12 days/11 nights
Food & Wine tour of Croatia (In Vino Veritas) is small group tour that offers an authentic experience of fine Croatian wines, culinary specialties and Croatian way of life as you travel through quaint towns, islands and villages of this magnificent country. From the day you start your tour in Dubrovnik, until your final day in Zagreb, every day of your journey will be filled with visits to the most amazing historical sights, local vineyards, markets, wineries, lavender fields, wine cellars, and so much more. You will participate in a cooking class in Split and will try your hand at making your fist Dalmatian specialty. A local wine maker will welcome you to his cellar in Primošten where you will taste the velvety Babić and will learn first-hand all about Croatian wine growing and wine producing.
You will not only enjoy Croatia’s best red and white wines as we journey through the wine routes of the Pelješac and Istrian Peninsula, but you will also have time to explore the islands of Korčula and Hvar, towns of Split, Rovinj, and always a must see Plitvice Lakes National Park.Less
Arrival to Dubrovnik airport followed by transfer to your hotel. You will meet your tour coordinator and the rest of your fellow travel companions during the welcome dinner at a local restaurant. You will be introduced to some of the finest wines of Dubrovnik region.Overnight in Dubrovnik. (D)
This morning Dubrovnik will captivate you with the architectural and cultural masterpieces of the Old Town. We’ll take a pleasant walk in the company of your expert local guide to the Rector’s Palace, the Dominican Monastery housing a rich collection of medieval art. There will be enough time to visit the local market and taste the artisan cheeses, Dalmatian pršut, local olive oil and home-made bread. Or opt for an espresso served in any of the town’s charming squares. We’ll continue our city tour strolling down the famous Stradun and we’ll visit the Franciscan Monastery, and other enthralling sites. Spend the afternoon at leisure and enjoy beautiful vistas of the Adriatic from your hotel. Or better yet, climb the Old City Walls, find that perfect spot and adore the magnificent views of the palaces, churches, stone houses and historical buildings, and even some of the nearby islands. Overnight in Dubrovnik. (B)
Later this morning, we depart to the island of Korčula with a stop on Pelješac Peninsula famous for the finest vineyards in all of Croatia. This is the home of the indigenous Plavac Mali. Here we will visit a few of the prominent local wineries and will be introduced to the best local wines, such as Postup and Dingač, the first Croatian wine to gain protected geographic origin in 1961.
Our first stop is the town of Ston, encircled by 14th century stone walls, more than three miles long and once including forty towers. These walls were built by the Republic of Dubrovnik due to valuable salt pans and the town’s strategic position, and Ston is often called “little Dubrovnik” as the streets have the same layout and the same names. The historic salt pans still produce salt for industrial purposes. Your visit to Ston will be a journey through history. The bay of Ston is Croatia’s cradle of mussel and oyster farming. Here you will enjoy oyster tasting, and will sip some of the finest Croatian wines at a local konoba. After lunch, as we drive through Pelješac heading towards Korčula, passing by picturesque vineyards on the steep hills of the peninsula, we will have another chance for tasting at a few wineries such as Grgić winery, Korta Katarina, Skaramuča, Madirazza and a few others. After a few hours of afternoon rest, we’ll meet again at a nearyby konoboa in Korčula town for a dinner of suculant seafood or any any other meat or pasta specialties that pair well with the local Posip. Overnight in Korčula. (B & D)
Today we explore the island of Korčula, the birthplace of Marco Polo, encircled by the clear blue waters of the Pelješac channel. We start with a walking tour of Korčula town, which is one of the most preserved and most romantic historic towns you’ll ever see. You will be absolutely amazed as you wander through the charming streets, where you’ll come across gothic details and balconies that make you feel like you’ve entered a Slavic version of Romeo and Juliet. We continue our island exploration heading towards the village of Lumbarda where you’ll find numerous vineyards. This is the place to have a taste of the Grk wine, only produced in the surrounding area, and said to have been brought from ancient Greece after the fall of Troy. As you wander the stone streets of the old village, you will feel miles and centuries away from everything else. We will continue passing by and admiring the endless vineyards, olive and fig groves, quaint villages and curious faces of local fisherman and farmers. Overnight in Korčula. (B)
This morning we ferry over to the island of Hvar where we start exploring the most beautiful and the sunniest island of the Adriatic coast as we arrive to Stari Grad. Now get ready for a stunning visual and fragrant experience as we take you on the tour of the island where you can literally get lost in the endless fields of lavender and sage.
We’ll make a stop along the way for a taste of artisan prsut, olive oil and of course, local wine. Hvar is the heart of winemaking in these areas. Hvar possesses a number of local grape varieties ‘Bogdanuša’ and ‘Drenkuša’ which cannot be found anywhere else. The southern side of the island is ideal for the cultivation of ‘Plavac Mali’ due to its sunny hillsides which give the wine its high quality. Renowned wine estates include Plenković, whose cellars provide the high quality wine Zlatan Plavac, the Tomić wine estate where you can find Hektorović prošek (sherry) as well as few other quality wines that we will taste here.
At the end of our tour of the island, we arrive to Hvar town that has one of the first communal theaters in Europe, built in 1612, called the Arsenal. There is also the famous “Tvrdalj” Palace of Petar Hektorović, not to be missed. Spend the rest of the afternoon exploring this charming town on your own, enjoying the magical views of the neighboring islands and visiting some of the best souvenir shops and restaurants. Overnight in Hvar. (B)
After a short catamaran ride, we arrive to Split. Split is a fascinating town with great art, culture, authentic cuisine and excellent entertainment. Its beauty captivated IV Century Roman Emperor Diocletian, who built his palace here. So we begin our sightseeing tour of Split with a visit to the Diocletian Palace. First, we walk the well-preserved ancient cellars where one can truly experience this magnificent palace. Stroll through its narrow streets that hide numerous treasures. Explore galleries, boutiques, lively markets, restaurants and cafes and shortly you will be mesmerized by the Dalmatian lifestyle.
Later this afternoon, you will have an authentic experience as you try to make your first Dalmatian specialty during a cooking class. We will keep the name of this traditional meal a secret for now, but we can tell for sure it will pair well with a glass of the local red. Overnight in Split. (B & cooking class)
After breakfast we start our day with a stop in the quaint town of Trogir, which is also included in the UNESCO list of protected world cultural heritage. You will quickly see why it is called a museum city by keeping in mind the many artistic repositories it hosts. As we continue on a coastal road, the first sight of Primošten will take your breath away. Primosten is a picturesque old town squeezed onto an thumb of land encircled by the sea. Primošten’s origins go back to the Ottoman conquest of Bosnia in 1463, when the Croatian-speaking population of the interior increasingly sought refuge on the Adriatic coast. The well-known Babić wine comes from the vineyards ranged across the hills around Primošten, a geometric cluster of small rectangular plots owned by individual local families. Primošten’s oldest vineyards probably date from the 16th century. After a delicious lunch of Primosten specialties, you will have a chance to learn first-hand all about the vineyards, wine growing and Babić wine making in Primošten from a local wine maker. Later on, we’ll sample the mouthwatering artisan cheeses, olive oil, figs, sardines and delicious honey. Overnight in Split. (B & L)
This morning we depart to Opatija on the northern part of the Adriatic coast with a stop at Plitvice Lakes National Park. The first things to notice in the Lika region are the lovely green landscapes of extraordinatry ecological value. Enjoy this unique oasis of rare natural beauty. It is one of Europe’s most stunning nature reserve parks, and was truly created by nature. The park consists of 16 connecting lakes and sport unique cascades of murmuring waterfalls. Plitvice Lakes National Park was recognized and protected by UNESCO as part of the world’s natural heritage in 1979. We will take a lively walk along the lakes and breathe the fresh mountain air while listening to the captivating sounds of nature. As we take a boat ride across the largest of the lakes the incredible views of the crystal clear emerald water & bubbly white waterfalls will forever be captured in our memories! Soon after, you will enjoy a traditional lunch at a nearby restaurant consisting of delicious pork or lamb, locally grown potatoes, grilled or fried trout and apple strudel, but there are many other choices on the menu, as well. Overnight in Opatija. (B & L)
We reserve this day for exploring the beautiful Istrian Peninsual. Our fist stop is Rovinj. The sparkling sea, small fishing boats and narrow stone streets radiate the true charm of the Mediterranean. It is almost hard to imagine that Rovinj can be any more bautiful than it is. Admire its fantastic setting with centuries old red-roofed houses clustered around the hill of a former island. Istria’s cultural mecca is crowned by the monumental 18th century baroque Church of St. Euphemia. You will find abundance of great art galleries and art shops here as many of the fine artist, musicisian, writers and actors have made this city their home. We continue traveling through the dream-like scenery with its rolling hills and vineyards until we arrive to Motovun,the king of Istira’s medieval hill towns surrounded with a medieval wall on the top of a steep hill. A walk around the ramparts will impress you with amazing views of the vinyards of the Mirna Valley. There is no better way to savor the Istrian Peninsula then to lunch at one of the many superb restaurants in the entire region. They are known for exquisite seafood delicacies, delectable truffles, the aromatic Muscat of Monjan or the ruby-red Teran. Overnight in Opatija. (B & L)
This morning we depart towards Zagreb, a vibrant Croatian capital, and a charming metropolis with impressive architecture, history, and abundance of great art and cultural events. But before our final destination, we will stop in Plešivica, an important wine route of Zagreb region, and a home of Portugizec, a light red with a young wine character. The steep slopes of the foothills covered with vineyards will captivate you. And as we pass by small picturesque villages, you will wonder if the time has stood still here. And what better way to learn all about local life, traditions and wine making than by visiting some of the best local producers in their attractive cellars. Here we’ll taste the local specialties that pair well with their Portugizec, Sauvignon, Chardonnay & Zeleni Silvanac. Overnight in Zagreb. (B)
Zagreb is a fascinating city that combines the best of Eastern and Western Europe. It is the political, economic and cultural capital of the country, filled with energy but it has also retained a good deal of the old-world graciousness. That’s why you will fall in love with Zagreb as we will stroll past baroque-style mansions and baronial residences, and admire the beautifully crafted facades. In the company of your local expert, we will visit the symbol of Zagreb, St. Mark’s church in the Upper Town, which houses the remarkable works of Ivan Meštrović, its most famous sculptor. Come to the Lotrščak Tower and inhale this most beautiful view of the city. The attractions here are abundant, the culture, quite enthralling. There will be enough time for a delicious fresh baked pastry and a cup of excellent coffee in one of the side walk cafes in Gornji Grad. Or dine on some great home-made cheese and wine as you chat with friendly locals at Dolac, the lively open air market. You can’t miss the famous Tkalčićeva, a charming street with lined up cafes, restaurants, boutique and art shops, mini galleries, souvenir shops and so much more for you to discover.
And this is the day when we once more meet over a fine dinner of Zagreb area specialties and fine wine, and we say farewell to each other and to this intriguing country. Overnight in Zagreb. (B & D)
Morning transfer to the airport.
Hotel Rixos Libertas *****, Dubrovnik or similar
Hotel Korsal ****, Korčula or similar
Hotel Riva ****, Hvar or similar
Hotel Atrium *****, Split or similar
Hotel Ambasador *****, Opatija or similar
Hotel Westin *****, Zagreb or similar