Croatia Epic Week
From September 2 through 9, my wife and I took part in the Croatia Epic Week adventure sponsored by the Croatian National Tourist Board. During the course of 8 days, we visited Zagreb, Istria, the Dalmatian coast, and Hvar island.
Also check out the Travel Guide to Epic Week in Croatia for additional recommendations about what to see and do in Croatia, and how to plan your own Epic Week in Croatia.
Overview of Foodie Guide to Epic Week in Croatia
This guide is intended to help you plan your own foodie Epic Week to Croatia based on our Epic Week experience.
This guide includes:
- Croatia Epic Week Google Map with restaurants and wineries
- Foodie highlights from Epic Week
I hope you’ll find this guide useful in planning your own unique foodie Epic Week trip!
Croatia Epic Week Google Map
Here’s a Google Map of our Croatia Epic Week. In the map, you’ll find the restaurants and wineries we planned to visit. We didn’t get to cover all places in this Epic Week Google Map but left them in the map as a reference for your Epic Week planning.
Here’s also a Google Map of the Epic Week road trip route that you can follow.
Planning Your Epic Week in Croatia
The best way to plan your Epic Week in Croatia is to create a Google Map.
Go to Google My Maps to easily create a custom map with all the places you want to visit. You can use my Croatia Epic Week Google Map as the template and then edit destinations and places to suit your interests.
Day 1 | Zagreb
In Zagreb, we stayed at the historic Zagreb Palace Hotel. The Palace restaurant has a warm atmosphere created by the antique furnishings and modernist interior.
The restaurant is best known for its strukli, a traditional dish of the Zagorje region that is part of the Croatian gastronomic heritage. Strukli are made from drawn dough filled with cow cheese topped with fine cream. It’s a eaten as a warm appetizer or delicious dessert.
We also had beef soup with vegetables and homemade noodles, beefteak, and chocolate souffle with vanilla ice cream. They were all delicious.
The next morning, there was a luxurious breakfast buffet with lots of choices, including strukli. One can just never have enough strukli.
Where to eat in Zagreb
- For coffee and drinks, go to Johann Franck, a trendy cafe and bar in a historical building.
- For samples of traditional food, visit Heritage.
- For delicacies, visit Vinodol, Xato, and Dubravkin Put.
- You can also take a walking food tour of Zagreb with Sinful Spoonful, Zagreb Bites, and Zagreb Food Tours.
Day 2 | Opatija, Umag, and Novigrad
Our trip in Istria was a bit hurried since we set aside only one day for Istria because we’ve already traveled to Istria extensively.
If you plan to include Istria in your Croatia Epic Week, set aside at least 3 days for Istria since there’s so much to see and do in Istria. You can pick Rovinj or another town as your base and then take different trips throughout Istria exploring your places and activities of interest.
During our Croatia Epic Week trip, we made quick coffee stop at the Milenij Hotel in Opatija.
In Istria, we visited family in Umag and went for drinks at Pepe Bianco in Novigrad.
Istria is mesmerizing and we highly recommend that you set aside at least three days for Istria.
Where to eat in Opatija, Umag, and Novigrad
- For coffee in Opatija, go to Milenij Hotel. For food, visit Plavi Podrum, Bevanda Restaurant, or Restaurant Ruzmarin.
- For coffee in Umag, go to Caffe Tondo. For food, visit Konoba Buscina, Restaurant Toni, or Restaurant Umag. For wine, go to ItIstria.
- For drinks in Novigrad, visit Pepe Bianco and Vitriol.
- For food, visit Damir & Ornella, Gatto Nero, and Al Mare.
Day 3 | Zadar
The drive from Istria to Zadar was almost 400 km long and took and about 4 hours. Fastest route is on the highway, heading east toward Karlovac and then south to Zadar. On the way from Istria to Zadar we stopped at a gas station for gas and for a bite. To our surprise, the gas station had a full restaurant with warm meal buffet that included one of our favorite meals – punjene paprike.
Some of our favorite experiences in Zadar were the historical old town, nightlife and bars, live music on the streets, the lively vibe of Zadar, and inexpensive mixed drinks compared to other parts of Croatia. And, of course, the Zadar gems: Zadar town walls (UNESCO site), sea organ, and greeting to the sun.
Where to eat in Zadar
- Hotel Bastion has a great restaurant.
- Visit Restaurant Pet Bunara for traditional cuisine.
- Gelateria Eva: Best ice cream in Zadar.
Day 4 | Sibenik
We left Zadar early in the morning to head out to Krka National Park. What an amazing national park! The drive was about 75 km and we got there in less than an hour.
After the park, we were debating whether to go for lunch to Bibich Winery (my preference) or Pelegrini Restaurant (wife’s preference). My wife won and we headed out to Pelegrini. Situated on top of a historical building next to the St. James Cathedral, this restaurant was one of the best restaurants we ever visited.
Where to eat in Sibenik
Day 5 | Split
We had to leave Sibenik early in the morning to meet with Dino, our Split tour guide. The drive from Sibenik to Split was about 90 minutes with no major traffic in Split.
Our first stop was Nadalina Chocolate factory which holds the Guinness Book world record for largest chocolate ever made. Fun and tasty tour!
Next stop was at Kairos Vina, a winery with amazing views of Trogir, Split, islands, and the Adriatic. Kairos Zinfandel was outstanding. The winery is on a steep ride up the hill but it’s a safe drive and well worth visiting.
We then took a tour of Stella Croatica where you can taste authentic Dalmatian food and shop for all natural delicious treats by hand. The fig jam, orange peels, dried fig cake, and olive tapenade were awesome.
Where to eat in Split
- Chocolate tasting at Nadalina Chocolate Factory.
- Wine tasting at Kairos Vina.
- Authentic Croatian food and tasty gifts at Stella Croatica.
- Three popular restaurants for traditional food are Perivoj, O’Zlata, and Villa Spiza.
- For a sampling of various restaurants, try the Eat in Split food tours and Gourmet Croatia.
Days 6 and 7 | Hvar Island
In Hvar, we stayed at Amfora, a beautiful beach resort in old town Hvar. The hotel was less than a 10 minute walk from the center of old town Hvar with a pedestrian walkway along the sea. It had a nice pool and a dining hall with amazing views.
For the first time in the entire week, we slept until 8 am the next day. We had the entire day to explore the island so it was a time luxury we could afford. During the all-day tour of Hvar, we visited Dubovi Dol, Sveta Nedilja, and Stari Grad, and headed out to Jelsa for lunch.
In the evening, we explored the narrow streets of old town Hvar and the many unique restaurants dispersed throughout the old town. Hvar is truly a gem you must visit.
Where to eat in Hvar
- Dubokovic and Turan in Jelsa.
- Jurin Podrum and Antika in Stari Grad.
- Kod Kapetana and Gariful in Hvar old town.
Day 8 | Dubrovnik
We left early on Saturday morning to catch the 8 am Jadrolinija ferry out of Sucuraj to Drvenik. The road from Hvar to Sucuraj was only 75 km long but it took us 90 minutes to get there. If you miss the ferry like we did, go to Gusarksa Luka where you can grab good coffee and food while still keeping an eye on the incoming ferry.
The drive from Drvenik to Dubrovnik is 130 km and it took us about 4 hours to get there. If you have an extra day or two, consider visiting Ston and Mali Ston (famous for oysters) and stay in Peljesac Peninsula that’s famous for its many wineries.
In Dubrovnik, we stayed at the Hotel Dubrovnik Palace. This hotel had huge rooms with amazing views. Although not in old town Dubrovnik, the public bus stopped at the hotel parking and it took less than 10 minutes to get to the old town. Dubrovnik is a fairy tale town and there’s so much to see and do there! If you have time, set aside at least three days to fully explore Dubrovnik and all it has to offer.
We left the hotel very early in the morning to get to the airport by 5 am. The car rental drop off was easy to find and the check-in was fast. Truly an epic week!
Where to eat in Dubrovnik
- Restaurant Panorama has an amazing view.
- Restaurant 360 and Restaurant Dubrovnik are popular in old town.
- Pantarul serves great traditional meals.
- Food tours: Dubrovnik Sights & Bites, Dubrovnik Food Story, and Dubrovnik Food Tours.
Additional Foodie Places to Visit During Your Epic Week
If you have more than a week for your foodie Epic Week, or want to substitute some of the places from this Epic Week itinerary, take a look at the Adriatic Road Trip Google Map below which highlights best of Croatia.
Some additional foodie destinations that I would recommend that you visit during your Epic Week to Croatia include:
- Definitely spend more time in Istria, the Tuscany of Croatia. The food, wine, olive oil, truffles, and other Istrian specialties are outstanding. See top recommendations in the Best of Istria Google Map below.
- Kvarner: Opatija, Rijeka, Cres Island, and Krk Island.
- Dalmatia: Peljesac Peninsula, Biograd na Moru, Trogir, Makarska, Cavtat, Korcula Island, Mljet Island, Vis Island, and Kornati Islands.
Undoubtedly, the most difficult part of your trip planning will be to select your Epic Week itinerary. I’d be happy to help – just ask your questions in comments below, post to Croatia Local Guides Community (over 300 members), or email me directly.
Here are additional helpful resources for planning your foodie trip to Croatia:
- Croatian National Tourist Board (CNTB)
- CNTB – Croatia Epic Week II
- CNTB – Croatia Feeds
- CNTB – Croatia Gourmet 365
- CNTB – Gastronomy
- Istria Tourist Board (ITB)
- ITB – Istra Gourmet
- Croatia Local Guides Community
- Croatia Epic Week Google Map
- Best of Croatia Google Map
- Best of Istria Google Map
- My books: Adriatic Road Trip and Best of Istria
- Taste of Croatia
- Dobri Restorani
- The Wine & More
- Fini Recepti
- Croatia Week
- Total Croatia Wine
I hope you find this guide helpful in planning you own foodie Croatia Epic Week!