Pula, Istria, Croatia Truffles, Istria, Croatia

Essential Istria

Sail down the beautiful rivers
Sail down the beautiful rivers

The following is just a suggested daily touring schedule. You will have complete control over your daily schedule and may change your plans at any time by simply telling your guide. Your time in Europe is yours to enjoy as you like!

For custom luxury travel and tours to Istria and Croatia, please contact one of our travel experts.

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ITINERARY

PRICING FROM

$3,250 per person, based on two guests traveling together. Please contact Exeter International for specific pricing and availability. 

Day 1
Arrival | Zagreb

Arrival in Zagreb – Croatia’s capital and largest city. You will be met by your private driver and guide, who will be waiting for you just outside of Customs, after you pick up your luggage. 

The history of Zagreb dates as far back as the 11th century when the Hungarian King Ladislaus founded a diocese here. Gradually, a settlement developed on the neighboring hill. Today, this settlement is Zagreb’s Upper Town – one of the best preserved medieval urban centers in Croatia. As a sign of gratitude for offering him a safe haven from the Tatars, King Bela IV offered the town’s citizens autonomy and independent judicial system. According to a legend, Bela left the city a cannon to be fired every day so that it did not rust. Since 1 January 1877 the cannon has been fired from one of the towers every day at noon.

You will transfer through the Istrian Peninsula and to the Adriatic shore where you will arrive in the town of Rovinj, which is picturesquely located on a small peninsula on the Western coast of Istria. Check-in at your hotel for an evening at your leisure.

Exeter Services: Transfer from Zagreb to Rovinj

Hotel: Grand Park Rovinj

Day 2
Istrian Contryside | Istrian Contryside Motovun, Istria, Croatia

Meet your guide and driver for your day in the Istrian countryside. The interior of Istria, with its rugged and hilly terrain, is very different from its coast.

There are many picturesque villages in this area, such as the artist colony of Groznjan and the medieval town of Motovun. Your guide will discuss with you which villages you would like to visit, based on your interests.

The artist colony of Groznjan was all but deserted after WWII until being revitalized as a center for artists.  Groznjan is also a favorite of musicians, as the International Cultural Centre of Young Musicians has its seat here.  You will have time to wander the twisting streets, filled with shops from local artisans, or perhaps to take in an impromptu music or drama performance in the main square.

Motovun is an excellent example of the ancient townships that dotted the Istrian peninsula long ago. We think it’s worth the long trek up to the top of the hill, so eat a hearty breakfast!  Motovun is a medieval city that dates back to the 12th century, which thankfully remained intact owing to its hilltop location and walled fortifications.

Later your guide will take you to Livade, the small village in the Istrian countryside famous for being one of the best-known truffle regions in Europe!   White Istrian truffles are among of the most expensive mushrooms in the world, and truffle harvesting is a local tradition. We highly recommend stopping for a truffle lunch here; make room in your luggage for truffle oil to take home!

Exeter International Extraordinary Experience

This afternoon you will be invited to a private wine tasting with snacks and olive oil at one of the private family vineyards in Istria.

Exeter Services: Vehicle, Driver & Guide (8 Hours)

Hotel: Grand Park Rovinj

Day 3
Pula | Pula Truffle Hunting, Istria, Croatia

This morning, your driver and guide will meet you to explore the Istrian peninsula. Today you will drive down the western Istrian coast along the Adriatic Sea to Pula, at the southernmost tip of the Peninsula.

Pula is a story of fortunes gained and lost. It gained fame under the Romans during the 2nd century BCE and became an Episcopal seat of power during the 5th century. It was sacked by the Ostrogoths but regained power under the Byzantines as a naval port during the 6th and 7th centuries. It fell into decline until the Austro-Hungarians gained power and established their naval fleet here.  The ancient barracks of the Austro-Hungarian Empire still house Croatia’s naval forces.

Upon arrival, your guide will take you on a walking tour of Pula. You will start at the historic center of the city at its most famous landmark, the Pula Amphitheater, which dates back to the 1st century – one of the best-preserved Roman amphitheaters in the world. Today it is Pula’s main cultural venue and is known for its music and film festivals.

Continue to visit the Golden Door at the Temple of Augustus, built between 2 BCE and 14 CE, which is dedicated to the goddess Roma and the emperor Augustus. You will also see the City Hall with its blend of architectural styles, the Hercules Gate and the fragments of the city walls, as well as the Forum, the central square of classical and medieval Pula.

As time allows, you may wish to enter the Archaeological Museum of Istria, which contains several exhibits from Neolithic times to the medieval period of objects found in Pula and the surrounding areas.

Exeter Services: Vehicle, Driver & Guide (4 Hours)

Hotel: Grand Park Rovinj

Day 4
Brijuni Archipelago | Brijuni Archipelago Rovinj, Istria, Croatia

Exeter International Extraordinary Experience

This morning, after meeting your guide and driver, you will continue your tour of Istria with a short drive down the Adriatic coast to the town of Fazana, from where you will board a private motorboat which will take you to the Brijuni archipelago and its largest island – Veli (Great) Brijun. You will arrive at the island’s main harbor from where you will embark on a tour of its main sights.

The Brijuni archipelago is made up of 14 islands, some of which have been inhabited since Paleolithic times. In Antiquity and the Middle Ages, the islands were mainly known for their quarries, the stone of which was used to build many of the buildings and bridges in Venice. Later, the Austrians fortified some of the larger islands to support their naval base in Pula. It was not until the 19th century that the islands’ potential for tourism was realized. A Viennese entrepreneur bought the whole archipelago and developed an exclusive resort with hotels, restaurants, a casino, and a marina which became the playground for European and American celebrities and aristocrats. After the Second World War, Josip Broz Tito, the leader of communist Yugoslavia, declared the island a restricted zone and made it his summer residence. It was only after his death that the Brijun Island was opened to visitors as a national park.

On the western coast of the island, you may see the extensive ruins of a Byzantine castle complex as well as those of a Roman villa from the 1st century. You will also see the fenced-off White Villa – a former Venetian residence which was restored in the early 18th century and again in the 1950s to become the summer mansion of Marshal Tito during his reign as the president of the former Yugoslavia. Tito used this villa to receive various foreign dignitaries and delegations and many formal receptions and important events took place here. Among the island museum’s best exhibits is the ‘Tito on Brijni’ which features a huge collection of photos of the former Yugoslav leader and offers an insight into the life and political career of this still beloved by his former subjects Communist dictator.

After your tour of Veli Brijun you will return to the mainland where your driver will be waiting to take you back to Rovinj and your hotel.

 Exeter Services: Vehicle, Driver & Guide (8 Hours)

Hotel: Grand Park Rovinj

Day 5
Departure | Zagreb Spring Flowers Zagreb

Today you will be transferred back to Zagreb for your onward flight home or to your next destination. 

Exeter Services: Transfer from Rovinj to Zagreb

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