Tour Overview:What makes Croatia interesting for wine lovers is the wide variety of wine categories and grape types grown throughout centuries in limited space. Croatia is divided into two main wine making regions: the continental and coastal region. The delightful continental region with its unspoiled countryside covered with fruitful plains and forests in Slavonia and the amazing green hills in Zagorje and Međimurje are the main providers of white wine varieties. The most widely planted vine is Graševina, which yields light and mildly aromatic wines. Pinot Blanc, Chardonnay and Sauvignon Blanc are also grown here, along with Frankovka as the main red wine grape. The food specialties of the Slavonian area abound with hot spices, home grown ingredients and meat. The famous paprika flavored sausage, kulen, is usually served with cottage or dried cheese followed by goulash meat stew or freshwater river fish paprikash. The lovely wine roads of Međimurje and Zagorje, offer a great variety of traditional family run estates where you can taste some famous local cheese pastries such as štrukle or a slice of slow roasted turkey served with mlinci, a sort of special baked noodle. Along the Adriatic coast small wine growing and olive oil estates can be found almost everywhere. Authentic stone villages and olive mills scattered all over the Istrian Peninsula will transport you to the past. This area is known for producing the Bordeaux reds like Merlot and Cabernet Sauvignon but also by the deep and intense colored Teran, considered the indigenous wine of Istria, together with white Malvazija. One of the most recognizable culinary treasures of this area is the world known Istrian white truffle. The passionate admirers of this delicacy are already familiar with the incredible finding of the world’s largest truffle (2.88 lbs) in the depth of the beautiful Istrian inland. The outstanding scenery of the Dalmatian coast and its undisturbed Mediterranean vegetation is home to a stunning pallet of indigenous grape types. Tasting one of the most regarded Croatian red wines such as Postup and Dingač will take you to a fulfilling journey your senses will never forget! The Dalmatian cuisine closely related with the Adriatic sea and consists a great variety of sea food dishes such as fish stewed brodettos or risottos. Fresh Adriatic fish is usually grilled with local olive oil and served with boiled vegetables which make this cuisine one of the healthiest in the world. A must-try is also Dalmatian and Istrian dried ham.
Day 1: Zagreb - Gourmet Upper Town TourWelcome to Zagreb! Check in to your hotel. The late afternoon is reserved for a guided walking tour in Upper Town. Taste cheese and wine in a wine shop and cellar beneath the Gradec Hill. Experienced staff members will introduce you to Croatian wine regions and present three typical wines. The official tour begins with a short funicular ride to Upper Town of enchanting Zagreb, a story returning you back to 15th and 16th centuries. Lotrscak Tower stands proudly over the Lower Town panorama and signals the high noon to Zagreb citizens with a cannon shot every day. You will discover all major sights, including St. Catherine’s Square with a baroque church, St. Mark’s Square with House of Parliament, House of Government and St. Mark’s Church with it’s picturesque roof. Also, visit The Stone Gate – a remnant of strong city walls. A three course dinner will be served in a picturesque restaurant hidden between historical buildings and museums. Depending on the season, the menu will vary. The route will lead you down slope to Radiceva and Tkalciceva streets before reaching the top of Kaptol Hill with the Cathedral of St. Stephen and Archbishop’s towers and halls. Overnight in your hotel in Zagreb.
Day 2: Zagreb & Opatija - Gourmet Lower Town TourEnjoy breakfast at the hotel. In the morning, enjoy a guided walking tour of Lower Town. See Zrinjevac Park and many buildings representing the typical architecture of Central Europe from the edge of 19th and 20th century. The Croatian Academy of Science and Arts and neighboring Art Pavilion are two fine examples. Enjoy a tasting of strukli –served in a local café just behind the corner. Strukli is a pastry filled with mixture of cheese with eggs, sour cream and salt, covered in clotted cream and baked in oven - traditional Croatian dish served in most household in wide Zagreb area. Continue by the Botanical Gardens and Marulic Square towards the Marsal Tito Square with three important landmarks of Zagreb: The Mimara Museum, Croatian National Theatre and Zagreb University. Following the Masarykova Street, you will reach Flowers Square, which forms the center of city’s social life together with Bogoviceva Street. A three course lunch will be served in a restaurant placed close to the main city square – Ban J. Jelacic Square. Depart from Zagreb towards Opatija. The city owes its’ name to the Benedictine Abbey which was built in the 15th century by the sea shore. A pearl of AustroHungarian Riviera at the end of 19th century, it gained recognition as a tourist destination by the Austrian and European high society of emperors, famous artists and celebrities such as Wilhelm II, Franz Joseph, Empress Sissy, Gustav Mahler, Isidora Duncan, Anton Pavlovich Chekhov and others. Enjoy a Tasting Menu dinner in one of the best restaurants in Opatija. Overnight at hotel in Opatija.
Day 3: Opatija & Istria Peninsula TourEnjoy breakfast in your hotel hotel, followed by a full day culture & gourmet Istria Peninsula Tour. The first stop is in Hum – officially the smallest town in the world with 22 inhabitants. Following the Mirna river valley, we will reach the village of Livade. A Tasting Menu Lunch will be served at a local gourmet restaurant with specialties based on truffles. Take a short drive to Motovun, a town between dream and reality, located on the very peak of a hill offering a magnificent view of the valley, the Mirna river and surrounding hills. Groznjan and Motovun regions are famous for their truffles, as well as the best white wines of Croatia. The road will lead us further to the village of Kruncici to visit the local wine producers and sample high quality Istrian wines. After wine tasting, drive to Rovinj to spend the afternoon in the Jewel of Istria, and enjoy a short walking tour. A three course dinner will be served in a local restaurant based on fish and sea-food. Return to Opatija for overnight.
Day 4: Opatija , Zadar & SplitBreakfast at the hotel. Take a morning departure towards the coastal region of Dalmatia.The scenic road route to Zadar follows the coastal line awarding you with a stunning view over the Kvarner Bay. Many islands are scattered on one side, and the mighty mountain of Velebit can be seen on the other side. A typical three course fish/sea food meal will be served in one of the best restaurants in Zadar. Enjoy a short walking tour of this ancient Croatian city which inherited architectural sights from a long and turbulent history. Visit Church of St. Donat, originally built in 9th century in Byzantine style. Another landmark is the Cathedral of St. Anastasia, constructed in the 12th and 13th centuries in Romanesque style. Unique sites include the main city street –Wide Street – or Kalelarga, and modern architectural solutions of the Sea Organ and the Greeting to the Sun. Continue to Split, the largest and most important city in the area of Dalmatia. Check in at your hotel. A three course dinner will be served in a charming restaurant hidden in the net of tiny streets inside the historical center. Overnight at hotel in Split.
Day 5: Trogir & Split - Gourmet City TourBreakfast at the hotel. Today, you will enjoy a full day culture & gastro tour of Trogir and Split. A 30 minute drive will reach you to Trogir – the town museum (UNESCO World Heritage List since 1997). Trogir is a remarkable example of urban continuity. The orthogonal street plan of this island settlement dates back to the Hellenistic period and it was embellished by successive rulers with many fine public and domestic buildings and fortifications. Its beautiful Romanesque churches are complemented by the outstanding Renaissance and Baroque buildings from the Venetian period. A typical three course fish/sea food lunch will be served in one of the taverns in the town. Return to Split for a guided walking tour of historical center and Diocletian’s Palace (UNESCO World Heritage List since 1979), built between the late 3rd and the early 4th centuries A.D. The cathedral was built in the middle ages, reusing materials from the ancient mausoleum period. 12th and 13th century Romanesque churches, medieval fortifications, 15th -century Gothic palaces and other palaces in Renaissance and Baroque style make up the rest of the protected area. Wine and dine in one of the best restaurants overlooking the Adriatic Sea. Overnight in your hotel in Split.
Day 6: Split, Neretva River Valley, Ston & DubrovnikDepart towards the town of Metkovic, placed in picturesque Neretva River Valley in Dubrovnik County, for a river safari through the protected marshlands in traditional boats. This area is blessed with fertile soil, vicinity of the Adriatic Sea and Neretva River itself, the main source of the most important ingredients for local cuisine specialties. A special Tasting Menu for lunch will be served near the river bank – based on eel and frogs prepared as a stew or deep fried or grilled. Continue to Dubrovnik with en-route stop in the town of Ston, originally built in the 14th century in the form of a two-fold fortification system with Large and Small Ston, aiming to protect the salt plants, one of its major economic resources. A 7.45 mile long wall – the world’s second longest wall after the Wall of China – connects two fortified cities: the first was built in order to protect the salt plants and the second as the salt export harbor. The oldest in Europe, the Ston salt plants are still in use, and the salt producing technology has not changed for centuries. Your visit to Ston and its salt plants will be a journey through history. In Croatian Gastronomy – the Ston Bay is the cradle of farming of mussels and oysters. A simple tasting of fresh mussels and oysters will be served in a local tavern. Arrive in Dubrovnik. Accommodation at hotel and departure for a dinner. A three course dinner will be served in the restaurant in Konavle valley approximately 30 minutes away from the town. Overnight in your hotel in Dubrovnik.
Day 7: Dubrovnik - Gourmet City TourAfter breakfast in your hotel, take part in a half-day tour of the Old City, included in UNESCO World Heritage Site list since 1979. This ancient city surrounded by ramparts and fortresses abounds in architectural and cultural masterpieces carefully preserved for centuries. A pleasant walk will take you to Rector’s Palace, the Dominican Monastery, housing a rich collection of medieval paintings. Take a short break to enjoy refreshments and tasting of traditional sweets and candies produced in boutique shop according to old Croatian receipes. Following the central city street, Stradun, you will visit the Franciscan Monastery, and other intriguing sites. For the end of the tour, a typical three course fish/sea food lunch will be served in one of the best restaurants in the city. Your afternoon is free at leisure, and there is no better way to spend it than visiting the Old City Walls. Enjoy a splendid view over the historical buildings, houses, palaces and churches in the net of tiny streets surrounded by walls, towers, the steep hill of Srdj and the Adriatic Sea. A farewell dinner will be served in the restaurant with the superb location just over the sea and beneath the mighty city walls. Overnight at hotel in Dubrovnik.
Day 8: Dubrovnik - – DepartureAfter breakfast, check out of your hotel and depart on your flight home.
Transportation as per itinerary
Seven dinners & six lunches (excluding drinks)
2 nights at selected Split hotel including service fees, taxes and daily breakfast
2 nights at selected Dubrovnik hotel including service fees, taxes and daily breakfast
2 nights at selected Opatija hotel including service fees, taxes and daily breakfast
1 night at selected Zagreb hotel including service fees, taxes and daily breakfast
Starting room type used at each hotel