Wine-tasting in Croatia and Slovenia

While Split, Sibenik, Hvar and the Peljesac peninsula to the north of Dubrovnik, all produce superb wines, this two-centre holiday focuses on Croatia’s wine-producing region of Istria and the wine-growing area around Nova Gorica in Slovenia.

Highlights of Istria

Inland Istria is dotted with small wineries and olive oil producers that welcome visitors with tastings. Close to Buje, the Koslovic winery produces a fine selection of wine from indigenous Istria grape varieties including an excellent Malvasia and a dark red Istrian Teran. Also highly recommended is the Kabola Winery where the Markezic family have been making wine, including Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot, for over a century.

Highlights of Slovenia

Close to the Italian border, the verdant wine-growing Vipava valley produces some excellent wine, available for tasting in cellars and on hundreds of welcoming tourist farms. One of around twenty wine routes in Slovenia, the Vipava Wine route boasts thirty wine villages - pop into the information centre at Vipava for information on which producers are open for tastings.

40km south, the Karst region boasts the famous vineyards of Goriska Brda with the principal wine route starting in the village of Plave, continuing past orchards and vineyards, churches and castles.

Where to stay

In Istria: The attractive old town of Buje is in the heart of one of the country’s best wine-growing areas and from here, it is just a short drive to many of the pretty hilltop towns of central Istria or to the coast at Umag or Novigrad. We also have a good choice of accommodation in the nearby villages of Merisce and Oprtalj.

In Slovenia: Top spots for wine-lovers are Villa Vineyard View at Nova Gorica and Villa Sebastian in Karst. At Villa Vineyard View, you can enjoy all the benefits of staying on a wine estate whilst still enjoying gorgeous countryside and active pursuits such as cycling and hiking in the Trnovo Forest. Villa Sebastian is set in the heart of a mature vineyard and has its own cellar and superb kitchen with wood-fired open fireplace.

Sample holiday: A 14-night holiday at Casa Celestina (sleeps 2-4), Istria, and Villa Vineyard View (sleeps 4-8) in Slovenia starts at £2385 (GBP), exclusive of any travel arrangements.

Getting there

The best airports for central Istria are Trieste and Pula.

Both Trieste and Treviso are also convenient for travelling to and from Slovenia. Alternatively, Slovenia’s international airport is at Brnik, about 25km north of Ljublijana.

MasterCard, Maestro and Visa cards accepted