Recently we decided to take a road trip to the Istrian Peninsula in Croatia. It was a long weekend here in Budapest and the weather was gorgeous, so it was perfect to spend it close to the sea and enjoying nature.
We rented a country house in the heart of the peninsula, making it easier for us to access various places around the same peninsula. The drive from Budapest to the house we rented took us around 7 hours, including some stops along the way, and we travelled roughly 600km. Just as a comparison, the Island of Malta is 30km long… so we travelled around 20 times the length of our home country! 😲 Although long (and quite tiring), it was definitely worth it.
On the first day, we left Budapest quite early in the morning to make sure we arrive a bit earlier and make the most out of our first evening in Croatia. As soon as we arrived, we unpacked the car and took a tour of the house and the land around it. It was truly a beautiful house, equipped with all the basic requirements. The owner of the house was also kind to provide us with a big bowl of fresh local fruits and breakfast supplies.
After a short rest and settling in, we made our way to Motovun. This place reminded us a lot of our home country. It somewhat resembled Mdina… however similar it was, at the same time it was also quite different. This town is very popular for truffles because of the forest close by where truffles are commonly found. Various shops trying to sell all kinds of truffle products line the narrow streets of the town and all restaurants obviously have at least one truffle dish on their menus. By the evening, we were quite hungry and decided to have dinner at one of the restaurants there. We had a table on the terrace, enjoying sunset, the fresh truffles and a bottle of wine!
Breakfast for the next days consisted of toasted sandwiches, fresh fruit, cookies and tea. We enjoyed the nature around us while lazying around on the outside terrace.
Since we enjoy hiking, on the second day, we decided to head towards Učka National Park and climb to highest point on the Istrian Peninsula, Vojak. On our way to the Park, we decided to take the country roads to explore the small villages around the peninsula. It was a wonderful day with perfect weather for hiking. It took us just below 2 hours to hike all the way up. We spent some time up there enjoying the breathtaking views and then made our way back to the car.
After all the energy we burnt, we were very hungry and had lunch at one of the restaurants there. This particular restaurant was mainly frequented by bikers, cyclists and other hikers who were in the area. We were treated to generous portions of braised lamb, wild meat goulash, baked potatoes, bread dumplings and a fresh salad. Heaven! 😀
After lunch, we drove back to the house, had a short rest and got ready to go out again. We headed towards Rovinj, a small town by the sea, which is very popular with tourists. We arrived there exactly on time to enjoy a beautiful sunset. We then walked around to explore this charming town. Narrow and winding streets filled with gorgeous buildings, mostly rented out to visitors. One restaurant after the other line the waterfront and we noticed that most of them were packed with people, enjoying dinner or a drink! We were still full from lunch and opted for a gelato! We definitely deserved it after the steep uphill hike! 😀
Day 3, our last full day in Croatia! The plan was to explore towns on the west coast of the peninsula. We headed back to Rovinj, but on our way there we stopped at a fjord. This reminded us of our last year’s holiday in Norway. We enjoyed the magnificent views for a while and continued on our way to Rovinj. We confirmed that it is charming both during the night and by day.
Our next stop was Bale, a very beautiful little town further down the coast.
By this time, the day was too hot and we were getting tired and hungry. We stopped in Fažana next, a sea side town. We walked along the beach for a while and then stopped at one of the restaurants. Pizza seemed really good at this particular place and we opted for that!
Time to move to the next and last town. We headed towards Pula, which is further down and almost at the bottom tip of the peninsula. It is famous for its amphitheater, which resembles the Colosseum in Rome. After a long walk around the town, we headed towards the shore to enjoy our last Croatian sunset.
Our trip to the Istrian peninsula was really a great one. We really enjoyed our time in the quiet countryside and appreciated the slow pace of the towns we visited. It made us realise that sometimes we have to stop and observe and only then we can truly appreciate the beauty that surround us.
Istria, we will be back… Until next time! 😉