Tailor-Made Holiday

Discover Istria

Visit Zagreb, Zagorje Castles, Pula and Rovinj

7 days

from £2,695pp (excluding flights)

Visit the historical heart of Croatia on this seven-day holiday to Istria, travelling between the capital of Zagreb, south to Rovinj. Istria sits below Italy on a heart shaped peninsular.  Explore an interior of rolling hills and ancient villages, famous for wine production and truffle hunting. Travel south to Rovinj, on the Istrian coast, offering character beaches with picture postcard skylines.

  •  Visit the remarkable architecture of the Zagorje castles
  • Join a family on a truffle hunt in the Motovun forest
  • Stroll through Pula and take a boat to Brijuni National Park
  • Take a wine journey through the Kabola and Kozkivic wineries
  • Learn the process of olive oil production at Cuj olive mill
  • Trek alongside the reflective waters of the UNESCO Plitvice Lakes

Istria Truffle Hunting

Together with local truffle hunters and their dogs take to the countryside.The truffle-hunting season starts in October and continues for three months, during which time at least 3000 people and 9000-12,000 dogs wander around the damp Motovun forests. 

Wine Tasting Tours of Northern Istria

Get to know the wine growing tradition in Istria that has been around since ancient times. Taste award winning wines and homemade specialities in a range of picturesque natural settings. 

Zagreb and Zagorje Castles and Varazdin.

There is an art boom and a culinary awakening emerging in this city and Zagreb hosts many cultural events throughout the year. The fairy tale castles of Zagorje are located just half an hour from bustling Zagreb.  A hilly region filled with Medieval and Renaissance fortresses and Baroque castles, the most famous being Trakoscan.  

Rovinj

One of the last true Mediterranean fishing ports, Rovinj offers an old town charm with cobbled streets and piazzas.

Pula and Brijuni National Park

Visit the well preserved amphitheatre and Roman ruins in Pula before heading out to Brijuni National Park. This is a group of fourteen small islands with roman ruins. Ample walking trails take you on a leisurely walk around.

Plitvice Lakes

The Plitvice lakes, known as the "Falling lakes", have enjoyed the status of a national park since 1949 and since 1979 they have been under the protection of UNESCO. Spend time walking the park before continuing to Zagreb.

Why we Like It

Enjoy the beauty of Istria and drink fine wines. Sumptuous lunches and culinary tastings will attract any foodie fanatics amongst you.

For a more detailed itinerary with great ideas on what to do and where to stay, please get in touch with our experts.

Price Excluding Flights £Flight cost from 
£ 2695 £ 300

Itinerary at a glance

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Day 1

Fly London to Zagreb


A quintessential central European city with lovely parks and entire streets blocked off and filled with outdoor cafes and charming shops, Zagreb is a rare combination of a city that embraces the modern but never forgets its glorious past. Founded in the Middle Ages, Zagreb began life as two separate entities, Kaptol and Gradec, which today comprise the historic Gornji Grad (Upper Town). Centered on the city's landmark cathedral, Kaptol was a religious center, while Gradec was home to craftsmen and merchants. The city is perfect for discovering the winding lanes and alleys of the Old Town, with its fabulous open air flower and produce market, terrific pastry shops, cafes and boutiques (especially fine footwear!). Today's Zagreb is a wonderful city full of treasures both classic and modern!


Met by a private driver and driven to your hotel in Zagreb


Private guided walking tour of Zagreb
Meet up with your local guide in the afternoon hours for a private guided walking tour of Zagreb's historic center (approximately 2 hours program). Founded in the Middle Ages, Zagreb began life as two separate entities, Kaptol and Gradec, which today comprise the historic Gornji Grad (Upper Town). Centered on the city's landmark cathedral, Kaptol was a religious center, while Gradec was home to craftsmen and merchants. Outsiders collectively referred to the settlements as Zagreb (meaning 'behind the hill'), although they were not officially united as the City of Zagreb until 1850. Boom time followed with the late 19th century characterized by the arrival of the railways and the construction of Donji Grad (Lower Town). Enjoy reminder of your first day in Zagreb at leisure.


You will be staying at Hotel Esplanade, Bed & Breakfast

Day 2

Castles of Zagorje & Varaždin day trip
This day embark on a private day tour to explore the picturesque Zagorje region and travel 500 years back in time! Zagorje is a hilly region filled with Medieval and Renaissance fortresses and numerous Baroque castles all blending into a memorable, romantic landscape. Explore the most famous of all Zagorje castles, Trakoscan, which was originally a small medieval observation fortress until it was turned into a castle for noble families. Given the beauty and the mystical atmosphere of Trakoscan, it comes as no surprise that several members of the Draskovic family are known as pioneers of photography in Croatia! Today, Trakoscan features an impressive weapons collection, an ethereal music salon, integral architecture and décor of its noble times and innumerable picture-perfect moments throughout the estate.

Our tour further takes you down the baroque and rococo lane, in the lovely town Varasdin, the best preserved Croatian example of those lively times. A stroll through the Old Town reveals its baroque facades, parks and palaces, and the Old Castle, an old feudal fort, is the highlight of our visit.

Contrasting the picturesque sceneries of Zagorje hills, the rural feel and an air of joy arising from the simple way of life, with remarkable architectural complexes of Trakoscan castle and Varazdin town, this tour is a unique insight into the rich history of this extraordinary region, much responsible for its present day allure. As a part of this experience, enjoy traditional lunch from Zagorje region in one of the local taverns. Return to Zagreb in the afternoon hours and enjoy reminder of the day at your leisure.


After leaving Zagorje region take a traditional Zagorje evening meal.


You will be staying at Hotel Esplanade, Bed & Breakfast

Day 3

Drive from Zagreb to Rovinj (Road Journey)


Private Truffle Hunt and exclusive lunch
You will be welcomed by the local family that first started truffle hunting in Istria and learn all about truffle hunting and different delicacies produced using the various truffles that get discovered. Join the family and their specially trained dogs, heading downhill through the steep Motovun forest where the largest white truffle in the world was discovered - and try your luck with the valuable black and precious white truffles.

Afterwards, visit the town of Motovun, a picturesque settlement perched on the very top of the hill, protected by the strong defensive wall. The town dominates above the river Mirna and Motovun Forest; this is the biggest habitat of the famous Istrian truffle. Just minutes away from the hilltop town of Motovun your chef Sandra is waiting for you for lunch. Chef Sandra Veselinovic graduated at the top of her class at culinary arts school Le Cordon Bleu, London in 2010. Placed in an oldest house in a hamlet chef Sandra's workshop used to be a typicall village house. Chef Sandra's family has renovated a stone ruin keeping an old stone wall around grounds and old trees like a beautiful olive in front of the kitchen porch. Small vegetable and herbs garden was planted and it is a source of delicious tomatoes and zucchinis for Chef Sandra's kitchen. Potatoes, pumpkins and sweet grapes from neighbors’ fields and vineyards are great addition to her table. Enjoy special private lunch, before arrival to Rovinj.

Rovinj old town is a masterpiece of urban art and architecture but its surroundings are nevertheless masterpieces of nature: the islands of Rovinj archipelago, Lim Bay, Punta Corrente Forrest, Palud bird reserve, Saline and Fantasy Quary. The spirit of some ancient times in the labyrinth made of stone, through the narrow streets of the old town, takes you deeply back to the mystic and mysterious Middle Ages.


You will be staying at Hotel Monte Mulini, Bed & Breakfast

Day 4

Private Day Trip to Pula and Brjuni National Park
After breakfast meet your driver and head towards Pula. The largest town on the Istrian peninsula offers a diversity of attractions to lovers of culture. The rich itinerary of its three thousand year old history, where every step you take through the old town is a landmark, begins and ends with the Roman amphitheatre. While strolling through Pula you will come across numerous monuments of Roman architecture: the Triumphal Arch of the Sergi from the 1st century B.C., Hercules' Gate and Twin Gates, the Temple of Augustus, Arena and Small Roman Theatre in the town centre. Afterwards, depart toward the sea side village of Fazana for a short public boat transfer to Brijuni National Park. Take a guided tour of this beautiful island and its safari park. The sightseeing tour includes: a ride by golf cart, visit to the remains of the Roman villa Rustica from the 1st century B.C. in the bay of Verige, and the safari park which breeds zebra, Somali sheep, zebu (the holy east Indian humped ox), dromedary, llama and elephant. Returning to the hotel later afternoon.


You will be staying at Hotel Monte Mulini, Bed & Breakfast

Day 5

Wine Tour of Northern Istria with Olive Oil Tasting at Cuj
The journey of North Istrian wines swirls between Istria's traditional and modern views on the centuries' old history of winemaking. Curiously diverse with authentic wines such as Malvazija (white) or Teran (red), the region features many small wineries each bringing a unique take on the peninsula's favorites. The Kabola winery, the first stop, is an authentic Istrian estate with a farm house, endless vineyards and over a 100 years long tradition of winemaking. Founded upon the mastery of Momjan Muskat, sweet white wine made from an indigenous grape variety of the area, Kabola is today best known as the pioneer of Istrian indigenous Malvazija macerated in amphora's (clay vessels) for seven months.

Following a scenic drive, we arrive to the Kozlovic winery, repeatedly awarded for both its wines and the impressive modern design of the winery. Sitting atop the hidden valley of Vale near historic Momjan, this estate fits perfectly with surrounding landscapes, just like their wines do with almost everyone. Despite their top class takes on local sorts of Malvazija, like the fresh and fruity Valle or rewardingly complex St. Lucia, and Teran, awarded with Decanter 2014 Bronze for the 2012 vintage, Kozlovic is still endearingly known as the King of Muskat, for his playful wines made of this grape, truly honoring the peninsula's authenticity. After busy morning of wine appreciation, visit famous Kraljevic - Cuj Winery and olive oil Mill for olive oil tasting. You will be presented modern techniques of olive oil production which is based on family tradition started in back in the 15th century.


You will be staying at Hotel Monte Mulini, Bed & Breakfast

Day 6

Drive from Rovinj to Plitvice lakes (Road Journey)


According to legend, the Plitvice lakes were created after a long drought. Heavy rain began to fall and continued until they formed the lakes we see today. The natural attributes of the Plitvice Lakes NP, uniqueness and sensibility of that phenomenon, deserve the full attention of our visitors. The recreational aspect of a stay and the amazement with beauty of the area that conquers by its natural diversity and harmony of shapes and colors in any of the seasons, is based on many mutually conditioned natural characteristics. The Plitvice lakes, known as the "Falling lakes", have enjoyed the status of a national park since 1949 and since 1979 they have been under the protection of UNESCO. After the tour (cc 3-4 hour long) and free time for lunch, continue to Istria Region.


Wonders of Plitvice Lakes
Stop at Plitvice Lakes National Park for a private guided walking tour. Plitvice National Park is Croatia's natural masterpiece. Even for seasoned world travelers, the overpowering beauty and grandeur of Plitvice National Park is simply astounding. With waterfalls spilling over impossible hills, sixteen different lakes and fascinating flora and fauna, Plitvice is the most visited place in the entire country. Since 1979, it has been under the protection of UNESCO as a rare World Heritage Site

Drive from Plitvice lakes to Zagreb (Road Journey)


You will be staying at Hotel Esplanade, Bed & Breakfast

Day 7

Transfer to the airport for your flight home today.

Fly Zagreb to London

Accommodation

Below you can see some of the wonderful places we recommend you stay on your journey.

Hotel Esplanade

Hotel Esplanade

Built next to the train station in 1925 to accomodate discerning passengers from the Orient Express, today the Hotel Esplanade continues to deliver first class service in a setting drenched in history with art deco masterpieces, swirling marble, immense staircases and wood pannelled lifts....

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Hotel Monte Mulini

Hotel Monte Mulini

High-end accommodation, excellent service supported by experience and expertise and best amenities, create a perfect blend with the surrounding area, turning this hotel and resort into an ideal choice....

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For a more detailed itinerary with great ideas on what to do and where to stay, please get in touch with our experts.

Destination Experts

Our experts have unrivalled firsthand knowledge of Croatia

Katie Benden, Travel Expert

"Katie was brilliant and very helpful. Helped to put together the itinerary I was dreaming of for my honeymoon and she was excellent with communication."

"Very happy with Katie Benden. Great service – always prompt reply to queries and always polite, attentive and informative. A wonderful holiday."

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For a more detailed itinerary with great ideas on what to do and where to stay, please get in touch with our experts.

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