HomeToursEurope Tours 〉Macedonia, Republic Of

Split to Skopje Real Food Adventure


Sample some of southern Europe’s finest cuisine on this 14-day adventure. Starting on the southern coast of Croatia, island hop your way from Split to Dubrovnik. Along the way taste hand-rolled pasta, sugary walnut cakes and plates of fresh seafood. Then, head inland and browse some of the Balkans’ best culinary offerings. Dine on homemade meals and share stories with your hosts in North Macedonia, meet the makers behind famous Njegusi smoked hams in Montenegro and sample the charcuterie of Croatia. With plenty of beautiful backdrops, these meals will be sure to stick in your memory.

14 days, from

$4,985

per person

GROUP SIZE

12 people max

ACTIVITY LEVEL

 
2
Trip code: ZMZSC
Style: Original
Theme: Food

Details

Countries Visited:  Croatia Macedonia, Republic Of Montenegro Kosovo
Accommodation: Hotel (11 nights), Apartment (2 nights)
Transportation: Private Vehicle , Ferry
Included Meals:

  • 7 breakfasts
  • 8 lunches
  • 2 dinners

Group size: Minimum 1, Max 12

  • Take a day trip to the island of Brac and indulge in the finest organic olive oils from the largest olive grove in Croatia, followed by a sugared walnut cake that has become ‘a protected item of intangible heritage’!

  • Experience an authentic taste of the Balkans and a look at local life when you dine in family homes in Ohrid, Lake Prespa and Dihovo.

  • See behind the scenes of local produce when you visit a centuries-old smokehouse, an olive mill, an apple farm and meet a local beekeeper for a honey tasting.

  • Learn how to make a hand-formed pasta shape in a local konoba, before cooking and eating your creation with lunch.

  • Visit iconic Croatian cities Split and Dubrovnik and explore the stunning landscapes and charming cities of the Balkans, discovering the legendary Rozafa Fortress.

Itinerary

Show Full Itinerary

Day 1: Split

Zdravo! Welcome to Croatia. Your adventure begins in Split, with a welcome meeting at 6 pm tonight, followed by an optional dinner. If you arrive early, make sure you take the opportunity to explore this beautiful city on foot. Sitting on a peninsula jutting out into the Adriatic Sea, Split is a jewel on the Dalmatian coast. Why not take a stroll along the Riva Promenade – a waterfront walkway that stretches between Split Harbour and the Marjan Forest Park. Spend some time in the park and take the walk to the top of the hill for some of the best views along the coastline and across the city. Prefer to soak up some city culture? Wander the streets of the Old City and learn the history of the city that once was the residence of a Roman Emperor. Looking for a light lunch or a snack? Get your hands on some fresh octopus salad or find a serving of soparnik (a savoury pie with layers of silverbeet, garlic, parsley and olive oil).

Day 2: Split / Brac

Today, you’ll be hopping on a short ferry to take you to the Adriatic Island of Brac, just off the Split coast. Known for being the largest olive grove in Croatia (with over one million olive trees!), this small island is home to a range of delicious regional dishes. Making your way to the small town of Skrip, you’ll visit the olive oil museum, where you’ll learn about this extraordinary crop and be treated to an olive-themed feast of tapenade, cheeses, onion marmalade, anchovies, cured meats, salad, bread and wine.​ After lunch, enjoy a slice of hrapocusa – a layered cake of sponge and sticky sugared walnuts. This cake is so iconic to the island town of Dol that the Croatian Ministry of Culture has listed it as a protected item of intangible heritage. Finish your day in the coastal town of Bol, where you can lay by the beach, full and happy, before heading back to Split for the night.

Day 3: Korcula

Wake up bright and early to explore Split’s Old City and the fish, fruit and vegetable markets. Wandering the historic city centre with your local leader, enjoy your last morning in this beautiful city before jumping on a ferry to the island of Korcula. Steeped in a long history of Greek, Slav and Roman settlers, Korcula’s Old Town is a tightly packed homage to the Renaissance architecture of Venice with plenty of narrow streets and squares for you to explore. What's more, the town boasts plenty of beaches to relax on if that's more your speed. Following an orientation walk with your leader, you might like to take a swim, walk around the bays and villages near Korcula town, pay a visit to the Marco Polo Tower, go shopping, or just soak up the ambience. Later, you’ll have the option to visit the tiny village of Pupnat in the interior of the island. Maybe have dinner in the village and enjoy a meal made entirely from local produce.

Day 4: Korcula

The morning in Korcula is yours to enjoy. For a sweet start to the day, why not see if you can find some amareta (a local dessert with a crunchy outside and soft inside made of whipped egg whites, almonds and citrus zest) or some kalsuni (a crescent-shaped cookie made of buttery dough and traditionally filled with a nut-based stuffing). Relax into island life in the morning before heading to Zrnovo village for a hands-on cooking class in a local konoba – traditionally a tavern or wine cellar, konobas are now often popular restaurants where you can find the best of local Croatian cuisine. Today you’ll learn how to make zrnovo makaruni (a local hand-rolled pasta), before enjoying the fruits of your labour over lunch, paired with local wines. In the afternoon, return to Korcula town for some free time – beach, anyone?

Day 5: Dubrovnik

Leaving Korcula behind, you’ll travel to Peljesac, a peninsula off southern mainland Croatia. Here, you’ll have the opportunity to sample what is considered some of the country’s finest local wines. Vineyards are scattered all along the peninsula, with the fertile soil in the region making for ideal growing environments. Here, you can find a wide range of wine varieties to tingle your tastebuds. Continue to the southern town of Ston and indulge in an oyster tasting and seafood lunch. This region is known to have the best seafood in Croatia and produces some of the best oysters in the world, so get ready for something special. Leaving Ston full and satisfied, make your way to Dubrovnik – the country’s iconic walled city. You’ll have the evening to explore the city at your leisure (maybe see how many Game of Thrones filming locations you can find!), before having the option to catch up with your group for a farewell dinner.

Day 6: Dubrovnik

Enjoy a free day uncovering more of Dubrovnik. You might like to visit Big Onofrio's Fountain – built by the European architect Onofrio Della Cava in the 15th century to supply water to the city. Or maybe check out the 13th-century Franciscan monastery or the Sponza and Rector's Palaces, the only Renaissance buildings in the city to survive a devastating earthquake and fire in 1667. In the evening, you’ll have a second welcome meeting at 6.30 pm. After, you could head out for a dinner to get to know your fellow travellers. Croatian cuisine varies between regions, but an unwavering favourite is the charcuterie. Traditionally created with pork, charcuterie involves using a lot of specially prepared meats, all of which showcase flavours specific to their preservation process. If the option’s there, why not give it a try?

Day 7: Kotor

After breakfast, cross into Montenegro and visit the town of Njegusi, known around the country for its famous smoke-dried hams and cheeses. Stop at a smokehouse, where your leader will explain their production process, dating back for centuries, and will also take you for a tasting of their famous Njegusi smoked hams, cheeses and grape brandy. After, visit an olive farm in the village of Tici, located in the Lustica Bay area near Kotor. Discover the art of olive pressing as your hosts share their second-generation organic olive oil production techniques. Wander through the beautiful olive groves before arriving at an ancient stone olive mill, where olives were once milled by hand. A guided tasting will give you an insight into what makes for good oil. Back in Kotor, with free time later in the day, consider getting lost in the town’s crooked walkways, or perhaps climbing the hills behind the city to experience Kotor’s ruined fortification walls. With a free night, maybe have an optional dinner at a Kotor wine bar.

Day 8: Prizren

Say goodbye to Montenegro and head to Kosovo. The first stop on the journey is Rozafa Fortress, Albania, one of the last strongholds of the allied Christian forces against invading Ottomans in the 15th century. In the afternoon, arrive in Prizren, the second largest city in Kosovo. This picturesque location remains the most culturally and ethnically diverse in all of Kosovo. The rest of the day is yours to explore Prizren at your own pace. The abundance of orange rooftops makes for an interesting sight, as do the impressive mosques and churches in the city. For dinner, perhaps ask your leader for some local restaurant suggestions.

Day 9: Ohrid

Start the day with a guided tour of Prizren. Pass by the sights, smells and sounds of the bazaar, with a whole range of specialties on offer, including stuffed peppers, which are a big hit. After visiting the bazaar, continue to Pristina, Kosovo’s capital and largest city. Your leader will take you on another guided tour, exploring the city centre. A special experience then awaits with a delicious Kosovo-Serb barbecue, prepared by the local hosts who serve sausages and other pork delicacies from their personal smokehouse. Take some time to explore the surrounding Gracanica settlement and monastery. The area serves as the home of one of the few dominantly Serbian populations in Kosovo. After, leave Kosovo behind and travel into North Macedonia. Your first stop will be the St Jovan Bigorski Monastery (St John the Baptist), which is widely renowned as the most spiritual monastery in North Macedonia. Then drive onward to Ohrid where you will spend the evening.

Day 10: Ohrid

Ohrid is Europe’s oldest lake and, as one of the oldest human settlements in the world, it’s got a wealth of historic sites and religious monuments to discover. The town is said to have once been home to 365 churches, one for each day of the year, earning it the nickname ‘the Macedonian Jerusalem’. Today is free for you to explore the town’s streets and churches, maybe picking up a bargain or two in the vibrant Old Bazaar. Alternatively, consider joining your leader for an optional day trip to Ohrid Lake and the mystical Sveti Naum Monastery – one of the most important places of pilgrimage in North Macedonia. Take in the ancient Tzar Samoil’s Fortress, which stands on the top of Ohrid Hill and looks across the town, along with a 2000-year-old Roman theatre that was uncovered near its upper gate. The Sveti Jovana Kaneo church, which sits on a rocky outcrop overlooking the lake, is one of the most popular in North Macedonia. This evening, head to Kuratica – a village on the outskirts of Ohrid. Here, you’ll experience local hospitality and enjoy a home-cooked meal. Your host also brews his own rakija, which you’re welcome to sample for a quick warm up of your insides!

Day 11: Bitola

After leaving your accommodation in Ohrid, head down to the green market for a traditional breakfast. You might like to try the best burek in town or enjoy a gjomleze pie (a traditional dish made from an old Ohrid recipe). Drive onward to Lake Prespa, a beautiful area that’s popular with Macedonian holidaymakers. Here, you’ll visit a local apple farm and have the chance to taste some of the fresh produce yourself. Then, head to the little village of Dolno Dupeni on Lake Prespa, where you will be invited into a local home for a cooking demonstration and some lunch. Continue to Bitola and relax in one of the city’s many cafes or explore the stalls of the Old Bazaar.

Day 12: Bitola

Today you’ll visit Dihovo – a small village sitting in the foothills of Mt Pelister. A local beekeeper will teach you about the honeybee and you’ll get hands-on with an open beehive demonstration. After, enjoy a tasting of honey extracted straight from the comb before having a home-cooked meal in a traditional villa. All the ingredients are organic and come from the family’s private gardens. Return to Bitola in the afternoon. Perhaps choose to take a guided tour of the ancient town and archaeological site of Heraclea Lyncestis, located on the outskirts of Bitola. Heraclea was founded by Philip II of Macedonia in the fourth century BC after he had conquered the surrounding region of Lyncestis. The city was named in honour of the mythological hero Heracles, whom Philip considered his ancestor.

Day 13: Skopje

Start the day with a trip out to the Stobi archaeological site for a short walk. Stobi, once known as Paeonia, was conquered by the ancient kingdom of Macedon and became the capital of the Roman province of Macedonia Salutaris. Continue to Tikves wine district – the production of grapes is prominent in North Macedonia, thanks to an abundance of sunshine and rich, rocky soil. Today’s adventure offers a taste of local varieties at two of the country’s finest wineries. Enjoy a pairing of delicious local cheeses and cured meats next to these wines this afternoon. Arrive in Skopje in the late afternoon and take a guided walking tour of the centre city, tasting traditional Macedonian sweets along the way. Head out with your fellow travellers for a final dinner in Debar Maalo, the bohemian heart of Skopje. Your leader will ensure all your favourite dishes are ordered for one last celebration.

Day 14: Skopje

With no activities planned for today, you are free to leave the accommodation at any time. That doesn’t mean your adventure has to end! If you wish to spend more time in Skopje or want to explore the fascinating Matka Canyon, just speak to your booking agent.