Duration: 12 nights
Location: Slovenia, Croatia, Montenegro
Price: $3450
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Vipava vineyards

Susan’s Five Country Tour

This specially designed tour takes you through the food, wine, gorgeous scenery and cultural sights of five different countries. This tour mainly focuses on Croatia, Slovenia and Montenegro but we take meaningful day trips into Bosnia and Italy since they are nearby and offer something unique. Our stays are 2-3 nights in each location so guests can get a sense of place and not have to pack/unpack all the time.

These countries boast a diversity of climates, landscapes, terroirs and influences from their neighbors as well as their storied past. This translates into very rich food cultures with numerous distinct micro regions, each with their own long-standing traditions, specialty dishes and wine varietals. Everything is on such a small scale it makes guests feel like they are actually guests, not tourists.

Our tour highlights the food, wine and artisans from a variety of regions stretching from the Adriatic (Croatia’s Dalmatian coast and the fjords of Montenegro) to the Slovenian Alps (home to Lake Bled) to the Oriental-tinged lands of Bosnia and across many beautiful rolling hills and picturesque wine growing areas such as Italy’s Collio, Slovenia’s Goriska Brda and Croatia’s Istria regions. But the tour is more than just savouring all these fresh, organic and local culinary delights that both countries have to offer. It’s a unique experience where each day presents a special opportunity for guests to sit down, talk with and learn from a myriad of friendly local producers, wine makers and chefs in their cellars, houses, kitchens and gardens.

Guests will be transferred from Dubrovnik airport (DBV) at the beginning of the tour and transferred to Ljubljana airport (LJU) at the conclusion of the tour.

 

    • • Savor five courses of regional specialties over lunch and wine pairings in Goriska Brda, Slovenia’s premier wine region

      • Explore historic Venetian towns amongst the fjords of Montenegro’s staggering beautiful Bay of Kotor

      • Indulge in more than a dozen gourmet goat cheeses, plus olive oils and wines in Istria, Croatia’s finest culinary region

      • Get lost in the maze of narrow cobble stone streets, palaces and hidden gelaterias in the ancient walled city of Dubrovnik

      • Enjoy an evening of sparkling wine tastings and home made dinner at a converted 13th century Slovenian chateau

      • Discover the storied history, delicious Ottoman-inspired cuisines and unique wines that Bosnia has to offer

  • Upon Request – Early/mid September is the prime season for this tour.

  • $3450

    11 dinners (wine included), 10 lunches, 12 nights lodging at B&B, apartments and boutique hotels (all en-suite), 5 wine tastings, cheese and olive oil tastings, transport, private guide and airport transfers.

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

    Kumparicka goat cheese farm in Istria

    Wine tasting in a 1920’s bunker with Dimitri from Croatia

    Bosnian wines – biodynamic winemaker

    Tourism video – natural beauty of Montenegro

 

Itinerary

Day 1: Welcome to Croatia

Overnight: Dubrovnik, Croatia

Welcome to Dubrovnik, the most storied and beautiful city on the Adriatic. Guests will have guided tour by a Dubrovnik native before a welcome dinner at a restaurant near the Jesuit monastery, tucked away from the tourist crowds.

Day 2: Exploring the ‘Pearl of the Adriatic’

Overnight: Dubrovnik, Croatia

After breakfast we’ll walk the nearly 80 foot high stone walls that surround the entire town and offer great views of the Adriatic. The rest of this day is at your leisure to enjoy and discover Dubrovnik. The best views of Dubrovnik and the surrounding area are, without doubt , experienced from the top of the Srd Hill. Take the cable car up for great panoramic shots and an interesting history museum in the old Austrian fortress. Perhaps get away from the tourists and grab a local ferry to nearby Lokrum island for some relaxing walks amongst botanical gardens. Or just browse your way through every nook and cranny of the old town’s maze of cobble stone streets! Optional foodie walking tour of old down that visits 5 wonderful culinary gems. 

Day 3: A Taste of the Orient

Overnight: Dubrovnik, Croatia

Today we journey into Hercegovina, Bosnia’s southern region. Visit and tasting at Brkić winery in the wine growing town of Citluk. More than 2,000 years ago, Illyrians cultivated grapes and cereals in the inland mountain valleys but wine making was on the decline until the Ottoman empire, who held these lands for nearly 500 years, power began to wane in the 19th century. Brkić does amazing bio-dynamic wines that are available only at his winery. Lunch followed by a guided afternoon walking tour of Mostar, the city which used to be a major trading center of the Ottoman empire. The Iconic 400 year-old Turkish bridge was destroyed in the 90’s Balkan war but has been meticulously rebuilt with original stones and materials. The bustling Bazaar quarter has an oriental feel not found elsewhere in Europe. Relax with a strong Bosnian coffee, nosh on Turkish delight and enjoy dinner along the Neretva river.

Day 4: Into the realm of the ‘Black Mountains’

Overnight: Perast, Montenegro

We leave Croatia and head south, crossing into the wild beauty of Montenegro. The country’s name translates to Black Mountains and that is quite evident from Perast, where we overnight for the next two days. This tiny town sits on the Bay of Kotor and the surroundings could hardly be more stunning. Mountains practically rise up from the water and surround this picturesque spot. From your bedroom window you can see two little islands, one with an active monastery near cyprus trees and another man-made island with a small church. We will take a boat ride out to visit these island, then a short tour to learn the suprisingly rich history of this once important maritime town followed by lunch. Free time to relax, swim and explore this little gem. Dinner in Perast.

Day 5: Uncovering the treasures of Montenegro

Overnight: Perast, Montenegro

After breakfast we will experience the mountainous terrain of the country with a drive up a serpentine route to village of Njegusi for dried prsut (prosciutto). We will stop at the national park Lovcen for fantastic viewpoint as head onto the old royal capital of Montenegro, Cetinje. Here we will visit the King’s palace and have traditional coffee and a small lunch. Late afternoon guided tour around the historic walled city of Kotor, including the Cathedral of St. Tryphon which has survived many of the region’s earthquakes. For those wanting some good exercise and even better photos, there’s an optional walk up 1300 steps to the fortress overlooking the magnificent area. Dinner in Kotor before heading back to Perast.

Day 6: Welcome to Slovenia in her most beautiful wine region

Overnight: Brda, Slovenia

We take the coastal road to Lake Skadar, the largest lake in the Balkans and Montenegro’s primary wine growing region, to enjoy lunch and wine tasting in the striking surroundings. Short flight from Montenegro to Slovenia. Upon transfer from airport we travel to Goriska Brda’s, Slovenia’s beautiful winegrowing district that rest on sweeping Alpine foothills with a strong touch of the Mediterranean. Arrive at winery/B&B set amongst the rolling vineyards where a gourmet 5-course ‘slow-food’ dinner at Kabaj Morel awaits us. 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). Their winery was recently put on the list of 100 best wineries in the world by Wine and Spirits Magazine.

Day 7: Cherries, olive oil, Rebula and sparkling wine

Overnight: Brda, Slovenia

After breakfast, guests can take an easy one walk around small villages and nearby vineyards. Then spend the day tasting your way through Brda. We’ll visit a cherry producer who makes liqueurs and chocolates, taste local olive oils (this is the northern most point in Europe where olives grow) and meet with a vintner from the bordering Italian region called Collio. After lunch, check out 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 dinner.

Day 8: History and food in the stunning Soca River Valley

Overnight: Brda, 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. We cut through Italy’s Collio wine region on the way back to enjoy one of the best natural wine makers of the country in Dario Prinčič. Top gastronomic experience as we dine at a one-star Michelin restaurant also in the Collio.

Day 9: Hill towns and gourmet cheeses in Croatia’s Istria region

Overnight: Bale, Croatia

On the drive to Croatia we will stop at a small stone-built church in the small village of Hrastovlje wall-to-wall frescoes inside. We enter the Croatian region of Istria, a gastronomic haven known for its olive oil, truffles and Malvasia wine. We’ll meet with Dimitri, a young Frenchmen whose Croatian heritage brought him to start Piquentum Winery near the hill town of Buzet. Then we will go off-the-grid to a small family-run farm and be treated to some superb gourmet goat cheese, both semihard and fresh cheeses. No one will go away hungry as there is goat stew, home cooked soup with sausages and local wines to go with a smorgasbord of cheeses – nearly 20 different kinds! Relax and unwind the small medieval town of Bale where we overnight. Light dinner at excellent boutique hotel.

Day 10: Venetian seaside towns and herbal gardens

Overnight: Bale, Croatia

A guided walking tour will take us around Rovinj. This seaside town with a Venetian past is hands down Istria’s most charming. Leisure time to explore art shops and galleries, browse the outdoor market or get lost in a labyrinth of narrow cobblestone streets. Afternoon to visit and enjoy the Park Histria Aromatica. This park of 25 acres is a natural paradise for the senses with walkways and gardens containing over 300 species of aromatic and medicinal herbs, spices and olive groves. Fantastic views of the sea and Mt. Ucka make for a perfect setting for a healthy all organic lunch. Late afternoon visit to the historic city of Pula to visit the largest colosseum outside of Italy. 3 course dinner back at hotel in Bale.

Day 11: Tasting your way through Slovenia’a capital

Overnight: Kranj, Slovenia

We say goodbye to Croatia and head back into Slovenia to visit its capital — Ljubljana. Our local in the know will introduce guests to side street cafes and local pubs where locals outweigh the tourists. Plenty of time to browse baroque-filled old town, riverside cafes and outdoor market and enjoy a foodie walking tour of this charming city. Early evening arrival into medieval town of Kranj, surrounded by beautiful mountains and home to the country’s most beloved poet. Fantastic dinner at Sonet restaurant and overnight at a boutique hotel located in the old quarter.

Day 12: Fairytale setting of Lake Bled

Overnight: Kranj, Slovenia

After breakfast we spend our last day at 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 true Slovenian original! Plus we’ll visit the family’s museum filled with lace works and historic items from this region of Slovenia. In a nearby village we meet with a local beekeeper and learn about the importance of this trade in Slovenia’s history. Tastings of honey and honey liqueurs. Dinner in a small medieval town where family traditions of decorative gingerbread making still exists. A farewell dinner of hearty Gorenjska fare (pumpkin soup, stuffed sausages, roast potatoes) with plenty of grappa, wine and brandy for all.

Day 13: END OF TOUR

Transfer to the Ljubljana airport