The months of June and September are most favorable for this small group tour and cruise. In other words, European Spring and Autumn. The complete 18-day journey features sustainable travel at its very best, excellent accommodation, and a mixture of fine Michelin Star dining combining nicely with hospitable encounters with local and traditional purveyors of more homestyle unique experiences. Meet the winemakers, the artisans, the chefs, and chat with the locals, learning a little about their environment, their history, and their way of life compared to our own. An opportunity to turn your travel into unique experiences in MY HIDDEN CROATIA.
Thurs – Arrival in Ljubljana. Accommodation: 4 * Escorted evening walking tour and optional dinner at a favourite restaurant. An evening of settling into your new environment. Accommodation 4*
Friday – Transfer to Lake Bled, one of the most picturesque places on earth. Take a stroll around the lake. We’ll visit the castle of Bled overlooking the lake, and take a pletna boat ride to St. Mary’s Island in the middle of the lake. Light lunch at the castle. http://www.jezersek.si/en/locations/bled-castle/bled-castle-restaurant After lunch we’ll drive to Hiša Franko via Krajnska Gora. Dinner at Hisa Franko. Accommodation: Hiša Franko 4*
Hiša Franko is the well-known 2-star Michelin Restaurant helmed by Ana Roš in the valley of Kobarid, Slovenia. Voted Number 1 Female chef and 9th best chef in the world. This is an experience of pure indulgence one of the finest degustations to be found throughout the world today. Ana sources all her ingredients locally within a radius of 6 km and is a keen environmentalist.
Saturday Drive from Hisa Franko across the Slovenian/Croatian border to Karlić Truffles in Buzet, Northern Istria (2.15 hr) Truffle hunting with the dogs and lunch at Karlić Family’s restaurant is another unique experience, learning about the truffles and watching our delicious lunch being prepared is always a highlight. A 50 min drive brings us to that stunning Old Venetian coastal town of Rovinj. A free evening to stroll and enjoy.
Sunday – Free morning in Rovinj. 11.00 am Istria inland tour, visiting Groznjan, Wine tasting, and light lunch at Marko Fakin’s award-winning Vineyard in Motovun.. Optional dinner tonight at La Puntalina in Rovinj. Another favourite, and totally delightful restaurant on the rocks below St. Euphemia Cathedral. Accommodation: Hotel Angelo D’oro, 4* one of my favourite hotels.
Monday – From Rovinj, we’ll drive to Poreč to visit the 6th Century Euphrasian Basilica. https://www.myporec.com/en/discover-porec/euphrasius-basilica/521 One of the best-preserved complexes of early Christian architecture in the world today. The mosaics are breathtaking! Late morning driving from Poreč via Opatija on the Kvarner Croatian Coast with a short stop at the exquisite Wagner Café by the sea.
Opatija was developed during the reign of the Austro-Hungarian Empire. The Hapsburg Empire, wealthy Scandinavians, and Russians flocked to this sea-side jewel, developing Baroque Neo classical and many Art Nouvea villas along the coastline. It became the sunny playground for dukes, barons, and other aristocrats. Today it is one of Croatia’s most favourite Belle Époque destinations.
Continuing on to Island Pag around the Kvarner Coastline. It is almost impossible to explain the beauty of Island Pag… The stunning colours of nature, of stone, sea, and sky…seemingly a wasteland, weathered by the gale force Bura winds of winter…yet here we find the finest wines, ancient salt pans, internationally acclaimed sheep’s milk cheeses, succulent lamb dishes,1000-year-old olive groves, and the most exquisite handmade laces of Pag… a most exotic environment. Accommodation: Boskinac Vineyards 4* and dinner https://www.boskinac.com/
Tuesday – Otok Pag– Today we’ll visit Gligora Cheese, 1000-year-old Olive Groves of Lun, Pag lace, Salt Pans of Pag, and Boškinac Vineyards. Lamb of Pag (A specialty of Boškinac) spectacular scenery. Accommodation: Boškinac Vineyards, 4* Island Pag: https://myhiddencroatia.com/my-travel-tales/island-pag-an-exotic-environment/
Wednesday– Island Pag to Šibenik – Krka waterfalls. Today we’ll take a guided walk around Krka Falls, not only a place of natural beauty, but it was also the place where Nikola Tesla produced his alternating electrical current, ACDC, and was responsible for being the very first to light up a city with electric lighting in the city of Šibenik. A first-in-the-world achievement!
This evening was another night of pure indulgence at Pelegrini Michelin Star Restaurant. http://pelegrini.hr/en/ Accommodation: Heritage Hotel Armerun 4* in Šibenik
Thursday – A Guided morning walk through Old Šibenik at the mouth of the Krka River. A town that was first mentioned in 1066 by Croatian King Krešimir, and so it’s known as ‘Krešimir’s town’, built during the time of the Renaissance, and some well-known buildings were built here at that time, such as the Cathedral of St. James and various forts and palaces. Šibenik prospered under Venetian rule between the 15th and 18th Centuries and has left a legacy of treasures that can be seen in the Town Museum.
13.00 Šibenik to Split via Skradin – Alen Bibić wine Tasting and degustation. SENSATIONAL! Today we take a drive up the Krka River to Skradin and to the village of Plastovo where we find the vineyards of Alen Bibić. A wine connoisseur’s dream come true. You will not only be impressed with the fine wines with the Bibich label, but also the sensational degustation menu.
Late afternoon we arrive in the Central Dalmatian city of Split, the second largest city in Croatia. A city founded by the Roman Emperor Diocletian, in the early 3rd century AD. Old Split oozes ambiance, and many locals say it is ‘the most beautiful city in the world‘, where everything is ‘the best,’ including the Cathedral of St. Dominious, the Riva, Hajduk Football club, and Varoš.!!
Friday– Escorted morning walk around old Split learning a little of the ancient history and culture of this well-preserved city, exploring Emperor Diocletian’s palace and cellars, and Roman remains. Free afternoon. In the evening, dinner at a favourite restaurant amidst rustic ambiance. Accommodation: Hotel 4 * in the old city centre.
Saturday – CRUISING—A free Day in Split, then embarkation at 17.00 on one of three luxury Croatian gulets.
- Saturday Embarkation in Sumpetar 17.00 sail to Milna – Island Brač
- Sunday Milna, Tour of Island Brač to Bol.
- Monday Bol to Stari Grad -Island Hvar
- Tuesday Stari Grad to Komiža -Island Vis
- Wednesday Komiža to Korčula– Island Korčula
- Thursday Korčula to Pomena-Island Mljet /Island Šipan
- Friday Island Šipan to Dubrovnik – City tour and romantic evening in Old Town.
- Saturday Dubrovnik – Disembarkation 9.00 am – Transfer to Cavtat
Our group of 10 well-travelled Australians, a timber gulet called M/Y Morning Star, and a very professional captain and crew that really endeared themselves to our Aussie guests, all meeting in Sumpetar near Split and embarked on a sea journey through the Dalmatian Islands, from Split to Zaton near Dubrovnik. This was a real adventure, visiting some of the more well-known ports of Milna on Island Brač, Stari Grad and Hvar Town on Island Hvar, and Komiža on Island Vis and captivating Korčula. Yet, mooring in lesser-known harbours and coves on Vis, Mljet, and Šipan added a balance of unique and welcoming experiences, e.g A safari tour of Island Brač was a definite highlight, courtesy Explore Brač, also the military tunnels of Vis, and a visit to a local home and wine cellars on Šipan. Meeting the locals, the artisans, fellow travellers, and learning to expect the unexpected was the order of the day!
Saturday, – 9.00 am Transfer to the green hills of the Konavle Valley and local vineyards. Here we’ll enjoy a wine tasting and drive through one of the prominent vineyards then make our way to accommodation in Cavtat, one of Croatia’s most unique and picturesque seaside towns, 20 kilometers south of Dubrovnik.
Sunday 10.00 am Cooking Class and long lunch at Kameni Dvori. Recent surveys conducted among many visitors clearly show that Kameni Dvori’s unique cooking classes are pretty popular. Traditional local food is prepared and cooked together with local hosts. It is one of the most valuable experiences in rural tourism.
“Kameni Dvori started with its cooking classes a few years ago when they had a friendly group of young people from Belgium. They wanted to learn how to prepare a traditional dish from the Konavle region in Dubrovnik. They wanted to know how to do this without modern technology, just as our ancestors did centuries ago So, all together we picked various fruits and vegetables from our home gardens, brought water from a nearby spring, and got some flour from the local water mill and cheese from the neighboring farm. We even started a fire using the sun’s rays. When we collected all the ingredients, we showed our guests how to prepare and cook everything. The final result was a delicious romantic candlelight dinner. The guests were delighted with this new experience and for us it was unique as well.” By the Mujo Family at Kameni Dvori (Stone Houses)
Monday, the day of departure. We hope you have enjoyed your tour and cruise through Slovenia and Croatia, and we hope to see you back again sometime. There is much more to explore and enjoy in this land of great diversity. Doviđenja, Arrivederci, Till we see you again! Transfers to Dubrovnik Airport are included.
Robyn Vulinovich at My Hidden Croatia, Tour consultant, and concierge. Split, Croatia. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org