Food lovers, raise your taste buds to the next level on this culinary and cultural journey that traces Croatia's Istrian Peninsula, Slovenia's Julian Alps, and Italy's Friuli-Venezia-Giulia region. Take in the best sites in this trio of countries, experiencing rich historical sites and spectacular national parks on moderate hikes. Go wine tasting, learn how to hunt truffles, taste olive oil, and sample regional delicacies in the Mediterranean as you've never seen it before, far from the crowds. Luxurious hotels awaiting at the end of each day make for a dreamy finale.
Discover an emerging gourmet destination on a trip designed to tickle picky palates
Experience the best, and most delicious, of three countries on one comprehensive adventure
Hike through orchards and vineyards by day, sampling local treats; savor sumptuous dinners each evening
Arrive in Zagreb, the capital of Croatia, and transfer to the medieval village of Bale on the beautiful Istrian peninsula. After lunch, explore the nearby seaside town of Rovinj and its gorgeous cobblestoned alleys. Reconvene for a brief orientation, followed by the welcome dinner.
A spectacular landscape of sparkling blue seas, green rolling hills and hilltop medieval towns, Istria is known for its olive groves, vineyards, and stellar restaurants. Continue along the peninsula's outer edges, reaching the coastal village of Fazana to board a ferry for a short voyage to the scenic Brijuni Islands. Collectively, the 14 islands are a Croatian National Park and were once the summer residence of Yugoslavia's President Tito. Return to Fazana in the afternoon and then drive to the historic town of Bale. In the evening take a tour of enchanting Bale and sample top-quality virgin olive oil in a local home.
Awake to a hearty breakfast in Bale and then journey to Rovinj for a stroll through Golden Cape Park. Next, leave the peninsula as the Venetian traders did, by boat, enjoying a unique vantage point from the sea. Pass small inlets and secluded bays and enter the Lim Fjord, known for its extraordinary mussels. Enjoy lunch at a traditional Istrian "Konoba" before heading to the coastal town of Porec to see its UNESCO-list Euphrasian Basilica. Leave coastal Istria and head inland to explore its verdant hills, truffle-rich forests, and vineyards. Stay in the medieval hilltop town of Motovun, famed for its international summer film festival, and wrap up with a gourmet Istrian dinner.
Wake up on a hilltop overlooking the kingdom of truffles and enjoy breakfast on the hotel's splendid terrace. Take a hike along the truffle route, to learn the art of 'hunting' this precious subterranean mushroom also called the 'black gold.' Enjoy a truffle tasting paired with local red wine, and continue hiking to Groznjan, a walled Renaissance town perched on another hill. Wander around this enchanting town of artists, known for its art studios, galleries, and gorgeous views. Return to Motovun to unwind at the hotel's swimming pool and spa.
Leave the Adriatic today and head into the Alps, leaving Croatia behind and entering Slovenia. The first stop is in the Slovenian karst region - the Skocjan Caves, a UNESCO World Heritage Site where you take a 2-hour underground walk. Continue to Ljubljana, Slovenia's charming capital that has recently become one of the hippest cities in Europe. Wander around the small, green city center along the banks of Ljubljanica River, exploring the highlights, and travel on to Lake Bled, a picturesque alpine lake and the location of tonight's hotel.
Today take in the picture-postcard tranquility of Lake Bled, with the bell tower of a medieval church rising from a tiny islet in the midst of the lake, guarded by a clifftop castle. Embark on a rewarding hike through Blejski Vintgar Gorge, walking above crystal-clear Radovna Stream on wooden planks over the whirlpools. Transfer to Bohinj Lake, Bled's wild brother, to hike on a soft forest trail by the lake. Return to Bled, known for its healing thermal waters; enjoy a spa treatment or massage before dinner.
Take a ride around the Julian Alps en route to the emerald-green Soca River Valley. Pass the village of Kranjska Gora, before heading up to the Vrsic pass (5,290'), once the border line between Italy and the Austro-Hungarian Empire. Take in breathtaking views and continue the winding drive to the spring of the Soca River, hike down into its magnificent valley and visit a museum dedicated to a WWI battle that took place in the valley. Finish the day with a culinary extravaganza prepared by Slovenia's best chef, Ana Ros.
Enjoy a delicious breakfast and a brief tour of chef Ana's herb garden. Say goodbye to Slovenia and enter the Italian province of Friuli-Venezia-Giulia. Hike up to the top of the scenic Montemaggiore for its famous views; on a clear day, see the blue Adriatic, the Julian Alps, and the Dolomites in the distance. In the afternoon, take a short drive to Collio wine country, a hilly vineyard area spreading over Slovenia and Italy. Visit the local wineries to sample the 'big reds,' and Friuli's exquisite wine grape called ribolla.
Travel west to the Italian region of Veneto, along the way visiting the historical city of Vicenza and its lovely countryside, famed for the Renaissance villas built by the great architect Andrea Palladio. The tour ends at the airport in Venice in the late afternoon, where you depart on homeward-bound flights.
Easy to moderate walking tours take travelers through hard to find orchards, vineyards, hillsides, and medieval villages across 3 countries in 9 days.
Enjoy Tuscan-style landscapes and culinary specialties of Croatia's up-and-coming gastronomical region, Istria, with far less tourists than in neighboring Italy.
This custom designed MT Sobek trip allows plenty of leisure time to swim in the Adriatic Sea and visit artisan shops and galleries.
Our expert guides and trip leaders are truly the key to our trips' success. Many are locals who live in-country year-round; others have made it their second home—all are passionate, enthusiastic and endlessly knowledgeable. Meet a few of the guides that might be on your trip.
Tasting local wines, olive oil and truffles, touring medieval towns and famed cities, scenic drives, and hikes through stunning landscapes.
Charming family-run hotels, historic countryside estates and hotels inside medieval castles, all surrounded by spectacular scenery.
Weather can be variable, from 82°F by the sea to 59°F in the mountains, so we suggest bringing layers and rain gear.
We meet on Day 1 at 9AM, in the lobby of the Sheraton Hotel, Zagreb. Many people doing this tour will arrive a day or two early.
No, there is not a particular dress code. There are no jackets and ties required at any of the restaurants. Shorts are not recommended for dinners.
Yes. All of the hotels but one on this trip have swimming pools.
Yes, on this trip, running shoes/cross training shoes are acceptable.
We do not offer a hotel reservation service, but we will provide you with a list of recommended hotels in each city.
Unfortunately there are no great transportation options for travelling between Venice and Zagreb. We recommend flying into Zagreb and flying out of Venice.
Make any of our trips a custom adventure or start from scratch. Take two itineraries and match them up to create a unique third. Add extras and extensions and more...if you can imagine it, we can make it happen!
"The trip was exceptional. We saw a part of the world we had never experienced. The accommodations were wonderful and the food fantastic. Perfection!"
MT Sobek Guest, Istria to Veneto: A Culinary Route
"Amazing trip of a lifetime! Would recommend to anyone who loves to hike, eat, drink wine and enjoy a good laugh."
MT Sobek Guest, Istria to Veneto: A Culinary Route