Day 1, Welcome to Osijek!
Osijek is with its 100.000 inhabitants and after the capital Zagreb, Rijeka and Split, the fourth largest city in Croatia. It is cultural, educational and business center of Slavonia and Baranja region.. It is the cultural, educational and business center of the Slavonia and Baranja region.
After the plane landing on Osijek Airport your tour guide will meet you at the hotel you are staying at. A short rest from the flight will be quite enough to reenergize before you hit the city streets. You’ll get to know the main sights of the city: the baroque old town-fortress Tvrđa, parks that stretch thru the city center (Osijek has 17 parks and 30 kilometers of tree-lined streets), the promenade along the Drava River, the St Peter and Paul's Cathedral (with its 90 meters high neo-gothic tower it is the second highest church in south-eastern Europe) and find out many interesting fun-facts about the region you’re about to explore. In the evening we’ll let you enjoy the city on your own and really get to know the locals. In the next few days you’ll have the opportunity to taste the wines of the region but for dinner tonight we recommend you to try the local beer Osječko, the oldest one in Croatia, brewed since 1697!
Day 2, Danube Marshlands and Vineyards
Baranja region is famous for the Nature Park on the Drava and Danube river, Wineries and fine dining, typical villages, hunting grounds and vast fertile fields and vineyards…
After breakfast, we’ll go north from Osijek and visit the historical Baranja region. At the mouth of the Drava and the Danube rivers the Nature Park Kopački-rit is located. We will visit this so-called inner-continental delta and by foot, ship or boat explore the canals and forests full of wildlife. This park is especially famous for the 300 species of birds that nest here. The word “Baranja” in Hungarian language means “the Mother of Wine” and that is why we’ll have to show you the oldest one. The Belje Winery is the biggest in the region and its old cellar dates back to the 16th century. In the village of Popovac we’ll visit one of the traditional rural households. The lady of the house will offer you some homemade products: plum schnapps (rakija), Kulen-sausage, cheese, Ajvar (a local variation of chutney), apricot or rose hip jam and other sweets. Afterword we’ll visit the very north-eastern tip of Croatia! From the viewpoint over the river Danube you will see three countries: Croatia, Serbia and Hungary. We’ll end this day’s tour by visiting the village of Zmajevac. There you can take a nice walk thru the wine streets lined up with wine cellars and enjoy a romantic dinner for two. Return to the hotel.
Day 3, Mountain forests and Vineyards
Papuk Mountain is known for its wild virgin forests that rise up from the fertile plains of the Drava river basin. Pretty towns and villages full of tradition are lined along its foothills where old vineyards grow…
In the morning, after breakfast, we’ll take a drive to the west from Osijek and have the morning coffee in Našice. You will surely love the spirit of a busy morning a typical Croatian little town. A short walk thru the center will show you the main sights: the Pejacevic family palace, the vast park around it and the beautiful baroque St Anthony’s church. The road will then take us to wine country of the village of Feričanci. There we’ll visit the “Old cellar” and taste some of the Feravino wineries finest wine enjoyed also by the visitors of the Westchester polo cup in Windsor. After a scenic drive thru the vineyards, as we drive further west on our left side the majestic green Papuk Mountain will follow us and call us to explore it. And that is just what we’ll do. In the heart of the Papuk Nature Park lies the beautiful Jankovac forest with lakes and waterfalls that irresistibly remind of the world-known Plitvice National Park, only in small scale. After a later lunch in the mountain lodge you’ll get a chance to explore the beautiful protected nature on your own just like the former owner of these forests, count Janković and his guests once did. Walks thru these woods can be very romantic… Return to the hotel.
Day 4, Danube, Castles and Wine
Vukovar is a city located on the Vuka and Danube rivers, surrounded by fertile fields on the western slopes of the Fruška Gora hill which stretches along the Danube towards Ilok, known also as the kingdom of wine…
After breakfast we’ll start today’s tour. On our way to Vukovar we’ll drive thru the wine country of the Erdut village. From the ruins of the medieval tower you will undoubtedly enjoy the view of the Danube and the vast flooded forests. In early 1990’s the baroque city of Vukovar was the place where Croatian War for Independence from the Communist republic of Yugoslavia hit hardest. Fortunately the city is now almost completely renovated and today you’ll see some of its highlights: the Eltz family castle and museum which is one of the most beautiful baroque palaces south of Budapest, the mouth of the Danube and Vuka rivers, the still “wounded” Water tower, the Memorial cemetery of the victims of War… After lunch on the banks of the Danube we’ll continue our trip to the easternmost place in Croatia, the town of Ilok. There we’ll visit the “Old wine cellar” located under the castle and fortress of the Dukes of Ilok. Among other varieties of wine you’ll taste the one for which this part of Croatia is most famous: the Gewürztraminer. This and other wines from Ilok are regularly served on special occasions in the British Royal Court. If you wish, before we return to Osijek you can have dinner in a local restaurant on the banks of the Danube with the view of the river and the fortress or in the beautiful Principovac country house in the vineyards above the town. Return to the hotel.
Day 5, Palaces of Slavonia
In the region of Slavonia the noble estates were vast and spacious. The former counts wealth, influence and importance for Croatia are today best seen by visiting their old castles and palaces…
In the morning we’ll follow the Drava River upstream from Osijek and visit the town of Valpovo. After a nice morning cup of coffee in the town square we’ll visit the medieval castle built by the Knights of the order of the Dragon, in the 18th century transformed into a beautiful baroque palace by the Prandau-Normann noble family. The castle’s chapel holds one of the most beautiful church organs in Croatia, built in the 19th century by the famous Josef Angster who also built the so-called “great organs” in the Notre Dame cathedral in Paris. Our next destination will take us even further up the Drava River to the small town of Donji Miholjac. In the town’s center, surrounded by a beautiful park stands the Mailath family castle. It is one of the newest Croatian castles built in 1905 in English Tudor style presumably in order to impress the famous Austrian emperor and Croatian king Franz Josef I. After lunch the road will take us south towards the Krndija Mountain and the town of Našice. There we’ll show you the last palace today, one belonging to the famous Pejačević counts. This lovely baroque palace was the place where Dora Pejačević, first Croatian female composer was born. In the late afternoon we’ll let the road take us back east towards Osijek. Return to the hotel.
Day 6, Bishops and Lipizzaner
Đakovo (Djakovo) is a town best known for the bishop’s palace, cathedral, wine and the noble Lipizzaner horses that are still today bred on many private farms in the surrounding villages…
Because your plane from Osijek is leaving in the afternoon you'll have plenty of time for a short visit to the nearby town of Đakovo. Already from a distance while approaching the town you'll see the slim red towers of the neo-romanesque St Peter’s cathedral, second largest church in Croatia. In the town we’ll visit the world-known farm of the Lipizzaner horses, established by the bishops in 1506. While visiting Croatia in 1972, the queen of England Elizabeth the II had one special wish, also to see the Lipizzaner farm. This event made the farm even more famous. After lunch during which you really should taste the local wine from the surrounding vineyards, we’ll transfer you back to the hotel or directly to the Osijek Airport.
Day 7, Romance at the mouth of the Danube and Drava
Close to the mouth of two of Europes biggest rivers where wineyards seem to be growing straight from the water, the medieval tower of Erdut guards the entrance to Central Europe...
It really would be a shame if you visit the mid Danube region and miss seeing the mouth of the Danube and the Drava River. In the morning we’ll follow the Drava downstream from Osijek and visit the little village of Aljmaš. The word in Hungarian language means “the apple” and what better way to start the day then by visiting the cake atelier “Susi’s Cakes” for some apple pie and coffee with a side of homemade ice-cream? After that we’ll take you for a boat ride to the beautiful sandy beach right at the mouth of the two rivers. People say the Danube is “a gentleman” and Drava is a “lady”, and there certainly is romance in the air when they meet. When we return to shore we’ll continue to follow the Danube further downstream. In the last decade dozens of new and cool wineries have opened their doors and from each of the lush vineyards the view of the river is just breathtaking. We’ll end the tour in the center of the Erdut village close to the mystical medieval fortress in the Erdut Winyards’ cellar built in the 18th century. Next to the huge 75.000 liter wine barrel you’ll taste some of the beautiful wines this micro-region has to offer. The dark red Zweigelt wine with it’s cherry flavor will go very well with the local food you’ll enjoy in the nearby restaurant. In the afternoon visit the nearby village of Dalj and the birth house of the world famous climate scientist Milutin Milanković. Later we’ll head back to the hotel for the night.