Charming Croatia  - Apartmanica

Exploring the towns of Istria

With one of us calling Istria home, we’ve been lucky enough to explore the whole heart-shaped area together in a fairly short time. This summer I am planning on taking lots of pictures to share. Meanwhile, here are a few notes on the towns and areas we love coming back to.  

 

Bale

Bale is one of those delightful hilltop villages well worth a stop if not a prolonged stay. Medieval streets lined with 14th and 15th century houses wind in a circle around the hill, creating an urbanscape of arresting beauty. Most appealing are the occasional galleries, shops and taverns that give the town a relaxed, artsy vibe.

Only 15 km southeast of Rovinj and at an altitude of 140 m, Bale makes an easy day trip and a refreshing break from the coast. Yet, it's only 8 km away from the coast and the Colone Cove beaches.

Hotels in the neighborhoobd: Wine Hotel Meneghetti

More about Bale here.

Buje

In Buje you will find the typical Istrian landscape - vineyards and olive groves all lined up along hilly roads that eventually lead to a winery. 

This tiny town offers a warm haven to travelers who would like go back in time, those on the lookout for the next big culinary discovery, as well as nature enthusiasts and cyclists, regardless of the time of year.

Villas in the neighborhood: PoropatiMonte

Hotels in the neighborhood: Heritage Hotel San Rocco

More about Buje here.

Fazana

Situated in the vicinity of classical Pula, is the port of departure for the Brijuni Islands – the national apark that – with its beaches, pine woods, waterfront promenades, restaurants along the sea, is the perfect place for rest and recreation.

Fažana is what you’d imagine a small fishing town to be -  liveliest in the harbor where you can enjoy views of the fishing boats. Here it’s worth a trip to the fishing museum and fish market, enjoy the view of Brijuni from the wonderful seaside promenade, or pause on the terrace of one of the many restaurants.

To discover local art, visit the parish church of SS. Cosmas and Damian and the Romanesque church of Our Lady of Mount Carmel.

Works that stand out in the parish church are "The Last Supper" painted in 1598 by Zorzi Ventura and the Gothic crucifix from the 16th century. Remains of frescoes from the 15th century and the statue of the Holy Virgin from the 14th century adorn the church of Our Lady of Mount Carmel.

Hotel in the neighborhood: Historic Hotel Villetta Phasiana 

More about Fazana here.

Groznjan

Grožnjan is known as the “town of artists” and is an ideal destination for one-day excursions filled with art, galleries and concerts. It is located in the hinterland in Istra’s west, near Brtonigla and Novigrad, only 15 kilometres away from the sea.

Grožnjan is a medieval town whose original beauty is well represented with its old walls, forts, churches and monuments. Groznjan became the town of artists in 1956. That is when artists started to populate empty houses which the residents were forced to abandon and thus made sure the town did not perish. Today their performances and ideas make this town one of the most favourable destinations for an educational, relaxing and creative holiday. Grožnjan is enriched with an artist tradition in its best sense – creativity on the spot. Thus, manifestations and shows of popular artists are held in the stone streets daily and you can spend time with the artists in their galleries. Go to an excursion to Grožnjan and experience Istria in a different way!

Villas in the neighborhood: Villa Poropati

More about Groznjan here.

Hum

Hum is known as the smallest town in the world, which is why it is one of the most attractive Istrian destinations.

Hum is located near Roč, deep in the hinterland of the Istrian peninsula. These two towns are connected with a joint history and culture, and now with the Glagolitic Alley. The area around Hum is especially attractive to nature lovers. Thick forests, meadows and hills are favourable for long walks and short family excursions. Thanks to the proximity of Buzet, also known as the “town of truffles”, due to favourable conditions that favour the growth of this aromatic mushroom, an excursion to Hum should be ended with a visit to one of the agricultural tourisms. Visit Hum in Istria and explore the smallest town in the world!

More about Hum here.

Motovun

This captivating hilltop town is one of the characteristic symbols of the Istrian interior and is the closes thing you get to a post card view of the landscape. 

Gourmet lovers are especially fond of visiting Motovun as the surroundng forest  is especially rich in truffles. Istrian white truffle season lasts from September to December when most restaurants in the area will serve up hearty portions of the Istrian delicacy.

Motovun is also home to the yearly popular film festival which draws international guests and crowds.

 The area is surrounded by vineyards who produce white wine Malvasia and red wine Teran., and the entire area is dotted with excellent local ‘konobe’ and restaurants.

Villas in the neighborhood: Villa BencaniVilla Benvenuti, Villa Palazzo AngelicaVilla Sancta MariaVilla Zora

More about motovun here.

Novigrad

Novigrad, once a peaceful fishing town, over the years has become a compelling touristic destination. Although being so popular among tourists from all around the world, Novigrad has to this day kept its intimate and irresistible charm of a typical quite Mediterranean fishing town.

Novigrad offers plenty of bistros, pizza or traditional konobas. The delightful wine bars, cafes and ice cream parlours, homely atmosphere and friendliness ads to this old-world charm.

 Villas in the neighborhood: Villa Carigador

Hotels in the neighborhood: Rivalmare Boutique Hotel, San Rocco Heritage Hotel

More about Novigrad here.

Pazin

Pazin is located in the very centre and heart of Istria. Here you have the entire peninsula at your feet, where all the delights of Istria are just a short drive away. Beachwalks and café side streets, or gourmet konobas in the middle of winding roads, you name it, all the roads lead back to Pazin.

The small town even made its mark on legendary Jules Verne who mentions it in one of his books –and for all you fellow booklovers out there, the town even has its own café that carries the writer's name where you can look throught 100-year-old books while sipping a glass of Mavazija, of course.

If you want to have a memory of an unforgettable experience from your holiday in Istria, then the zip line above the Pazin Abyss is just what you are looking for. The first line is 220 metres long and descends at the speed of 40 km/h to the yard of the Writers’ House. The second line is 280 metres and faster  (50 km/h) Here you can  enjoy the view of the abyss and the famous Castle above it. This line ends at the gazebo above the Babina kuća Cave.

Villas in the neighborhood: Villa Bacula, Villa Dvori na Brigu, Villa Luna Bianca, Villa KatatarinaVilla Luna Nera, Villa Luna Rossa, Villa Terra BiancaVilla Terra Gialla, Villa Terra Grigia, Villa Terra NeraVilla Terra Rossa, Villa Viscum

More about Pazin here.

Porec

Mediterranean surroundings, a gentle climate, fertile land and lush vegetation have made Poreč a unique holiday destination.

The beauty of Porec is its convenience. You can get to the centre of Poreč from every hotel, apartment or camp by taking a leisurely stroll, a quick bikeride or take a tourist train. Explore and familiarise yourself with the old town centre, streets and squares, parks and beaches.

Hotels in the neighborhood: Villa Karda Residences

Villas in the neighborhood: Villa Tona, Villa Elena

More about Porec here.

Rabac

Rabac is one of  Istria's largest beach resorts and  prides itself on being known as the 'pearl' of Istria.  Located only 5km southeast of Labin, Rabac is on a sheltered cove with a pebble beach. It was once a small fishermen's village but now it swells with hotels, camping grounds and private accommodation.

 Villas in the neighborhood: Villa the One

More about Rabac here.

Rovinj

Rovinj is a top sight in Croatia and considered one of its most romantic spots.  We've spent hours just walking around and taking in the gorgeousness of it all (lots of coffee breaks included). With its pastel-coloured houses clustered together on steep winding streets and topped by a Venetian bell tower, it's hard to find a town that is more delightful for a holiday. This small gem also has lots of good shopping so don't plan on going home empty-handed.

Should you be so lucky, snag a spot at Monte, Croatia's only Michelin-starred restaurant!

Hotels in the nieghborhood: Boutique Hotel Villa Tuttorotto, Wine Hotel Meneghetti

Villas in the neighborhood: Holiday Home Bo, Villa Majoli

More about Rovinj here.

Umag

Umag har något för varje årstid. Vinterfestivaler, karnevaler, hälsodagar på vintern, gastronomiska evenemang under tidig vår eller välkända idrottsevenemang som ATP-tennis i juli. Ta reda på vad som händer i år på Umags evenemangs-webbsida, där man kan läsa om lokala kuriositeter och festligheter.

 Villa: Villa Monte

Mer om Umag här.

Vrsar

The beautiful seatown of Vrsar is one of our favorite spots in all of Istria as it is a manifes tto what is so special about all the little towns you can come across in Croatia.

Take in the scenery at the marina, stroll along the small streets, or jump into the ocean - everything's a stone's throw away.

For all those cycling lovers who wish to enjoy their rides year round, Vrsar and its exciting surroundings can offer many beautiful routes.

Hotels in the neighborhood: Hotel Vista

Villa in the neighborhood: Villa La Reina

More about Vrsar here.

 

For more useful information about all the enjoyable things to see and do in central Istria check out this blog post from Chasing the Donkey!