CROATIA GOURMET TOUR
14 DAYS / 13 NIGHTS (days are flexibile for private tours)
Zagreb - Krapina - Varaždin - Buzet - Brtonigla - Limski canal - Rovinj - Motovun - Hum - Opatija - Plitvice Lakes - Zadar - Šibenik - Trogir - Split - Hvar - Korčula - Ston - Dubrovnik
From north to south of Croatia, every region has its own culinary delicacies that you don't want to miss trying. After tasting German and Hungarian influences in Zagreb region, take a delight in specific, Dalmatian cuisine influenced by Roman and Greek flavors. While in Istria, taste the best that the region offers – truffles! But before, experience truffle hunting. Other than that, Istria is known as the homeldand to some other exquisite gourmet delicacies – olive oil. Continuing easter in Kvarner you'll taste the best shrimps on the Mediterranean. Not only your palate will be papmered, but also your eyes, admiring some of the nature's most beautiful wonders. Explore Croatia's wonedrful islands tasting their traditional meals and learn about their famous history. In the southest part of the country enjoy in tastes of delicious Croatian wines and world's best oysters. End your journey in the pearl of the Mediterranean – Dubrovnik.
o Discover ZAGORJE castles and taste MEĐIMURJE region's wine.
o Experience truffle hunting in ISTRIA with hunting dogs and learn how one of the best olive oils is produced.
o Stroll through the cobbled streets of the most romantic Mediterranean jewel – ROVINJ.
o Taste the best shrimps on the Mediterranean at OPATIJA riviera.
o Admire the beauty of 16 cascading lakes in PLITVICE LAKES NATIONAL PARK.
o Wander through historic towns ŠIBENIK and TROGIR and indulge in food and wine pairing at Croatia's best restaurant.
o Take a tour of SPLIT farmers market and join a private cooking class.
o Taste the greatest home-made wines and have a lunch with local food delicacies in the shade of the olive grove on HVAR island.
o Visit the birthplace of Marco Polo – KORČULA and learn how to prepare island's traditional pasta.
o Enjoy a unique taste of the STON Oysters and hear how they are grown at the oyster farm tour.
o Take in all the glory of DUBROVNIK, wandering through its old marble streets.
o Taste the true culinary masterpiece of KONAVLE – the finest lamb slowly roasted under a thick iron bell covered in hot coals.
DAY 1 ARRIVAL ZAGREB
As you arrive to Zagreb airport, meet your driver and head for a quick and comfortable transfer to your hotel in Zagreb, check in at the hotel and have some leisure time. Overnight at the hotel in Zagreb.
DAY 2 ZAGREB – TRAKOŠĆAN – VARAŽDIN – ZAGREB
Today we head towards the northern part of Croatia, the majestic Zagorje and Međimurje region. First stop is the most beautiful and preserved castles in Croatia, the Trakošćan castle. Trakošćan castle is one of Croatia's most popular day trip destinations. Its jaunty turrets and custard-colored battlements are one of the most celebrated sights in the Zagorje region. With a well organized museum inside and a landscaped park with boating lake outside, you could easily spend a good half day here or more. We continue towards the Međimurje region and the former capital town of Croatia, the baroque town of Varaždin. Varaždin is one of the best-preserved Baroque towns you are likely to find anywhere in Central Europe. Varaždin boasts a lot of Baroque palaces, many of which remain resplendent in their original cream, ochre, pink and pale-blue colors. Hidden inside Varaždin you can find lots of museums, artisan shops, bars and restaurants to visit. After Varaždin, we head to a local winery for dinner and a tour of their wine cellars, in the region that has been cultivated with vineyards since the Roman times. After dinner, head back to Zagreb and overnight.
DAY 3 ZAGREB – BUZET – BRTONIGLA
On this day, we head for Istria and Buzet to get acquainted with a true gourmet delicacy, the Istrian truffle. After a pleasant ride through the beautiful mountains region of Croatia, upon arrival to Buzet meet your hosts and head for an amazing experience, truffle hunt. During your roaming for this delicacy, feel all the enchantments and beauties of the hunt, while the forest is quiet, comforting, and when adrenaline reaches its climax, due to the discovery of truffles. Friendly hosts will tell you all about truffles, the tradition of truffle hunting, and their truffle hunting dogs. Afterwards, you will join your hosts in their beautifully designed tasting room where you will have the chance to sample a variety of products made from truffles like olive oil with truffles, cheese with truffles, omelette with truffles, chocolate with truffles and many others. After this amazing gourmet stop, head towards Brtonigla where you will spend the night. Shy and reclusive at the first sight, the green Brtonigla reveals slowly, and those who discover it, hardly resist to the power of its charm. The numerous acres of vineyards and olive groves are surrounded by pathways that lead towards meadows and woods, deep into the center of vibrating nature that lives intact, far away from the modern civilization. Overnight.
DAY 4 BRTONIGLA – LIMSKI FJORD – ROVINJ
Today we visit one of the best olive oil producers in Istria. Olive oil, like wine, is a synonym for the Istrian lifestyle, both in modest country households and in top-rank gourmet restaurants. Istrian olive oils are often awarded as being one of the best oils in the entire world and to come to Istria and not taste this “liquid gold” would really be a shame. Winning numerous awards both at home and internationally for their excellence in olive oil production, your hosts will tell you about the history and production of their olive oil while sampling some of the best olive oils you will likely to find. Continuing your trip, we stop at a winery for tasting some of the best Istrian wines. Resulting from hard work and tradition of making wine that spans over a century, this family run winery represents the best in wine production both in Istria as well as in Croatia. Join your host at their tasting room and sample a selection of their exquisite wines combined with authentic Istrian delicacies such as Istrian ham, extra-virgin olive oil, truffles and more. Continuing your trip towards Rovinj, stop at Limski Channel, this drowned valley is one of Istria's most stunning feature. Known for its stunning natural beauty and crystal clear waters, the Limski Channel is a popular destination as numerous boat excursions set sail packed with enthusiastic tourists. Limski Channel is also famed for its production of oysters as the waters are naturally brackish making them ideal for cultivating these world class delicacies. Stop and have a taste of this gourmet treat in one of the restaurants located right on the coast of the channel. Arriving in Rovinj and overnight.
DAY 5 ROVINJ – MOTOVUN – HUM – OPATIJA
Today, we go further inland and discover „the Green Istria“. Our first stop is Motovun, a captivating little town perched on a 277m hill in the Mirna River Valley. Walk within the walls of Motovun, an atmospheric cluster of Romanesque and Gothic buildings that house a smattering of artist studios, galleries and shops. After Motovun, we continue towards Hum, the smallest town in the world. Heaped up on a hill surrounded by grasslands and forest, Hum has only 14 inhabitants, but has preserved all the attributes that a town has to have - walls, gate, church, campanile. Continuing towards Opatija, stop at Volosko, some 2km east of Opatija, Volosko is one of the prettiest places on this section of the Kvarner coastline, a fishing village that has also become something of a restaurant mecca in recent decades. Here you will enjoy a superb lunch at the restaurant located right on the waterfront in the picturesque Volosko cove. With its 100-year-old tradition, it’s the oldest restaurant on the Opatija Riviera. Rated among the 100 best restaurants in the world, this restaurant is honored to have been recognized over the years for its excellence. They are removed for their superb contemporary European cuisine where they seamlessly blend the traditional and modern, featuring local produce and a selection from the Adriatic Sea like scampi and fish, sourced on a daily basis. After lunch, head towards Opatija where you will have a free afternoon to enjoy and relax. Overnight in Opatija.
DAY 6 OPATIJA – PLITVICE LAKES – ZADAR
On this day, we head for the most beautiful destination Croatia has to offer – the Plitvice lakes national park. The first Croatian national park and a UNESCO World Heritage site, Plitvice lakes offer its visitors a blend of vivid colors, sounds and smells that are spectacular and memorable. Its 16 cascading lakes and numerous waterfalls make up one of the greatest wonders of the world. Surrounded by high wooden mountains and fed by many small rivers, the lakes are a mesmerizing view of green and blue accompanied by the thundering sounds of the many waterfalls that connect the lakes to create a true paradise on Earth. Enjoy a relaxing hike through the park, take in the sights and the sounds that it offers and complete that with lunch at the park’s restaurant to round up this perfect day of exploration of this great natural wonder. Lunch highly recommended at Lička kuća restaurant at Plitvice lakes. A unique place with an ambience of a traditional house in Lika, in which authentic dishes are prepared. In the middle of the restaurant there is an open hearth fireplace, where lamb is roasted on a spit, and where other food specialties from Lika are prepared “under iron bell”. Ham, “basa” cottage cheese, lamb under iron bell, grilled meats, baked potatoes, trout, sour milk, the Lika fritters, and the Lika strudels made of cheese, apple or plum, are just some of the specialties of this renowned restaurant. After Plitvice lakes, head towards Zadar. Zadar and it’s 3000-year history has a lot to offer. Boasting a historic old town of Roman ruins, medieval churches, cosmopolitan cafes and quality museums set on a small peninsula, Zadar is an intriguing city. It’s not too crowded, it’s not overrun with tourists and its two unique attractions – the sound-and-light spectacle of the Sea Organ and the Greeting to the Sun – need to be seen and heard to be believed. Overnight in Zadar.
DAY 7 ZADAR – ŠIBENIK – TROGIR – SPLIT
After breakfast, head towards Šibenik, a medieval town and a place of the UNESCO heritage protected site - the St James cathedral in Šibenik. The Cathedral of St James in Šibenik bears witness to the considerable exchanges in the field of monumental arts between Northern Italy, Dalmatia and Tuscany in the 15th and 16th centuries. With its pale stone dome rising above the city like a gargantuan crocus bulb, Šibenik’s magnificent Cathedral exerts a dominating presence over the huddled buildings of the Old Town. Combine the visit to the cathedral with a stroll through its medieval heart, stone labyrinths of steep backstreets and alleys and you will have a truly memorable visit of this medieval town. After a tour of Šibenik, head for a true gourmet experience, food and wine paring lunch at the best restaurant in Croatia. Their philosophy is based on a creative combination of tradition and innovation. The palace they are situated in as well as the gastronomic heritage of their locality correspond to the element of tradition, whereas their contemplation of the local gastronomy and the concept of their restaurant reflect contemporary trends. This year they were named the best restaurant in Croatia and that fact is more than enough not skip this restaurant. Continue your travel towards Trogir and have some leisure time to discover this little medieval town. Called “the town museum”, its entire old town core has been protected by UNESCO and you will immediately see why. Trogir is one of the most seductive towns on the Dalmatian coast with its old-town cluster of palaces, belfries and cobbled alleys. Gorgeous and tiny Trogir is beautifully set within medieval walls, its narrow streets knotted and mazelike. It’s fronted by a wide seaside promenade lined with bars and cafes, and yachts in the summer. Trogir is unique among Dalmatian towns for its profuse collection of Romanesque and Renaissance architecture (which flourished under Venetian rule); this, along with its magnificent cathedral, earned it World Heritage status in 1997. Afterwards, head to Split where we will spend the night.
DAY 8 SPLIT
Today continue your culinary journey of Croatia with a great, hands on cooking class including lunch in Split. Unlock the secrets of Dalmatian cuisine combining the freshest ingredients and cooking them with the help of our chef. This great, 5-hour program will take you through all the steps in preparing a traditional, Dalmatian lunch. Including a tour of the fish and green markets, a visit to the local artisan shop where you you can taste their products and a winery tour and barrel tasting, this cooking class program will surely teach you the fundamentals of Dalmatian cuisine and help you understand why food is an essential part of the Dalmatian style of life. Rest of the day at leisure. Overnight in Split.
DAY 9 SPLIT – HVAR
Today we embark a catamaran for a visit of the “lavender island” – Hvar. Head for a wonderful walking tour and discover the legacy of Hvar town while strolling through its narrow streets, visiting historical sites and listening to the stories from our expert guide. This private walking tour will offer you a unique perspective and understanding of Hvar’s rich historical heritage. Afterwards, enjoy some leisure time to further explore the town on your own because later we head for a truly unique gourmet experience, dinner at a local “konoba” restaurant in an abandoned village. This beautiful restaurant, very quaint and peaceful, offers a stunning view of the limestone cliffs. Hear the story of the village, its history and why it got abandoned while eating some of the best local dishes on the island. Overnight in Hvar.
DAY 10 HVAR
Get ready to discover the island on our half day tour of the sunniest island in Croatia. Experience the island of Hvar in one day enjoying wonderful views and nature with a local guide and his stories about the island's life, tasting the most outstanding wines and local food on the island. On this trip, you will discover the island in all its senses. After the tour, head for an amazing dinner at one of the best olive oil producers in Croatia. Set in an olive grove, the restaurant offers an amazing view of Hvar’s 2234-year-old ager field, a UNESCO Heritage Site. A perfect afternoon enjoying the island, it’s cuisine and the hospitality of the locals. Overnight in Hvar.
DAY 11 HVAR – KORČULA
We embark a catamaran again to reach the island and town of Korčula. Head for a tour of the Korčula town, also called “little Dubrovnik” because of its old city walls protecting the old city core that’s packed with churches, narrow alleyways, loggias and restaurants. This small romantic town offers the same medieval charm as his older brother does. Also famed for being the presumable birthplace of Marko Polo, Korčula is a town filled with history that attracts visitors from all over the world. Pay a visit to the birth house of Marko Polo, get lost in it’s cobbled streets, take in the history and experience this truly exceptional medieval town. In the afternoon, get ready for a fantastic evening in a small village of Žrnovo with the Radanović family. Learn how to make makaruni, a type of local pasta, head for a tour of this small rural village passing vineyards, olive trees and stone houses and enjoy a wonderful pasta dinner at their konoba. Head back to Korčula and overnight.
DAY 12 KORČULA – STON – DUBROVNIK
We continue our journey by saying good bye to Korčula and heading for Dubrovnik, “the pearl of the Adriatic.” As we arrive on a boat to Pelješac peninsula, the “Croatian Napa Valley”, head for the winery of one of the best wine producers in Croatia, sip a selection of their spectacular wines and taste the passion that he and his family pour into their wines every single day. Heading further down the Pelješac peninsula, we arrive at Ston, a small, but packed with history little town. The first thing you notice is its old walls, a system of fortifications originally 7 kilometers long, making them the second biggest wall fortification in Europe. Often named “the European wall of China”, they stood the test of time and since the 14th century dominate the Ston landscape and attract tourists from around the world. And it’s at Ston that we have prepared a real gourmet treat for you, the tasting of the world famous Ston oysters. Head for a boat tour of the oyster’s farm and taste the oysters fresh out of the sea or try to open one on the spot. Drizzle a little lemon juice on them and have a taste of the sea. The tour will be rounded with a visit to a private island where your host will make you a traditional mussels buzzara style with only the best ingredients – mussels that you just picked from the sea, olive oil, white wine and local herbs. After this gourmet feast, head for Dubrovnik and overnight.
DAY 13 DUBROVNIK
Get ready to discover Dubrovnik on your private walking tour. Regardless of whether you are visiting Dubrovnik for the first time or the hundredth, the sense of awe never fails to descend when you set eyes on the beauty of the old town. Indeed, it’s hard to imagine anyone becoming jaded by the city’s marble streets, baroque buildings and the endless shimmer of the Adriatic. Named “the pearl of the Adriatic” by lord Byron, Dubrovnik hides a treasure trove of old houses, spectacular monuments, churches, museums, bars and restaurants all defended by its massive old walls fortification system, inscribed as a UNESCO World Heritage site. After the tour of Dubrovnik, head for Catat and the Konavle region. Cavtat is built on the site of the Roman colony Epidaurum which was destroyed in the 7th-century Slav and Avar invasions. The beauty of its nature, green lush vegetation, beaches and interesting monuments attract numerous visitors. Afterwards, enjoy a scenic journey to the picturesque region of Konavle, home to around 30 picturesque villages that have settled among the verdant natural beauty and stop at a local agrotourism home and have a wonderful dinner prepared in the style of the region with its distinctive flavors, but still similar to Dalmatian cuisine. After dinner, head back to Dubrovnik and overnight.
DAY 14 DEPARTING DUBROVNIK
After breakfast, meet your driver and head towards Dubrovnik airport for your flight out.
This is just a suggested daily touring schedule.
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