DAY 1: PULA ARRIVAL – ROVINJ
Welcome to Istria, “Croatian Tuscany”. Rovinj is a great place to begin the Istrian tour. Lovely Rovinj, a city port that sits on a picturesque peninsula, is considered the most romantic place in the Mediterranean. Untouched by modern times, the heart of Rovinj is a place to fully surrender to the soothing energy of an old, slow, and cozy Mediterranean.
Cobbled streets of Rovinj are lined with an old architecture that dates as far back as early 1700, while some of its remains are from the Ilyric, Roman and Venetian times. Climbing on the top of the bell tower rewards with a charming panoramic view of the town, the sea, and nearby islands. In front of the bell tower and St. Eufemija’s church is a scenic square, a great place to get rest and enjoy the authentic flair of Istria’s small town.
Without cars on its streets, the old town of Rovinj is super friendly for children and an ideal setting for a relaxed strolling across romantic streets and lovely sea promenades.
In the afternoon, Croatian gastronomy adventure starts with a mouthwatering welcome dinner in a local restaurant. Fresh, locally grown ingredients, famous Istrian wine, traditional recipes, and world-known Istrian hospitality make Istria favored foodie destination.
Overnight in Rovinj.
DAY 2: ISTRIA AT HAND PRIVATE TOUR
Streets of Pula are lined with magnificent remains of mighty Roman and Austrian empires – stunning Amphitheater overlooking the sea, elegant city gates, a Roman temple, and a fascinating Austrian empire military heritage.
Picturesque Poreč is a place of delightful Venetian architecture and UNESCO World Heritage Site, the Basilica of St Euphrasius.
A finale of a lovely day, full of stunning views and breathtaking ancient architecture, is an exclusive truffle dinner in dreamlike acropolis city, Motovun.
Famous Arena, Roman Amphitheater in Pula, is probably one of the most beautiful stages in the world. Its mighty stones and massive arches, overlooking the sea, achieve a perfect balance of architecture and an environment. Pula is home of the most beautiful Roman temples outside Italy, as well as many magnificent Roman monuments, and the fascinating remains of the grandiose Austrian Empire.
In the mid 19th Austro-Hungarian Monarchy chosen Pula for its major naval port. Strong and ambitious Empire undertook grandiose military architecture endeavor in Pula. They built over 26 magnificent forts or fortifications, 8 artillery batteries, and elaborate underground tunnels that can take in almost the entire population of Pula (50 000 people). The part of the tunnels is open for tourists, and it is totally worth the visit. Somewhere in the middle, you’ll stumble upon an exciting exhibition showcasing the life of Pula in the Austro-Hungarian era and ambitious plans the Empire had for its major naval port.
Poreč is another picturesque Istrian town situated on a peninsula, steeped in the history of the Roman Empire and Venice. Quaint narrow cobbled streets, beautiful Venetian era buildings, and the sea promenades in the shades of the pines are a perfect setting for a relaxing stroll.
Astonishing UNESCO Basilica of St Euphrasius, a masterpiece of 6th century Byzantine architecture, is a must-see of Poreč and Istria. Although the whole complex is beautiful and full of interesting architectural details, its highlight is glittering 6th-century Byzantine-style mosaics in the apse of the church. Art historians agree that by its beauty and significance, Poreč mosaics can rival those in Ravenna.
After a day packed with beautiful historic towns, it is the time to escape to a scenic Istrian hinterland. The hilltop towns are spread all around Istria. Each city looks like an illustration from a fairy-tale book. Stunning view of the countryside, vineyards, olives groves green forest and quiet rivers is incredibly relaxing and tranquil.
Motovun might easily be the most beautiful hilltop town of Istria. It is an ancient Istrian acropolis city, situated on the top of a 277 meter-high hill, fortified by two medieval walls and Romanesque and Gothic core. Motovun is well-known for its truffles, gastronomy, wines, and film festival. Surrounded by thick forest, rich with truffles, Motovun brings its visitor back in times when mythical creatures from Istrian legends walked around.
After a short tour, the best Motovun restaurant will serve a delicious truffle dinner paired with the best Istrian wines. Because when in Motovun…
Overnight in Rovinj.
DAY 3: ROVINJ – PLITVICE LAKES
Halfway between Split and Zagreb is the most interesting place of Croatian hinterland – National Park Plitvice Lake, UNESCO World Heritage Site. Many visitors think that its 16 lakes interconnected with about 90 spectacular waterfalls and framed by lush greenery might be the most beautiful place in the world. And we couldn’t agree more.
Plitvice offers a delightful walk along 18 km of beautiful wooden footbridges and pathways. Walking along the crystalline lakes and besides magical waterfalls detoxes from any kind of restlessness or stress. The tranquility of the perfectly turquoise water, misty waterfalls, and bountiful shades of green are a mother’s nature’s finest wellness treatment. Locals believe that wishes made under the biggest Plitvice waterfall always come true. And we think it is worth a try.
The National Park goes beyond beautiful cascading lakes. It occupies an area of 30,000 hectares, covered by beech, fir, and spruce forest. Deers, bears, wolves, boars, and numerous rare bird species live in this well-preserved piece of biodiversity heaven.
After a romantic sightseeing tour, the tour heads towards Zadar.
Overnight in Zadar.
DAY 4: LOVING ZADAR WALKING TOUR
While Zadar is rich with cultural heritage from Roman times and middle ages, strolling around the streets of Zadar, full of ancient architecture, still is not the most romantic thing to do here. Sure, famous round byzantine church, Landward Gate, and Roman Forum are beautiful, but Zadar has something even more spectacular to offer. Sitting near the sea, watching a beautiful sunset listening to the music of the Sea Organ and later indulge in The Greeting to the Sunlight show on the Sea promenade is the true definition of the romantic evening.
Zadar is one of the oldest continually inhabited cities in Europe. Its position, between beautiful coast, fish-rich sea, and fertile soil in Zadar hinterland, provided an ideal home to the people from prehistoric times. Great location and an abundance of natural resources made Zadar’s history a turbulent series of fights for territory and dominance between Venice, Turks, Austria, and Croatia.
The most famous monument of Zadar is the church of St. Donatus, one of the most excellent examples of Byzantine architecture. Rounded interior directed the lights towards the sanctuary, creating interesting patterns throughout the day. Some of the most beautiful Dalmatian metalwork can be seen in St. Donat.
Belltower of St. Anastasia offers lovely panoramic views of St. Donatus, Velebit mountain, and ancient Roman Forum. An expert guide will share interesting stories about the most essential Zadar places, its roman monuments, and the turbulent history of Zadar.
The day will end at Zadar Riva (sea promenade), giant organ, with pipes 70 long, that is played by the sea waves. Water pushes the air through 35 underwater pipes, creating otherworldly music of the sea. Sea Organ is the world-famous work of Croatian architect Nikola Bašić connecting engineering and the power and the beauty of nature.
After the sea’s concert in the sunset, Riva invites for another spectacular experience of the same author. The Greeting to a Sun is an elaborate light installation that symbolizes the interaction of humankind with the Sun. 300 solar modules arranged in a circle of a 22 m diametre absorbs the light during the day. After the sunsets, it starts with an interactive light show for visitors. The light synchronizes with the rhythms of the waves and the sound of the Sea Organs, creating one of a kind mesmerizing synesthetic experience.
Overnight in Zadar.
DAY 5: ROMANTIC CHAMPAGNE SUNSET CRUISE
Zadar is charming, and its Sea Promenade is total bliss, but 100 islands in Zadar aquarium, with quiet secluded beaches, idyllic bays, and eye-catching caves will be a real highlight of Zadar experience. Embark on a romantic cruise to a private island. As the boat is slowly drifting in the Zadar aquarium, enjoy the beautiful views of the town of Zadar, deep blue sea, and the diversity of islands and islets around. Nothing is more relaxing than laying on the boat, listening to the sounds of the waves, surrounded by the blue sky and the blue sea, enjoying the soothing wind on a face and the body. On the private island, there is a secluded beach, ideal for a total check out of reality.
Overnight in Zadar.
DAY 6: ZADAR – SPLIT – HVAR
After leaving eye starring Zadar – take a short ride to our second largest city in Croatia – Split. Split (Spalato in Italian) is a great place to see Dalmatian life as it’s really lived. Always buzzing, this exuberant city has just the right balance between tradition and modernity. Step inside Diocletian’s Palace (a Unesco World Heritage Site and one of the world’s most impressive Roman monuments) and you’ll see dozens of bars, restaurants and shops thriving amid the atmospheric old walls where Split has been humming along for thousands of years.
After walking tour, embark on a ferry to island of Hvar. Due to its beautiful renaissance architecture, inspiring cultural heritage, and vitalizing Mediterranean nature, Hvar is one of the most popular and beloved Adriatic islands.
Hvar is considered as one of the top 10 beautiful islands in the world that has more Intangible UNESCO Heritage than any other island in the world. Add to that the title of the sunniest place in Europe, and you got a place you simply must visit. At least once in a lifetime. Also, Hvar is one of the most vibrant spots in whole Croatia – have fun.
Private transfer to your hotel. The rest of the day is at leisure.
Overnight in Hvar.
DAY 7: ISLAND WINE TOUR
Hvar is a calming place of sophisticated hedonism, shaped by the cultural influence of Venice, the Austrian Empire, and the authentic Dalmatia. Architecture buffs will be delighted by the town’s castle Fortress, Croatian theater and Arsenal, Franciscan monastery, Benedictine monastery, Croatia Cathedral, UNESCO’s Intangible Heritage of Stari Grad Plain and the picturesque white-stone houses and streets of Hvar’s villages and towns.
The guided tour starts in town Hvar, continues with a Stari Grad Plain – Agera (Hora), UNESCO World Heritage vineyard sightseeing, and ends in picturesque Jelsa with a wine tasting in a famous Hvar winery. Simple, but the delightful pairing of homemade bread, rich cheese with indigenous wine provides a holistic wine tasting experience.
Interesting to see is a subtle agave lace made by Hvar’s Benedictine nuns, UNESCO Intangible Heritage. And ff there is something that can convey the spirit of the southern Dalmatia – it is the klapa multipart singing. Sitting with a glass of Hvar wine, listening to the klapa, surrounded by the renaissance architecture of Hvar, gives goosebumps and touches a soul to its deepest parts.
Before you know if you will be leaving Hvar town to a local Boutique winery. Be hosted by the owner and taste his award winning local wines paired with locally produced wine, cheese, and olive oil. The wines you taste here are all very limited production so you are lucky if you grab one for home. Your fabulous traditional lunch in an old, abandoned village Malo Grablje wraps up the Hvar experience. The authentic taste of the luscious dalmatian food in the unique ambiance of the Malo Grablje should be enjoyed slowly, mindfully, and with full surrender to a Mediterranean joie de vivre.
Overnight in Hvar.
DAY 8: HVAR – DUBROVNIK
Today we continue to Jewel of the Adriatic – Dubrovnik. Just a simple walk on the streets of Dubrovnik or along the city walls awakens the sense of awe and exhilaration. Stunning views of the Old Town and the shimmering blue Adriatic Sea are genuinely marvelous and breathtaking.
After the arrival, the rest of the day is at leisure.
Overnight in Dubrovnik.
Note: The way from Hvar to Dubrovnik can also be done via private boat visiting Mljet National Park on the way. If you are interested ask us about the possible upgrade.
DAY 9: DUBROVNIK BEHIND THE SCENES CITY TOUR
Renaissance harmony, a medieval mystic and fantasy-like Game of Thrones vibe – the city of Dubrovnik is bursting with good energy and unbelievably lots of things to see and do. The Old City of Dubrovnik, UNESCO World Heritage site, is considered the most beautiful Croatian town and is among the most famous tourist sites in Europe. Its nickname – The Pearl of the Adriatic – is there for a reason.
After breakfast, imaginative legends inhabiting magical places of this medieval town will come to life on a walking tour with our expert guide. He will guide you to see Old Town, Stradun, the famous main street of Dubrovnik, historic Rector’s Palace, and dreamlike City Walls.
City Walls, UNESCO World Heritage Site, overlooking the Adriatic sea, islands, and yachts smoothly sailing across the endless blue are one of the most important sites of Europe. Their historic grandiosity radiates with a fantasy-like Game of Thrones vibe.
Elafiti islands were Dubrovnik’s aristocracy’s favorite place of leisure. Those people knew how to fully enjoy life. Following their footsteps across, Elafiti introduces to the most sophisticated Mediterranean joie de vivre. Aromatic myrtle, laurel, thyme, rosemary fill the air of Elafiti with the characteristic Mediterranean scent. Tall cypresses and thick pine trees embrace the islands, providing natural shade and the perfect place to relax between the swims in the crystalline azure sea.
The rest of the afternoon is at leisure.
Overnight in Dubrovnik!
DAY 10: FLY OUT
Private transfer to Dubrovnik airport.
Fly out of Croatia.