twice in two days. Imagine seasonal Mediterranean produce, from vegetable concoctions to delicious seafood and a dazzling wine list.

What’s Included: accommodation, tour, breakfast

Day 8: Hvar – Island Wine and Oil Tasting Plus Family Estate Dining

The next day, onto the islands you will go as the fast catamaran to Hvar provides dreamy views over the Adriatic Sea. The island is magical from the moment you step off the boat in Stari Grad to an evening dining at a family-run olive oil estate. You will have a private guide for the day as you hop between the experiences, which include wine tasting in Jelsa, coffee and local snacks in 2,400-year-old Stari Grad and then the views from Napoleon Fortress. Your hotel will be within the UNESCO World Heritage Site Stari Grad Plain, and your dinner will be at a spectacular olive farm, perhaps the finest producer of olive oil in the whole of Croatia. You will taste a path through multiple courses of fresh organic produce, with everything sourced from the island itself.

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

Day 9: Hvar – Exploring the Islands and a Konoba Dinner Experience

The following day, you will explore an Adriatic archipelago, a classic Croatian experience, with the wind in your hair as you cruise to uninhibited islands and ethereal caves. Explore the Blue Cave, cruise beneath dramatic sea cliffs, swim at Stiniva Cove and spend the afternoon on the Pakleni Islands. A full day on the coast will be followed by an inimitable dining experience. Konoba is a coastal Croatian word for restaurant, and it has come to represent the dining style of old. The restaurant is ascetically simple, and the focus is always on the quality of the food, rather than any elaborate extras. Tonight’s konoba is in the abandoned medieval village of Milna, a surreal setting for a meal of old-world cuisine, with the restaurant looking out across limestone cliffs.

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

Day 10: Korcula – Contrasting Tastes of the Green Island

In the morning, you will travel by catamaran to Korcula and check into a quiet hotel close to St Mark’s Cathedral. Spend two hours walking Korcula town with your guide as you learn the secrets of stone carvers that created the town’s 15th-century facade. Then enjoy lunch at a small family estate, where you will taste what the Green Island soil can produce. Olive oil, dried figs, fragrant vegetables, rakia, and liqueurs all abound, most of it tastes different to everything else you have sampled over the last ten days. You will dine heartily, as you always will in Korcula before some free time to walk the town. In the evening, you will enjoy a few drinks and snacks at a cozy bar such as Maksimilijan Garden.

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

Day 11: Drace to Ston to Dubrovnik – An Underwater Winery, Oyster Experience and Old-World Vineyard

Culinary experiences come quick and fast when you return to the mainland. Take the boat to Orebic, and then spend the morning at the world’s first underwater winery. Learn the history from the winemaker or the owner as you explore the winery itself, and then taste your way through wines cultivated at the bottom of the sea. Continue to the fortified town of Ston to find oyster and mussel farms on the water. You can pluck the oysters straight from the cliffs, embellishing them with a little lemon juice before slurping it all down while you are still stood in the water. These are an aperitif for a fishermen’s lunch at one of the Adriatic’s most revered seafood restaurants, with dessert coming courtesy of a wine tasting experience at one of Croatia’s oldest wineries. The day ends in Dubrovnik, a glamorous city encased by the walls of history.

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

Day 12: Dubrovnik – Highlights of Dubrovnik and Glitzy Fine Dining

Dubrovnik is a dreamy slice of the past, an Adriatic city-republic that has been expertly preserved into the 21st century. Every corner and street will feel like a medieval era as you walk beneath white stonewalls and circular towers. This city is Croatia’s crowning jewel, and you will come to understand why on a private walking tour, which includes a stroll along two kilometers of city walls. For the afternoon, you will have cable car tickets to visit Mt. Srd and the mountain’s dazzling views over the Adriatic, and then you will have dinner reservations at Dubrovnik’s most glamorous restaurant. Encased within medieval stone and perched above the harbor, the restaurant presents creative Croatian cuisine in a contemporary new-world style. Like Dubrovnik itself, you will quickly realize why it is so famous.

What’s Included: accommodation, tour, breakfast

Day 13: Dubrovnik – A Culinary Village Experience and Final Night on the Coast

A remote Konavle farming village provides a superb culinary contrast to last night’s dining. Start your day with a tour of a small farm, where you will enjoy the local lifestyles that have hardly changed in millennia. Taste your way through seasonal produce, trying raw local products in the place they are grown while the same products also appear on fancy restaurant menus in Dubrovnik. A cooking class will come next and you will learn to cook traditional Croatian recipes concocted in an atmospheric farmhouse. Along with organic farming, silk manufacturing is a long-time specialty of the Konavle region’s villages, explored on a short tour of a local home. Today’s tour will also stop in Cavtat to explore the works of Croatian sculptor Ivan Mestrovic before it ends back in Dubrovnik for a quiet evening in the Old Town.

What’s Included: accommodation, tour, breakfast

Day 14: Dubrovnik – Departure

After a final Dubrovnik breakfast, you will depart for the airport and your homebound flight. Ascending back across the Adriatic, you can reflect on two weeks of gourmet tasting and remember all the little specialties that featured throughout the journey.

What’s Included: airport transfer, breakfast

Price

Starting Price 

$2,795
This trip is customizable for your private travel.

What's Included 

  • Accommodations
  • In-country transportation
  • Some or all guided tours and activities (dependent on season)
  • Expert trip planning
  • 24x7 support during your trip
The starting price is based on travel during the low season for a minimum of two travelers staying in shared 3-star accommodations. Please inquire for a custom trip quote based on your travel preferences and travel dates.