Dionysus Hideouts of Continental Croatia

Zagreb – Plešivica – Lonjsko polje – Međimurje – Moslavina – Podravina - Baranja

Dionysus Hideouts of Continental Croatia


Explore the wineries, cellars, and family wine farms of continental Croatia, and have fun at cooking classes making traditional food. Add some spicy adventurous moments at the end of this exciting tour!

DAY 1 – Zagreb through the past

Arrival in Zagreb
Meet & greet and a panoramic tour – guides dressed as famous personalities from Croatia's past lead you through the secrets of the capital city of Zagreb – a city where tradition meets a contemporary lifestyle and vision.
Accommodations and refreshments in a 4* hotel

DAY 2 – Zagreb - cooking class / wine tasting

Breakfast at the 4* Hotel Palace
Walking city tour of Zagreb with a local guide
Dolac market/Kuhaona cooking class with wine pairing/lunch
Free evening
Overnight in a 4* hotel
Stroll through the Dolac farmer’s market in Zagreb
Hands-on preparation of 3 traditional Croatian meals
An instructor who will guide you through the cooking process step-by-step
A wine tasting and pairing class

DAY 3 – Zagreb – Lonjsko Polje Nature Park - tasting dinner at Bornstein

Breakfast at the 4* hotel
A full-day trip to Lonjsko Polje Nature Park
Meeting with a guide and dinner with vertical tasting in Bornstein

DAY 4 – Samobor – Plešivica - 2 wineries

Breakfast at the 4* hotel
Meeting with the guide and departure towards Samobor and Plesivica
Samobor city tour
Wine tasting in two wineries: Šember, Korak
Lunch at Šumski dvor, Family Kolarić
Overnight in a 3* hotel, Samobor

DAY 5 – Hrvatsko zagorje/Varaždin - Trakošćan - 2 wineries Bolfan and Šafran

Breakfast at a 3* hotel
Departure to Hrvatsko zagorje
2 wineries: Bolfan and Šafran
Lunch at Bolfan Vinski vrh
Visit of Trakošćan castle
Dinner and overnight stay at the Hotel Trakošćan 4*

DAY 6 – Međimurje – 2 wineries: Lovrec and Cmrečnjak

Breakfast at Hotel Trakošćan 4*
Departure to the Međimurje region
Lunch in "Mala hiža"
Lovrec and Cmrečnjak wineries
Return to Hotel Trakošćan 4*
Dinner and overnight stay

DAY 7 – Moslavina – Virovitica - Podravina – 2 wineries: Kezele and Matković

Breakfast at Hotel Trakošćan 4*
Departure to the Moslavina region
Lunch in "Kezele"
Kezele and Matković wineries
Return to Zagreb
Dinner and overnight in a 4* hotel in Zagreb

DAY 8 – Slavonia region – Ilok wine road - Osijek

Breakfast at the 4* hotel
Departure to the Slavonia region
Ilok wine road
Overnight in Hotel Osijek 4*

DAY 9 – Osijek – Jeep adventure Baranja - Zagreb

Breakfast at Hotel Osijek 4*
Departure to Jeep adventure Baranja
Return to Zagreb
Overnight at the Hotel Palace 4*
Jeep adventure in Baranja - an off-road ride after tasting kulen and bread with a lard spread. Separating into groups and heading toward Baranja vineyards. Climbing the only hill and wine tasting in an old wine cellar dating back to 1935. The adventure ends in Batina, with a view of Hungary, Vojvodina, and the Danube. Return to the country estate and group cooking of the famous Slavonian specialty “fiš” under a fishing gazebo.

DAY 10 – Zagreb - departures

Breakfast at a 4* hotel
Transfers to the airport and departures

Zagreb through the centuries
Modern-day Zagreb has grown out of two medieval settlements that for centuries developed on neighboring hills. The first written mention of the city dates back to 1094, when a diocese was founded on Kaptol, while in 1242, neighboring Gradec was proclaimed a free and royal city. Both the settlements were surrounded by high walls and towers, the remains of which are still preserved.
During the Turkish onslaughts on Europe, between the 14th and 18th centuries, Zagreb was an important border fortress. The Baroque reconstruction of the city in the 17th and 18th centuries changed the appearance of the city. The old wooden houses were demolished, and opulent palaces, monasteries, and churches were built. The many trade fairs, the revenues from landed estates, and the offerings of the many craft workshops greatly contributed to the wealth of the city.
Affluent aristocratic families, royal officials, church dignitaries, and rich traders from all of Europe moved into the city. Schools and hospitals were opened, and the manners of European capitals were adopted. The city outgrew its medieval borders and spread to the lowlands. The first parks and country houses were built. Zagreb confirmed its position as the administrative, cultural, and economic center of Croatia.

City tour / Dolac market
Dolac is the largest and the most famous market in Zagreb. It opened in 1930 at the spot where the old walls once stood after it was decided that the old market Harmica was to move from the place of today's Ban Josip Jelacic Square. The market is located between Ban Josip Jelacic Square, Kaptol, and the Upper Town. The vivid colors and fragrances of fresh fruit and vegetables are something that should not be missed.

"Kuhaona" cooking class and lunch
The "Kuhaona" cooking class is dedicated to high-quality ingredients, traditional and modern techniques, and involves a lot of great fun. Hands-on cooking experience, guided by your own local food expert, offers you a real taste of Croatia.
Stand behind our kitchen countertops, put your aprons on, and with the help of our food expert learn how to prepare delicious Croatian food. In 3 hours of cooking, prepare three courses – an appetizer or soup, a main dish, and dessert. Afterwards, enjoy the meal you prepared with a glass of Croatian wine. Before we even start to cook, we will visit the Dolac market as an introduction to Croatian cuisine, tradition, and daily life.

Lonjsko Polje Nature Park
It is one of the biggest and best-preserved natural flood areas in Europe. The floodplain forests of English oak and narrow-leaved ash growing in the area are highly representative deciduous forest complexes, not merely at the European level, but throughout the Western Palearctic. Lonjsko Polje enjoys a truly special place on the map of European natural wonders: it is one of the last areas in Europe where traditional grazing is still preserved, and livestock still freely roams on large shared pastures; on top of that, it has the first declared “stork village” in Europe… Lonjsko Polje Nature Park is home to the biggest complexes of natural and preserved floodplain forests in Europe. That fact alone is sufficient to sense the importance and uniqueness of this area for Croatian, but also for European, biodiversity.

Autochthonous breeds are what give identity to this wetland area – the Posavina horse, Croatian cold-blooded horse, Slavonian-Syrmian Podolian cattle, Posavina goose, Posavina pointer, and the Turopolje pig, the latter being the most endangered autochthonous breed.
Lonjsko polje provides an authentic experience of self-regulatory balance in nature. It is a world where plants and autochthonous breeds live in harmony, constantly renewing the cycle of life.

"Bornstein is all about drinking good wine and having a good time"

Just a short walk from the Zagreb cathedral and our hotel, in a magnificent 200-year-old brick-vaulted cellar, the first Croatian wine shop (Vinoteka) was born 30 years ago, which in turn gave birth to a renewed Croatian wine scene.
The pioneers of this enological project have created a true wine temple to be enjoyed by wine enthusiasts and aficionados from all over the world. Just when you think you’ve seen all this place has to offer, the hosts will reveal their greatest pride and joy: an archived selection of wines from the Kutjevo and Belje cellars, as well as a bottle of the oldest wine in Croatia – a white Burgundy that dates back to 1947.
The owner’s passion for wine is evident, as well as their extensive knowledge of wine. This they share with their guests through a variety of services and offers.

Samobor city tour
At the foot of the Samobor Mountain in Zagreb County, near the Gradna Stream, the city of Samobor has the position of one of the most beautiful places in Croatia. Samobor, a small but important historic location is situated 20 km away from the Croatian capital of Zagreb.
The plateau in front of the St. Anastasia church offers a beautiful view of the main square and a large part of the city. After visiting the church, take the path from the south side of the church, where you will find the grave of Juliana Cantilly (1812-1842), famous Ljubica, the muse of the well-known Croatian Illyrian poet Stanko Vraz. From there, you should descend the path and down the stairs to the side of Langova Street and in a few minutes you will reach the Franciscan monastery, where you can see the breathtaking monumental fresco (more than 7 meters high). Both of the churches are open during mass. In front of the monastery, you can see the "first Samobor vacation house", the famous Wagner villa (Wagner came to Samobor in 1870 as a retired senior officer after his service in the military), and the sequoia park.

Korak Winery and Vineyards
Riesling – Portugieser – Sauvignon – Chardonnay - Pinot Noir
This winery primarily grows grapes and produces wine. The five hectares of their vineyards stretch over the finest locations of the area, on the southern, southeastern, and southwestern slopes of Plešivca’s winegrowing hills. Due to the limited size of their vineyards, the family is focused on producing high-quality wines for selected markets and true wine lovers. They also offer indigenous and homemade food freshly produced at the farm. After being named one of the top 20 winemakers three years in a row, in 2008, Velimir Korak received the title of Croatia’s best winemaker!

Lunch at Šumski dvor
Count Erdödy’s country house, built in 1656, is located under Japetić. It is home to the Šumski Dvor Restaurant that is situated in the village of Sveta Jana with a beautiful view of Jastrebarsko and the surrounding area, and even beyond when the weather permits. With homemade food and wines made by the Kolarić family, the restaurant also offers beautiful scenery sprinkled with villages and vineyards. The restaurant itself used to be the Erdödy family manor. Your friendly hosts will also recommend local quality wine that complements your chosen meal.
Enjoy homemade dishes: štrukli, ham, cottage cheese and cream, game meat, dishes prepared under a peka and Kolarić Family wines
"Copanjek of Plešivica" - An autochthonous salty crisp cake prepared from the ingredients available in any true Jaska home is an original Plešivica specialty. Named after the word “copati” meaning “to prepare a dough skillfully and quickly”!

Bolfan "Vinski vrh"
Once you reach this estate, we believe that the sound of the silence, the beautiful landscape, and the view will leave you breathless, if only for just a moment. The "Vinski vrh" Winery offers home-produced wines (Rhine Riesling, Pinot Gris, Sauvignon, Pinot Noir, Yellow Muscat, Traminer, Welsh Riesling, and Chardonnay) and professional wine tasting opportunities. The proof of the exceptional quality of the wines are the recently received medals at the Decanter World Wine Awards in London and recognition at the international wine competition held in Brussels. The winery also includes the Libertin Wine House, which includes a souvenir store and organizes various programs. Here we would like to highlight the organic garden maintained for the estate's purposes and the orchard in which old varieties are grown.
Trakoscan was built in the late 13th century in northwestern Croatia as part of a defense system as a small observation fortress for monitoring the road from Ptuj to Bednja Valley.
According to legend, Trakoscan was named after the Thracian fortress (ARX Thacorum), which allegedly existed in ancient times. Another preserved legend says it is named after the Drachenstein knights who ruled the region in the early Middle Ages.
The toponym was first mentioned in written records in 1334. The lords of the fort in the first centuries are not known, yet we know that the owners at the end of the 14th century were the Counts of Celje, who ruled the entire Zagorje County at that time. The family soon become extinct and Trakoscan shared the fate of their other towns and estates that were divided and exchanged owners. In this division, Trakošćan first belonged to Count Jan Vitovac, then to Ivanis Korvin, who gave it to his deputy John Gyulay. The family kept the castle for three generations and became extinct in 1566, when the estate was taken over by the state.
For services rendered, King Maximilian gave the estate to Juraj Draskovic (1525-1587), first personally, then as family heritage. So finally, in 1584 Trakoscan belonged to the Draskovic family.
In the years when there was a castle-building boom in Croatian Zagorje, in the second half of the 18th century, Trakoscan was abandoned. Neglected, it began to rapidly deteriorate so in the second half of the 19th century, the family got reinterested in their estate in the spirit of the new romantic era and made a return to nature and family traditions. In this spirit, Marshal Juraj V. Draskovic made the castle a residence and the surrounding park was transformed into a romantic garden. The next generation occasionally stayed in Trakoscan until 1944, when they immigrated to Austria soon after the castle was nationalized.
In 1954, the museum was established with a permanent exhibition. Today the castle is owned by the Republic of Croatia.

Enogastronomy – Međimurje region
Just as Međimurje’s heritage is interesting and imaginative, so is the traditional cuisine of Međimurje. It has been centuries since Međimurje’s wine story was first intertwined with the aroma of exquisite original dishes. As a testimony, there is a famous cookbook dating back to the 17th century Zrinski court, which contains a list of recipes from Međimurje's authentic Baroque culinary experience and illustrates the dishes as they used to be prepared for the mighty noble family. If you happen to be in Međimurje, don’t miss out on pretepena juha (‘thick cream soup’), meso 'z tiblice (cooked cured meat packed in a wooden barrel), Turoš cottage cheese, temfani picek (chicken in a cream sauce) with buckwheat porridge, međimurska gibanica (layer cake)… These dishes are best accompanied by Međimurje's lively refreshing wines for an extraordinary wine experience. These include Graševina (Welschriesling), Moslavac (Furmint), Sauvignon Blanc, Chardonnay, Traminac (Gewurztraminer), Muscat Blanc, as well as wonderful Bordeaux varietals. Full, balanced, and fresh wines with pleasant tannins go well with the timeless cuisine of Međimurje.

Lovrec winery
"To sample the region's top wines in an authentic family environment, head to the Lovrec vineyard in the village of Sveti Urban, 20 km northwest of Čakovec, the region's capital. The guided tour (available in English, French, and German) of this country estate tells you about boutique wine production and its fascinating history, which spans six generations of winemakers. You'll peek into the 300-year-old wine cellar with ancient wine presses and barrels, rest in the shade of two towering plane trees once used as air-conditioning for the cellar, take in the vistas of the 6-hectare vineyards and top it all off with tasting about 10 wine varieties, from Chardonnay and Pinot Gris to local Graševina. The whole experience lasts up to two hours and costs 80 kn (20 kn extra for tasty cheese, salami, and bread snacks), with a bottle of wine to take home. You're encouraged to buy another bottle". (from the 2009 edition of "Lonely planet: Croatia travel guide", article by Anja Mutić)
Lunch at "Mala hiža"
"The tale of Mala Hiza (“Small House” in local dialect) is probably one of the best-aligned stories of family restaurants in Croatia. Everything is built on the immense energy of Chef Branimir Tomasic, who has been an undisputed authority on the culinary scene for the last 17 years. Every bite you will take under the cozy roof of this dining spot will be the work of this distinct and dedicated individual. He imagined the whole restaurant and constructed it from the wooden houses of the Prigorje region. Thus, his own family home and surrounding outdoors has been subjected to his cooking expertise."

Lunch and wine tasting – Kezele
"From the very entrance to the estate, there is a wonderful view of the vineyard, where we grow Škrlet, Graševina, Chardonnay, Yellow Muscat, Rhine Riesling, Merlot, Syrah, and Cabernet Sauvignon.
The vineyard is surrounded by a forest and pastures. In wine production, we emphasize quality instead of quantity, gained through low yield and fertilizing with barn manure."

Ilok wine road
"The Ilok wine road is particularly interesting and is definitely different from what typical wine roads have to offer because almost all of the wineries are concentrated in the town. The wineries, cellars, and family wine estates differ in production tradition, assortment, and cellar type (old cellars in the hills or beneath houses versus new and modern wineries).
We recommend that you begin your walk at the Old Ilok Cellars of the Odescalchi Castle, where the hosts will take you through some parts of the facility and organize a wine tasting and prepare cold or warm dishes.
After that, go to the wineries in the Upper or Lower Town, visit at least one new and one old winery, and taste at least three varieties of wine. The informative leaflet “Welcome to the Danube’s Kingdom of Wine” we have prepared for you will help you to organize the tour.
To experience the winegrowing hills and the landscape and walk through vineyards, go to the belvedere and vineyards of Principovac, which boasts a magnificent view of the surrounding vineyards, Ilok, the Danube, the easternmost parts of Croatia, and neighboring Backa.
To get a special experience of the wine road or a part of it, take a tour of it on the tourist train of “Ilocki podrumi”.
After the wine tasting, round off your “wine story” with a superb meal in one of Ilok’s restaurants.
Winegrowing and production have had an uninterrupted tradition of almost 1,800 years in the region of Ilok. In the 3rd century, after the Roman Emperor Probus abolished prohibitions that had been enforced on wine growing and production in the Pannonian regions and introduced new quality varieties, the wine-growing hills of Ilok received an impetus for development. The Odescalchi dukes reaffirmed the position of Ilok as an important wine-growing region. In the 17th century, they built unique cellars underneath the Odescalchi castle, planted even better quality varieties, and started bottling wine. These old cellars are still used today and represent one of the most interesting attractions of Ilok. In 1899, the Royal School of Viticulture was founded in Ilok, which later developed into the Agricultural School and today’s High School for winegrowers, winemakers, and fruit growers. The wines produced by the company Iločki podrumi d.d., Traminac, Riesling, Pinot Blanc, Rhine Riesling, and Chardonnay are world-class wines. In addition, there is an increasing number of small and quality private wineries that focus on wine growing and wine tourism. Every visitor can choose to visit one of the typical cellars of Syrmia in the hills or under the houses or experience modern wineries. Wherever you choose to go, you will be able to learn about the process of wine production and enjoy a cordial family atmosphere."

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