Istrian countryside has a lot to offer. Our enchanting hilltop villages developed a high quality of eno-gastronomic offer since that was the only way to persuade our guests to leave the alluring seaside for a bit. Tiny country roads will take you between the green hills, floral meadows, diligently tended vineyards and olives. Some of the world's best olive oils are produced in Istria so be sure to buy a bottle of the original extra virgin olive oil. If you are not sure how to tell a good quality from the fake one, go for olive oil tasting at some of the estates. They will be more than happy to tell you something about the oil they produce and what should you pay attention to.
If you are a truffle lover come and visit us September to November when it's all about truffle in Istria. It's the high season of white truffle, one of the rarest and most expensive delicacies in the world! Although Motovun is usually placed as number one when it comes to truffles, they can actually be found on a much wider area. Try the truffle hunt on your own! Don't worry, we use dogs nowadays, pigs are far too hard to control.
Have we mentioned wine so far? You would be surprised how much effort older generations put in vineyards. If you ever come across an old original stony Istrian house, you will notice that 80% of the house was the wine cellar, and the rest served as the kitchen and common space or bedrooms. (It is a bit of a stretch, but not too much.)
Therefore, take one of many wine tasting tours and try Istarska malvazija, dry white wine, and teran, a red wine, made of an old Istrian variety. Extra tip: don't leave without a bottle of teranino, a liqueur of teran. You definitely won't regret it!
For brandy lovers, Istria has a lot to offer: biska or mistletoe brandy, medica or honey brandy, wild apple brandy, wild pear brandy and many more.
You can find all these delicacies around the Istrian countryside, along the beautiful scenery. Of course, each hilltop tells a different story. Motovun will share with you its exciting venetian history, film festival, the story of giants and the lay lines. According to the alternative scientists, Motovun is the most powerful source of positive energy in Istria because of the three intersecting lay lines here. Who knows, maybe that's why one can find so many truffles here?
Speaking of truffles, one should not miss Buzet. It has been called the city of truffles, the wine region… You name it – they have it! Settled on a hilltop, alongside beautiful scenery, Buzet enjoyed a privileged strategic position in the past which allowed its long continuous development. Even today, this is one of the most progressive parts of Istria. Meet the diligent locals, try their products and judge for yourselves. Here you are also very good positioned for any other adventure: cycling, trekking, walking, mountain climbing or even car racing!
If Grožnjan wasn't on your to do list, then you should definitely put it there, especially from May onwards when it's lively enough, but not crowded. This little town is best known for its art circle, concerts and galleries. If you need a boost of creativity, this is the place for you!
We often like to brag that we have the smallest town in the world – Hum. Whether that would be true or not, there are some interesting stories to back that story up. Already backed up stories you will find on the famous Glagolitic Alley that connects Hum and Roč. It is comprised of 11 commemorative headstones that represent the development and Croatian roots of the Glagolitic script, especially in Istria. They even have a brandy weekend, when you can try and buy all sorts of brandies from the entire region.
It leads to Roč, a stronghold of lively traditional folk music, based on an archaic accordion known as Trieština, rarely found outside Istria and north-eastern Italy. Visit the International Accordion Festival in May to hear it live and check out some of the local brandy shops. Together with our localtour guide you will find out why Roč is aslo called the craddle of Croatian literacy.
Time stands still in some almost forgotten villages like Oprtalj and Završje. Yet, nowaydays that seems to be the first choice of peace and quiet longing guests who want to see and taste tradition at its very best. Hospitality and warmth of people will take you aback especially as you watch them leading their everdays lives. Try eating in a konoba, usually a family run restaurant with homemade specialties (depending on the season).
With breathtaking natural beauties, but also a wide variety of cultural events, wine and food tourism can boast Savičenta or Svetvinčenat as well. Enjoy the dance and theatre festivals in the Morosini-Grimani fort. Here you can feel a unique effort of the local population to keep the historical heritage alive.
One can say the same for Bale which works extensively at their archaeological sites the past few years. At least ten dinosaur species lived in this area. Bale's site, as far as it is known, is the only find in the world that has dinosaur remains under the sea. A butterfly is not accidentally featured on Bale's coat of arms. This fairy-tale district is home to 390 species of butterfly – a unique area in Istria with its very first butterfly garden where you can enjoy untouched nature and magical wood.
Have you ever wondered how a mediaeval town looked like? Well, come to Dvigrad, this once-important centre and find out. The legend has it that on these ruins one will discover himself. Whether that is true or not, you will definitely discover another piece of Istrian paradise.
Last but not least, in the very heart of our peninsula lies Pazin with its castle located above a 130-metre-deep chasm, a natural phenomenon that has more than one story tied to it. Hear more about it on our Jules Verne Days or Istrian fantasy festival Istrakon, the later loved by science fiction and fantasy lovers. For adrenaline lovers cross the abyss at the height of 100 m at an average speed of 50 km/h or simply dive in! An expert crew has got your back.