Croatia – Full Itinerary

Itinerary & Accommodation

What are we going to be doing?  What’s there to do in Split?

Croatia, and Split, in particular,  has become one of the premier European Vacation destinations.  Besides its UNESCO World Heritage Site designation, Split embodies everything that is vibrant and happening on the Dalmatian Coast. 

Let’s start with the basics…

The backdrop and scenery couldn’t be more picturesque.  A strategic spot along the Adriatic, Split has a natural bay and harbor that welcomes everyone. The views out to sea are of three nearby islands just off the coast.   We’ll be visiting two of those by private watercraft.

The Croatian people…

So welcoming, open and accommodating… Genuinely friendly and so very proud of their heritage and land. 

The Gastronomy…

The food, while not commonly known by people outside of the country, you’ll find a familiarity and warmth from the very first bite.  There is a wide variety of culinary fare, ranging from grilled meats and fish to the well-prepared “peka”.  There are fabulous bakeries everywhere in town.  There is also a cultural mix as there are some middle-eastern and Turkish influences present in many dishes. 

Let’s not leave out the indelible mark that Italy has had on Croatia.  Less than 100 miles across the Adriatic, these two lands share a remarkable history beginning from pre-Roman times.  They were part of the Republic of Venice for hundreds of years!  Ok, maybe they weren’t making lasagna and tortellini back then, but, over the years, the methods and preparations are very similar.  From the many cured meats such as prosciutto and salami, to pasta (gnocchi, in particular), truffles and cheeses, they share a lot of commonality.  These are just a few of the recognizable dishes that will have you wanting to explore more and more!

We’ll be preparing several of the local and customary dishes that are eaten during casual get-togethers and planned events!


Let’s start with the wines…

Croatian wines have been on the rise in popularity as local wine-makers and the different micro-climates have helped to refine their craft and vintages over several decades now.  

With the North American market saturated with wines from many other countries, most people are not familiar with Croatian wines or their flavor profiles…Or, are they?  For example, if you’ve had a Primitivo wine from Puglia, Italy, or a Zinfandel, their origins came from the Plavac Mali grape. An indigenous grape from this specific area of the Dalmatian Coast.  Many wines from Croatia have garnered recognition around the world for their depth and character.  

Many of the islands have their own varietals, just as those from the mainland and coastal areas.

We’ll be introduced to many different wines from the Balkans, as well as our visit to a family of wine-makers just north of Split, near Sibenik.


This is a somewhat general term for the Croatian version of Grappa.  There is some rakija that will be absolutely terrifying and difficult to consume, and others are softer and more palatable across the board. 

Some have a sweetness or infusion of fruits or herbs.  It’s very common to be served either a honey or cherry-infused rakija prior to a meal. It’s a very welcoming and customary tradition in homes, as well as in many restaurants.  So, don’t be surprised if you receive a “pre-meal” beverage from your host!


Croatia has a huge coffee culture.  Most days, especially in nice weather, you will find couples, friends and families sitting at cafes all over town enjoying a coffee, or two, and sitting and talking for hours!


Lots of local beers in Croatia. There are the popular international brands, as well. However, if you’re going to live like a local, you better grab a bottle or can of Karlovacko or Ozusko!  There are also some excellent micro-brewery brands that have hit the market of late.  Try a Gricka Vjestica, aka…The Witch of Gricka, which has a very interesting story behind the name!


Yes, they serve water as well… Jana is one of the top names.  If you want an excellent sparkling water, try Jamnica!


Day 1: Welcome to Split – Hotel Check-in – Orientation – Old Town Walk – Welcome Dinner

Welcome to Split! Your host will meet you at the airport arrival area for the group transfer to our hotel. The drive from the airport the hotel is only about 25 minutes.

After check in and some time on your own, we’ll meet for our first group get together, an orientation at hotel, where we’ll have some beverages and appetizers, while we all get to know one another and talk about the vacation week ahead. 

We’ll then take a walk around the old town to get acquainted with your new home for the week in Split and the Diocletian Palace.

Our walk through the iconic, and historic old town will mesmerize you in ways that only Split can.  Bring extra film for your cameras as everywhere you turn is a picturesque spot!   Our walk will bring us to a fabulous restaurant for our a Traditional CDV Welcome Dinner.  We’ll be treated to an array of amazing local cuisine at this very local and family-run restaurant. 

Some sample of what we’ll be having:

Apps – Black Risotto & Gnocchi w/ prawns and zucchini

Main Course: Peka (Slow Cooked and Roasted in hot coals under the bell with vegetables and potatoes. There will be meat and a seafood options available.

Dessert will be either a Semi Fredo and Roziata (similar to Pannacotta)… Or both!

Day 2 – Market Shopping at Split “Pazar” – Dalmatian Cooking Class and Lunch w. Locals –  Mixology Class and Aperitivi – Dinner in Split

Your first full day begins with breakfast at the hotel. 

After that, we’ll walk into the “Old Town” to do a little shopping for our cooking class at the Pazar (open-air) market. This foodie-land is an amazing part of town where the locals have been shopping for as long as anyone can remember!  You will be amazed at the vast array of purveyors selling their multitude of food-oriented products. 

You can get just about anything you need here.  From produce and fruit, to all kinds of meats and fish, baked goods, dairy products, cured meats in many forms, nuts and dried fruits, local beverages, flowers and plants… And more!  It’s truly a remarkable place that is open just about every day of the year.  We’ll introduce you to some of our local friends there and pick up some essentials before heading to Nikola’s house for our first full cooking class.

Our first class is in in the private home of one of your CDV Hosts, Nikola!  Our chef instructors are local friends and family of Nikola’s and they will be helping you get into the mix and start cooking the Croatian way!  For our class, we’llbe making some classic regional Dalmatian dishes.

Appetizer: Mixed Local Delicacies of Home-made products. 

Main Course: Pašticada with Gnocchi (Braised and Slow-Roasted Veal)

Dessert: Palincinke with fillings/toppings – (Split Cake and Rafioli?) tbd…

Of course, we’ll conclude our cooking class with a fabulous lunch together! 

After lunch, you’ll have some time on your own to explore Split, relax at the hotel, or on the Riva, and just hang out with the locals, and tourists, alike!

We’ll meet up later and walk over to our friend’s watering hole for an exclusive, “mixology” class.  Peter will shake things up and let us try our hand at making some of his specialty concoctions!  We’ll need to “sample” them for quality control, of course!  We’ll also have some appetizers while we’re hanging out with Peter and other friends of ours.

Our dinner spot is within walking distance of Peter’s bar where we’ll have another amazing dinner at a very local spot that we’ve been going to for years.  Transportation will be provided for those that don’t want to walk.

More local dishes we’ll be dining on…

Apps –Shredded Kupus – Polpo Salata – Bread – Kaymak – Olives –

Main Courses: Meat Platter and/or Stuffed Peppers

Grilled Vegetables & Hand-cut French Fries


You can “walk-off” dinner with about a 15-20 minute stroll back to the hotel, or head back into town and hang out at any of the numerous bars, pubs and clubs!

Day 3 – Boating Excursion to the Hvar Island – Island Life Experience – Lunch – Historic Hvar Town Visit – Open Choice Dinner

Bring your bathing suits, hats, towels and sunscreen!  Today, we’ll be out and about for the better part of the day, part of which, will be spending time on a private boat to the beautiful island of Hvar. 

We’ll find a casual and calm cove where we can drop anchor and go for a swim and enjoy the surroundings in the fresh, clean, clear blue waters of the Adriatic.

After some fun in the water, we’ll dock near a local ranch for a private experience with Nikola’s cousins. Pero, Barbara.  It’s likely that some of their friends will join us too!

We’ll make the local distillate, Rakjia, along with some other island favorite delicacies for a casual and informal lunch.

Time permitting, there may be the possibility for a yoga relaxation experience for those that want to.

For those that want to relax by the sea, there is a beach about a 15-minute walk away.  The access to the beach requires some uphill hiking on a trail.

For lunch, we’ll be having a mixture of some, or all, of the following;

Apps – Sausage – Prosciutto – Cheese – Fresh Bread-

Roasted Lamb and Chicken w. Potatoes

Mixed Salad –

Dessert – Bringing from cooking class on Sunday

After an amazing afternoon, we’ll get back to our boat, and head to the quaint seaside town of Hvar for some sightseeing, shopping and strolling through the historical and meandering walkways.

On our boat ride back to Split, our dinner plans will be what we’ll have delivered to the hotel. We’ll see who wants what and we’ll order in!  There will be different options and choices of Pizzas-Burgers – Wraps – Salads – Sides…

After relaxing at the hotel, for those that want to, we’ll head over to a nearby gelateria.

Day 4 – Knin – Independence War Site – Serbian Monastery – Exclusive Winery Visit

This morning, we’ll take an historic drive to the historical flash-point of the War for Independence that began in 1991.  We’ll have an exclusive meeting with a local that will explain the history behind the conflict, along with their personal experiences from that time.

Our next visit will be to a Serbian Monastery on the banks of the River Krka, adjacent to the Krka National Park, where our friend, and monastic head of the church, Siniša, the will explain the history of this place, along with the ancient Roman-era catacombs beneath the church.

We will have a memorable lunch with Siniša and his fellow monks at this unique setting and exclusive dining experience.

After our visit, we’ll be driven to a nearby family –run vineyard and winery for a wine-tasting and pairing for our evening meal.  We’ll sample several different wines from the region that is becoming more and more recognized as producing some of the finest wines found in Central Croatia.

We’ll return to Split in time for those of you that want to continue the evening out and about!

Day 5 – Brac Island – Croatian BBQ and Beach Day – Split Marina Dinner

For those interested in a local shopping experience, you can go with your tour host to shop for today’s lunch at local, family-run purveyors.

After some shopping, we’ll board our private boat to the island of Brac, and the town of Bol to have a stroll and grab a coffee or other beverages.

After visiting the historic town of Bol and the Golden Cape, we’ll get back on our boat and explore the coastline with some stops along the way for swimming and exploring.

We’ll take our provisions on-shore and make a seaside Croatian BBQ, in a very unique setting.   We’ll be able to enjoy the seaside, good food, good wine and good company during our relaxing afternoon. 

Well return to Split in time for you to either take some time back at the hotel to rest and relax or head into town for shopping, etc, with ample time to freshen up before dinner.

Our dinner tonight will be at a wonderful bayside restaurant, Lucića.  

Tonight’s dinner will give you choices of Meat or Seafood –

Sides – French Fries



After dinner, we’ll have private transfers take us back to the hotel.

Day 6 -Pottery Class – Second Cooking Class – Coastal Drive – Bees and Honey – Traditional Countryside Peka Dinner w. Friends

After breakfast, we’ll have the pleasure to take part in some artistry, with a pottery lesson and class with Nikola’s longtime family friend, and neighbor, Branca. 

We’ll try our hand at the potter’s wheel and throw some clay and make a variety of bowls and vases.

After an amazing morning, we’ll have lunch at Nikola’s place and dine on a mix of Dalmatian-style Tapas

After lunch, we’ll head out of town and make a stop at the seaside town of Primostan for a nice walk, coffee or aperitivi.

We will continue with our drive up the coast until we arrive at our friend, Jadranka’s countryside garden in an old village where she raises bees and makes local honey. 

We’ll put on bee-suits and harvest some hives!  This promises to be an incredible experience with Jadranka. You will be amazed at this woman, her story and her commitment and perseverance and passion for her craft and way of life.

After our memorable time with Jadranka, we will drive to the seemingly middle of nowhere in the countryside to our friend, Zeljko’s rustic ranch for the rest of the day and evening. 

This is a very casual place to relax, have some beverages and take in the serenity of this land. We’ll have an amazing dinner of peka and several side dishes.  This will be another wonderful time out with close friends in a picturesque and unique setting.

We’ll be back in Split in time for some after-hours fun for those that want to continue the evening!

Day 7 – Free Time in Split – Pazar Food Tour – Third Cooking Class with Friends and Farewell Dinner

You’ll have the morning free to relax or head into town for some final shopping or sightseeing.

We will do a walk around town trying some local products during a bit of a casual “food-tour”.  We’ll also pick up some essentials with our friend Nikša, who will be our chef instructor for tonight’s class and dinner at his home!

We’ll also do the shopping for our casual lunch at a special hidden-gem location in the city center.

After lunch, you’ll have some time to explore more, or head back to the hotel to pack and freshen up before meeting for our final cooking class experience and dinner with friends.

Our last cooking class experience will be with Nikola’s friends and family at their private home and farm in Kaštela, a seaside town across the bay from Split. 

We’ll walk around the property and pick fresh vegetables, take farm-fresh eggs from their chickens, along with making some fresh cevapi, we’ll make appetizer plates and open wine! We’ll make some local deserts and other local fare for our sunset dinner on their terrace and konoba.  This will be another very casual and relaxing evening with friends.

We’ll hate to say good-bye, but we’ll need to head back to Split and our hotel.

Day 8: Departures – Sadly, it’s time that our vacation week has come to its conclusion.

We hope that you found this to be an amazing and incredible week that will give you, not only lasting memories, but lasting friendships that will welcome you at any time in the future when you return to Split for another visit.

CDV will provide a transfer back to the Split Airport.

Happy Travels!  We’ll be looking forward to seeing you again! 

The Not So Fine Print:


This is a base itinerary, which is subject to minor changes before the vacation begins. Changes may be reorganization of days due to closure and festivals, changes due to weather, unexpected traffic or road closures, or seasonal changes. Additionally, these itineraries are prepared well in advance, and at times there are unexpected closures for various reasons that require us to alter the plans. In the end, our goal is always to make it better for our guests, and when substitutions happen, they are always wonderful.


The menus listed on the itineraries are subject to change depending on season. We use only fresh ingredients wherever possible, so if we are unable to prepare a certain dish, it will be substituted. Occasionally we make changes to some items as certain dishes prove to be very popular.


Some places on our itineraries don’t work well with cold weather or rain. We may have to have some of our meals indoors that were scheduled to be outside. When we do expect rain, we try to rearrange the schedule to make the best of it, but substitutions may be made.


We’ll have the exclusive use of the 9-Room Hotel Residence Stina- Located in Varos, one of the oldest neighborhood of Split, dating back over 600 years ago! Here is the link to the hotel’s website:

This is a completely renovated building with historical roots in one of the oldest neighborhoods of Split, the Varos.  Long ago, it was the area where the less fortunate came to live in modest means. Particularly, fisherman that came from other towns and villages to earn a living in the “city” as there was very little opportunity from where they originated from. 

From these humble beginnings, a remarkable neighborhood grew out of necessity and hard work.  Over the centuries, the area became known for its grittiness and desire to strive.  The area has become one of Split’s most enduring and endearing neighborhoods.  Most of the streets are really narrow alleyways, a labyrinth of sorts which one can easily get turned around in.  Part of the charm of this area that is now a mix of old and recently remodeled homes that have become one of the most desirable places to be in the entire city.  It is situated between the “Old Town” and the Marjan Hill, which is a large and beautiful city park that has the sea on three sides and offers tremendous views and plenty of walking trails and places to just sit and enjoy the sights. 

Our hotel embodies all the elements of the Varos, while offering comfort and convenience.  Nicely appointed, the rooms are each a bit different, but all have more amenities than most other boutique luxury-class hotels. The staff are friendly and helpful and are excited about meeting our guests.  They have been fantastic to partner with at this new destination. 

Rooms will be assigned according to the booking order and guest needs.  There is an elevator, for your convenience.

All the rooms are equipped with air condition and free Wi-Fi

Hotel Photo Gallery

What’s Included & Not Included


Your all-inclusive price includes just about everything. To make it completely clear, here is a full breakdown of our all-inclusive policy:

Included in the price:

  • 7 Nights private accommodation
  • 20 Meals (7 Breakfasts, 6 Lunches & 7 Dinners) as listed in itinerary.
  • All cooking classes and associated food costs.
  • Culture Discovery Apron & Recipe Book.
  • Welcome goodies in your room (Wine, mineral water, coffee, cookies, etc.)
  • Daily day trips and excursions.
  • Wine with all lunches and dinners.
  • Transfers to and from SPLIT Airport.
  • Transportation all week to all destinations (by bus).
  • All entry fees for excursions, tours and tastings.
  • English speaking vacation host & guides throughout the duration.

What’s Not included:

  • Airfare
  • Personal Expenses
  • Any consumption of mini bar or bar/restaurant facilities in hotel outside our planned activities.
  • Alcohol beyond what is on pre-planned menus
  • Room Upgrades

Arrival & Departure Transfers


We one free shuttle for arrivals:
1) From Split Airport

If you are flying in the same day, be sure to get a flight that arrives before 12:30 PM in order to give you time to get through customs.


One Time transfer from Split City center to Split Airport

Deposit & Payment Requirements

All prices listed are in US Dollars. If you are paying in a different currency, your price is locked in with US Dollars, but the price in your currency will depend on the exchange rate at the time your deposit is charged, then again when your balance is due.

If you would like to lock in a price with a currency other than US Dollars, you can do so by paying the full amount at the time of your reservation.

  • All prices are land only, per person, based on double occupancy. Airfare and travel insurance are not included.
  • 20% of the total is due at time of booking to secure your spaces.
  • The balance is due 90 days before your vacation begins.
  • We strongly advise “cancel for any reason” travel insurance. (we provide links with our confirmations) for all guests. Click here to read why

Supplements & Discounts

Single occupancy supplement:+US $450.00
Alumni DiscountUS $200.00

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