While the west coast of Istria is steadily growing in popularity, the authentic culture and natural beauty of Istria’s countryside is still relatively underexplored, and with a strong network of walking trails this route is ideal for getting off the beaten track and discovering somewhere new on foot. Istria has more than a passing resemblance to its neighbour Italy across the Adriatic, and this is felt in the characteristic Mediterranean scenery, climate and cuisine as well as the fact that almost half of the population of some towns identify as ethnically Italian. The route ahead links a series of quaint Istrian towns and villages, along meadows and forest paths, mountain passes, valleys, rivers, vineyard terraces and even an old railway line that has now been converted into a dedicated walking and cycling trail.
From the hilltop town of Brtonigla, your route wends its way from the north-west of Istria east across the country to the coast at Lovran. Your journey takes you through a succession of picturesque hilltop towns and traditional Istrian villages, including Hum, a town that dates back to the middle ages and is recognised as the smallest of its kind in the world. The landscape is wild and rural, with farms and vineyards generally being the most built-up aspects of your route. You can expect a walk that takes you through forests, woodland, meadows and along riverbanks, as well as routes that cross paths with some stunning waterfalls. The end of the route joins a section leading up to the highest point of Istria at Mt Učka before the route descends to meet the Adriatic at Lovran.
Waiting for you at the end of a day’s walk are the traditional country houses and small, personable hotels that make up the choice of places to stay in the Istrian countryside, an area well-known for its warm hospitality. In a region celebrated for the fine quality of its local produce, it should come as no surprise to find typical Istrian specialities to top off a day spent exploring the surrounding countryside. We handpick a variety of hotels and guesthouses dependent on: the area, availability, season and the feedback we receive from our walkers. Our rural accommodations are typically more akin to a traditional B&B experience, whereas you may find that the hotel’s we handpick in larger town have a larger number of amenities such as swimming pools, spas and saunas.
Our Landscapes & Flavours of Green Istria Itineraries
Your journey begins with a short 10-minute transfer to Brtonigla. All around you, acres of vineyards and olive groves surround the pathways that lead you through meadows and woods, deep into the fabric of a landscape far removed from the crowds.
In a part of the world renowned for its fine wines and olive oils, you’ll find opportunities to visit the area’s traditional family-owned wine cellars. From your path through vineyards you reach Buje, a small hilltop town where you can see right over the terraced fields, vineyards and olive groves beyond. Buje is abundant with history and culture, a perfect stop for some sightseeing before following the old railway path to your hotel. Overnight in Buje area.
After breakfast, a short 10-minute transfer will take you to the start of today’s route at Grožnjan. Follow the former Parenzana railway, a narrow-gauge Austrian railway that has now been reworked into a series of cycling and walking trails.
Your route takes you through several tunnels and over old bridges where you can stop to admire the view, before reaching the village of Livade. The village is famous for its truffles, and there are many opportunities here to taste and buy some products with truffles. From here, walk to the hilltop town of Motovun and your accommodation for the night.
Walking distance: Ascent: 455m. Descent: 478m. Distance: 26 km / 16 miles. Time: 7-8 hours. An alternative shorter walk is available at approximately 20 km / 12 miles, taking 5-6 hours.
Today's walk leads right from your hotel along a descending route from the hilltop through vineyards to the small village Brkač where you can stop for a traditional Istrian lunch in a local tavern. Your route then takes you back to Motovun on the Parenzana trail. On your way back, you could also take a break to sample the local produce at one of Istria’s many small wineries.
Walking distance: Ascent 429m / descent 429m, Distance 17 km / 10 miles (approx. 3 -4h).
Following breakfast, a short 15-minute transfer takes you to Oprtalj, a picturesque little town from where the Istrian Mountain Trail begins. Your route descends into the forest, passing Sveti Ivan (St. John) village as well as the village of St.Lucija, which has a very beautiful church.
Your route through villages brings you to a magnificent view over the river Mirna valley, before meeting Pietrapelosa castle and then descending into the valley proper. After passing by an aqueduct the trail leads downhill towards the village of Mali Mlun where the trail opens onto a beautiful view of the town of Buzet, the end-point of today’s route
Hiking distance: Ascent: 622m. Descent: 866m. Distance: 19 km / 11 miles. Time: 5-6 hours. Alternative shorter walk is available at approximately 8 km / 5 miles, taking 2-3 hours.
Today’s path to Buzet can be a circular trail or one-way, if starting from Hum. Your trail follows the river into a forest, taking you over a shallow river where you’ll cross paths with waterfalls along your route. A gentle trail then leads into Kotli, with water springs and old watermill.
Your trail then passes through Benčići, an abandoned village of traditional Istrian stone houses. From there you'll see Hum with its distinctive church tower in the distance. With a population of only seventeen, Hum holds the Guinness World Record for “Smallest Town in the World” and here you can visit the local ‘konoba’ (restaurant in local dialect), which serves traditional Istrian dishes. The “Way of Mistletoe” then leads you back to Buzet.
Walking distance: Ascent: 534m. Descent: 534m. Distance: 26km/16 miles. Time: 7-8 hours. Alternative shorter walk is available at approximately 14 km / 8 miles. Time: 3-4 hours.
Today’s route begins with a transfer to Poklon, situated between two hills from where the trail starts. Your route scales the top of Učka mountain, the highest mountain in Istria with an altitude of 1401 m, where you’ll find a stunning panorama from the summit over Kvarner Bay, the sea, coastal towns, as well as the mountains of Obruc, Snjeznik and Risnjak. If visibility is good, it’s possible to catch sight of Venice and the Alps towards the north. The trail then descends all the way down to sea level at Lovran, where the oak and chestnut forests that line the route offer a pleasant freshness in the heat of summer.
Walking distance: Ascent: 452m. Descent: 1400m. Distance: 12 km / 7 miles. Time: 5-6 hours. Alternative shorter walk is available at approximately Ascent: 90m. Descent: 390m. Distance 6 km / 4 miles. Time: 2 hours.
7 nights’ accommodation on a bed and breakfast basis
Holiday briefing meeting after arrival
All personal transfers where indicated in the itinerary
Road Book (route notes) showing directions to your accommodation.
Price Does Not Include
Packed lunches – packed lunch provisions are available locally.
Travel to Buje and from Lovran
You choose which day you would like your holiday to start on. We will book your holiday in accordance with your requirements.
Our Landscapes & Flavours of Green Istria holidays are available to walk March to November.
Please note that your accommodation for the first 2 nights will be in the Buje area (Volpija village – 4km or Kaldanjia 5km) and not in the centre of Buje itself. If you are arriving by public transport to Buje a local taxi will be arranged for the last part of your journey to take you to your accommodation.
As transport links to the villages are extremely limited we suggest that you pre-book a private transfer directly from the airport to your first accommodation.
Pula is the regional airport and flights from the UK are available via Zagreb. Trieste Airport is the closest airport serviced by direct flights from the UK with Ryan Air and Alitalia offering services.
You are responsible for booking your air travel to airports and onward travel to your first accommodation and from your accommodation on departure.
FROM PULA AIRPORT Shuttle bus from airport to Pula bus station
Bus from Pula to Buje with local bus companies such as Brioni and FILS but bus lines are restricted and we recommend checking bus routes in advance
Collection from Buje bus station to accommodation
FROM TRIESTE AIRPORT We recommend that you pre-book airport transfers as public transport is very limited
RETURN TO PULA AIRPORT
Local bus from Lovran to Rijeka and then a change of bus from Rijeka to Pula
Shuttle bus from Pula bus station to Pula Airport
RETURN TO TRIESTE AIRPORT We recommend that you pre-book airport transfers as public transport is very limited.
We can organise additional nights/rest days, as well as transport options. Please contact us to discuss how we can help you with your specific requirements. Call one of our helpful team on +44 (0)1291 689774 or e-mail us here.
Booking Request - Landscapes & Flavours of Green Istria
What Happens Next?
We will check your details and come back to you within two working days with a personalised estimate based on your requirements. We will then formally request a deposit of £150 per person (£100 per person for a single centre break) and book all your arrangements - find out about our full booking process here.
Please note this does not constitute a booking confirmation, we kindly ask you to refrain from booking any travel until we have confirmed all your arrangements.
Still Have Questions?
If you are still unsure on any of your requirements, please do enquire with us first and one of our friendly team will be happy to help you with any queries you have.
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