Overview for Trails and Wines of Istria
Discover the beautiful green countryside of the Istrian peninsula. Walk through olive groves and vineyards, rivers and forests, scenic villages and medieval towns, on winding hill and mountain trails. The Trails and Wines of Istria takes you to the heart of the impressive landscapes of Croatia and offers the chance to experience the delicious flavours of indigenous Istrian delicacies and wines along the route.
The itinerary starts with walks through olive groves and vineyards to Buje – a town full of history and culture. From here you’ll follow the Parenzana, an old Austrian railway line, through tunnels and bridges amongst the Istrian hillsides to Grožnjan (the city of artists), Livade (the truffle centre of the world) with an overnight in Motovun.
The hiking continues along mountain trails with beautiful views of Istrian landscapes onto Buzet. From Buzet, there’s a circular walk to Hum, the smallest town in the world.
To complete the tour, there is a hike to the summit of Učka mountain (the highest peak in Istria, 1,401m) with stunning panoramas of Kvarner bay and the of the Istrian peninsula. Finally, the trail descends back down through the oak and chestnut forests of Učka Natural Park to Lovran on the Adriatic coast.
- Visit hilltop towns Grožnjan, Motovun, Livade (the truffle capital of the world) and Buzet
- Parenzana: hike along the historical railway line which connected Trieste to Poreč until the 1930s
- Visit Hum, the smallest town in the world
- Hike to the summit of Učka mountain and Učka Natural Park
- Explore the rich cultural heritage and local culinary delicacies
Itinerary for Trails and Wines of IstriaGo to top of page
Day 1: Arrival to Buje
Arrival in Istria. Buje is a charming hilltop town, where you will spend the first two nights. Take some time to visit the 16th-century Baroque church, wander through the old city, and enjoy views over the surrounding landscape. Info meeting with our local representative at the hotel reception area. We will provide you with any additional information you may need about your trip, answer the questions you may have, and give you final instructions. Overnight in the Buje area.
Day 2: Brtolinga to Buje
Short transfer to Brtonigla. The numerous acres of vineyards and olive groves are surrounded by pathways that lead towards meadows and woods, deep into the centre of vibrating nature that lives intact, far away from the modern civilization. It is also a place where you can find superior wines and olive oils – many family cellars and tasting premises invite the travelers to discover the authentic power of the local lifestyle. After 3 hours walking through vineyards we reach Buje, a small hilltop town. From the top of the hill you can enjoy the pretty view of terraced fields and arable land, vineyards and olive groves. Enjoy sightseeing in this town full of history and culture. The route finishes in front of your hotel where you will get by former old railway. Overnight in Buje area.
Walking for the day: 15 km, 4-5 hours, ↑320 m ↓310 m
Day 3: Grožnjan to Motovun
After breakfast, you will be ready to start exploring Istrian villages and hidden paths. After a short, 10-minute transfer, walking continues on the ex-railway Parenzana. Grožnjan will be your starting point. Enjoy your walk through numerous vineyards and olive groves. You will pass through several small tunnels and over picturesque old bridges. You can stop at many viewpoints before reaching the village of Livade, the truffle centre of the world. There you can taste and buy some products with truffles. Overnight in the medieval town of Motovun.
Walking for the day: 26 km, 7-8 hours, ↑450 m ↓480 m (alternative shorter option: 20 km, 5-6 hours)
Day 4: Motovun Circular Walk
Today’s hike will start from your hotel descending from the hilltop to the walking trail which guides you through vineyards to the small village of Brkač where you can have a traditional Istrian lunch in a local tavern. On Parenzana trail you will head back to Motovun. On the way back, you can stop at a small winery where you can taste the superb local wines.
Walking for the day: 12 km, 3-4 hours, ↑430 m ↓430 m
Day 5: Oprtalj to Buzet
After breakfast, a short transfer (15 minutes) will bring you to Oprtalj. This is a picturesque little town located deeply in the Istrian peninsula from where the Istrian Mountain Trail begins. The route goes downhill into the forest, passing through Saint Ivan (St John’s) village. Next village is St Lucija, famous for its incredibly beautiful church. Through a few more villages you will get to one of the most famous local viewpoints, overlooking the Mirna river valley. The trail is passing by the Pietrapelosa castle and leads down into the valley. After passing an aqueduct, the path goes up the hill towards the village of Mali Mlun and opens a beautiful view over the town of Buzet. Through a beautiful forest and fields, the trail will get you to Buzet. Overnight in Buzet.
Walking for the day: 20 km, 5-6 hours, ↑620 m ↓865 m (alternative shorter option: 8 km, 2-3 hours)
Day 6: Buzet to Hum and back
Today’s trail starts by the river and turns into the forest, passes over a shallow river (or riverbed if it’s dry), followed by some waterfalls and lakes. Gentle and not too steep, the trail leads you to Korita, the water springs with natural pools and an old watermill. The route then continues following the riverbed and passes trough Benčići, an abandoned village where you can see traditional Istrian stone houses. From there you’ll see Hum and its recognisable church tower in the distance. When you get to Hum, take a walk, and you’ll understand why it is the smallest town in the world. In Hum you can have a meal in the local “konoba”, a word from the local dialect that means restaurant. The “konoba” in Hum offers you nothing less but simple and delicious traditional Istrian dishes. The “way of mistletoe” will then lead you back to Buzet. Overnight in Buzet.
Walking for the day: 26 km, 7-8 hours, ↑530 m ↓530 m (alternative shorter option with an optional transfer: 14 km, 3-4 hours)
Day 7: Mount Učka to Lovran
Transfer to Poklon (30 minutes), the saddle between two hills from where the trail begins. It goes on the top of the Učka mountain, which is the highest in Istria with an altitude of 1401m. From the top, the path goes all the way down to sea level in Lovran. The trail is shadowed by oak and chestnut forests that give incredible freshness during the hot summer days. The very summit of Učka (Vojak) is worth climbing for the stunning panorama. The panorama of Kvarner bay includes sea and coastal towns, as well as the mountains in the background: Obruc, Snjeznik and Risnjak. This is the moment when most of the Istrian peninsula lies before your eyes. On clear days, the view opens towards Venice and the Alps on the north side.
Walking for the day: 11 km, 4-5 hours, ↑450 m ↓1385 m
Day 8: Departure or Onward Travel
Departure after breakfast.
Hotels for Trails and Wines of IstriaGo to top of page
Accommodation is mainly in small, locally-run, 3 or 4-star hotels and guesthouses typical for the region; some of the hotels have swimming pools and spa facilities. You can optionally upgrade the 3-star hotels.
*Hotels are subject to availability. In case a particular hotel is fully booked for your desired dates, we will replace it with a hotel of equal value and quality level. We will provide exact accommodation details to you upon booking confirmation.
Sample standard hotels: Hotel Casa la Parenzana in Volpija or Lovac in Kaldanija; Hotel Kaštel 3* or Villa Borgo 3* in Motovun; Hotel Vela Vrata 4* or Fontana 3* in Buzet; Hotel Park 4* or Villa Eugenia 4* in Lovran
Breakfasts are generally buffets that take your active program into consideration with a variety of low-fat and high-nutrition choices. Lunches and dinners are generally on your own, but arrangements with accommodation can be made on the spot.
Travel for Trails and Wines of IstriaGo to top of page
The most convenient airports are Pula and Trieste, which have direct local buses to Buje bus station. Transfer from Buje bus station to the first hotel is included in the price. Pula is the regional airport and flights from the UK are available from different airports. Trieste Airport is the closest airport serviced by direct flights from the UK with Ryan Air and Alitalia offering services.
Flight information can change rapidly, and not all flights run daily. Please do check directly with the airlines’ websites or Skyscanner before finalising any booking with us. Please do not book your flights before we have confirmed your booking.
Arriving in Croatia
Airport Option 1: Pula to Buje – public transport is available from Pula to Porec, and then a private transfer to your hotel is included. Alternatively, we can arrange a private transfer directly from Pula to Buje.
Airport Option 2: Trieste to Buje – limited public transport is available, and we recommend pre-booking a private transfer.
Departing from Croatia
Airport Option 1: Lovran to Pula – public transport is available. Alternatively, we can arrange a private transfer from Lovran to Pula airport.
Airport Option 2: Lovran to Trieste – limited public transport is available. We can recommend pre-booking a private transfer.
Transfers to/from Airports
Buses are available from Pula to Buje (approx. 1.5 h) with local bus companies such as Brioni and FILS. A representative of The Natural Adventure Company will collect you from the bus station in Buje or Porec and take you to the first accommodation.
They offer a very economical alternative to public transport, in some cases equivalent to the cost of public transportation in the UK. They can be arranged from/to airport to hotel for arrival and departure upon request (please indicate when completing the online booking form). We recommend private transfers if your arrival/departure airport is Trieste.
On walking days, your luggage is transferred to your following night’s accommodation. Luggage transfer is mostly carried out by us, and sometimes we also use the accommodation provider or a local taxi service. Bags should be ready for collection by 09:30 am and will be at your next overnight stop by 3 pm.
A comprehensive and reputable travel insurance policy is essential to your enjoyment and peace of mind while on an active holiday. It is highly recommended when booking with us that all group members have valid travel insurance which includes cover for all activities included in your trip. We have teamed up with to offer you adequate cover at a great value from a reputable insurer, and it takes only a few minutes to buy online.
Croatia is a Central European and Mediterranean country, bordering Slovenia in the west, Hungary to the north, Serbia in the east and Bosnia and Herzegovina in the south. The country also has a long maritime border with Italy in the Adriatic Sea. Croatia has an unusual shape (similar to a croissant), which comes as a result of five centuries of expansion by the Ottoman empire towards Central Europe (although Croatia was never conquered by the Ottomans).
Croatia has an incredible 5,800 km of coastline, 4,100 km of which belong to islands, cliffs and reefs. There are 1,200 islands in the Adriatic, but only about 50 are populated. The largest island is Krk (near Rijeka) which has a land area of 462 sq km, while the country’s other well-known islands include Hvar, Brac, Korcula, and Pag.
The local currency in Croatia is the Croatian Kuna (HKR). The best way to carry money is a combination of cash, cash cards and credit/debit cards. ATMs are available all over Croatia and are the safest and easiest way to access cash. Traveller’s cheques are not widely accepted and attract high rates of commission. Make sure that you change any money that you will need for the day ahead.
Foreign currency can be exchanged in banks, exchange offices, post offices, travel agencies, hotels, camps, marinas. Cheques can be cashed in banks. Please note that bank hours are very different from bank hours in the EU. Most banks are open only in the morning from 8 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. and a couple of hours in the afternoon. If you need to change money during the tour, we recommend that you look for a bank in the morning.
Note, Euros are accepted at some larger shops and hotels and generally taxi shuttles. Credit cards are not widely accepted.
Up-to-date travel advice on Croatia is available here.
Trip Info for Trails and Wines of IstriaGo to top of page
Difficulty Grade: Moderate / Moderate to Strenuous
This trip requires a moderate physical condition. Often there is a choice of shorter or longer walks. The terrain varies from paved and cobblestone streets (during village exploration) to single-track trails with loose stones or gravel, rocky paths, ancient ruins, and sets of ancient stone steps. The trails are often exposed to the sun (read more about difficulty grades).
Some of the walks on this trip are marked, but many are not, and you will need to follow the route notes and maps / GPS tracks supplied. You will walk mostly on unpaved roads and hiking trails; some sections may include walking on asphalt. We strongly advise you to follow only marked trails and never try to shorten the path through the unknown and unmarked terrain. We will provide you with detailed road notes and maps, and you can call our 24/7 local assistance phone number anytime. More detailed info on route navigation will be included in your holiday information pack.
When to Go
This trip is available from March until November. Traditionally April/May/June and September/October have always been the most popular time of year because the weather is best. If you choose to visit during July and August, you should be aware that temperatures may be high and make walking slightly more difficult. The flexibility of self-guided holidays means that there are no fixed dates and you can start your holiday on any date in the season – so please indicate desired starting date when booking.
The climate in Istria is mild, Mediterranean, where there are warm and dry summers and mild and pleasant winters. The average air temperature during the coldest part of the year is 6ºC, and during the warmest – 30ºC.
What to Bring
Having the correct personal equipment will make your walking holiday more enjoyable and comfortable. We hope that you find the following suggestions useful when considering what to take on your trip. They are based on personal experiences, and we are confident that you may find other solutions working equally well.
- Walking boots/shoes
- Suitable clothing including good walking
- Waterproof jacket
- Water carrier/bottle
- Food and snacks
- Guidebook & Maps (supplied)
- Blister treatment kit
- First aid kit
- Cash and credit cards
Included for Trails and Wines of IstriaGo to top of page
- Arrival meeting with our local representative
- 2 x overnights in guesthouse/hotel 3* in Buje
- 1 x overnight in guesthouse/hotel 3* in Motovun
- 2 x overnights in guesthouse/hotel 4* in Buzet
- 1 x overnight in guesthouse/hotel 4* in Lovran
- 7 x breakfasts
- Information package including detailed route description (maps and route notes), a guidebook about Istria, luggage tags and vouchers for hotels
- Luggage transport from hotel to hotel
- Local transfers to start point during walking and transfer from Porec or Buje bus station to hotel on Day 1
- 24/7 phone assistance by our local office/representative
- Where individual members of a group require a single room, a single room supplement is applicable
- This holiday is available for solo travellers. As transfer and accommodation costs are not shared, a solo traveller supplement is payable
*To calculate the price of the tour for a specific date, including the cost of different options and supplements, please click CHECK AVAILABILITY button above, pick your date and number of people. On the next screen, you can choose the desired options and extras and see the total price of your holiday before you decide whether to submit a booking enquiry.
Options & Extras
- Private airport transfers
- Half-board option instead of standard B&B accommodation
- Extra nights
- ‘In-Style’ hotel upgrade:
- Flights and connecting land transfers (transfer from Porec or Buje bus station to the first hotel is included in the price)
- Lunches, dinners, drinks & snacks
- Travel insurance
- Personal expenses such as phone calls, extra transfers, tips, etc.
- Any items not explicitly mentioned in the programme
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Reviews for Trails and Wines of IstriaGo to top of page
We had the best time on our trip. Thanks for being so responsive and for your services.
We had the best time on our trip. Thanks for being so responsive and for your services.