Irresistible Istria….a 12-day small-group Slow Cruise and Tour, preferably in late September, or early October, showcasing the gourmet food and scenic wine regions of Istria. Starting with a 7-day cruise around the Istrian peninsula from Poreć, including the Limski Canal, Brioni Islands, Medulin, Opatija, Islands Cres, and Mali Lošinj, Rovinj, Pula, and back to Poreć, plus an extra 3 days to indulge in the fine hospitality of countryside Istria. Bookings for mid-September/October 2022 and 2023 are now open for a maximum of 8 guests only per Cruise/Tour.. All details, inclusions, meals, and POA. Contact Robyn Vulinovich by email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Day 1 Saturday Arrival into Zagreb-Transfer to Poreć in Istria, a 2.5 hr drive. Embarkation on M/Y ‘Playfellow’, one of my favourite cruise boats in the whole of the Adriatic, accommodating 8 guests only.
Embarkation at the Marina at 17.00. Heading to Limska Draga fiord to stay overnight. This is the most dramatic sight in Istria located between Rovinj and Poreč. A 10 km valley, 600 meters wide, with steep 100ft walls formed during the ice age. Here in this deep green bay can be found superb oysters, mussels and shellfish served right at the source. The name ‘Limski’ comes from the Latin for “limit”, referring to the landform’s position at the border of two Roman provinces: Dalmatia and Italia. Anthony Bourdain visited Tony’s Oyster Shack while filming his popular TV show “No reservations” in Croatia.
Day 2 Sunday
Heading to the National Park of Brijuni. (Brioni in Italian) Habitation goes back 2000 years, yet it was the extravagance of Tito the president of the former Yugoslavia who turned Brijuni into his private retreat where he often entertained foreign dignitaries, heads of state, and well-known movie stars. This was his summer playground. Today the 14 Brijuni islands are a firm favourite with the international yachting crowd and distinguished guests. Apart from lovely nature, there are also several archaeological sites worth seeing such as 13th century AD St. Mary’s Church, an ancient Roman villa, and the remains of a Byzantine palace among other places of interest. After Brijuni the next stop is Medulin where you will stay overnight.
Day 3 Monday
Opatija is next on the schedule. On the way, we can stop for a swim. Opatija is one of Croatia’s most spectacular sights. A traditional seaside resort on the Kvarner Gulf. Because of its history, it is a mix of Austrian and Mediterranean architecture. It was this breathtaking location and the agreeable year-round climate that made Opatija the most fashionable seaside resort for the Viennese elite during the Austro- Hungarian Empire. Overnight in Opatija.
Day 4 Tuesday
From Opatija, we will head to the town of Cres, on the island of Cres. A visit to Lubenice can be arranged so we can enjoy an ancient mountain village with a great view of the sea and neighbouring islands. Wandering around sun-drenched Cres Town, with old ladies chattering away in Italian, you may wonder if you’ve accidentally stayed across the border into Italy! pastel coloured terrace houses and Venetian mansions hug the medieval harbour of Mandrać.
Day 5 Wednesday
We will head to the nearby island of Mali Lošinj. It offers a variety of beaches, museums, and parks for you to enjoy. Vestiges of its 19th-century prosperity can still be seen in the stately sea captain’s houses that line up along the seafront of the pretty old town retaining the charm of a small Mediterranean village. Overnight stay.
Day 6 Thursday
From Mali Lošinj we will head to Pula, the largest city in Istria. It is known for its multitude of ancient Roman buildings, the most famous of which is the Pula Arena, one of the best-preserved Roman amphitheatres, and its beautiful sea. The city has a long tradition of winemaking, fishing, shipbuilding, and tourism. Overnight stay in Pula.
Day 7 Friday
Heading back to Poreč. On the way back we’ll stop at Rovinj(Rovigno in Italian) coastal Istria’s star attraction. A place of Venetian history, cultural and historical sights, museums, archaeological sites and much much more. (Trust me!)
Day 8 Saturday Disembarkation in Poreć (Parenzo in Italian) – This morning, before driving to our hotel in Brtonigla, we’ll visit the 6th-century Euphrasian Basilica, one of Europe’s finest intact examples of Byzantine art. What makes this place so popular are the glittering wall-mosaics in the apse. These 6th-century masterpieces feature biblical scenes of archangels and Istrian Martyrs. Accommodation: Hotel San Rocco 4* Brtonigla.
Please note: We would like to point out that the sailing route above depends on the weather report. In case of bad weather, the captain reserves the right to change the route.
Day 9 Sunday A day exploring the Istrian countryside. Motovun, Groznjan, Hum, and Buje, will be on our agenda, tasting superb Malvasia white wines, Teran reds, truffles, and porcini mushrooms, extra virgin olive oil, local cheeses, prosciutto, hand-made pasta, and the symbol of Istria, the long-horned white beef called Boškarin, a delicacy served not only in Istria but approximately 50 higher-end restaurants throughout Croatia. Vegetarians are also well catered for.
Day 10 Monday Truffle Hunting Day. Embark on an adventure with the Karlić family in Buzet, who for the third generation have been hunting truffles.
These kind hosts will tell you all about truffles, the tradition of hunting and their truffle dogs. They will prepare a tasting of truffle products in a beautiful setting, and you will also be able to buy them at their store. The adrenaline that you will experience with them in the truffle hunt will certainly not leave you indifferent, because truffles are their love and a way of life. It is their passion!
Day 11 Tuesday Transfer back to Zagreb to Hotel Esplanade in Zagreb 5*. We’ll spend late afternoon and evening exploring the city and maybe enjoy a famous Lado folklore concert in the evening? A glorious way to end our tour in style, spending a night at the Esplanade Hotel, built-in 1925 to accommodate the elite passengers, presidents, VIPs and movie stars of the day on their way from Paris to Istanbul on the famous and elegant ‘Orient Express.’
Day 12 Wednesday Departure day, ‘Doviđenja’ –Arrivederci! Till we see you again!