“If you like food, and you haven’t come here to eat, you’re missing the fu***** boat.” – Anthony Bourdain
Long recognized for its beautiful, historic cities and its hundreds of limestone islands hugging the coast, Croatia has recently started gaining some much-deserved acknowledgment as a culinary and wine destination as well. From the remarkable island wines and cured hams of Dalmatia, the fragrant truffles and floral honey of Istria, to the fresh seafood and shellfish of the coastline, Croatia offers a unique and rich culinary tradition.
Visitors to Croatia can expect a range of memorable dining experiences deserving of global recognition. Even the simplest of meals – a freshly-caught, grilled fish drizzled with local olive oil and a bottle of crisp and refreshing Malvazija wine – in a traditional konaba (tavern) demonstrates the country’s self-sufficiency and ability to provide a variety of quality, locally sourced ingredients. Although often overshadowed by neighboring food destinations, Croatia deserves praise for its culinary prowess. The cuisine is one that its people are very proud to share, along with a shot or three of rakija.
Day 1 — Zagreb
Arrival in Zagreb. Private transfer to hotel for 2 nights. Welcome dinner.
Day 2 — Zagreb
Half-day flexible city and food touring with private guide. Dinner with a local family. Evening at leisure.
Day 3 — Zagreb to Rovinj
Private transfer to Istria. Full day culinary experience. Two nights in Rovinj.
Day 4 — Rovinj to Pag
Half-day wine tour of Istria. Evening at leisure.
Day 5 — Rovinj to Pag
Private transfer to Pag. En route, stop in Opatija for a seafood lunch. Overnight in Pag.
Day 6 — Pag to Zadar
Half-day culinary experiences. Evening at leisure. Two nights in Zadar.
Day 7 — Zadar
Morning city tour. Private transfer to wine cellar dinner.
Day 8 — Zadar to Split
Morning tour of Krka National Park. Afternoon city touring and seafood lunch. Evening at leisure. Three nights in Split.
Day 9 — Split
Morning city tour. Private transfer to Trogir for a market tour and home hosted lunch. Evening at leisure.
Day 10 — Split
Morning private transfer to Brač island. Full day culinary experience on the island. Return to Split for evening at leisure.
Day 11 — Split to Dubrovnik
Private transfer to Dubrovnik. Half-day oyster and seafood experience en route. Evening at leisure. Two nights in Dubrovnik.
Day 12 — Dubrovnik
Morning city tour. Half-day wine experience. Evening at leisure.
Day 13 — Departure
Private transfer to airport for international departure.
truffle hunting in istria
Head out into the oak woods surrounding a small village in Istria, led by a hunter and his special dogs trained to sniff out hidden underground treasures. With some luck on your side, locate and unearth some of your very own black truffles, and if the timing is right, truffles of the infamous white variety. Trek back to the village, where your host, a third-generation family of truffle-hunters, will prepare an amazing spread featuring the earthy delicacies you’ve managed to find.
Traditional Lamb on a Spit
It is hard to ignore the tantalizing smell of delicious, roasting meat. Croatians love their lamb, and one of the most traditional and preferred preparations is by slow-cooked, rotisserie spit. The lamb cooks over smoldering coals for hours, basted with its own juices until the skin becomes a crunchy, deep caramel color. Served with some roasted potatoes, fresh vegetables, and local red wine, it doesn’t get much better than this!
Wine Cellar Dinner
Passing over the rustic hills outside of Sibenik, arrive at a hidden, yet wonderfully refined winery, one of Croatia’s best and most exclusive. After touring the grounds a bit, head down to the cellar for a private tasting served by the renowned winemaker himself. Enjoy a selection of his finest wines masterfully paired with a multi-course whimsical and impressive dinner prepared by his wife, arguably one of the best chefs in the country. This is absolutely a true destination winery and a must-visit on any food tour of Croatia!
Wine & Olive oil tour of Brač
Although most famous for its radiant white stone from which Diocletian’s Palace in Split as well as government buildings all over the world including the White House were built, Brač has a history of wine and olive oil production dating back to the Greeks. After a short boat ride, arrive on the island and visit several top wineries to taste some exceptional local wines like Plavac Mali and Pošip that have recently seen a bit of a resurgence. Continue on to learn about classic olive oil production on Brac, one of Croatia’s largest and best producers with over 30% of the country’s oil coming from the island. Olives are picked by hand and pressed in local villages like Škrip and depending on the time of year, you can get out there and join in.
Market visit & home cooked meal
Embark on a 45 minute drive outside of Split to the UNESCO-recognized medieval city of Trogir. Once you arrive, meet with our own enthusiastic and passionate culinary virtuoso. After a visit to the city’s market, head back to her 13th century home to prepare the day’s bounty. Relax and enjoy some wine or roll up your sleeves and join her to help prepare an amazing spread of Dalmatian-inspired dishes as she fills you in on the history of her city.
The vibrant capital of Croatia is often overlooked by travelers planning only to visit the coast and its islands. That being said, Zagreb is certainly worth a stop over with its rich cultural heritage, spectacular medieval architecture, and lively and colorful open-air markets.