Duration: 10 days/nights
Price: $3400 USD
Inquire
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Here is a proposed 10 day food & wine tour of Slovenia and Istria region of Croatia. It has many of the highlights, overnights and guests’ favorites as the Harvest Tour. I can also include outdoor activities or historic/architecture/religious places of interest if you’d like. There are some non-gastronomic items on the itinerary but it is pretty food & wine heavy. Please let me know what you think of this itinerary as a whole.

 

I could run this tour starting September 6th (Saturday) and ending morning of September 19th (Friday). You could fly into Dubrovnik (DBV) and out of Ljubljana (LJU) airport. You could also fly out of Venice (if you want time there before the tour) as it is only 2-2.5 hrs drive.  

Price for this tour would be $3400 per person. Slightly higher per-day cost than my Harvest Tour but this is only for the two of you and I run and price my set tours for groups of 4 or more.

 

 

      • Indulge your sweet tooth with local cream cakes, honey ice cream and hand made chocolate truffles
      • Enjoy traditional home-cooked meals, prosciutto tasting and local spirits at rustic farmhouse in the Karst region
      • Savor  gourmet goat cheeses, olive oils, baked quince and more treats in Croatia’s Istria region
      • Discover delicious pumpkin seed oil, micro brews, smoked meats in eastern Slovenia’s bucolic villages
      • Learn all about the traditions of wine making with local vintners in diverse regions of Brda, Karst, Vipava, Istria and Prekmurje
      • Pace yourself through a five-course dinner and wine tastings in Goriska Brda, Slovenia’s premier wine region
  • September 7th – September 17th, 2014

  • $3400

    10 dinners (wine included), 7 lunches, 10 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 guide, transfers to/from Ljubljana airport.

  • Slovenian farmhouses from NY Times

    Kabaj Morel Wines ranked in Top 100 Wineries in the world.

    Kumparicka goat cheese farm in Istria 

Itinerary

DAY 1: Welcome to Slovenia!

Overnight: Radovljica, Slovenia

Transfer to pension located in medieval town of Radovljica near Julian Alps. Visit to town’s one-of-a-kind bee museum. Slovenia was an exporter of bees to the world and traditions of honey here is not to be missed. A welcome dinner  with wine and local aperitif at pension.

Day 2: Bees, Bled and blissful cream cakes.

Overnight: Radovljica, Slovenia

A visit to the pension’s gingerbread museum where you can make custom hearts and other items in their private kitchen. Get an inside perspective on the natural and cultural heritage of the country as a beekeeper tells you the story of liquid gold, Carniolan bees and apitherapy  – included are a wide range of honey delicacies and tastings of apples, jams and liqueurs. Gondola ride out on to beautiful Lake Bled to visit the small island followed by a visit to the castle overlooking the lake. Dinner at Bled castle with a slice of its famous cream cake (Kremšnita) for dessert.

Day 3: Bucolic charm, micro brews and Slovenia’s oldest town.

Overnight: Eastern Slovenia

We head east for a short visit to the country’s oldest town of Ptuj and visit its 15th century castle. Then a detour takes us cross over into Austria to visit a fantastic micro-brewery, owned by a Slovenian. Enjoy a tour of the facilities, sample 5 beers with some sandwiches and learn about the up and coming Slovenian micro beer scene. We’ll then make our way to the region of Prlekija, tucked away in rolling vineyards of southeastern Slovenia near the Croatian border. This small region might just be Slovenia’s most scenic wine growing region with its bucolic charm, terraced vineyards and small churches dotting the hillsides. Delicious home cooked dinner from our farmhouse hosts.

Day 4: Pumpkin seed oil, honey and other treats in the vineyards of Prekmurje.

Overnight: Eastern Slovenia

Start off the morning with a visit to a small, family run mill that produces pumpkin seed oil and have a tasting with a few different local breads and soft cheese. Then we go further east, close to the Hungarian border to the land of Prekmurje where we will sample cold cuts, local white wines, fruits and  innovative and amazingly delicious chocolate truffles. Visits to nearby pottery village where you can watch them make black ceramics and to a fresco covered rotunda church. Dinner at farmhouse.

Day 5:  Goriska Brda wines and 5-course slow-food dinner.

Overnight: Brda region, Slovenia

Travel to Goriska Brda’s, Slovenia’s beautiful wine growing district that rest on sweeping Alpine foothills with a strong touch of the Mediterranean. On the way we stop at Predjama castle, tucked away near hidden caves and sporting an interesting medieval tale. Once in Brda we will have a small lunch at the walled village of Smartno and have a chance to survey the scenic surroundings at a viewing platform nearby. At our 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.

Day 6: Stunning Soca River Valley for nature, history and food.

Overnight: Brda region, Slovenia

A trip to 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 lunch. Optional easy walk to waterfall in this valley. Back in Brda we’ll tour the  cellars of Bjana – Slovenia’s finest sparkling wine maker and learn about the traditional method of sparkling wine (where secondary fermentation takes place in bottles). 4 wine tasting and a lite meal.

Day 7: Exploring Istrian hill towns and wines.

Overnight: Istria region, Croatia

Morning visit to Hrastovlje village in Slovenia to see a 12th century church covered with wall to wall colored frescoes known as Dance of the Macabre. Then we enter into Croatia’s Istria region and meet with Dimitri, a young Frenchmen whose Croatian heritage brought him to start Piquentum Winery. Tasting of his Istrian Teran and classic white Malvasia. Enjoy bobici soup of maize with spicy sausages and mistletoe brandy in the world’s smallest town of Hum. Time to browse the charming hill-town of Groznjan, packed with artisan shops, art galleries and views down onto the Mirna Valley. Dinner and overnight in the small medieval town of Bale, some 15km from the coast. Dinner at our hotel.

Day 8: Gourmet goat cheeses and echoes of the Venetian empire.

Overnight: Istria region, Croatia

In the morning a visit with guided walking tour of Rovinj. This seaside town with a Venetian past is hands down Istria’s most charming. Leisure time to explore art shops & galleries and browse the outdoor market or get lost in a labyrinth of narrow cobblestone streets. Afternoon visiting a 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! Modest dinner at Bale hotel.

Day 9: Piran, caves, Lipizzaner horses and Teran wine.

Overnight: Karst region, Slovenia

As we cross back into Slovenia we stop to explore another little seaside gem in Piran (a smaller, more compact version of Rovinj). Optional visit to Skocjan caves (amazing underground world if you like caves, a tour highlight for many guests) and/or other optional stops such as the Lipizzaner horse farm (carriage ride or tour of the grounds available if you are a horse lover). Traditional dinner of hand made regional specialties and wine at a rustic (yet comfortable) Skerlj farmhouse.  House specialty is a beefsteak with prosciutto (Kraški pršut) in the local teran wine sauce. Just make sure to save room for the family’s tempting homemade honey ice-cream!

Day 10: Vipava Valley’s finest wines.

Overnight: Karst region, Slovenia

We pay a  visit to the hill town Stanjel to see its art gallery, ruined castle and pretty gardens with views over the Karst. Rest of the day will be spent in nearby Vipava Valley trying wines from two of the best producers in the country: Guerrila and Tilia. 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, Merlot and Tilia’s fine Pinot Noir. Depending upon availability, there should be time to sit down and talk wine making, business and bio-dynamic wines (Guerrilla does some superb ones) with the owners. Light lunch in Vipava and dinner back at the Skerlj farmhouse. After dinner at the farmhouse our hosts will tell the story of their 400 year old property and let us sample grappa and liquors in their prosciutto-drying cellar.