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This Valentine’s ditch the slopes for vineyards!

Summer in Croatia is awesome, but let me tell you that wintertime is pretty dope, too. Just recently Zagreb was voted the best Advent city in Europe. You can only imagine the number of live concerts, DJ gigs, as well as pavilions hosting cool (wine) bars and most popular restaurants occupying Croatia's capital.

January is kind of a low season because everyone working hard (and playing hard) in December are taking some time off, but February is a great time to come for a city (or a vineyard) break. Even better, bring the love of your life or a hot date for the ultimate Valentine’s weekend. 

One of the pros of Croatia being a small country is the fact that you can travel through various regions in just a few days. For example, start your trip in Zagreb and end it in Istria.

Really, it’s not an SF movie – you can do it in just one weekend (even though few extra days would be great – for your pleasure). We’ll do the itinerary for you: you fly in to Zagreb and walk the romantic streets of Zagreb’s old town, do the sightseeing (romantic dinner or a glass of wine over a candle included, of course); then rent a car and head via Plešivica towards the seaside. And yes it’s worth a trip – Istria is beautiful in February.

Zagreb is a really cool place for a city break. The city itself is not too big, but it’s ideal for a romantic stroll around the town for a day or two. Restaurant and wine bar scene is in full bloom and special Valentine’s offers pouring from every place. Morning after a memorable dinner, hop to the farmers’ market located in the city centre and serve your loved one delicious brekky in bed.

Spend the rest of the day exploring the city’s vibrant gourmet scene (FYI - artisanal coffee shops are growing in number as we speak). 

Zagreb Cathedral view
Zagreb Cathedral view

Moving forward, an hour drive from Zagreb is Plešivica - aka the Champagne (region) of Croatia. First stop: one of Croatia’s finest sparkling wine – cheer to your love with a glass of bubbly. Explore the hills of Plešivica while wandering from vineyard to vineyard, talking to winemakers and sharing a meal with their families. Your tasting flight will for sure include: sparkling wines with a character, natural wines (orange) from amphora, delicious Chardonnays and Rieslings and fabulous Pinot Noirs.

You’ll get the full attention of your hosts since it’s a low tourist season (but it’s the best season to go wine tasting). In the meantime, as most of the restaurants are closed in January, everyone will be looking forward to your visit in February. The fishing season is at its prime and the number of tourists is low so you do the math. We’ll help you – you’ll probably eat the best and the freshest seafood of your life.

Next destination: Istria
Croatia’s most prominent wine region is just a two and half hour drive away. We recommend booking a romantic family hotel or stancija (Istrian for a villa). Prices are very affordable during the off-season, and the experience is mind-blowing. Ring the wineries in advance, book your wine tastings and indulge all your senses.

Spectacular view from Motovun
Spectacular view from Motovun

Imagine Valentine’s Day in a sunny vineyard in Istria (wine tasting obligatory!) followed by a romantic dinner overlooking the sea and/or by a fireplace. Beats slopes any time, if you ask us!  


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Interested in learning more about Croatian wine? “Cracking Croatian Wine” guide will save you time and money in researching. Get your copy here!

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