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Croatian Rural Hideouts

Designed for those who wish to escape the fast pace of everyday life, this active leisure tour of Croatia’s two iconic coastal regions – Istria and Dalmatia – combines fun and light educational activities, authentic eno-gastro experiences, and visits to some of the regions’ most beautiful natural and historical sites, all the while mingling with the locals and getting an insider view into the way of life of the Istrian and Dalmatian village.

Group size: 1-12 max.

TOUR HIGHLIGHTS

TOUR DESCRIPTION

Designed for those who wish to escape the fast pace of everyday life, this active leisure tour of Croatia’s two iconic coastal regions – Istria and Dalmatia – combines fun and light educational activities, authentic eno-gastro experiences, and visits to some of the regions’ most beautiful natural and historical sites, all the while mingling with the locals and getting an insider view into the way of life of the Istrian and Dalmatian village.

Our aim is to provide an authentic experience of the farm life and allow you to immerse yourselves in the serenity of the landscapes, discovering the benefits of a steady, repetitive tempo at which rural activities are usually conducted. By visiting several family-owned agricultural estates, you will be able to participate in activities such as truffle hunting, grape harvesting or olive picking, and attend cooking and cheese-making classes, after which you will be able to enjoy the local delicacies.

Another aspect of this journey are numerous guided tours of the major urban and natural attractions along the Croatian coast, encompassing numerous historical cities, two national parks and several scenic viewpoints. These will give you an insight into a different Croatia, abounding in cultural and historical heritage and characterized by an easy-going outlook on life of the locals.

Spending time in nature and devoting yourselves to active leisure is bound to relieve stress and recharge your batteries, which is why this tour is highly recommended to anyone who is feeling pressured by the modern-day life in the fast lane. Take a glimpse into a simpler life governed by the change of seasons and re-energize yourselves in the calm and soothing surroundings of the still-undiscovered, mystically appealing regions with centuries-old tradition.

TOUR DURATION15 days/14 nights
PERIOD OF YEARYear round
ARRIVAL AIRPORTSZagreb, Ljubljana, Venice
DEPARTURE AIRPORTSDubrovnik, Split
TRAVEL VISASPassangers from EU and English speaking countries do not require Croatian Visa. For more information, please check the following link.
TRAVEL INSURANCEAdvisable and available on request
OVERNIGHT LOCATIONSIstrian inland, Dalmatian hinterland
ACCOMMODATIONVilla or a family household
TOUR STYLEVery flexible and relaxing tour
TOUR PACEEasy to moderate
ACTIVITIESLeisure, farming activities, truffle hunting, coastal town explorations
FEATURESIdyllic setting, off-the-beaten path, authentic cuisine, UNESCO sites, national parks

DAY 1  Istria County / Welcome

Upon your arrival at the airport, you will be welcomed by our English-speaking chauffer and taken to your accommodation situated in the Istrian inland, with a couple of interesting visits along the way. Check-in will be followed by some leisure time in the verdant paradise that will be your home for the following few days. In the evening, welcome dinner will be served in the cosy interior of a local tavern, with the menu based on traditional recipes and made from selected fresh seasonal ingredients.

DISTANCE COVERED:000km 237km/3hrs000nm cca. -hrsOVERNIGHT: Inland IstriaMEALS: D

DAY 2  Istria County / Leisure & cooking class

Good morning! Today you will have plenty of time to rest from your flight, get familiar with the surroundings, and prepare yourselves for experiences that lie ahead. For the evening entertainment, we have some light, fun and educational activities in store for you; for example, a cooking class which will give you an initial insight into the authentic Istrian cuisine. Thematically divided into four sections according to the seasons and based on the principle of using only seasonal ingredients, the class will encompass the cuisine of the “blue Istria” and the “green Istria”, and afterwards you will get to enjoy the delicacies you have prepared.

DISTANCE COVERED:000km000km000nm cca 1hrOVERNIGHT: Inland IstriaMEALS: BLD

DAY 3  Istria County / Optional activities (Hard work or “hard” leisure)

Today you will get to choose whether you want to spend the day doing farm work, or lying on the beach soaking up the sun. If you prefer to try your hand with rural activities, we will organize a visit to one of the family farms where your hosts will introduce you to their way of life. The activities you can participate in are grape harvesting or olive picking. Regardless of the type of activity you opt for, you will have plenty of time to enjoy a traditional feast with your hosts and enjoy mingling with the locals. Alternatively, you can always spend the day lying comfortably under a sunshade and sipping cocktails on one of the Istrian beaches or beside your pool.

DISTANCE COVERED:000km000km000nm cca. 1hrOVERNIGHT: Inland IstriaMEALS: BLD

DAY 4  Istria County / Poreč, Grožnjan & truffle hunting

This morning you will head towards the coast, to discover the beauties of a charming Istrian pearl, Poreč. Take a stroll along its narrow streets, explore the old city’s main sights, and admire the view from the top of the Euphrasian Basilica. Driving back to the inland, we will arrive to Grožnjan, a charming hilltop town nestled within perfectly preserved medieval fortifications. A perfect way to end this tour is to go truffle hunting followed by a lunch in a typical Istrian tavern. We will also organize a wine tasting of high-quality wines made from autochthonous Istrian grape varieties. Before the dark starts to descend, you will be taken back to your lodging.

DISTANCE COVERED:000km 135km/2hrs000nm cca. 3hrsOVERNIGHT: Inland IstriaMEALS: BLD

DAY 5  Istria County / A visit to an ecological goat farm

This day will be dedicated to an animal which is the main symbol of Istria, featured on the region’s coat of arms – goat. You will visit an environmentally friendly goat farm, where you will get an insight into what a shepherd’s day looks like and taste locally-produced cheeses along with other authentic flavours of Istrian delicacies. You will also attend cheese-making classes, where you will be able to see the entire process, from milking to ripening. Those who are interested can even try milking a goat themselves. After a day spent in nature, you are bound to  spend an independent evening in Pula and return to your accommodation with your batteries charged.

DISTANCE COVERED:000km 70km/1hr000nm cca. 2hrsOVERNIGHT: Inland IstriaMEALS: BL

DAY 6  Istria County / Free day

This day is completely yours to decide how you want to spend it. Whether you prefer contemplating in the natural surroundings of the estate, or simply enjoying the wilderness and its picturesque sceneries, you will have plenty of time for relaxation and independence. If, however, you are ready to go on another exploratory trip, we have a broad range of day tours that you can choose from and find the one that best suits your preferences.

DISTANCE COVERED:000km000km000nm cca. -hrsOVERNIGHT: Inland IstriaMEALS: B

DAY 7  Istria County / Explore Rovinj

Today, the last day before you depart from Istria, you will be taken to Rovinj for an exclusive private guided tour and an Istrian sunset dinner experience. Known as one of the most picturesque and romantic towns in the Mediterranean and often praised as the ‘Pearl of the Adriatic’, the old town of Rovinj is characterized by tall houses, narrow streets and small town squares, all nestled within a confined space. Once you have parted with our guide, you will get settled for an Istrian farewell dinner experience, complemented with the view of the sun setting above the sea.

DISTANCE COVERED:000km 47km/50min000nm cca. 2hrsOVERNIGHT: Inland IstriaMEALS: BD

DAY 8  Istria -Dalmatia / Explore Plitvice Lakes & Zadar

Parting with Istria, today we will set off towards the region of Dalmatia, stopping along the way at Plitvice Lakes National Park for a tour along the panoramic pathways around the lakes. Once we finish the tour, there will be more than 3 hours of driving until we reach your next centrally positioned accommodation which allows you to make daily visits to any part of Dalmatia you wish. Today it is also possible to organize an optional excursion to Zadar, a historic town composed of Roman ruins, medieval churches, cosmopolitan cafes, intriguing museums, and two rather unusual attractions.

DISTANCE COVERED:000km 555km/7hrs000nm cca. 5hrsOVERNIGHT: Dalmatian HinterlandMEALS: BLD

DAY 9  Dalmatian Hinterland / Trip to Sinj & Vrlika

You will spend the second half of your vacation at a rural estate situated in the Dalmatian Hinterland, a unique cultural and natural reserve with centuries-old tradition which is still mystically appealing to the locals, and a complete “terra incognita” for travellers. The best way to explore it is to go off the beaten path, and you will start with an adventure tour to Cetinska Krajina. The first town on your route is the town of Vrlika and the nearby source of the river Cetina, the longest river in Dalmatia. Exploring the unobtrusive beauty of the area, you will reach the picturesque town of Sinj, mostly known for its unique cavalry tournament – the Alka.

DISTANCE COVERED:000km 184km/3hrs000nm cca. 2hrsOVERNIGHT: Dalmatian HintelandMEALS: BL

DAY 10  Dalmatian Hinterland / Optional: Trip to Krka Waterfalls

Today we can offer an optional visit to Krka National Park, incorporating one of the most valuable ornithological areas in Europe as well as significant cultural and historical monuments, ancient archaeological sites, medieval fortresses and religious monuments. While here, you can visit the Skradinski Buk waterfall, featuring the second hydro-power plant in the world, or take a boat ride to the island of Visovac with a visit to the Franciscan monastery. If, however, you prefer a more authentic experience, we can arrange a mingling with the local elders in a nearby village.

DISTANCE COVERED:000km 200km/3hrs000nm cca. 3hrsOVERNIGHT: Dalmatian HinterlandMEALS: B

DAY 11  Dalmatian Hinterland – Split / The city of Split & surroundings

Driving along the scenic karst coastline, you will reach the city of Split, Dalmatia’s capital and the second largest city in Croatia. Upon arrival, we will start a guided walking tour of Diocletian`s Palace and the historical core of Split. Afterwards we will escape the crowds and find refuge in the picturesque town of Kaštela, where we will meet some winemakers, taste their wines and have lunch on their estate. We will end the day with a short stop at the Klis Fortress to enjoy the stunning panoramic view of the Split Basin, after which you will be taken back to your accommodation.

DISTANCE COVERED:000km 120km/1.5hrs000nm cca. 3hrsOVERNIGHT: Dalmatian HinterlandMEALS: BL

DAY 12  Dalmatian Hinterland / Free day

This day is completely yours to decide how you want to spend it. Whether you prefer contemplating in the natural surroundings of the estate, or simply enjoying the wilderness and its picturesque sceneries, you will have plenty of time for relaxation and independence. If, however, you are ready to go on another exploratory trip, we have a broad range of day tours that you can choose from and find the one that best suits your preferences.

DISTANCE COVERED:000km000km000nm cca. -hrsOVERNIGHT: Dalmatian HinterlandMEALS: B

DAY 13  Dalmatian Hinterland / Trip to Dubrovnik

After the morning departure, our first stop will be at Ston, a small town famous for its centuries old fortification system, impressive salt works, and oysters – one of the most famed Croatian delicacies. Embark on an educational boat tour to a private island where you will learn everything about oysters and enjoy a fish-themed lunch prepared by your host. The day continues with a ride to Dubrovnik, where we are scheduled for a private guided tour in the later hours of the afternoon. Just as the sun gets ready to set, we shall be seated at the best table in one of Dubrovnik’s finest restaurants, soaking in the stunning scenery from the top of the Srđ Hill and savouring our carefully selected dishes.

DISTANCE COVERED:000km 360km/5hrs000nm cca. 3hrsOVERNIGHT: Dalmatian HinterlandMEALS: BLD

DAY 14  Dalmatian Hinterland / Free day

On the final day of your stay we have decided to give you plenty of leisure time so that you can comfortably prepare for your return and relax from the previous day’s adventures.

DISTANCE COVERED:000km000km000nm cca. -hrsOVERNIGHT: Dalmatian HinterlandMEALS: B

DAY 15  Dalmatian Hinterland – Split Airport / Departure day

The final day of the tour has arrived and it is time to say goodbye! Our chauffer will arrive to collect you for your airport transfer and wish you a safe trip back home.

DISTANCE COVERED: 000km 70km/1hr 000nm cca. -hrsOVERNIGHT: —MEALS: B

Testimonials

Ventula put together a great tour for us. The destinations were a good mix of what inland Croatia and Slovenia have to offer, the recommended restaurants were great, and the personal guides made the trip a total pleasure. We felt we had a fantastic scenic and cultural experience. I would...

Karen W., USA