Combine wine tasting and gourmet cuisine with private boat trips and historic city sights on this two-week luxury idyll in Croatia. It begins in Zagreb with a tour of Trakošćan Castle and a vineyard picnic. Italian-influenced Istrian cuisine and the peninsula's medieval hilltop towns are next before your driver whisks you to the shores of the Dalmatian Coast. See Šibenik's historic sights and relax at your boutique hotel in Split, ready for a finale in the stunning Plitvice Lakes National Park.


  • Take in endless city views from your opulent room at the Esplanade Zagreb Hotel
  • Tour UNESCO Listed Šibenik and sip fine wines at a Dalmatian winery 
  • Hike to dramatic waterfalls in Krka National Park
  • Cruise up the coast of Pula to see the hidden coves of the Brijuni archipelago 
  • Savor sea views and dine in style at one of Split's best Michelin-rated restaurants

Brief Itinerary

Day Highlights Overnight
Day 1 Arrive in Zagreb, Food & Culture City Tour  Zagreb
Day 2 Visit Trakošćan Castle, Wine & Lunch at a Local Vineyard Zagreb
Day 3 Transfer to Rovinj, Istrian Pasta Cooking Class Rovinj
Day 4 Truffle Hunting & Wine Tasting, Pula Boat Tour & Brijuni Archipelago Rovinj
Day 5 Day Trip to Grožnjan & Motovun, Dinner at Restaurant Puntulina  Rovinj
Day 6 Scenic Transfer to Opatija via Rijeka, Guided Opatija City Tour Opatija
Day 7 Full-Day Boat Tour to Cres, Explore the Island's Highlights Opatija
Day 8 Guided Trip to Zadar, Transfer to Šibenik, Explore the City Šibenik
Day 9 Šibenik Guided Tour, Gourmet Experience at Local Winery Šibenik
Day 10 Guided Hike in Krka National Park  Šibenik
Day 11 Transfer to Split, Wine Tasting & Explore, Dinner at Zrno Soli Restaurant  Split
Day 12 Boating Adventure to Blue Lagoon & Island of Šolta Split
Day 13 Transfer to Plitvice Lakes National Park, Traditional Peka Meal, Jeep Safari Plitvice Lakes
Day 14 Transfer to Zagreb, Depart  

Detailed Itinerary

Day 1: Arrive in Zagreb, Food & Culture City Tour 

See landmarks, including Zagreb's famed cathedral, on your city tour 

Welcome to Croatia! Your flight lands in the capital city of Zagreb, a thriving metropolis known for its Austro-Hungarian architecture, historic Upper and Lower Town districts, and lively, colorful atmosphere. Your driver will collect you from the airport and transfer you to your hotel, the Esplanade Zagreb, a gorgeous Art Deco retreat just steps away from museums, parks, and other local sites. The spacious rooms blend classic decor with modern touches, lush textiles, marble bathrooms, and options for suites with sitting areas and city views.

After check-in, begin your exploration with a privately guided food and culture tour. Meet your guide and start at Ban Jelačić, the main square, then wind your way through the network of small streets, which takes you through Gornji Grad (Upper Town), a neighborhood stretching between the two hills of Kaptol and Gradec and the oldest part of the city. Visit the bustling Dolac Market and sample fresh produce and other treats, then stop by St. Mary's Cathedral, located right next door.

Continue to St. Mark's Church, with its famed multicolored roof, and see Lotrščak Tower, where the Grič cannon is fired daily at noon. Your guide will share stories and legends about the region's history as you stop along the way at various points to try delicious local food. End with a funicular ride down to Donji Grad (Lower Town), where you'll find spacious parks, grand boulevards such as the Lenuci Horseshoe, and sites that include the neo-Baroque Croatian National Theater. Tonight, relax at your hotel and take advantage of its many amenities, or see more of Zagreb on your own. 

Day 2: Visit Trakošćan Castle, Wine & Lunch at a Local Vineyard

Tour a local winery and sample regional wines accompanied by a delicious picnic lunch 

Today starts with a private tour of Trakošćan Castle, approximately an hour from Zagreb. Your guide will meet you at the hotel, and you'll make the scenic drive to the castle, which dates back to the 13th century. Most of the rooms here are open for visitors, with many left exactly as they were when the last family, the Draskovics, left during the mid-20th century.

Learn more about the history and architecture of the castle, and take a walk around the grounds and nearby lake. On the way back to Zagreb, stop at a local vineyard for an al fresco lunch of regional specialties. You'll also try a glass or two of the winery's excellent local wine. Your evening is free for more sightseeing around the city and dinner at a local restaurant. 

Day 3: Transfer to Rovinj, Istrian Pasta Cooking Class

Relax amid the vines of a wine estate (photo courtesy of Meneghetti Wine Hotel & Winery)

In the morning, meet your private driver to travel to Rovinj, a lovely port city on the west coast of the Istrian peninsula. Upon arrival, check in at the nearby Meneghetti Wine Hotel & Winery, a 5-star oasis nestled within the quiet vineyards of a historic winery. Choose from rooms, villas, or suites, all decorated with understated elegance and offering options for private balconies or terraced views of the nearby olive groves. All rooms include a bottle of Meneghetti wine, a complimentary minibar with snacks, and on-site concierge service.

Later, learn more about Istrian culture and gastronomy with a private cooking class. The region is known for its delicious produce, such as truffles, pršut (dry-cured ham), and specialty pasta, such as fuži or pljukanci. You'll get to grips with perfecting your Istrian pasta with a visit to a local family-owned tavern, where you'll discover how to make and shape your pasta and create simple desserts that have been served at Istrian family get-togethers for generations. Afterward, you'll sit with your hosts to eat your creations, washed down with Istria's renowned wine. 

Regroup at your hotel, then see why Rovinj has been deemed one of the most romantic places in the Mediterranean with a self-guided walking tour. Step back in time via its cozy cobblestone streets of the Old Town, getting lost in the beautiful architecture and alleyways. Stroll along colorful Grisia Street, where you might find an open exhibition of local painters, and make your way to the hilltop Cathedral of St. Euphemia, a Baroque church built in the 1700s that overlooks the city. Make a stop at the local farmer's markets and end with a visit to peaceful Punta Corrente Park

Day 4:  Truffle Hunting & Wine Tasting, Pula Boat Tour & Brijuni Archipelago

Hunt for tasty truffles in the hills of Istria

Experience one of Istria's most popular pastimes: truffle hunting! The hills of Istria are blanketed with damp and dark woods, the perfect environment for the elusive truffle. Your driver will transfer you to the town of Livade, where your privately guided tour pairs you with a professional truffle hunter, seeking out truffles in the Mediterranean forests. Meet the dogs trained to hunt this delicacy, tromping through the forest with them as they search out their fungal prey. After what is sure to be a successful hunt, visit a nearby restaurant to enjoy local wines and a truffle-themed meal.

From here, continue to Oprtalj, a medieval fort town sitting on the northern side of the Mirna River Valley. Oprtalj is home to traditional narrow streets, shops, and fine examples of Istrian and Venetian architecture, including the 16th-century St. George's Church and Venetian-style bell tower. Before returning to Rovinj, drive through Grožnjan, passing its terraced olive groves and lush vineyards.

If getting out on the blue waters of the nearby sea sounds like a better way to spend the day, you can also opt for a full-day boat tour that takes you from nearby Pula, traveling up the coast to the Seagull Beach and Caves. You'll have a chance to swim and snorkel through the caves, stopping in some of the hidden coves of the Brijuni archipelago along the way. Visit Porere Lighthouse, built on a rock in the middle of the sea, then take in views of Pula Arena, a Roman amphitheater built between 27 BC and 68 CE, as your captain steers you back to shore. 

Day 5: Day Trip to Grožnjan & Motovun, Dinner at Restaurant Puntulina 

Stroll through the picturesque hilltop village of Motovun

Take a privately guided day trip to some of Istria's most historic gems today, starting with the charming village of Grožnjan, which you passed yesterday. The town is known for its artistic colony and incredible views of the surrounding valleys and the seaside. Once an important stronghold for the Venetians, the town's importance went into decline with the collapse of their empire. It wasn't until the sixties that Grožnjan became the artistic haven it is today. Stroll the maze of narrow streets, popping into the numerous art studios and galleries, and have lunch at one of the cafés overlooking the valley.

Next up is the medieval hilltop town of Motovun, which sits at more than 900 feet (277 m) above sea level and is home to ancient city walls, twisting cobbled streets, and expansive countryside views. You'll pass through the gates of the Old Town and explore sites such as the main square's Church of St. Stephen, partially designed by Venetian architect Andrea Palladio, or the many local shops. If you'd like to sample wine, several acclaimed vineyards and wineries also surround Motovun, and you can stop in at one before returning to Rovinj.

This evening, your driver will drop you at Restaurant Puntulina for a first-class dining experience. Founded in 2004 within the former Pellizzer family home, discover innovative local cuisine with a distinct Italian influence. Embrace the Mediterranean charm and flavors, sampling fresh seafood, fine wine, and delectable desserts, all just steps from the sea. 

Day 6: Scenic Transfer to Opatija via Rijeka, Guided Opatija City Tour

Sea views and poolside bliss await at your luxury hotel in Opatija (photo courtesy of Ikador Boutique Hotel)

Your next destination is Opatija, a coastal Istrian town known as one of Croatia's original tourist hotspots. Depart with your guide and drive toward Kvarner Bay, stopping in the village of Rijeka. Considered a gateway to Croatia's islands, the port here sees a lot of boat and ferry traffic, and you'll have a chance to stroll along the main promenade, Korzo, and view its historic Habsburg-era buildings. If you feel like a hike, make your way to the Trast Castle, located on a hilltop with views of the bay and islands. 

Arrive in Opatija and get settled at your accommodations at the Ikador Luxury Boutique Hotel & Spa, which offers elegant rooms with private terraces, options for sea or garden views, a top-rated fine dining restaurant, and a serene on-site spa—all set against the azure waters of the Adriatic Sea. After check-in, continue your tour, exploring the streets and historic sites around the city with your guide.

Visit the 500-year-old Church of St. Jacob, then stroll down the Lungomare promenade to see the "Maiden with the Seagull" statue, one of the town's most iconic and popular sites, created by sculptor Zvonko Car in 1956. The statue replaces the original "Madonna del Mare," erected in the 1800s and destroyed by a storm. Stop by the Croatian Museum of Tourism to learn more about local history, and end the day with drinks and a seafood dinner at one of the many restaurants overlooking the Kvarner Gulf.

Day 7:  Full-Day Boat Tour to Cres, Explore the Island's Highlights

Take a private boat to the shores of Cres 

Escape the mainland with a private boat tour to the island of Cres. Untouched by modern-day mass tourism, this sparsely populated oasis is rich with unspoiled landscapes, peaceful forests, and hilltop villages. In the morning, head down to the port and hop aboard your private boat. Meet your captain and crew, then set out for the two-hour cruise to the island. 

Start your exploration with a visit to Cres Town. Once an independent island, Cres was occupied by the Romans and the Venetian empire at various times, with architecture showcasing this colorful history. See the 16th-century Venetian Tower, then stop at Arsan Palace, one of the oldest structures on the island. The palace houses the Cres Museum, where you can see its collection of local artifacts, tools, and weapons from the region.

Head to the island's north side to hike in the Tramuntana forest, also home to an eco-center dedicated to preserving the griffon vulture. Learn about these splendid creatures, and if you're lucky, you may even catch glimpses of them at their nests or soaring through the skies. Visit the settlements of Beli, Martinšćica, and the fishing village of Valun to get a feel for the simpler times of the distant past, stopping for a meal or drinks at a local café. End with a swim at one of the many hidden coves around the island, basking in the blue waters and serene beaches. 

Day 8: Guided Trip to Zadar, Transfer to Šibenik, Explore the City

Unwind in your private Jacuzzi after a day of sightseeing (photo courtesy of Hotel Bellevue)

You're off to Šibenik today, a gorgeous coastal city that fronts the turquoise waters of the Adriatic Sea. After hotel check out, you'll meet your driver and start your scenic journey, stopping in the ancient Roman city of Zadar, the largest city on the Dalmatian Coast known for its ancient architecture and picturesque views. The drive from Opatija is about three hours, and upon arrival in Zadar, you'll embark on a privately guided walking tour around the city.

Stroll the marble streets of its famed Old Town, once considered the mightiest fortress city in the Venetian Republic, and see the ruins and architecture from Roman and medieval times. See the Roman Forum, which dates back to the first century, the Cathedral of St. Anastasia, and the ninth-century Church of St. Donatus. End your visit at the Sea Organ, an urban installation consisting of tubing within stone steps, transforming the movement of the waves into a series of haunting chords. The solar-powered light display, "Greeting of the Sun," is also right next door to the organ.

Continue to Šibenik, checking in at your accommodations at the Hotel Bellevue upon arrival. This upscale resort offers spacious rooms and suites, with options for city and sea views or private terraces with Jacuzzis. Amenities include a wellness spa, pool, and an on-site fine dining restaurant. You can relax at the hotel this afternoon or step out to see some of the city on your own, visiting sites such as the medieval St. Michael's, Barone, or St. John's Fort. Stop at a café for a bite to eat, do some souvenir shopping, and end the day at Banj Beach, a pebbled beach near the city center with great sunset views.

Day 9: Šibenik Guided Tour, Gourmet Experience at Local Winery

Tour the winding streets of historic Šibenik

After breakfast, meet your guide for a private tour around the city. Start with a visit to St. James Cathedral, a UNESCO World Heritage site. The church is made entirely of stone and was built over 100 years from 1431 to 1535. Stroll through the medieval streets of the Old Town, then stop at the Medieval Monastery Garden of St. Lawrence. The colorful and fragrant garden, enclosed by walls, replicates the type of garden the monks would have planted.

Along the way, your guide will share insight into the city's history and cultural traditions as you take in the charming local scenery and lovely architecture. After the tour, you'll have some free time to relax, and then you're off again, heading out on a private winery tour. Visit a family-owned winery and taste wines from grapes exclusive to the Skradin region. Learn about their winemaking process and sample several varietals alongside gourmet Croatian dishes, then return to Šibenik for the evening. 

Day 10: Guided Hike in Krka National Park 

Hike along boardwalks through the lush forests of the Krka National Park 

Explore the wonders of Croatia's natural world today with a privately guided day trip to Krka National Park. Meet your guide after breakfast and drive to the park, which encompasses more than 54 square miles (142 sq km) and includes seven different waterfalls. Start with a visit to the impressive Skradinski Buk waterfalls, with tiered cascades, several boardwalks and footpaths, and a swimming area. Hike around the area and take in the mighty Krka River, which carves its way along high limestone walls and through deep canyons.

You can take a boat tour through the area if you want to get closer to some of the falls, or you can walk or hike around different parts of the park. Along the way, keep your eyes peeled for wildlife—Krka is home to more than 200 species of birds, 18 different species of bats, and various reptiles and amphibians. If you have time during your tour, stop to see the Krka Monastery, built above ancient catacombs, and the Franciscan monastery on Visovac Island.

Day 11: Transfer to Split, Wine Tasting & Explore, Dinner at Zrno Soli Restaurant 

Enjoy opulent luxury in the heart of Split (photo courtesy of Piazza Heritage Hotel)

Check out of your Šibenik hotel this morning and take a private transfer to Split, the second-largest city in Croatia and the largest in the historical region of Dalmatia. Split offers a wealth of history and culture, with charming cobblestone streets, amazing architecture, and endless sea views. Along the way, you'll stop at some local vineyards to taste regional wines, learn about the varietals grown in this area, and meet the winemakers. Afterward, stop for lunch at a nearby restaurant if you like, then continue to Split. 

Arrive at the fabulous Piazza Heritage Hotel. Constructed in 1906, the property is a testament to the Viennese Art Nouveau style of that time. Rooms offer classic decor with soothing pastel colors, antique-style furnishings, and high-end toiletries. You'll also be close to major sites, so step out and see some of the city! Visit the fourth-century Cathedral of St. Dominus, a beautiful example of Romanesque architecture, and the Diocletian's Palace, one of the best-preserved Roman buildings in the world. Finish with a hike up Marjan Hill, where you'll find centuries-old churches, shady trees, and city views. 

Tonight, your taste buds are in for a treat as you head out for a fine dining experience at Zrno Soli. Celebrated in the Michelin Guide Croatia for five consecutive years, this extraordinary space offers creative Mediterranean cuisine with local ingredients, fresh fish, and homegrown produce. Delight in a gastronomy that extends beyond the plate and palate, touching on the social, spiritual, and material aspects of the traditions that make up Croatian life. Afterward, return to your hotel to rest up for tomorrow's adventures or take an evening walk around town. 

Day 12: Boating Adventure to Blue Lagoon & Island of Šolta

Swim and snorkel in the pristine waters of the Blue Lagoon

See more of Croatia's natural beauty with an excursion to the Blue Lagoon and the island of Šolta. In the morning, meet your guide and head to the port to board your private boat for the 30-minute ride to the Blue Lagoon. Located between the islands of Drvenik Veli and Krknjaš Mali, this body of water, protected from the elements by the surrounding islands, offers calm, clear water, perfect for viewing the more than 7,000 animal and 6,000 plant species that inhabit the Adriatic Sea.

Stop to swim and snorkel, then cruise over to Šolta, where you'll find fishing ports, olive groves, and lush vineyards. Visit the village of Maslinica and see its historic Martinis Marchi Castle, then continue to Nečujam Bay. One of the coves here hides the ruins of an old shipwreck, which sits just 6 feet (2 m) below the surface and is a perfect spot for more snorkeling.

End the day with a stop at the village of Stomorska, a small coastal town also located on Šolta. Your captain will pull up to a local family restaurant with a terrace directly on the water, allowing you to hop right from the boat to your seaside table. Enjoy a delicious meal and relaxing sea views before returning to Split.

Day 13: Transfer to Plitvice Lakes National Park, Traditional Peka Meal, Jeep Safari

Discover the lush greenery and beautiful cascades of Plitvice Lakes National Park

Your trip is drawing to a close, but there's still time for one last adventure. Your driver will collect you from your hotel this morning for the three-hour transfer north to Plitvice Lakes National Park, a must-visit highlight for any traveler to Croatia. You'll be staying at Hotel Degenija, a 4-star resort just a few minutes from the park entrance. Here, you'll find modern rooms with many amenities, including select comfort beds, luxury linens, and options for annex rooms with private balconies. 

After check-in, you can decompress at the hotel's outdoor pool or rent bikes to cruise around the grounds., then start your exploration of the park with a privately guided safari tour. This UNESCO-protected area encompasses 74,000 acres (30,000 ha), with 16 terraced lakes and more than 90 cascading waterfalls flowing into a limestone canyon. Your driver will take you around the park, with highlighted visits to the remains of a Douglas c-47 transport plane used during World War II, a walk along the wooden pathways by the river, and old historic villages.

This evening, experience Croatian cooking at its best with a traditional peka dinner at a local restaurant. Created from a mix of basic ingredients (potatoes, meat, and herbs) baked using a peka (an iron bell covered in hot embers), this deceptively simple dish will surprise you with its depth of its flavors. It's the perfect way to experience authentic Croatian gastronomy with local island wines.         

Day 14: Transfer to Zagreb, Depart 

Enjoy a final morning amid the nature of Plitvice Lakes (photo courtesy of Hotel Degenija)

Your luxury grand tour of Croatia comes to a close today. After a peaceful morning, meet your driver for the two-hour transfer north to Zagreb Airport, where you'll say your goodbyes and catch your departing flight. Safe travels! 

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Map of Luxury Mainland Croatia: Zagreb, Istria & Dalmatia - 14 Days
Map of Luxury Mainland Croatia: Zagreb, Istria & Dalmatia - 14 Days