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Group tours in Dalmatia

Group tours in Dalmatia

THE DALMATIAN DREAM

UNIQUE WINE AND FOOD TOUR IN DALMATIA

Split-panorama

DAY 1-Arrival in Split, accomodation in ***/****/***** hotel

DAY 2-The Art of Wine tasting: We´ll take you to our exclusive club for an unforgettable sommelier presentation of 4 different Croatian wine regions and homemade authentic delicacies. Beautifully designed and surrounded by ancient stone walls, the shop and tasting room offers more than 400 labels of personally selected Croatian and international wines, hand-crafted liquors and regional delicacies. Our goal is to showcase Croatia´s outstanding wines and the best of the country´s specialty gourmet foods. The tasting program is always led by the owners who are experienced sommeliers.

art of wine

Then we´ll take you to Mestrovic gallery, a stunning gallery museum featuring works of world famous Croatian sculptor Ivan Mestrovic. There you will be served a fantastic wine paired dinner in an unforgettable scenery led by our sommelier.

DAY 3-The birthplace of Zinfandel tour: A short drive to Kastela villages to wineries which produce Crljenak (original name of Zinfandel grape). Widely considered an American (Californian) original, Zinfandel has become the quintessential Thanksgiving day libation. However, a series of events in recent years have shed new light on true origins of Zinfandel. Team of enthusiasts led by the internationally famous Croatian–born Californian winemaker Mike Grgich (Grgich Hills Winery) traced the origins of Zinfandel using DNA testing to a hillside overlooking the sea in a village of Kastela, just 20 km from Split. We´ll take You to Putalj winery in Kastel Sucurac where our host Anton Kovac produces a fresh and lively Zinfandel which pairs with sheep´s milk cheese and Anton´s homemade olive oil.

Bedalov 1

A real feast awaits at our next stop, the Bedalov winery, where the winemaker himself will cook a 3 course meal. Jaksa and his family have been producing wine for more than 700 years. We´ll also show you a ´Biblical Garden´ Stomorija, one of only 20 in the world. There amongst the pine trees and local herbs we´ll have some more wine tasting and a walk along the oldest Zinfandel wineyard in the world.

Krolo-winery-terraceDAY 5- Brac island:We´ll visit unique Bol Winery near the seaside in Bol town built in 1903. Two of the original concrete barrels from that time are preserved and can still be seen in the cellar. We´ll try a variety of white and red wines as well as different local delicacies. You can also take a walk to one of the worlds loveliest beaches, Golden Cape near Bol. A view from the top of Vidova Gora mountain is a shame to miss, this is the highest point of all the Croatian islands. Later we´ll show you some of the delicacies found on island Brac only, for instance lamb from the island Brac is world famous, especially grilled on the stick and Vitalac, a unique meal made of goat or lamb intestines.

vitalac

DAY 6- A visit to Dalmatian hinterland: A ride through Dalmatian hinterland will get us to Imotski where we´ll see two worldwide famous phenomena, Blue and Red lake, as well as less known Two Eyes Lakes near Prolozac village (springs of river Vrlika). Then we visit Grabovac winery, also a family production with some more barrel tasting, production and wineyard tour, delicacies from Imotski region and traditional Dalmatian peka meal.

DAY 7-A special day which can not be aranged outside our program. We will organize a Dalmatian cuisine cooking class with retired chef at his mountain estate near Split. You´ll  be picking herbs and vegetables which you can later use in the kitchen and experiment with our experienced master who´ll teach you everything about authentic Dalmatian cuisine.

DAY 8-Hvar island:Winemaking on Hvar has been around for more than 2000 years, brought here by the Greeks who established a colony named Pharos (now called Stari Grad, the oldest town in Croatia). First stop is a small cellar just outside of Jelsa that belongs to the Dubokovic family. A flight of wines here leaves people speachless, from interesting and unusual whites, huge and powerful reds to sweet and special desert wines.

dubokovic wine cellarvinarija tomic

Next we visit the most exquisite winemaker on Hvar, Andro Tomic. His state of the art winery and Greek inspired tasting room are a must see and the wine and delicacies pairing prepared by the winery staff is one of the most interesting experiences a true wine and food lover can have. After the wineries and pouring more than a dozen different wines in yourself, we´ll make sure you relax and savor the sounds and tastes of Hvar on a quiet terrace of Hotel Croatia, nestled between the sea and pine trees, where your personal guide on the tour will lead you through a wine paired three course dinner which will perfectly round out a day of island hedonism.


NOTE: Full time professional sommelier guidance included. All these trips can be arranged throughout the whole year (Hvar island in the winter months possible only by speed boats).

OPCIJA TOURS-Destination management company Croatia

 

 ANCIENT DALMATIA

UNIQUE INSIGHT INTO TUMULTUOUS DALMATIAN HISTORY

BURNUM

DAY 1-Arrival in Split, accomodation in ***/****/***** hotel

DAY 2- Drive to Zadar, a former Liburnian settlement first mentioned by a Greek inscription from Pharos (Stari grad) on the island of Hvar in 384 BC, where the citizens of Zadar were noted as Ίαδασινοί (Ladasinoi). In the Dalmatian language, Jadra (Jadera) was pronounced Zadra (Zadera), due to the phonetic transformation of Ja to Za. That early change was also reflected in the Croatian name Zadar (recorded as Zader in the 12th century). Here we have a St. Donatus church from the 9th Century, a Roman Forum-the largest on the eastern side of the Adriatic, founded by the first Roman Emperor Augustus and other interesting sites.

Next we drive to Asseria who’s blossoming as a town took place during the 1st and 2nd centuries AD, when it was one of the main settlements of the Liburnians. The oldest remains in Asseria found to date are from the 5th century BC, and reveal a town with walls 7m high and 3.2m thick, built as part of the military belt protecting the rich cultural life on the coast from barbarian invasion from the inland. Built as a classic Roman city, Asseria had a town square, a water system, public baths and a necropolis where cylindrical gravestones known as “cipus” have been discovered. Asseria’s most important Roman monument is a triumphal arch, one of seven entrances into the city, built in 113 AD in honor of Roman Emperor Trajan.

asseriaNext ancient roman camp Burnum which some claim originates from the year 33 B.C.  The famous Roman writer Pliny the Elder (AD 23 – 79) wrote about the fortress at Burnum and it’s known that several Roman legions were located there in succession.  The first, legio XX Valeria Victrix, was there at the beginning of the Pannonian uprising (Bellum Batonianum) AD 6-9.to control the movement in and around the Krka River.  The Roman governor for Dalmatia Publius Cornelius Dolabella  is credited with actually founding the city which was continued by the Roman Emperor Tiberius Claudius Caesar Augustus Germanicus. By the time Claudius was emperor, around 50 A.D, Burnum was well established and both Legio XI Claudia Pia Fidelis and Legio IIII Flavia Felix were encamped here. Today, Burnum is the most recently excavated Roman military arena in Europe!

Next Varvaria, a continuous habitation from Neolithic till Middle Ages. Excavatins have been constantly done and there are remains of 3 old churches and one still active one within the walls, as well as Roman and Serb cemeteries, the later of which is still in use. There is a medieval cemetary near the south entrance. There are remains of Roman villas, Monasteries etc, but little of the Prehistoric buildings other than the impressive town walls survived.

Pustinja-blaca

DAY 3-Island Brac: We start in the timeless irresistible village Skrip. This is one of the very few continuously inhabited localities in all Europe! It is also a village where museum of Brac is located – the supposed crypt of mother of Constantine the Great is kept here. Although some believe that its greatest treasure is an ancient Greek statue of Hercules, the museum is really a living history of life on Brac, a rich ethnographic collection that even includes an ancient kitchen (another great kitchen is located in the Blaca monastery deep in the hills of Brac). Blaca was a monastery found in 1551 by Glagolic monks from Poljica Republic. This small republic, behind Omis, was wedged between the Venetian and Ottoman Empires. The monks, fearing Turkish raids, fled to Brac in the 15th century and later received permission to build their monastery in its current, well-hidden location. Setting to work in the harsh landscape (blaca means desert), they created a vibrant community – the richest on the island. Completely self-sufficient, they even exported honey, olive oil, wine and cheese to Venice and Vienna. They owned 3 trading boats, large estates in other villages and employed more than 100 workers. The last Glagolic monk, Don Nikola Milicevic, was a true Renaissance man. He was a serious astronomer and we will see what was once the largest telescope in south-east Europe. Carefully reporting his findings to the outside world, his work led to the naming of 2 asteroids as well as a comet. It’s hard to imagine that such science took place literally in the middle of nowhere. Even today, the sense of isolation is palpable-after a long drive down a dirt track, you still have a 2km hike into the canyon. There nestled into the rocks, Don Nikola’s monastery and observatory. Our program continues to the highest point of Brac-Vidova Gora. Vidova Gora (Mount St. Vitus – 778 meters) is not to be missed. The summit commands a magnificent panoramic view of the famous Zlatni Rat beach, adjacent islands, Mount Biokovo on the mainland and on a very clear day Monte Gargano on the Italian coast!

SPLIT

DAY 4-Guided tour Split, an ancient town started as a Greek colony of Aspalathos. The Greek settlement lived off trade with the surrounding Illyrian tribes, mostly the Delmatae, who inhabited the much larger nearby city of Salona.In time, the Roman Republic became the dominant power in the region, and conquered the Illyrians in the Illyrian Wars of 229 and 219 BC. Upon establishing permanent control, the Romans founded the province of Dalmatia with Salona as the capital, and at that time the name of the nearby Greek colon Aspálathos was changed to “Spalatum and Trogir”. 

Next Trogir, one of many towns in Dalmatia protected by UNESCO as a world heritage site. In the 3rd century BC, Tragurion was founded by Greek colonists from the island of Vis, and it developed into a major port until the Roman period. The name comes from the Greek “tragos” (male goat). Similarly, the name of the neighbouring island of Bua 8today Ciovo) comes from the Greek “voua” (herd of cattle). The sudden prosperity of Salona deprived Trogir of its importance. During the migration of Slavs the citizens of the destroyed Salona escaped to Trogir.

Next we´ll visit Salona where the Greeks had set up an emporion (marketplace). After the conquest by the Romans, Salona became the capital of the Roman province of Dalmatia.The city quickly acquired Roman characteristics: walls, a forum, a theater and an amphitheater—the most conspicuous above-ground remains today—public baths and an aqueduct.

dubrovnikston-walls

DAY 5-A relaxing drive along fabulous Dalmatian coast will get us to Dubrovnik. We´ll see a town whose whole center is a museum, a town which has been the center of rich Dubrovnik republic from 14.th-18.th century. Guess where slavery was first abolished in the year 1416., or where the plague quarantine was first implemented in the society, or maybe who founded first maritime insurance in the year 1395. (3 centuries prior to Lloyd´s insurance). Maybe You wonder where one of the first worlds sewage sistems was installed in the year 1296., or where the first recorded organized fire brigades and laws were founded… Dubrovnik has been on UNESCO Worlds heritage list since 1979.

On the way back we´ll stop in Ston, a charming medieval town with longest stone wall in Europe (5,5km), fantastic sea food and about a 1000 years old salt factory, still producing salt today in the same way as ever before.

Red Lake

DAY 6-Dalmatia hinterland:First Klis fortress, a medieval fortress situated above a village bearing the same name, near the city of Split. From its origin as a small stronghold built by the ancient Illyrian tribe Dalmatae, becoming a royal castle that was the seat of many Croatian kings, to its final development as a large fortress during the Ottoman wars in Europe, Klis Fortress has guarded the frontier, being lost and re-conquered several times throughout its more than two thousand year-long history. 

Next Imotski with two worldwide phenomena, Blue and Red Lake, as well as less famous Two Eyes Lakes near Prolozac village. Then we´ll visit Imotski fortress Topana which originates from years 845-864, built during Trpimir’s rule of medieval Croatia. Decorated stone with braided ornament from the fortress on the left is a good indicator of the age of the fortress.  Zupania ta Hemotha, with it’s fortress (castrum) as a center can be found in the Byzantine Emperor Constantine Porphyrogenitus chronicle, “De administrando imperio,” written between 948-952 A.C.  There are scarce written documents mentioning Imota fortress before year 1500.

sinjska alkaDAY 7-Just half an hour drive from Split takes us to Trilj with Tilurium remains, a Roman cohort in the territory of the Delmatae as the original tribes here were called. Next Cacvina castle, a fortification that guarded approach from Bosnia during the wars with the Ottomans. It is situated 8 kilometres (5.0 mi) from the town at an altitude of 705 metres (2,313 ft) in a strategic location enabling its crew to oversee traffic of goods through the mountain passage that goes through the Dinaric Alps and leads to Bosnia. The first written record of this fortification dates to year 1345.

Next we´ll visit Sinj, a town most famous for Sinjska Alka, an equestrian competition commemorating the victory over Ottoman Turkish administration. It consists of an equestrian competition, in which various horsemen attempt to aim their lances at a hanging metal ring (alka) at full gallop. Sinj fortress played an important role in resisting agressors, especially Turks which were heavily defeated on the banks of this fortress in year 1715.

sv-nikola

 

DAY 8-National Park Krka:Here we can find ruins of several early Croatian fortresses from the 14th century. Kamicka, Trosenj, Necven, Bogocin and Kljucica, one of the largest and most significant defensive structures in Croatia. During the middle ages Croatian princes and noblemen erected magnificient fortresses here of which today mostly ruins remain. There are 7 waterfalls on Krka river altogether and we´ll take you beyond usual tourist routes on an unforgettable tour around this natures masterpiece.

Later we´ll visit Sibenik, the only town on the Croatian coast founded by Croats. Here you´ll see a fascinating Cathedral of St. James, one of the most important architectural monuments of the Renaissance in whole Croatia (also on the UNESCO world heritage list). Sibenik hides some spectacular fortresses like St. Michaels fortress and amazing view of nearby Kornati Island National Park.


NOTE: All these programs can be combined with amazing local food and wine, deductible throughout the whole year.

OPCIJA TOURS-Destination management company Croatia


 

DALMATIAN ADRENALINE RUSH

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