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Trails and Wines of Istria 12

Trails and Wines of Istria

Overview

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 tour 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 first walks go 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, 1401 m) with stunning panoramas of Kvarner bay and 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.

Highlights

  • 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

Click to view map

Itinerary

Day 1: Arrival in 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 | 15 km

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 travellers to discover the local lifestyle. After 3 hours of walking through vineyards, you 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.

Day 3: Grožnjan to Motovun | 26 km

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 3* or similar
  • 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 | 12 km

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.

  • Accommodation: Hotel Kaštel 3* or similar
  • Walking for the day: 12 km, 3-4 hours, ↑430 m ↓430 m

Day 5: Oprtalj to Buzet | 20 km

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.

  • Accommodation: Fontana 3* or similar
  • 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 | 26 km

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 3* or similar
  • 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 | 11 km

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 1401 m. 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 4* or similar
  • Walking for the day: 11 km, 4-5 hours, ↑450 m ↓1385 m

Day 8: Departure

Departure after breakfast.

What to Expect

Accommodation

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

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 sample upgraded 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.

Meals

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 & 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 6º C, and 30º C during the warmest.

Getting there

FCO up-to-date travel advice

Click to view travel options

By plane

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. 1.5 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.

Inclusions

Included

  • Arrival meeting with our local representative
  • 2 overnights in guesthouse/hotel 3* in Buje
  • 1 overnight in guesthouse/hotel 3* in Motovun
  • 2 overnights in guesthouse/hotel 4* in Buzet
  • 1 overnight in guesthouse/hotel 4* in Lovran
  • 7 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

Excluded

  • 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 & 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

Gallery

Reviews

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Rating

     

Melinda E

We had the best time on our trip.  Thanks for being so responsive and for your services.

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