Central Istria is the heart of the peninsula, the original Istria whose fruitful land have been feeding its residents for thousands of years. This region is home to ancient roads which defy the mountains in search of more unexplored jewels of nature.
Here you can explore the narrow, cobbled streets of picturesque little towns and peek into the windows filled with flowers. Come and enjoy the supreme gastronomy which holds the region’s rich history in every bite. Here you can relax in beautiful nature and listen to the sound of birds looking for shelter.
Magnificent cliffs, old castles and cheerful people. You can find it all in the superb central Istria, the one which holds the reputation of being mystical.
Here we will reveal to you its secrets!
1. Hunting for the underground treasure
The most famous Istrian delicacy, so rare that its weight is measured in thousands of euros, hides itself in the fertile land of river Mirna valley. Experienced truffle hunters and their dogs still find it and prepare gastronomical specialties such as fritaja. They enrich fritaja with these mushrooms whose taste is so specific it cannot compare to anything else in the world. You can also start searching!
In the fall, when their season is at its peak, head out to central Istria. There you can join the truffle hunters which have been hunting for this underground treasure for generations and are familiar with all the secrets. You can dig out one of the most expensive foods in the world and taste it as part of Istrian meals. Here you can see why is it so special that it captures the palates of gourmets all around the world.
2. Kažuni, shelters for hardworking shepherds
In every Istrian souvenir shop you will see little replicas of stone houses called kažuni. Although they look as if they came out of a fairy-tale, these houses were actually built by shepherds who sought shelter from the summer heat or from the autumn rains. Today they are scattered around the Istrian peninsula like rare pearls.
What is most interesting about kažuni is their building style – no binding materials were used. Shepherds used the same technique as with drystone walls. The quality of their craftsmanship? The fact that kažuni have been defying the weather conditions for hundreds of years says enough.
3. Artistic treasures of Istrian churches
Seemingly plain, these medieval churches and chapels, centres of picturesque Istrian towns, hide true artistic treasures inside. Created between the 11th and 16th century to show the illiterate peasants Biblical events, today they are considered true works of art. Of course, we are talking about frescoes.
Magical and mystical enough to be at the centre of Antun Šoljan’s novel A Brief Excursion, they can be found on 140 locations around the peninsula. They will take you to another time, another way of thinking and another system of belief.
Take a closer look at these frescoes! They will not tell you only about the beliefs of former residents, but also about the events such as the bubonic plague that marked their lives.
4. Gastronomical stops on green hilltops
Do you know what Istrian supa is? This heated red wine, enriched with olive oil, sugar, pepper and a piece of toasted bread, is served in bukaleta on the tables on traditional Istrian konobas. This is just one of the gastronomical delicacies that you can experience. Indigenous Istrian beef called boškarin is used to make the most cherished Istrian meat products.
Stop by the local manufacturers that make prosciutto, cheese and honey. Taste these specialties and learn about how they are made and what makes them special. Of course, it all tastes even more magical with a glass of delicious Istrian wine that will capture the palates of all those looking for aromas bathed in sunshine.
5. Nature that has a lot to offer
Caves, canyons, cliffs, forests, rivers, creeks, mountains. The beauties of central Istria are heaven for all those who want to relax in the charms of nature. Recreationalists and adrenaline addicts can fly over the Pazinska jama on a zip-line. Head out for an adventurous MTB ride through mesmerising settings and discover why Feštinsko kingdom doesn’t have it’s king, but is still very rich.
6. Lovely towns that awaken your imagination
Central Istria displays numerous old stone towns. Their residents have been guarding the traditions and stories of their ancestors for centuries. Some of them are real tourist attractions. Hum is the smallest city in the world with its 22 residents. Motovun is the best kept Istrian fortress and the summer destination for all film lovers due to Motovun Film Festival.
The Romans called Istria terra magica, and with a good reason. Here you will get carried away by its charms on first sight.
If you have any more questions or have decided to visit Istria and you need accommodation, contact us and we will gladly answer all your questions!