From the paradise of the Mediterranean coast to its bold continental appeal, Croatia has a lot going on. Stellar wines, succulent seafood, gorgeous landscapes, and a seductive mix of cultural influences make Croatia the new “in” destination for savvy world travelers.
Coming together over exquisite wines and traditional dishes is a large part of Croatia’s identity and culture. After a few intimate encounters with the locals and authentic traditions of the countryside, you will fall in love with the warmth and genuine charm of the people.
Wander with us for 8 days on a Croatia Food and Wine trip in Northern Croatia in its capital Zagreb and along the Istrian peninsula. Istria will be our home base for much of this trip and is known as the Tuscany of Croatia. Istria simply soothes the soul with captivating and compelling scenery which is only enhanced by the amazing food and wines of the area. Truffles, meats, cheese and wine dominate the culinary landscape. The trip will offer an intimate behind the scenes experience, featuring lavish backdrops and breathtaking landscapes that rival those anywhere else in the world. The trip focuses on delicious local foods, wines, and the amazing history and sights in and around this area.
The final day, November 23rd, will be in Zagreb at Vinocom, a huge wine festival featuring the best of Croatian and regional wine and spirits.
Welcome to Croatia! Dobrodǒsli! Arrive at the Zagreb airport and immediately get whisked off for a sweet pick me up to the nearby town of Samobor where we will stretch our legs and get a sugar rush as we sample some of the best desserts and pastries in Croatia paired with some delicious coffee and the imbibe in Bermet, at the world’s oldest producer, where we will sample this deliciously tasty spiked wine. (Will have to make changes based on arrival times, but most flights come in between 10 and 12, so this usually works) Afterwards, we will check into our hotel and enjoy a break to unwind and freshen up before we head out for dinner in the wine country just outside of Zagreb, where we will experience an introductory taste of Croatian cuisine served up with a gourmet twist and a view to die for. We will head back for to the hotel so that everyone can rest up for our adventure tomorrow.
The theme of the day is TRUFFLES! Today, we will venture from Zagreb enjoying the diverse terrain with a stop for lunch featuring regional specialties. Afterwards, we will continue our drive to the countryside dotted with hilltop villages until we check in and get settled. We are now in the area most known for truffles and will partake in a truffle hunt led by the cutest truffle hunting dogs. After the hunt, we will warm up in front of the fireplace and enjoy a cooking lesson on how to best prepare these edible treasures as we indulge in a black truffle degustation.
We begin the day with a short ride to Pula, a seaside town that is over 3000 years old and is famed for its Arena; one of the world’s best–preserved Roman Amphitheaters. Once in town, we will take part in a private history tour of the arena and the antiquities as we stroll the city streets of this ancient town. We will enjoy a meal at the local farmer/fish market featuring that days catch. Afterwards, we will visit one of the top winemakers in Croatia, who is known as the “Bad Boy” of Croatian wine producers for a private tour of his winery and tasting of his award-winning wines. The day is capped off in fine style as we head to our favorite goat cheese farmers, whose farm dates back to the 14th century and whose goats graze on close to 200 types of plants and herbs, which produce some of the most astounding cheeses. We will visit the production area and see how they are made before sitting down for a meal on the farm.
Meat and cheese are the theme of the day as we visit the area’s best meat and cheese producers for tasting of their products and a tour of their facilities. We will then make our way to the cutest craft distillery you have ever laid your eyes on and indulge in a tasting of rakija’s, locally made and potent fruit brandies before visiting the most picturesque town in Croatia, Motovun for a for photo opportunities before we sit down for our meal…featuring truffles! Yes, once wasn’t enough!
We begin the day with a short ride to the ancient hilltop town of Grožnjan, which is known as the “Town of Artists” and is home to over twenty galleries and art studios. We will enjoy some free time to explore the cobbled streets and closely built homes before we set off to visit one of the top wineries in Croatia for a tasting with a view. We will venture to the coast to experience a demo on the oyster/mussel farming and production famous from the area, a tradition which has been happening here since antiquity. The oysters here are so good, even ancient Roman emperors used to put in delivery orders! While here we will savor a seafood meal unlike any other. Our day is capped off with a visit to the top olive oil producer in all of Croatia, who has been awarded the best olive in the world the past three years for a class/tasting on olive oil.
Today we travel back to Zagreb for the remainder of the tour, but will take the amazingly scenic coastal road before turning towards the mountains on our way to a stop at the famed Plitvice Lakes, one of Croatia’s most famed landmarks for a walking tour of the scenery. Be prepared to experience one of the world’s natural wonders. Often mentioned as the most beautiful national parks in the world, get ready to experience the jaw dropping beauty first hand. Everyone will have built up an appetite after the park, so we will stop for a meal featuring many regional bites before checking in to our hotel.
Our day begins with a tour of the heart of Zagreb, including the Dolac Farmer’s Market, Croatia’s largest market where you will get a perspective of all the variety being offered seasonally.
After our market tour, we are heading to Vinocom, Croatia’s premier wine festival. For hours, you will be able to sample wine from the region’s best producers along with tasty local fare. It’s a day most do not get to experience and we are proud to be a part.
Departure Day. Guests will gather for breakfast at their own leisure, before departing for the airport via private transfer.
Embracing his roots in Croatia, Richard Gruica created Captivating Croatia with the dream of sharing authentic experiences that explore the incredibly rich and varied cuisine of Croatia. He is a longtime member of the Slow Food movement and was a guest speaker at the 2014 Terra Madre Balkan Conference, at which he saw the immense beauty and diversity of Croatia, ultimately igniting the fuel for Captivating Croatia.
Richard’s extensive research has led him on paths to some of the finest examples of tradition, craft, and small production, but more significantly, to the people that have a true passion for what they do.
Price of this trip is $3500 for each wanderer. The price for couples is $6800.
This Fall Flavors of Croatia Culinary Tour is designed for active wanderers. If you have questions about physical specifics of this trip, please contact us. Trip prices are based on accommodation (3-4 star hotels) and a American tour guide for duration of the trip. All trips will have an orientation (in person if geography suffices) for all guests approximately 4 weeks before departure.
Deposit Requirement: A deposit is required immediately with each booking request. A booking cannot be guaranteed without a deposit.
Deposits can be paid by check, Venmo or credit card. All credit cards are processed through Stripe.
Trip Costs: This trip must be paid in full prior to 4 months start of trip. If trip fees are not paid within this time-frame, trip deposits will be forfeited.
Refund Policy: There is a 10% non-refundable fee per person on all received cancellation requests, regardless of the period when the cancellation is submitted. This trip is only 50% refundable if the request is made prior to 4 months. If cancellation request is made after, no refund will be issued. This is due to the strict booking policies for desired hotels.
We apologize for any inconvenience of this policy. You can however, transfer your reservation to another willing participant in the event you need to cancel. Just notify us if this is the case.
Tour Cancellations: Big Fat World Tours reserves the right to cancel any trip for any reason and will notify each guest as soon as possible. All deposits and monies paid will be refunded 100% in such an event. Trip Insurance is highly recommended for all wanderers.
These policies are strictly enforced due to logistical partners in country and reservations made with local hotels and providers.
No, this trip is for anyone who wants to go to Croatia, whether they want to drink wine or not.
In the summer months it can get quite hot on the coast with temps in some places reaching the 90’s, so plan accordingly. Winter is true winter in the Continental region and the capital, Zagreb, often with snow. On the coast, in winter it is quite windy and often stormy at times, but also quite mild. Our tours tend to run in the Shoulder Season, providing some of the best weather.
Tipping is customary for good service unless stated otherwise – 10-15% on a restaurant bill is normal, and again note it is not possible to tip with a credit card payment and must be done separately in cash.
Croatia is an incredibly safe and friendly country, with very little crime or theft. It is a beautiful country, with very clean cities, and sea, the tap water is drinkable – no need to buy bottled water.
There are no predators in the gorgeous sea, just keep your eyes out for the black sea urchins.
The diet in Croatia, especially on the coast is Mediterranean and in most places has a focus on seafood. These days vegetarian meals in restaurants are possible, with vegan and gluten free less common but popping up. Some shops like DM drogeria have a selection of gluten free products.