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Istrian Odyssey

Istrian Odyssey

Overview

Discover Istria, the heart-shaped peninsula and Croatian Tuscany. This mystical and magical land of medieval hilltop settlements, romantic coastal towns and great food & wine, will inspire your body and soul for sure.

It's really beautiful, our Istria, the land of true differences. Crystal clear sea, clean shores, ports and coastal towns with the true charm of Mediterranean on one side and on the other one, picturesque medieval hilltop towns, surrounded by the olive groves and vineyards which irresistibly remind us on the most beautiful landscapes of Provence and Tuscany. La Dolce Vita in Croatian style.

On our voyage you will discover the golden triangle of Istria; from coastal towns of Pula, Rovinj and Poreč, across the beautiful inland towns Grožnjan, Motovun and Hum to the medieval Pazin in the heart of Istria. We will tell you the story about the Romans and the early Christians; about Croatian glagolitic script; you will explore the Venetian legacy of the region and all the glory of the Austrian empire.

Just be curious and peek through the old city gates, explore all the palaces and blazons, discover old churches and chapels and stroll along the cobbled narrow streets of medieval towns and this will turn into a magical journey you shouldn't miss.

The tour price includes:

  • 5 days with 4 overnights and breakfast included
  • Accommodation in charming BB’s and small boutique hotels
  • Services of the professional and experienced English speaking guide/driver
  • Entrance tickets for all major sights
  • Sightseeing according to the itinerary
  • Truffle hunt in Motovun forrest
  • 3 lunches in the traditional Istrian taverns
  • 2 visits to the local Istrian vinery and degustation some of the best Istrian vines (Malvazija, Teran...)
  • Olive oil tasting at the family owned olive farm

Day 1 ZAGREB – OPATIJA – HUM – ROČ – MOTOVUN

Our Istrian Odyssey begins from Zagreb, where your ZagrebTours guide will meet you at you hotel. Driving through the country side of Zagreb and Karlovac county and the mountain region of Croatian highlands, you will be introduced to the history and everyday life of Croatia and Istria. Our first stop will be Opatija - the Queen of Adriatic, where we’ll take a stroll along the famous Lungo Mare promenade with many old villas, splendid parks and gardens. Overlooking the gulf of Kvarner, Opatija was the holiday hotspot for the nobles of the Habsburg Empire and still attracting many visitors from all over the World. We continue our journey through the green hills of Istria where we’ll visit fortified hilltop towns Hum (the smallest town in the World) and Roč (the glagolitic capital). Once important centers of Istrian identity and cradles of oldest Croatia alphabet - glagolitic script and today, peaceful and sleepy oasis which are keeping secrets of the long forgotten times. We will take you for a lunch in one of Istrian taverns where you will be able to try some of the most famous specialties from the region: truffles, pljukanci - homemade pasta, venison stew, ombolo – smoked pork, Istrian ham and cheese, kroštule and many others. We are ending this day in Motovun – the protector of the Valley. The most picturesque of all hilltop towns, overlooking the Mirna Valley, will welcome us for the first night on our tour. Overnight in Motovun district.

 

Day 2 Truffle hunt in MOTOVUN FOREST – GROŽNJAN – BRTONIGLA/BUJE

After breakfast, we’ll take you hunting; truffle hunting. The black and white gold of Istria; the white truffle– tuber magnatum and the black truffle – tuber melanosporum are definitely a trademark of the region. Accompanied by our local friends and their specially trained truffle dogs we’ll dig into the Motovun forest and try to find our lunch for today. After a successful hunt, we will enjoy the hospitality of the local family and enjoy this delicacy together with other delicious Istrian meals. Of course, we won’t miss a chance to try some of the famous Istrian wines and authentic sorts malvazija (white) and teran (red).   Later in the afternoon, we continue our journey to the hilltop town of Grožnjan – the town of artists. Strolling through the narrow, cobbled stone alleys you will have the chance to peek into some of 64 different art galleries in this little town. In the evening we are arriving into Brtonigla and Buje district where we will check into our hotel and spend a relaxing night in the peaceful environment of the hills of Istria.

 

Day 3 POREČ – LIM BAY – ROVINJ

Breakfast. Today we are going to enjoy the beauty and visit the monuments of old coastal towns Poreč and Rovinj. We will visit the Euphrasian Basilica, the early Christian basilica from 6th Century and the symbol of Poreč under UNESCO protection, peek into the hidden nooks and crannies of the stone streets and city walls. On the way out from Poreč will try to discover the secret of the Istrian Stonehenge – ancient shrine place from the Bronze Age. On our way to Rovinj, we’ll visit one of the family owned vineries, try some of the best Istrian wines and here the stories about local wine production. We’ll also stop at Lim Bay, a place where the ships were hiding from the bed weather in ancient times and today the Bay is one of the Istrian natural beauties and a place known for good seafood – fish, mussels and oysters. We will try those fruits of the sea depths in a pleasant atmosphere of the Lim channel. In the evening, we arrive to Rovinj – a romantic coastal town and the old fishermen port. You can relax this evening, strolling along the old town. Enjoy the famous sunset of Rovinj peninsula and we'll tell you the legend of St. Euphemia, explain you what the tabakina from Rovinj is and discover many more secrets of this beautiful town. Overnight in Rovinj.

 

Day 4 ROVINJ – VODNJAN – PULA – ROVINJ

A day ahead of us is the one with a taste of antiquity. We will visit Pula – the biggest town in Istria and its center since Roman times. We will introduce you to many Roman monuments that will tell us about rich and long history of Pula. We will find out whether the most famous symbol of the city, the amphitheater from the first century and the sixth largest in the world, was actually built because of love. You will hear the story how this great ancient city became the city of poor and misery in the Middle Ages and then again started to shine in the 19th century when it became the main Austrian naval base and a major shipbuilding center. We will also have lunch in one of the Taverns near Pula. Later on we’ll visit one of the family owned olive farms in the region and trying the liquid gold, we’ll have a chance to understand why Istrian olive oils are among the best ones in the World. On our way back to Rovinj, we’ll stop in Vodnjan – a home of the mummies of Vodnjan. Remains and body parts of different saints, miraculously preserved, rest inside the town’s parish church of St. Blaise. In the evening you will have leisure time to enjoy our last night in Rovinj at your own pace. Overnight in Rovinj.

 

Day 5 ROVINJ – BERAM – PAZIN – ZAGREB

Today we are saying good bye to Istria. We are driving back to the continental part of Croatia and Zagreb along the roads of Green. On our way back we’ll visit a little town of Beram – one of the places with the longest continuous settlement in Istria. At the Beram cemetery we will visit the Saint Mary of Škriljinah church famous for one of the most valuable works of the Istrian medieval painting, with its famous fresco "Dance of the Dead," which sends us a message: Memento mori ... We will also follow, the footsteps of Jules Verne towards the town of Pazin in the heart of Istria. We will visit the Pazin Castle above the Pazin Cave, which is a place where famous Dante Aligheri found his inspiration for the entry into hell in his Divine Comedy. He wrote "Abandon all hope, ye who enter here". Arrival in Zagreb is expected in the evening. After five wonderful days and exploring Istria, the time has come to say good bye. Your guide will drop you off at your hotel in Zagreb and we wish you a great rest of your trip.

 

Destinations

Hum

Hum

Take the opportunity in Croatia and discover the smallest city in the world.

Motovun

Motovun

City in the mountain built seven centuries ago will delight you with it arhitecture and home made dishes with truffles.

Opatija

Opatija

Visit the city adored by Austrian Royal Familiy and aristocracy from 19 century.

Pula

Pula

Discover the Amphitheater in Pula which was once the site of gladiator fights and the Temple dedicated to goddess Roma and Emperor Augustus.

Rovinj

Rovinj

Magical city in which you will find great local taverns, turquiose water, romantic spots and reach history.

Zagreb

Zagreb

"...if I was a foreigner, I would have liked Zagreb like not many other cities." A.G.Matoš, great Croatian poet

Route map

Price per person

Private tour
Persons Price
2 2020 €
3-4 1780 €
5-6 1535 €

All prices are expressed in euro and all specified prices are based per person.

If you would like to customize your Croatian tour (eg. add new places, extend your stay), please feel free to contact us at igor@zagrebtours.com so we can make an offer that fits your wishes.


Additionally, we also offer transfers from Venice, Budapest and Wien airports.

Word of Mouth

Hiring a driver and car to visit a new country was not new for me, but going alone was. So I was understandably cautious about going solo with a driver for 3 days in northern Croatia. I wanted to see Zagreb, Rovinj, and the Plitvice Lakes National Park as well as have a short stop in Piran, Slovenia. Through the company Zagreb Tours , I contacted Davor Miskic who co-founded the company and helped me (via email) choose an itinerary that would include these stops. When I finally met Davor at the Zagreb airport, after missing my connecting flight, I knew he was a good choice for me. He was very understanding about the later flight and we tweaked the itinerary before setting off the next morning. Neither of us liked early morning starts, so we agreed on the latest departure times. The drive from Zagreb to the Istrian peninsula took only a few hours and Davor was very familar with the sights and routes, stopping to show me special places along the way. He walked with me in Piran and Rovinj, showing me the highlights and offering an arm on steep stairs. He drove the long hours to Plitvice Lakes but the immense tourist crowd destroyed any interest I had in that unique place. We managed to find a few good overlooks and then headed back to Zagreb. He spent an entire day showing me his hometown and I enjoyed a free evening on my own, eating at a street bakery and listening to a dance festival in the central square of Zagreb. My solo visit to northern Croatia was very enjoyable, thanks to the services of Davor and Zagreb Tours. Ann

Ann C (USA, TX)

Wir haben die Tour geliebt!! Fantastiches Itinerar, super Unterkünfte, die besten Restaurants, sehr guter Reiseführer. So viel Schönheit wäre unmöglich alleine zu entdecken! Besten Dank und bis zum nächsten Mal!

Eva (Deutschland)

Just wanted you to know what a wonderful trip we had with you in Istria. It was really a pleasure and an adventure seeing all the beautiful places. The truffles, wine and other specialties were just great. Thank you once again and I hope we'll have the opportunity to see more of Croatia in the future. Nancy, Lisa & Jim

Jim Lackner (Ca, USA)