Istrian Peninsula 5 Day Tour – Simply the Best of Croatia

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31524
5 Days
Availability : All year long
Pula | Venice | Ljubljana | Zagreb
Pula | Venice | Ljubljana | Zagreb
Max People : 8 persons
Tour Overview

Explore beautiful Istria in 5 days and combine the best destinations, wineries, the most delicious olive oil, truffles and local food with Parenžana biking or hiking trail. Explore beautiful Motovun, Grožnjan Buzet, Pula, Rovinj, Premantura, and so much more.

The Istrian peninsula with its Italian feel is definitely something different from the rest of Croatia, and it’s no wonder: Istria is something else.

In addition to traditionally popular destinations, such as those on the shores of the Adriatic Sea, explore the inner, authentic Istria.

Funky Tours brings you the best of Istria.

Highlights

What's Included

INCLUDED
  • English speaking experienced guide and driver.
  • Double/twin 4* accommodation with breakfast (2 nights in Motovun and 2 nights in Rovinj)
  • All tour transfers.
  • No hidden costs. All government taxes & entrance fees.
  • Cancellation Flexibility. Cancel 24hrs before departure or change dates.
  • Tour is available all year long
  • Pay safely online with a credit card. We accept payments for all types of credit cards.
NOT INCLUDED
  • Personal travel insurance is not included. Please buy it at home country.
  • Tips are not included in the tour costs. If you receive excellent service, please consider tipping.

Getting There

  • Zagreb (Croatia) This original itinerary is scheduled to start from Zagreb.
  • Pula or Split (Croatia), Venice (Italy) or Ljubljana (Slovenia) If you prefer to start this tour from any other place then Zagreb please let us know in advance.
  • Arrival The pickup on the 1st day is 8 AM.
  • Departure Tour ends on the afternoon of Day 5.

Itinerary

DAY 1: Northern Istria (Hum - Buzet - Truffle Hunting - Motovun)

Destination: Motovun, Croatia
Accommodation: 4*
Meals Included: L

Motovun, Istria, Croatia
❐ Historic Motovun in Central Istria

Itinerary Note:This tour has a flexible start and can be arranged to start from Zagreb, Ljubljana, Pula or even Trieste and Venice. We created the tour program to start from the capital of Croatia, Zagreb. To start from another location, feel free to write to us.

Morning:The morning pickup point on the first day is in Zagreb, at your address or the airport.

After a little more than 2 hours of driving via northern Croatia, we arrive in Hum, the first place on our stunning Istria road trip.

The town of Hum in central Istria is considered to be the smallest town in the world.

Within the walls of 100 x 35m, two rows of streets and three rows of houses are located at 349m above sea level. This beautiful town, the first time mentioned in the 11th century, represents an incredible insight into the history and culture of the Istrian distant past.

According to legend, Hum grew on the hill just by accident. A long time ago, Istria was home to the giants, who, according to legends, helped the peasants with difficult tasks, farming or building houses. In order to protect them from the enemy, the giants decided to build fortified cities in the valley of the Mirna river, such as Motovun and Grožnjan… When they finished, they still had some stones left, so they used them to build a miniature town – Hum.

When you walk through the streets of Hum, you have the feeling that you are walking through an inhabited museum.

Hum in Istria - Croatia
❐ Considered the smallest town in the world, the Hum in Central Istria has only 30 inhabitants and until today has preserved city institutions.

Midday & Lunch:After exploring beautiful Hum, we go to Truffle hunting adventure. Truffles are one of the biggest and tastiest symbols of Istria. In the Istrian truffle “Bermuda” triangle between Pazin, Buje, and Buzet, especially in the valley of the river Mirna and in the Motovun forest, white and black truffles have their natural habitat.

Truffles are an unavoidable attraction of the entire Istrian region, and when passing through central Istria, it is simply impossible not to taste some of the typical dishes with truffles such as fuži, pljukanci, gnocchi, fritada, or some delicious combinations with meat. 

With our partners in the town of Buzet, we will organize a “truffle hunt”, get to know all the beauties of this delicacy, and for lunch, taste some dishes with truffles.

Istria is a Truffle paradise - Croatia
❐ Pasta with truffles in one of the famous Istrian delicacies

Afternoon:In the second part of the day, after the delicious lunch, we will visit Buzet. A small fort located on a hill above the river Mirna was first mentioned in 804, but we trace the historical continuity of the settlement from prehistory through antiquity and the Middle Ages – until today.

A leisurely walk through the walls and the narrow town center of Buzet, with a historical review and beautiful panoramas of central Istria, takes you back in time and brings you the best of this region.

In the afternoon, we arrive in Motovun. The most famous veduta of the whole Istria, Montona, i.e., Motovun is a small town that is counted among the best-preserved medieval urban units in Croatia. Located on a hillside above the valley of the Mirna river, this small town, in addition to its historical value, is today famous as one of the centers of hedonism in the whole world.

A walk through Motovun, exploring the hidden streets of this beautiful town, with a visit to the Gothic bell tower from the 13th century, and admiring the frescoes in the church of the Blessed Virgin Mary dei Servi while having a short break and enjoying the best of the white Istrian wines because surely highlight your visit to Istria.

Evening:After an enjoyable exploration of Motovun, we are checking into our accommodation, while for the rest of the evening, you will have free time. We are happy to recommend you some of the best places for delicious Motovun dinner.

Motovun in the evening - Istria - Croatia
❐ One of the most beautiful town in Croatia, the famous Motovun, is especially beautiful during the late evenings.

FACTS ABOUT MOTOVUN

  • Truffle Wonderland

And while Motovun itself gives off a luxurious impression, what makes it even more attractive are certainly the truffles that grow at the foot of the hill in the Motovun forest. It can rightly be said that the Istrian truffle is the king of Croatian gastronomy. In Motovun itself, on the top of the hill, some of the best restaurants that work with truffles are located, and we definitely recommend those that have the “tartufo vero” certificate, which means that your food is always served with fresh truffles.

  • Wine Paradise

Motovun gastronomy is also known for something else. This part of Croatia is known for exceptional wines. Thus, in the immediate vicinity of Motovun, you will come across several important families engaged in wine production. We always warmly recommend wineries that are exclusively or heavily focused on the production of wine from autochthonous grape varieties that give the best results in Istria, namely Malvasia, Terano and Muškat.

  • Historical Importance

The view of Motovun is dominated by the powerful city walls and the 27-meter-high Romanesque-Gothic belfry with a toothed crown from the 13th century, located next to the parish church of St. Stephen the First Martyr from the 17th century. In the central town square there is also a Romanesque communal palace from the 13th century, the largest profane building in Istria from that period. In total, there are 26 protected cultural monuments in the old town core of Motovun, which is why the cultural and historical complex of Motovun has the status of a protected cultural property.

DAY 2: Parenžana Trail (Hiking or Biking)

Destination: Motovun, Croatia
Meals Included: B

Parenzana Trail Tunnels - Istria - Croatia
❐ Standard tunnels on the Parenžana trail were built specifically for the narrow-gauge railway that once connected Trieste and Poreč.

Itinerary Note: Use the Funky Tours benefits of your optional day and decide what kind of activity you would like to engage with on Day 2. Today is a special day, in which, for maximum flexibility, we hike or optionally go biking between Motovun and Goržnjan, via the most beautiful part of the path of the old Parenžana railway. Alternatively, you can have a free day to explore Motovun and Parenžana on your own.

Parenžana Trail:Parenžana is a narrow-gauge railway that connected Trieste through a series of stations, with Poreč as the final station. Hence the name Parenžana, i.e. Porečanka, was in operation from 1902 to 1935. It passed through three countries: Italy (13 km), Slovenia (32 km), and Croatia (78 km). The railway corridor has been preserved today, as well as a large number of accompanying railway facilities, bridges, viaducts, and tunnels.

Part of the route of the old railway, from the Italy-Slovenia border crossing to Poreč, has been converted into bicycle and pedestrian paths, and the reconstruction of certain sections of the railway for tourist purposes is also being considered.

The fate of the rails of this railway is interesting. Mussolini’s authorities dismantled and removed the rails and shipped them to their recently occupied colony of Abyssinia (Ethiopia). The ship never reached its destination because it sank in the Mediterranean Sea.

The beautiful panoramas of Istria, vineyards, drystone terraces, viaducts, tunnels, bridges, medieval fortresses, and the Adriatic Sea in the distance are scenes that will absolutely amaze you.

The length of the trail for hiking in one direction from Motovun to Goržnjan is about 20 kilometers, and if you decide on the biking variant, then we go with the option of a circular tour of about 45 kilometers.

If you decide to have a free day and explore Motovun, in the afternoon, we can organize a visit to the local Istrian wineries and taste the globally famous Istrian Malvazija or a visit to one of the producers of one of the best olive oils.

Parenzana Trail in Istria - Croatia
❐ Beautiful scenery on the Parenžana trail in Istria

Evening:Time on your own to explore Motovun further on.

DAY 3: Istrian Coastline (Poreč - Vrsar - Rovinj)

Destination: Rovinj, Croatia
Accommodation: 4*
Meals Included: B

Rovinj - Croatia
❐ Rovinj

Itinerary Note:Today we are visiting the beautiful Istrian coast of the Adriatic Sea.

Morning:In the early morning, we leave Motovun and head towards Poreč. Before arriving in Poreč we can optionally visit the Baredine cave.

The Baredine cave is a karst phenomenon, a geomorphological monument of nature, and the first Istrian speleological site designed to meet tourist requirements; as such, it has been open since 1995. The tour lasts about 40 minutes, with a local guide, where you will visit five chambers with a total trail length of 300m. The scenes inside the cave are fascinating.

A visit to beautiful Poreč consists of a locally guided walking tour, with visits to the most important attractions in the old town of Poreč, a city with over 2000 years of history. After the guided tour, you have free time in Poreč, which you can use to visit UNESCO heritage sites such as Basilia Eurphrasia or drink a glass of Istrian Malvazija in the Round Tower.

Porec - Istria - Croatia
❐ Porec

Midday:After a great morning in Poreč, before arriving in Rovinj, we will make a short visit to Vrsar.

Vrsar has been known since ancient times as a place rich in drinking water, a place of salt production, recognizable gray stone, and wines, and was a popular location for sailors. We definitely recommend a leisurely walk through the winding streets of the old town of Vrsar with a visit to the unmissable parish church of St. Martin, the patron saint of the city, or the church of St. Foška, Vrsar’s co-patron, and Dušan Džamonja’s sculpture park.

Vrsar in Istria - Croatia
❐ Vrsar

Afternoon:After Vrsar we continue towards Rovinj. Before the walking tour of Rovinj, we first check into our accommodation, and in the afternoon, before sunset and dinner we go on a leisurely walking tour of one of the most beautiful and romantic cities of the Istrian coast, but also of the whole of Croatia.

Although it is mentioned in written sources as early as the 6th century AD, it is believed that life in these parts of Istria dates back to prehistoric times.

Rovinj is a city of romantics, sailors, and historians and is an extremely popular destination for a large number of lovers of the mild Mediterranean climate. A walk through the old part of Rovinj with a visit to the Franciscan monastery from the 18th century and a beautiful city promenade is the ultimate experience in Rovinj.

Considering that the Rovinj region has warm summers and mild winters, this town is extremely popular as a year-round tourist attraction, especially health tourism.

Evening:Spend the free evening exploring Rovinj on your own.

Rovinj - Istria - Croatia
❐ Rovinj in the evening

OPTIONAL ACTIVITIES TO CONSIDER IN ROVINJ

  • Batana Story

Batana is a small wooden fishing boat with a flat bottom, traditional for the Rovinj climate. Although today few people dare to go out into the open sea in batana in search of fish, the tradition of batana is preserved to this day. This symbol of the city got its own museum in 2004 – House of Batana. In addition to the history of the batana, the museum offers various workshops, as well as traditional batana rides around the old city center at dawn.

  • Rock climbing in Punta Corrente Park-Forest

Punta Corrente Park-Forest is only a 15-minute walk from the city. The park was built at the turn of the 19th and 20th centuries and is an ideal destination for rest and recreation. If you have always wanted to try your hand at rock climbing, there is a climbing area at the very end of the forest park, about twenty meters from the sea.

  • Rovinj Beaches

South of the old town you will come across three popular beaches: Mulini Beach, City Beach and Lone Bay. The aforementioned Punta Corrente park-forest is full of pebble and rocky bays and is a popular swimming destination for locals. Even further south, the beaches of the Villas Rubin resort, Punta Eva bay inside the Polari campsite, sandy beach Veštar and Kuvi bay await you. Popular beaches north of the city are Amarin and Valalta.

  • Wreck diving

If you like adrenaline activities, you will be glad that diving is very popular here. In the vicinity of Rovinj, the sea surrounds and hides many shipwrecks, the best preserved of which is the wreck of the passenger ship Baron Gautsch, sunk in 1914. Today, more than a hundred years later, the wreck lies at a depth of thirty meters, 12.5 nautical miles from the coast, waiting for divers to explore it.

DAY 4: Brijuni National Park, Pula and Premantura

Destination: Rovinj, Croatia
Accommodation: 4*
Meals Included: B

UNESCO Roman Time Arena in Pula
❐ UNESCO site of Roman Arena in Pula

Itinerary Note: Today, we are exploring the southern parts of Istria, where you can optionally visit Brijuni National Park and the protected landscape of Premantura. The most impressive part of the day is visit to Pula with its Roman-era arena.

Morning:After a free early morning in Rovinj, we visit Fažana, a picturesque place, close to Pula, which is the starting point for visiting the Brijuni National Park.

If you optionally decide to visit Brijuni, we will recommend a locally guided by the National Park staff two-hour tour, which will include a short 15min boat ride to the island itself, a safari train ride, and a visit to the photo exhibition dedicated to Tito, whose lifelong favorite destination was Brijuni.

In addition, you will discover all the beauty of the 14 islands of the national park and the rich flora and fauna, combined with historical insight into the history of Brijuni, especially from the period of Austria-Hungary and Yugoslavia.

Brijuni National Park - Istria - Croatia
❐ National Park Brijuni

Midday and Lunch:After returning to the coast, we continue towards Pula. The largest city in Istria, widely known for one of the world’s most famous arenas – the Pula Arena, is the largest and best-preserved monument of ancient architecture in Croatia.

Upon arrival in Pula, we will organize a locally guided tour, which will introduce you to the most famous and important parts and facts of Pula. After that, you have free time in Pula, because Pula is not only the Roman amphitheater but much more than that.

Funky Tours host will be happy to recommend you great places for lunch in Pula.

Ancient Roman Amphitheater in Pula, Croatia
❐ During your free time, you will have a chance to visit one of the most beautiful Roman-era monuments, the famous arena in Pula

Afternoon:The later afternoon adventure of exploring southern Istria we can optionally spent visiting the protected landscape of Premantura.

For lovers of untouched nature, beautiful beaches, and turquoise sea, we highly recommend the region around Cape Kamenjak. Afternoon chill in some of the local beach bars, along with summer swimming, is the ideal end of the day.

Premantura Njive Beach Bar at Rt Kamenjak - Istria - Croatia
❐ Njive beach at Premantura

Evening:Late evening return to Rovinj is planned. You will have free time for dinner and exploring Rovinj.

DAY 5: Rural Istria (Wine and Food)

Destination: Tour ends on your destination request
Accommodation: Not planned
Meals Included: B

Rural Istria
❐ Rural Istria offers great insight into the preserved traditions of Istrian region

Itinerary Note:Touring Istria without tasting the best of the Istrian gastronomic offer, such as Istrian wines, olive oil and delicious local food from Istrian producers, is a big mistake.

Therefore, on this last day of our Istrian program, in addition to the transfer to the desired destination at the end of the day, we offer you an optional visit to the best Istrian wineries and one of the top local agritourisms.

Morning & Midday:In the morning, we check out from our hotel in Rovinj and head towards central and northern Istria, which is a paradise for lovers of delicious food and good wine.

In the north, there are some of the best Istrian wineries, such as Kozlovic, Kabola, Clai, Rossi, and others. The history of wine and Istrian hosts is an inseparable story that has lasted almost 2,000 years, ever since the Roman emperor Marcus Aurelius brought the vine to the warm Istrian land.

Globally known Malvazija and Terano varieties, which account for ⅔ of production, are unique wines of the Istrian region, which you absolutely must try. Thus, according to your choice and taste and our local knowledge of the Istrian wine list, we will suggest two of the most authentic wineries in this part of Istria.

In addition to Malvasia and Teran, Istria has an ideal climate for growing other globally known wine varieties such as Chardonnay, Pinot, Merlot, Sauvignon, and Cabernet Sauvignon and offers something for everyone from its rich offer.

In addition to wine tasting, we will definitely try some of the best local olive oils because Istria is globally known as one of the producers of the best olive oils in the world.

Istrian Wine Tasting
❐ Wine tasting experience in Istria

Lunch:We are planning lunch in one of the famous Istrian agrotourisms, such as Dol or Mekiši. Istrian agrotourisms are true guardians of tradition, and a visit to one of the most authentic Istrian rural agrotourisms is an unavoidable part of our tour.

Tasting of authentically prepared homemade food, juices, honey, and other delicacies of the Istrian region is part of the tour to which we paid great attention.

Brudet - fish stew traditionally made in regions of Istria
❐ Brudet – fish stew traditionally made in Istria

Afternoon:At the end of the day, we transfer you to the location of your choice (Pula, Ljubljana, Zagreb, Split), and the tour ends there.

Alternatively, if you are not a big fan of wine and wineries, on this day, we can visit Pazin, Učka Nature Park or spend part of the day swimming on some of the interesting beaches of Istria.

We end the day with a drop-off at the desired location in the wider region of Istria.

AUTHENTIC ISTRA WINES TO TRY

Istrian wine is the poetry of taste and smell; it is an inseparable part of the Istrian man, his passion and love, the deepest intimacy and open pride, a luxurious gift of rocky soil and abundant sunshine.

From the gold of Malvasia to the ruby of Teran, from young light wines of vivid autumn to the full elegant flavors of mature barrique, Istrian wines offer a layered story that has only just begun to be revealed.

  • Malvasia

Malvasia – there are white and black malvasias, but the white variety is much more famous. Istrian Malvasia wine is medium to strong, full, rounded and harmonious with an alcohol content between 11.5 and 13.5 vol. %. It is a golden and fragrant wine, the fruit aromas are mostly dominated by apple, plum and apricot, and in the ripe wine you can feel the slight bitter taste of almonds. About 60% of the wine produced in Istria refers to Malvazija. In 1998, it was declared the best autochthonous variety in Croatia and a year later the best white wine in Croatia.
Malvasia is served at a temperature of 10°C with appetizers with vegetables and pasta with cheese-based sauces, and cream, smoked fish, boiled and baked white fish, boiled veal and pork.

  • Teran

Teran – an old Istrian autochthonous variety that was first mentioned more than 600 years ago. Until a hundred years ago, it was also the main Istrian variety that was planted on most of the local vineyards. Gives moderate to strong wine, 11-12.5 vol% alcohol. It achieves top quality in good years in the area of central Istria, but also on the red soils of northwestern Istria. Teran wine has a characteristic ruby-red color, which is interwoven with a purple tone. The aroma is fine, pronounced and recognizable, with a typical fruity character dominated by the taste of raspberry. Due to its inherent fullness and large amount of polyphenols, it is also considered a medicinal wine.
Due to its characteristics, it goes perfectly with meat dishes, as well as with prosciutto and cheese. Its characteristics are best expressed if it is served at a temperature of around 18-20°C.

  • Refošk

Refošk is an autochthonous Istrian variety, with a rich expression and character, with a fruity bouquet of raspberry and cherry and a light shade of grass. Its color is intense, deep, like a ruby, and it is rich in lactic acid and iron. It is prescribed numerous medicinal properties. It is  especially served with Istrian prosciutto. It is served at a temperature of 16°C. Refošk does not have a lot of alcohol, on average it reaches around 11 vol.% alcohol. As it ages, it acquires a more intense fruity smell and a high-value aroma.

What to Bring

What Do I Need to Bring?

  • Comfortable walking shoes
  • If doing a tour in winter period, waterproof jacket/raincoat in case of rains and warm jacket in case of announced cold temperatures
  • Light-weight, breathable walking shirts and trousers
  • Sun protection for summer time

Frequently Asked Questions

  1. Where can I start this tour from?
    The standard itinerary planned is for the tour to start from the Croatian capital of Zagreb. However if needed, this tour can alternatively start from Pula, Ljubljana, Venice, or even Split or Sarajevo.
  2. When to do this tour?
    This tour is available all year long. However, the best time to do this tour is May to October.
  3. Is breakfast provided during the tour?
    Your 4* accommodation provides breakfast. Other meals are not included in the trip package.
  4. Can I do a Parenžana bike or hike od Day 2?
    The length of the hiking and biking option of Parenžana trail is flexible, meaning we can make it long and much as it fits your personal physique. 
  5. If I don’t prefer visiting wineries, what are my options?
    This tour is highly flexible, and since Istra region offers so much, this itinerary can be altered according to guest’s needs. 
  6. How much in advance should I book this tour?
    Istria region during the season tends to be very expensive, especially during the high season, and that is why we recommend this tour to be booked at least 4-6 months in advance. Booking this tour in advance guarantees the cost effectiveness.
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