This weeklong luxury tour introduces you to Istria, often called Croatia's "Little Tuscany" for its hilltop towns, Venetian port cities, and distinct gastronomy. Start in Zagreb with a quick spin around the capital, then head to the Adriatic peninsula and Rovinj to learn the art of Istrian pasta-making and take a cruise up the coast of Pula. See the medieval villages of Grožnjan and Motovun, go truffle hunting and wine tasting in the rolling countryside, and end among 19th-century splendor in coastal Opatija.


  • Discover Croatia's gastronomic history on a food and culture tour around Zagreb
  • Relax amid quiet vineyards and luxurious amenities at Meneghetti Wine Hotel 
  • Hunt for the elusive, tasty truffle in the picturesque hills of Istria
  • Swim, snorkel, and sunbathe in the hidden coves of Pula's Brijuni archipelago

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 Excursion, Pula Brijuni Archipelago Boat Tour Rovinj
Day 5 Day Trip to Grožnjan & Motovun, Fine Dining at Restaurant Puntulina  Rovinj
Day 6 Transfer to Opatija, Guided Tour of Opatija & Rijeka  Opatija
Day 7 Transfer to Zagreb, Depart   
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Detailed Itinerary

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

Visit lively Dolac Market on a food and culture tour of Zagreb

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 located just steps away from museums, parks, and other local sites. Their spacious rooms blend classic decor with modern touches, with lush textiles, marble bathrooms, and options for suites with sitting areas and city views. 

After check-in, begin your exploration with a private 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, and see St. Mary's Cathedral, located right next door.

Continue to St. Mark's Church, with its famed multicolored roof, and see Lotrščak Tower, from which the Grič cannon is fired every day 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 and grand boulevards such as the Lenuci Horseshoe, as well as sites that include the neo-Baroque Croatian National Theater. Tonight, relax at your hotel and take advantage of its luxury amenities, or see more of Zagreb on your own. 

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

Discover historic Trakošćan Castle, one of the region's most beautiful sites

Today starts with a private tour of Trakošćan Castle, located approximately an hour away 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 in the middle of the 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 a hearty lunch and delicious Croatian wine. Your evening is free to sightsee around the city, or have dinner at a local restaurant. 

Day 3: Transfer to Rovinj, Istrian Pasta Cooking Class

Relax poolside at the luxurious Meneghetti Hotel (photo courtesy of Meneghetti Wine Hotel & Winery)

In the morning, meet your private driver to travel to Rovinj, a lovely port city located on the west coast peninsula of Istria. Upon arrival, check in at the opulent Meneghetti Wine Hotel & Winery, a 5-star oasis nestled in 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 also include a complimentary bottle of Meneghetti wine, a complimentary minibar with snacks, and on-site concierge service. 

Later, learn more about Istrian culture by way of a private cooking class. The Istria region creates the perfect blend of rural and urban, combining busy coastal cities with quiet inland villages. Their cuisine is reflective of this duality, with dishes that include pastas such as fuži and pljukanci, truffles, pršut (dry-cured ham), and of course, the finest in local wines. Visit a family-owned tavern and discover the art of traditional Istrian pasta, as well as simple desserts served at the family table for generations. Sit down to a meal prepared by your own hands as your hosts share more about the traditions of the region.

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 the cozy cobblestone streets of its Old Town, getting lost among the Venetian 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 Excursion, Pula & Brijuni Archipelago Boat Tour

Cruise to quiet coves and caves on a private boat tour

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 transport 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 the perfect way to spend your afternoon, opt for a six-hour private 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 BCE and 68 CE, as your captain steers you back to shore. 

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

Spend some time exploring the picturesque hilltop village of Motovun 

Take a privately guided day trip to some of Istria's most historic locales, starting with the charming village of Grožnjan. This small, quaint town is known for its artistic colony and incredible views of 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. Lose yourself in the maze of narrow streets, popping into the numerous art studios and galleries, and have lunch at one of the cafés that overlook 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 views of the countryside. You'll pass through the gates of the Old Town and explore sites such as the main square's Church of St. Stephen, which was partially designed by Venetian architect Andrea Palladio, or the many local shops. If you'd like to sample wine, Motovun is also surrounded by several acclaimed vineyards and wineries, and you can stop in at one before returning to Rovinj. 

This evening, take a private transfer to Restaurant Puntulina for an over-the-top dining experience. Founded in 2004 within the former Pellizzer family home, the restaurant focuses on 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 gorgeous views of the sea. 

Day 6: Transfer to Opatija, Guided Tour of Opatija & Rijeka 

Your luxury boutique hotel and spa sits right on the water's edge in Opatija (photo courtesy of Ikador)

Your next and final destination is Opatija, a scenic coastal town known for being one of the first tourist hotspots in Croatia. Depart with your guide and drive toward Kvarner Bay, making a stop in the village of Rijeka along the way. 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, a luxury boutique hotel that 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 of which is set against the azure waters of the Adriatic Sea. After check-in, continue your tour, exploring the streets and historic sites around the city.

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," which was erected in the 1800s and was 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: Transfer to Zagreb, Depart 

Time to say goodbye to Opatija and captivating Croatia

Your luxurious exploration of Istria draws to a close today. At the appointed time, your private driver will collect you from your hotel and transfer you back to Zagreb, where you'll catch your flight home or to your next destination. Safe travels! 

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Map of Luxury Tour of Croatia's Istrian Peninsula: Zagreb, Rovinj & Opatija - 7 Days
Map of Luxury Tour of Croatia's Istrian Peninsula: Zagreb, Rovinj & Opatija - 7 Days