Explore the Salina Coast and Istrian hinterland eating typical local dishes, learning the art of olive oil tasting and choosing the right wine for the menu.
Day 1 Holiday begins
Your local host will meet you at the airport and take you to your accommodation. After settling in you’ll be acquainted with your week’s activities over a welcome drink, followed by dinner at a local farm – your first taste of the fresh and healthy Mediterranean cuisine of Istria.
Day 2 Salt, oil and fish
We start our day with a trip to the entrance of the Sečovlje Salina Nature Park. A park ranger will guide us around the 800 year old salt pans that are still traditionally hand worked. We will also learn about the importance of the Park for nesting and migrating birds.
After learning the secrets of the salt making we will continue on to an ecological olive farm, Gramona boasting panoramic views over the Salina Nature Park. Here we will discover how olives are cultivated and learn the art of tasting and recognising quality olive oil. We will get to taste a variety of award winning olive oils and other olive products, followed by a picnic lunch in the olives.
Next we take a walk with a donkey through the protected cultural landscape of the Seča peninsula and Forma Viva Sculpture Park.
We will then catch a boat that will take us out on the bay to see the Fonda fish farm. Fonda is renowned for high quality sea bass and supplies the best restaurants in Slovenia and abroad.
We will enjoy freshly caught fish for dinner, before returning to our accommodation.
Day 3 Truffle hunting
We will spend our morning touring the green Dragonja valley. Our first pit stop will be a traditional apery, where we will learn all about honey and enjoy a sweet morning tea.
We will then continue upstream and ascend to the hilltop villages deep in the hinterland. Vinko Šavle, who runs a tourist farm will welcome us to his village Gradin and take us to the woods for a chance to see the “hunt for truffles” with his trusted dog. Back at the farm Vinko will prepare a traditional Istrian fuži (pasta) with a deliciously creamy truffle sauce for lunch.
In the afternoon we will visit Santomas, an impressive modern cellar in a picturesque location amidst the vineyards. Santomas prides itself with a long tradition of wine making and several award winning wines. We will be guided through the wine tasting by a professional sommelier, sampling a variety of typical local wines, modern blends and sparkling wines. There will be time to relax or have a stroll through the vineyards before a gourmet dinner accompanied by an extensive wine list at Santomas cellar.
Day 4 Culinary walk through 4 villages
We will start our day with a trip to the village of St Peter, exploring its heritage with one of the locals and visiting the restored stone olive press.
An easy hike to the village of Krkavče will take us through typical Istrian countryside with olive groves, vineyards and woodland. In Krkavce we will visit a modern olive oil press and sample products made from olives. We’ll visit the church, built on the bare rock, forming a natural pavement of the church square. At the Living Museum we will take a step back into the past and cook polenta the traditional way in a copper pot over an open fire. Leaving Krkavce we will hike to the stone megalith, which dates back to Celtic times before continuing on to the village of Nova Vas.
The House of Wine, Olive Oil and Garlic will welcome us to their farm where we will learn to plait garlic while waiting for our traditional Istrian lunch to be served.
Continuing along the ridge, we will hike to Padna and explore this lovely village where there is the gallery of the renowned Slovenian artist, Božidar Jakac.
Towards evening we will take part in a hands-on workshop with a historian to create traditional culinary delights of Istria for dinner.
After dinner we will leave Padna and take you back to your accommodation.
Day 5 The treasures of Strunjan
We will spend the day in Strunjan, a beautiful settlement set amidst orchards, olives and fields. Strunjan is famous for their events in connection with seasonal produce. There is a seasonal artichoke and persimmon festival and you can join in the asparagus harvest in spring. In November you will have the chance to enjoy the exotic persimmon (locally known as Kaki), dubbed as the fruit of the gods. You may join in the harvest, see how kaki is dried and make local desserts with the housewife of the local farm.
After a farmer’s lunch followed by delicious desserts we created, you will have time to leisurely to explore the stunning Strunjan cliffs and coastline. You may choose to hike the trail on top of the cliffs, boasting panoramic views over the coastline, recharge at The Cross – a renowned earth’s energetic point or simply relax on the beach under the cliffs.
We will meet again at the festival for dinner and some entertainment with the locals. (Outside festival season dinner will be arranged at the local restaurant)
Day 6 Hands-on Istrian cooking
We will spend the morning at the House of Garlic, Olive Oil and Wine in Nova Vas for a hands-on culinary workshop. We will knead bread, make pasta, cook a traditional minestra and prepare typical deserts. We will try our hands at seasonal work on the farm, before sitting down for our authentic Istrian lunch.
In the afternoon we will visit Farm Forte for a stroll through the olive groves set amidst picturesque countryside. We will have a chance to sample olive oil and products made from olives, learn about local herbs and create our own herbal tea to take home.
Before dinner at Mahnič agritourism, we will be guided through their wine cellar to choose the wines to be paired with the dishes on the dinner menu with their in-house sommelier.
Day 7 Salt trading route and fisherman’s secrets
In the morning we will relax aboard the salt trading cruise to Piran, the picturesque medieval salt trading port. We will visit the Fisherman’s square and wait for the fishermen to return to the port to see the catch of the day. We will buy fresh fish and have it prepared for our lunch at the local restaurant
In the afternoon, a guided tour will have us strolling through the narrow stone paved streets from Tartini Square to the landmark St. George’s Church built on top of the cliff, while learning about the city’s heritage through its stories.
The rest of the afternoon is at your leisure and we shall meet again for a fisherman’s feast at one of the squares where the locals meet. We will enjoy the lively atmosphere of our farewell evening into the night.
Day 8 Homeward bound
After breakfast at the accommodation you have a day of leisure before bidding farewell to our hosts and travelling back to the airport.
We are looking forward to seeing you again soon – for another unforgettable Salina Coast adventure!