Special-interest tours abound in Croatia. Tour operators in and outside the country can arrange tours to suit almost any specification.
Adriatica.net -- This general tour operator is based in Zagreb and puts together stays in many of Croatia’s lighthouses and farmhouses, in addition to arranging sailing vacations (www.adriatica.net).
Archaeological Institute of America -- This archaeology-oriented group offers a 9-day “Idyllic Islands and Majestic Shores of Croatia & Montenegro” tour, and a 12-day “Fabled Sarajevo and the Glorious Coast of Croatia & Montenegro” tour (www.archaeological.org/tours/programs).
Martin Randall -- A cultural holiday group thatruns art, architecture, archaeology, and history tours, Martin Randall puts on a 14-day “Western Balkans” tour that includes Zagreb and Osijek, and an 8-day “Dark Age Brilliance” tour that includes Poreč. Note that this group’s flights leave from London, so U.S. travelers have to make their own way to the U.K. (www.martinrandall.com).
Secret Dalmatia -- ADalmatia-based company run by local experts and enthusiasts, Secret Dalmatia offers signature tours and custom experiences, including gourmet cuisine, wine tasting, historic site and national park visits, and sailing(www.secretdalmatia.com).
Smithsonian Journeys -- This renowned institutionoffers several multi-country tours and cruises, taking in sections of Croatia’s Adriatic coast, including lectures on the area’s culture and history (www.smithsonianjourneys.org).
Food & Wine Tours
Increasingly, Croatian entrepreneurs are marketing local products by developing wine and olive roads, as well as special excursions for truffle hunting and wine dinners.
As with many things, Istria is a little ahead of the other regions in terms of developing its potential. The Istria Tourist Board has set up the excellent Istra Gourmet website (www.istria-gourmet.com), listing the region’s top culinary experiences, such as wine roads and wineries open for tasting, olive oil producers, truffle-hunting providers, and top restaurants.
Culinary Croatia -- This establishment arranges one-week food tours, as well as one-day wine trips and cooking classes, primarily in Dalmatia, but also in Istria and Zagreb (www.culinary-croatia.com).
Dubrovnik Wine Tours -- This tour companyarranges one-day wine tasting excursions from Dubrovnik and three-day vineyard tours to Pleješac and Korčula with a British–Croatian sommelier (www.dubrovnikwinetours.com).
Eat Istria -- This Pula-based company offers one-day wine tours and one-day or weekend cookery classes (www.eatistria.com).
Taste of Adriatic -- This Rijeka-based travel agency specializes in food and wine tours, including agritourism, mainly in Istria (www.tasteofadriatic.com; tel. 095/894-9735).
Zagreb Bites -- Specializing in private one-day wine tours departing from Zagreb, this company also offers guided half-day food and drink trails within the capital (www.zagrebites.com).
An excellent website for an overview of Croatia’s best food and wine venues (plus news and itineraries) is www.tasteofcroatia.org.
Escorted General-Interest Tours
Escorted tours are structured group tours, with a group leader. The price usually includes everything from airfare to hotels, meals, tours, admission costs, and local transportation.
Despite the fact that escorted tours require big deposits and predetermined hotels, restaurants, and itineraries, many travelers derive security and peace of mind from the structure they offer. Escorted tours—whether they’re navigated by bus or boat—let travelers sit back and enjoy the trip without having to drive or sweat the details. Escorted tours will take you to the maximum number of attractions in the minimum amount of time with the least amount of hassle. They’re particularly convenient for people with limited mobility, and they can be a great way to make new friends.
On the downside, you’ll have little opportunity for serendipitous interactions with locals. The tours can be packed with activities, leaving little room for individual sightseeing, whim, or adventure. They often focus on the heavily traveled sites, so you miss out on many a lesser-known gem.
Countless tour operators offer packages to Croatia. The following are highly regarded and reliable:
Abercrombie and Kent -- This international luxury travel company offers both tailor-made and pre-arranged itineraries. The company’s portfolio includes a 9-night “Classic Croatia” tour, taking in Split, Trogir, Salona, Hvar Town, Ston, Dubrovnik, and Cavtat (www.abercrombiekent.com).
Adriatic Tours -- A San Pedro–based company founded in 1974, Adriatic specializes in Croatia and offers both escorted and hosted tours to almost all regions of the country. The company also puts together religious tours and cruises (www.adriatictours.com; tel. 310/548-1446).
Croatia Travel Agency -- This New York–based company offers a full complement of itineraries for Croatia, running from 8- through 14-day adventures (www.croatiatravel.com; tel. 800/662-7628).
Kompas -- A Florida-based company specializing in Central and Eastern Europe, Kompas offers a range of short city stays (Zagreb, Split, and Dubrovnik), escorted tours through Croatia and neighboring countries, and Adriatic cruises (www.kompas.net; tel. 954/771-9200).
Private Guides -- If you have the resources, consider booking a private English-speaking guide who can not only plan a custom itinerary for you, but also arrange transport, transfers, and admittance to otherwise inaccessible sites. The best way to find a reliable local guide is to contact the respective city’s tourist board (listed in each section of this guide).
For more information on escorted general-interest tours, including questions to ask before booking your trip, see www.frommers.com/planning.
Note: This information was accurate when it was published, but can change without notice. Please be sure to confirm all rates and details directly with the companies in question before planning your trip.