Duration: 13 days/nights -- Upon request
Price: $4550
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Blue Danube Adriatic 2 Alps Gourmet Tour

This 13 day food & wine tour starts in southern Croatia, runs along the Dalmatian coast and then up to the Istria region before reaching the beautiful hill towns and foodie capital in Slovenia’s Goriska Brda region. Tour combines many guests’ favorites from our signature Harvest Tour with highlights from Dubrovnik,  Vis Island, Peljesac peninsula, Ljubljana and Rovinj. Along the way there are hidden churches to visit, traditional fishing boats to sail in, amazing castles to explore and beautiful spots such as Lake Bled to soak in the atmosphere.

 

    • • Soak in the history and romance of Dubrovnik – a walled city perched along the Adriatic Sea

      • Savor  gourmet goat cheeses, olive oils, baked quince and more treats in Croatia’s Istria region

      • Discover the food, taste the wines, sense the history, smell the herbs and relax in the charms on the Island of Vis

      • Sail the Adriatic in a traditional fishing boat and visit the enchanting blue grotto in Bisevo

      • Enjoy the flavors and special recipes during a five-course dinner and wine tastings in Goriska Brda, Slovenia’s premier wine region

      • Indulge your sweet tooth with local cream cakes, honey ice cream and boutique chocolates

      • Explore the 1700 year old alleyways and temples of Diocletian’s Palace in Split, built by the Roman emperor in 297 AD

      • Hang with a local as she leads you to cool watering holes and hidden eateries of Ljubljana, Slovenia’s charming capital city

      • Visit many of your Blue Danube favorite wineries: Batic, Kabaj, Milos, Piquentum, Coronica while making some new favorite wineries on Vis Island

  • upon request
    Sep 28 – Oct 11, 2016

  • $4550

    All Inclusive: 13 dinners (wine included), 12 lunches, 13 nights lodging at B&Bs, boutique hotels and farmhouses (all rooms en-suite), 8 wine tastings, tastings of olive oil, honey, pumpkin oil, cheeses, microbrews and truffles, transport by private car, tour leader, transfers to/from Dubrovnik and Ljubljana airports.

  • Dubrovnik’s cable car from travel blog

    Kabaj Morel Wines ranked in Top 100 Wineries in the world

    The good life on Vis Island from Washington Post

    Kumparicka goat cheese farm in Istria 

Itinerary

DAY 1: Welcome to the Pearl of the Adriatic!

Overnight: Dubrovnik, Croatia

Arrive at Dubrovnik airport and transfer to your apartments located within the walled old town, overlooking a local outdoor market – the perfect place to buy fruits and food for breakfasts. Local guide will give you a walking tour of Dubrovnik, a magical walled city situated right on the Adriatic with a rich and important history. Though heavily touristed with day trippers from cruise ships, the city clears out in late afternoon. Dinner at one of the city’s best restaurants with your guide – a perfect opportunity to find out what events/concerts are going on during your stay and learn more about how locals live.

Day 2: Dubrovnik for your exploration

Overnight: Dubrovnik, Croatia

All day at your leisure to see Dubrovnik. Take an unforgettable walk along its 80 foot high walls (best at sunset). Other sights include the Dominican and Franciscan monasteries, Lovrijenac Fortress, Rector’s Palace, an excellent photo gallery regarding the 1990’s war, cafes/gelaterias at nearly every turn and a  cable car that provides spectacular panoramic views from a mountain above the city. For a nearby nature escape, bail on the crowds with a trip to nearby Lokrum island with lovely botanical gardens. Short ferry rides start at the old town harbor and take 10-15 minutes.

Day 3: Wines of the Peljesac Peninsula

Overnight: Dubrovnik, Croatia

Head to the gorgeous Peljesac peninsula (about an hour north of Dubrovnik) for a day of tastings. First a stop in the ancient walled town of Ston, one of the wealthiest towns in medieval times due to the salt (white gold of the day). Tour of salt pans and then a visit to an olive oil maker to see their traditional press and have a tasting of oils. Enjoy lunch and wine tasting at Milos winery. Learn about the Milos family history, grafting and wine growing on Peljesac’s steep and rocky terroir. You will try many varieties of Plavac Mali, the region’s most famous wine (a cousin of Zinfandel), along with other wines including a white called Rukatac. Transfer back to Dubrovnik by early evening.

Day 4: From the palace of a Roman Emperor to the secretive island of Vis

Overnight: Vis Island, Croatia

Scenic drive up the Dalmatian coast to the port city of Split. In 297 AD Roman Emperor Diocletian’s had his retirement palace built here and most of it still stands. A guided tour of the palace and of other sights in Split’s old town. Hop on a catamaran to Vis Island, Croatia’s secret island that is furthest from the mainland and also closed to foreigners during the Yugoslavia days. Your hosts Pino and Petra will meet you and give a guided tour of Vis Town (founded by the Greeks and named Issa) with  history and insight into what makes Vis so special. Dinner and overnight in the fisherman’s village of Komiza on the other side of the island.

Day 5:  History, nature, food and wine of Vis Island

Overnight: Vis Island, Croatia

A full day to eat, drink and soak in the sights and stories of Vis. Tour of the island begins with historical explanations reaching back to ancient times until the present. Visit Tito’s cave, Hum peak (587m), former RAF airport in the Second World War (now a vineyard), cricket field in Plisko poje, George III fort, former military base Parja, submarine tunnel and the town of Vis (with Greek cemetery and Roman baths). You will take in picturesque little villages, vineyards and olive groves, visit the most important cultural and history sites, hear the most important history facts from ancient Issa to the present. Two wine tastings at local vintners and a lunch of roast lamb, fresh vegetables and some strong distilled spirits at a rustic restaurant known in Croatia as a ‘konoba’ will round out this packed day of sights, stories and great food!

Day 6:  Sailing the Adriatic on ‘Gajeta Falkusa’

Overnight: Vis Island, Croatia

A unique opportunity awaits guests as our host Pino will take us for a full day of sailing, swimming and island hopping onboard a 9m long traditional wooden fishing vessel called the Gajeta Falkusa. Discover Bisevo island with its Blue cave (similar to Capri in Italy), visit bays and secluded beaches, enjoy a picnic lunch and hear sailing and fishermen stories and traditions from Vis’ rich past. Leisure time in the afternoon for a swim, romantic walk on the beach or a visit to the maritime museum in Komiza. Dinner in Komiza.

Day 7: Intro to Slovenia: indulge in an imaginative and delicious five-course slow-food dinner

Overnight: Brda region, Slovenia

Morning ferry back to the mainland and drive up to the Northern Dalmatian city of Zadar. Guided walking tour of this once capital of Byzantine Dalmatia (7th century) that shows off its many layers of empires and cultures. Drive to Slovenia’s beautiful wine growing district of Goriska Brda that rests on sweeping Alpine foothills with a strong touch of the Mediterranean. At Kabaj Morel, our B&B in the Brda countryside, we will savor a gourmet 5-course ‘slow-food’ dinner. Each dish is served one of our hosts’ wines. The variety of culinary traditions (Slovene, Friulian, Habsburg) have intertwined on this strip of land, giving Brda cuisine its special touch. After the meal we will tour the family’s wine cellar and learn about wine making traditions and methods including the use of amphoras (known as qveri in their native Georgia). Kabaj winery was recently put on the list of 100 best wineries in the world by Wine and Spirits Magazine. Overnight at Kabaj Morel’s B&B.

Day 8: Brda specialties: cherries, olive oils, white polenta and Rebula wines.

Overnight: Brda region, Slovenia

Our local guide will take us around to a cherry producer, an olive oil maker and a vintner from the region. We’ll visit the wine cellars located in Visnajvic, the birthplace of Rebula wine, the quintessential Brda wine. Of the 2000 hectares of vineyards here in Brda, 25% are Rebula. A lite lunch of traditional white polenta will follow in the tiny medieval hill town of Smartno at the local house of culture and artisans. After lunch, guests will visit the oldest olive tree plantation and a viewpoint tower to take in picturesque panoramas of Brda. This evening’s dinner together will be at a chateau built by the counts of Gorizia in the 13th century. It’s now the home to Bjana Winery, one of the finest sparkling wine producers in Slovenia. We’ll tour the wine maker’s cellar, learn about the traditional method of sparkling wine (where secondary fermentation takes place in bottles) and enjoy his wife’s delicious home cooked meal.

Day 9: Wines of Vipava Valley, Cheese from the Soca Valley

Overnight: Brda region, Slovenia

We start the day in nearby Vipava Valley to taste wines from one of the best producers in the country: Batic. The native varietals of this small region include Zelen and Pinela along with other whites (Pinot Gris) with some reds scattered in the mix including Barbera and Merlot. Afternoon in the stunning Soca River Valley awaits for a blend of history and food. First a visit to the important WWI museum in the town of Kobarid where Ernest Hemingway was inspired to pen A Farewell to Arms. Then it’s time for a gastronomic experience at one of Slovenia’ top restaurants, Hisa Franko. A cheese tasting of two local cow cheeses (Nanoški and Tominc) with local honeys, chutneys and marmalades will be followed by an imaginative three course dinner.

Day 10: Exploring Istrian hill towns and wines

Overnight: Istria region, Croatia

Morning visit Hrastovlje village in Slovenia to see a 12th century church covered with wall to wall colored frescoes. We then head into the Istria region of Croatia known for its medieval hill towns in the interior, its Venetian built seaside towns on the coast and for being the epicenter of Croatian gastronomy (wines, olive oils and truffles). We will meet Dimitri, a young Frenchmen whose Croatian heritage brought him here to start Piquentum Winery. Tasting of his Istrian Teran and classic white Malvasia is in a converted Italian army cistern from the 1920’s. Enjoy bobici soup of maize with spicy sausages and mistletoe brandy in the world’s smallest town of Hum. Dinner and overnight in the small medieval town of Bale, some 15km from the coast. Dinner at hotel.

Day 11: Gourmet goat cheeses and echoes of the Venetian empire

Overnight: Istria region, Croatia

After breakfast and poking around the small Istria hill town where our farmhouse is located we will visit the Coronica winery for tastings. Afternoon visiting the Kumparicka farm that makes gourmet goat cheeses (semihard cheeses and fresh cheeses). Enjoy some lunch-sized tastings of nearly 20 (!) cheeses plus fresh oven-baked bread, olive oils, baked quince, soup and goat stew! Late afternoon visit of Rovinj. This seaside town with a Venetian past is hands down Istria’s most charming. Leisure time to explore art shops & galleries and walk off lunch while getting lost in a labyrinth of narrow cobblestone streets. A modest dinner at local favorite in Rovinj before we head back to our farmhouse.

Day 12: Eat and drink like a local in the charming capital of Ljubljana

Overnight: Ljubljana, Slovenia

As we say ‘dosvidanja’ (goodbye) to Istria we will stop to browse the charming hill-town of Groznjan, packed with artisan shops, art galleries and views down onto the Mirna Valley. Then on the way to Ljubljana we’ll pay a visit to the castle of Predjama, tucked away in a honeycomb of Karst limestone caves and sporting a Slovenian Robin Hood legend. Arrival in Slovenia’s capital city of Ljubljana with time to browse charming, baroque-filled old town and outdoor market. In the evening we’ll visit with Iva, a Ljubljana native, and she’ll show you pubs, side street cafes and jazz bars that locals eat at on a special ‘foodie’ walking tour.

Day 13: Romantic Lake Bled and taste of the countryside

Overnight: Ljubljana, Slovenia

Morning visit to Slovenia’s romantic, fairy-tale setting of Lake Bled with a ride on a wooden boat out to tiny Bled island. Lunch at a one of a kind farm and heritage museum in a small village near the Lake. The proprietor makes her own soft cheeses, smoked meats and traditional potica cakes but her specialty is herbal liqueurs, berry schnapps and home brew. A Slovenian original! Transfer back to Ljubljana for a farewell dinner featuring specialities from the country’s eastern region of Prekmurje. Here you’ll find a spicy goulash-like stew called bograc, multi-layered cake known as gibanica and the delicious dark green pumpkin seed oil with ice cream.

The following morning you will be transferred to the airport. End of Tour

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