Ancient Hilltop Town of Motovun
Ancient Hilltop Town of Motovun

Explore the Inland Villages of Istria, Istria


Discover Istria, the largest Croatian peninsula, known for its history, olive oil, wines, and truffles! Despite being a peninsula, Istria is the most developed region in Croatia and has plenty of tourism. The western coast features seaside towns, such as Umag, Novigrad, Poreč, and Rovinj. Although this is the region's most popular area, Istria's inland villages are just as interesting and often missed. 

Inland Istria is sometimes called "Little Tuscany." It boasts hilly scenery, agriculture, and Italian vibes, thanks to its interesting history, olive groves, and vineyards. Additionally, Istria has also held the "Best Olive Region in the World" title more than once, rivaling its Italian neighbors!

There are a few inland villages worth visiting in Istria, the most popular being the medieval hilltop town of Motovun. To get there, you can pass through two other charming villages, Grožnjan and Oprtalj. Grožnjan is a small, quaint place known for an artistic colony and incredible views of surrounding valleys and the seaside. Oprtalj, on the other hand, is a great stop for lunch at the famous Kozlović family restaurant.

Upon arrival in Motovun, enjoy strolling through the town's twisting cobbled streets, all with origins from the 13the century. The town is known for three distinct layers of city walls the city used for protection. Pass through the old town gate while enjoying views of the countryside, stopping for a coffee at a cafe, or to buy some truffle products. If you enjoy wine, Motovun is surrounded by several acclaimed vineyards and wineries. 

Another activity that draws visitors to Istria (particularly to Motovun) is truffle hunting—the area has the highest density of truffles! You'll find plenty of quaint shops within Motovun's walls selling the prized ingredient, but you can also opt for a truffle hunting excursion. One of the biggest truffles ever discovered was found in this area.

Discover more cultural experiences in Croatia.

Itineraries with Explore the Inland Villages of Istria

Istria to Dubrovnik: Land & Sea - 12 Days

Explore Croatia's Istrian Peninsula and be mesmerized by medieval fortress towns, discover the beauty of UNESCO World Heritage Sites, and look upon stunning coastal views as you make your way from Rovinj to Hvar. Board a private sailboat and be dazzled by Croatia's islands as you make your way across the Adriatic Sea to Dubrovnik. Feel the spirit of the Mediterranean on this 12-day adventure.

Best of Croatia: Zagreb, Rovinj, Plitvice, & Split - 9 Days

Experience Croatia's charming capital and coastal cities, medieval hilltop towns, and peaceful islands with this complete 9-day itinerary. You'll discover the best attractions starting from Zagreb as you venture throughout the Istrian Peninsula, through stunning Plitvice Lakes National Park, and down the Dalmatian coast to end in historic Split. Explore Pula's famed Roman Arena, wander amid the Roman and Byzantine ruins of Brijuni National Park, and listen to the music of Zadar's sea organ.

Best of Croatia & Slovenia: Zagreb, Ljubljana, Istria, & Dalmatia - 16 Days

A great route to discover Slovenia and Croatia over 16 unforgettable days. Starting in Croatia's dynamic capital, you'll first head into Slovenia to discover charming Ljubljana, the popular Lake Bled and Lake Bohinj, as well as the captivating Soča Valley and Kobarid. Then, continue into the romantic Istrian peninsula discovering the walled hilltop towns and thickly wooded landscape before working your way to stunning Plitvice Lakes and then on to the Dalmatian coast ending your stay in medieval Dubrovnik.

Magical Istria: Zagreb, Rovinj, Brijuni, & Pula - 6 Days

Spend six days touring Croatia's magical Istrian Peninsula, starting and ending in the dynamic capital of Zagreb. Soak in the stunning beauty of the romantic countryside as you work your way to the Venetian-influenced city of Rovinj on Istria's coast, your base for the next three nights. You'll discover nearby medieval hilltop towns of Grožnjan, Oprtalj, and Motovun, as well as visit the small fishing town of Fažana, explore Brijuni National Park, and tour Pula's famous Roman ruins.