Friuli, Slovenia & Croatia
A unique journey through three countries to discover the fascinating similarities and differences. From the Venetian charm of Rovinj in Croatia’s Istria region and the lush Slovenian countryside towards Friuli. You’ll visit family run wineries and olive groves and taste the very best this delightful corner of Europe has to offer.
- Trip Outline
The first of our new international gourmet & culture journeys is an expedition through this scenic natural crossroads of cultures, religions, languages. From the Venetian charm of Rovinj in Croatia’s Istria region and the lush Slovenian countryside towards Friuli. This scenic corner of North-East Italy is beloved by locals and the few wise travelers who venture out of Venice towards the mighty Alps and the Austria-Slovenia border. A plethora of UNESCO-heritage sites from Roman to Austro-Hungarian and WW1 times will grant plenty of interesting discoveries to visit in pleasant day trips from our family-run winery estates.
- UNESCO World Heritage Sites included: Aquileia Roman site and Basilica of the Patriarchs, Cividale del Friuli, a Longobard seat of power, Poreč historic center, Pula amphitheater, Motovun wine hills and the Škocjan Caves (optional)
- Cooking Class (fish delicacies and grilling) in Istria, winery visits in Istria and Friuli.
- Outdoor activities (optional, upon agreement with participants and subject to meteorological conditions): light hike across wine hills in Friuli Colli Orientali and in Škocjan Caves area, sailing in Rovinj area, truffle hunt with dogs and professional hunters
- “Drunken cheese” is a delicacy typical of the Italian hilly area which were theatre of the epic WW1 battles: during a day discovering these historic sites (even Ernest Hemingway served here) , an expert cheesemaker will show you the secrets and above all the taste of these finger-licking delights
Trieste, a crossroad of languages, cultures and flavorsYou will meet your private guide in Venice airport or we can arrange a water taxi to Piazzale Rome, in case you spend the previous night in Venice (recommended option). From Venice we will head towards Italy's eastern gateway: Trieste. With an expert local guide, you will learn all about its interesting history, the elegant cafes beloved by James Joyce and Frank Kafka where you will learn the secrets of ordering the 67 (yes, you read properly!) varieties and enjoy a tasting lunch to savour the cross-border delicacies of this remote, splendid corner of Italy projected towards Istria and Dalmatia. From the elegant, fairy-tale-looking Miramare castle created by the visionary Ferdinand Maximilian of Habsburg then ill-fated Emperor of Mexico, to WW2 and Jewish heritage sites including Risiera di San Sabba concentration camp, this day will grant plenty of interesting visits for the history fans. We will then proceed across Slovenia and reach our first overnight destination in Croatia, the splendid coastal town of Rovinj. We will arrive around 6 pm, in time for a relaxing walking tour with our expert local guide, hotel check-in and a tasting dinner in a family-run restaurant in the historic center. Meals included: D.
Croatian highlights: fish cooking class, Pula and RovinjToday is dedicated to some of Istria’s most renowned delicacies, with plenty of hands-on experiences and excitement. After breakfast we will , and prepare the appetite for a very special cooking experience starting from the lively fish market. You will learn how to create an amazing meal, including seafood pasta and risotto, fish carpaccio, delicious grilled specialties and a traditional Istrian dessert paired with chocolate mousse prepared with extra virgin olive oil. Because here, they also make excellent olive oil! explore nearby Pula and it magnificent historic heritage from the Roman Forum to its premier attraction, the amphitheatre built in the 1st century AD and in better shape now than Rome’s Colosseum. The relaxing and informative stroll through the old town with an expert local guide will allow you to soak in its Venetian, Byzantine and Gothic architecture Return to Rovinj in the afternoon for relax and free dinner . Meals included: B,L.
The wineries and hilltop historic gems of IstriaOne of the advantages of Istria is the proximity of a plethora of historic and natural attractions, with hilltops villages always a short drive away from seaside resorts. After a morning stroll in the picturesque maritime town of Porec, reminiscent of a small Venice, we will venture inland towards the hilltop village of Motovun with commanding views over river Mirna and a “pilgrimage” site for foodies, because the nearby forests are full of hidden treasure: black and white truffles, which we will enjoy in a tasting home-style lunch. You will also have the chance to venture in the woods for a truffle hunt with an experienced local hunter and his dogs. This experience is optional and subject to meteorological and seasonal conditions. Nearby Grožnjan is known as the “town of artists” thanks to its many artistic events and galleries of the local community of artists, nested in the atmospheric alleys of this medieval town whose original beauty has been kept until today, through preserved old walls, forts, churches and monuments. The area is also well known for another noble and ancient form of art: winemaking. In the afternoon we will relax in a family-run winery on the rolling hills reminiscent of Tuscany, before heading to our first Slovenian destination of this journey: the charming capital Ljubljana, where will you will spend the night and enjoy dinner discovering classic Slovenian delicacies. Meals included: B, L, D.
Ljubljana, lake Bled and Soča river, the best of Slovenia in a dayLjubljana never fails to win over visitors with its charm and natural beauty. Most of the Old Town has been converted to a pedestrian-only zone, so it’s easy to explore the highlights on foot with our local guide: cosy medieval streets and the imposing hilltop castle (don't worry, we will reach it with a panoramic cablecar!) , stories and legends, splendid baroque and Secession architecture with a "chocolaty" reward at the end. A short drive will then bring you to one of the most spectacular natural sites in the Country: lake Bled. Bled is a fairytale town set on a glacial lake amidst mountains, complete with a church on an island. The emerald waters here are always inviting, and the town has a sense of romance that’s all its own. For good luck, you can take a boat trip out to the island, where you can ring the bells of Saint Mary’s, a local tradition. You could even hire a rowboat to get out there in classic style, or just relax with a tasting lunch by the lakeside. Late in the afternoon, you will return to Italy crossing the scenic Soča river valley. One of the most beautiful rivers in Europe, the Soča is an important natural treasure in the Triglav National Park. It is famous for its deep emerald colour and brisk rapids in the upstream area, which you can admire in a pleasant 1-hour walk along a well marked trail, made famous by the WW1 epic battles between Italian and Austrian armies You will reach your accommodation, a historic winery estate in the heart of Collio wine region, in time for a tasting dinner. Meals included: B, L, D
A "holy" prosciutto and the noble white wines of FriuliOne of the most famous products of the Friuli region is the San Daniele prosciutto, similar yet quite different to Prosciutto di Parma. The town of San Daniele is the heartland of prosciutto production and we will visit a premium family-run producer to try some of this delicate ham and other local salumi specialties. An afternoon change of scenery with a family-run winery in the scenic area of Colli Orientali which ranks as the best Sauvignon in the world according to international experts. Wine lovers can also sample how the same grape varieties, grown in similar terroir, can be declined in Italian and Slovenian versions with a winery visit right across the border in Goriška Brda. The cultural side of the program is provided by a visit to the medieval Unesco-listed Lombard town of Cividale del Friuli, soaking up the atmosphere of the d narrow lanes and tasting some local specialties for dinner. Meals included: B, L, D
The spectacular Slovenian AlpsThe border area between Cividale del Friuli and Isonzo river in Slovenia has witnessed some of the fiercest and most epic battles of the First World War and hosted, together with Montello hills and Piave river in Veneto, Ernest Hemingway while writing one of his masterpieces, “A Farewell to Arms”. An easy and scenic morning walk along the Soča Valley trail in Kobarid region blends together natural sights and historic monuments. The 5-km walking trail takes around 3 hours to complete, during which history will flow from antiquity to World War I, along the natural sights of the Soča emerald waters, spectacular gorge and scenic falls. Your outdoor adventure will be rewarded not only with splendid scenery, but also a rich family-style lunch in a local farm-restaurant to sample homemade lamb or fresh trout, traditional delicacies and sweet Drežniški štruklji (rolled dumplings), topped off by homemade spirits to reinvigorate the traveller’s body and mind. In the evening, you can enjoy an upmarket gourmet dinner in Hiša Franko, one of the best restaurant in Slovenia famous for its blend of family-style traditions and molecular experimentation, or head back to the accommodation for relax and dinner. Meals included: B, L.
Aquileia and Grado, the “birthplace” of VeniceAquileia and Grado, the “birthplace” of Venice Today we will cross the neighbouring region of Veneto on the way back to Venice, with plenty of attractions on the way. We will stop for lunch and visit the Unesco-heritage site of Aquileia, famous for its Roman ruins and splendid medieval mosaics in the Basilica of the Patriarchs, unique in their genre. Nearby Grado is an unexpected gem in the scenic lagoon, the original settlement from which Venice was founded. In the afternoon we will have time for fashion shopping in the outlet of S.Dona' di Piave or relax by the beach of Lido di Jesolo and Lio Piccolo on the spectacular lagoon. The journey will end at Venice airport or Piazzale Roma, according to the participants' needs. Meals included: B, L.
Gourmet Tour Package including daily guiding and tasting experiences
- 6 breakfasts
- 6 lunches or equivalent
- 4 dinners
- Flights to and from Europe
- Tips for Tour Guides and Drivers
- Travel Insurance
- 2 evening meals (daytime tastings and other activities make these very ‘optional’)
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