The Trails of Istria short break will take you to the Istrian Peninsula in Croatia, the Dalmatian Tuscany. Visit Hum, the smallest town in the world and experience the spirit of the past in Motovun and Grožnjan. To get to know the best of Istria, walk through Učka Natural Park and, finally, round off this green adventure with the delicious flavours of indigenous Istrian delicacies and wines.
This is a short version of one of our most popular walking holidays in Croatia – Trails and Wines of Istria.
- Visit hilltop towns Grožnjan, Motovun, and Buzet
- Parenzana: hike along the historical railway line which connected Trieste to Poreč until the 1930’s
- Visit Hum, the smallest town in the world
- Hike in Učka Natural Park
- Explore the rich cultural heritage and local culinary delicacies
Click to view map
Day 1: Arrival in Buje
Arrival in Istria. Take some time to visit the 16th-century Baroque church in Buje, 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.
- Accommodation: Hotel Casa la Parenzanaor similar
Day 2: Grožnjan to Motovun | 26km
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.
- Accommodation: Hotel Kaštel or similar
- Walking for the day: 26km, 7-8h, ↑450m ↓480m (alternative shorter option: 20km, 5-6h)
Day 3: Buzet to Hum and back | 26km
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.
- Accommodation: Fontana or similar
- Walking for the day: 26km, 7-8h, ↑530m ↓530m (alternative shorter option with an optional transfer: 14km, 3-4h)
Day 4: Mount Učka to Lovran | 11km
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 (1,400m). 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.
- Accommodation: Villa Eugenia or similar
- Walking for the day: 11km, 4-5h, ↑450m ↓1,385m
Day 5: Departure
Departure after breakfast.
What to expect
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. We have tried to choose accommodations that offer friendly service, clean and comfortable rooms and local flavour.
Click to view sample standard hotels
- Hotel Casa la Parenzana in Volpija or Lovac in Kaldanija
- Hotel Kaštel or Villa Borgo in Motovun
- Fontana in Buzet
- Hotel Park or Villa Eugenia in Lovran
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.
Click to view upgraded hotels
- Heritage Hotel San Rocco in Brtonigla
- Wine & Heritage Hotel Roxanich in Motovun
- Hotel Vela Vrata in Buzet
- Hotel Villa Vera in Lovran
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. Upgrades for solo travellers are possible by request only.
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.
Difficulty and terrain
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 6C, and 30C during the warmest.
Click to view travel options
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.
By train or bus
Buses are available from Pula to Buje (approx. 1.5h) with local bus companies such as Brioni and FILS. A representative of The Natural Adventure will collect you from the bus station in Buje or Porec and take you to the first accommodation.
- 1 overnight in Buje area/Brtonigla
- 1 overnight in guesthouse/hotel 3* in Motovun
- 1 overnight in guesthouse/hotel 3* in Buzet
- 1 overnight in guesthouse/hotel 4* in Lovran
- 4 breakfasts
- Welcome meeting
- Information package including detailed route description (map and road book), luggage tags and vouchers
- Luggage transport from hotel to hotel
- Local transfers to start point during walking
- 24/7 phone assistance by our local office/representative
- Airfare and connecting land transfers
- Lunches, dinners, drinks and snacks
- Travel insurance (required – get a quote online)
- Personal expenses
- Local tourist taxes and entry fees (payable on-site)
- Any items not explicitly listed as included
Options, extras and supplements
- A supplement applies to members of a group who require a single room
- This holiday is available for solo travellers; a supplement will be charged as accommodation and luggage transfer costs are not shared (we never mix and match – solo travellers will be accommodated in single rooms)
- Extra nights along the trail are bookable upon request
- In-Style hotel upgrade