The fact that Istrian Peninsula stretches over 3 countries – Croatia, Slovenia and Italy – is giving the area magnificent cultural, geographical and historical diversity. It would be hard to put all the reasons of why to visit Istria in one blog, but here are some of our favourite ones.
Old medieval hilltop towns are one of the main reasons why Istria is being renowned as a new Tuscany. Charming and historically rich settlements offer a unique opportunity for an escape from bustling tourist towns located on the coast. Most of the towns are located alongside Mirna river (meaning ‘quiet river’), with Motovun being the most popular among foreign travellers. On the north shore of Mirna river you can visit two of the ‘’Motovun’s small brothers’’. A tiny settlement of Oprtalj and bohemian town of Grožnjan, locals favourite with numerous art studios, tiny galleries and summer homes owned.
Gastronomy is one of the things that will stay in your memory long time after visiting Istria. Area around Livade and Motovun is renowned as world capital of truffle hunting. You would be surprised to learn that the world’s biggest truffle was found here and is also home to a month long truffle festival held every fall. The taste of fresh truffles is best experienced in a pasta (Croatian: ‘fuži sa tartufima’), and Istrians are master chefs when it comes to the preparation of this traditional dish. There are various types of pasta and gnocchi changing from town to town. Pljukanci, Fuži and Njoki are just some of the most popular ones. If you feel like learning more about traditional Istrian food, try some of the cooking classes at rural farm-to-table agritourismo. In addition to truffles, don’t forget to sample some of the world’s best olive oil.
Since the meal without the wine can only be called breakfast, it means that you will have the opportunity to complement your gastro experience with some amazing local Istrian wines. Istrian Malvazija is the best choice for white wine lovers. This most famous and popular regional wine is with its fruitiness and freshness perfectly matched with fresh seafood and other light meals including pasta and vegetables. Red wine lovers will enjoy Istrian Teran, made from an indigenous grape to this peninsula. Area also offers great conditions for production of sparkling wine, and although not traditional to this region, it is becoming increasingly ubiquitous nowadays. Wine production in Istria is boutique and family oriented, so do not expect that you will find these wines overseas. Best way to enjoy some of them back home is to visit local wineries for wine tasting and buy the bottle you like the most.
If food and wine are not the centre of your interest, Istria offers plenty of other things that you can indulge. Peninsula is filled with historical and archaeological sites, the most famous one being the Roman amphitheatre in Pula. One of best preserved roman coliseums is still frequently used for the events, from concerts to ice hockey matches. Nearby Brijuni Islands National Park offers great journey from the times of dinosaurs to the post World War II socialist times of Tito. Coastal towns of Rovinj, Poreč and Piran will take you back to the Venetian times and make you feel like you are in smaller and more charming version of Venice.
Active travel is becoming a popular way to see the world, so let’s mention a few activities that will get your blood pumping while discovering Istrian hidden corners. Peninsula’s landscape is perfectly shaped for cycling lovers. Mountain bikers can enjoy the peacefulness of Parenzana bike paths or trigger their adrenaline rush at Grožnjan enduro trails. Road cyclists can challenge themselves on numerous kilometres of quiet roads and climbs in peninsula’s inland. Hikers can enjoy spectacular views from the highest Istrian Mountain ‘Učka’ and if you are up for some water activities, sea kayaking around Rovinj or Kamenjak is the best choice for you.
If this part of the world is in your trip planner, our agency Slovenia4Seasons is a right place for the start of your Istrian adventure. Whether you are travelling on your own and looking for daily activities or you are interested in an all-inclusive service, we are here to help. We can provide guided tailor-made tours or put you in contact with best vendors in the region.
To find out more, contact us on email@example.com