Central Istria

The centre of Istria is an extremely picturesque region where on almost every hill lies a charming small medieval town, each with its own historical legend. The old town of Buzet lies on the top of a hill right in the heart of the northern part of Croatian Istria with a fistful of cultural-historical monuments such as town walls and a gate, a chapel, a palace, cisterns among other things. Learn at least something about the tradition of this town at the "Subotina in old fashioned way" festival, which is held on the first Sunday after the holiday of the Nativity of the Virgin Mary, when old craft workshops are opened where you can buy local indigenous products, taste scrambled eggs with truffles, in this "town of truffles", and enjoy traditional music and dance – the "bugarenje" and the "balun".

Not far from Buzet, between the smallest towns in the world Hum, and Roča, is the Glagolithic Alley – a unique row of monuments connected by the use of the old Croatian script Glagolithic. Further into the heart of Istria lies one more small medieval town, which in recent years has become better known in guides for its summer film festival. Motovun offers film buffs a unique stage and ambience of a not so big old town square with the special acoustics of a medieval palace. Located on a hill, the top of which is reached by narrow, winding roads, and surrounded by the Motovun forest, it offers the feeling of intimacy, so that each film projection is unrepeatable. There is not much need to talk about the parties that follow each day of the festival and which last until the early hours. For out of the ordinary gastronomy, but also for extremely fine wines, go down to the foot of the hill to the villages Livade and Oprtalj.

At around 15 kilometres from the sea, visit Grožnjan, the city of artists where a large number of concerts of classical and jazz concerts, visual arts events and exhibitions are held, and towards the border with Slovenia, visit the medieval heart of the small town Buja, the eternal "watchtower of Istria". Afterwards go down the road, which runs inland parallel to the coast, to the small place Višnjan where there is an observatory, world famous for its discoveries.

Towards the south are a large number of picturesque places such as Sveti Lovreč and Kanfanar, all the way to the very lively Vodnjan which is located right at the back of Pula. If you are lucky, you could see the Vodnjan mummies in the church of Saint Blaise, which they say have magical powers. Because of their extremely delicate condition they are protected and not accessible to the wider public. Not far from the mouth of the river Raša in the Plomin bay, visit the village of Barban where on the 3rd weekend in August the old knights' tournament, "Trka na Prstenac" is held.

In the surroundings of Pazin, the administrative centre of Istria, are a few places in which a very valuable historical heritage is safe-guarded. In the village of Tinjan apart from old houses with family heralds, seek out the county table on which once was chosen the administrator of the region. In the village of Beram is the graveyard chapel of Saint Mary of the Rocks which guards the extremely colourful 15th century frescoes among which is the most impressive "Dance of Death", the work of Vincent of Kastav.

Between the villages of Gračišće and Pićan is the marked footpath with beautiful panoramic views over the surroundings. Central Istria with the sports offer loves those with an adventorous spirit. Of course, there are here beautiful paths for mountaineering, bicycling or riding, but the favourable configuration of the terrain is ideal for different airborne sports such as hang-gliding, balloon flights and para-gliding or for instance free climing and caving and in recent times wakeboarding is popular on the river Mirna. The interior of Istria is covered with a large number of village farms, with a rich gastronomical offer, most of them traditional local dishes. There are meat based specialities, game, the famous Istrian ombolo and sausages, asparagus, fuži (a traditional Istrian pasta) truffles and for desert fritule, kroštule and cukerančići. Istrian wines are famous too, with Malvazija being the most well known white wine, and Teran, the most well known red. Then there is olive oil and excellent Istrian prosciutto ham. If you want to find authentic accomodation, you don't need to renounce luxury. At your disposal are a large number of beautiful luxury villas and estates with restaurants.

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