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What is RONA PLUS ? 2
You like the sea and the sun, but you would also like to experience the entire magical beauty of Istria? You are holding RONA PLUS Pocket Guide, the first in line of RONA PLUS brochures. In an age of information overload, we aim at providing verified, detailed, and easily accessible information. Being a private company, we are able to publish only the information we can really vouch for, and recommend only the places that
suit our criteria: authentic atmosphere and quality service at fair prices. All the places from this guide are visited regularly by our field crew, guaranteeing that the actual quality level of these places corresponds to the descriptions in the guide. Let us help you explore the true soul of this area: home-made food, local people and their way of life, secluded corners hidden to an average tourist eye, and other delights for all your senses.
RONA PLUS POCKET GUIDE: USERâ€™S MANUAL
In order to use this guide properly, you will need to buy a detailed large-scale map of Istria, such as a 1:100,000-scale. Test the map before buying it: look for a smaller town, such as GondoliÄ‡i, about 3 km south of Labin. The pocket guide concentrates on places you have probably never heard of, because these are the places where people experience the most memorable moments. There are five ideas for one-day road trips, composed of nearby destinations, so you could spend less time in a car, and more in enjoyment! Some day trips are circular, and any of the mentioned places can be the starting point; if you choose to change the order, pay attention to the opening hours of your destinations so that you would not find 3 them closed. Around the middle of each trip there is a lunch suggestion: welltried taverns, where you will certainly not be disappointed neither by the food and atmosphere, nor by the price. All prices are from May/June 2012. In the restaurants section of the brochure, only individual portion meals were taken as guidance for establishing price ranges. Rovinj
Rocks, sea, dinosaurs, and the craziest bar in Istria!
The well renowned tourist guide Lonely Planet has listed Cape Kamenjak as one of the most desirable destinations for a secluded holiday on the Mediterranean: the cape, also the southmost point of Istria, is dominated by rocks, the sea, and peace. A web of numerous bike trails make Cape Kamenjak a wonderful place to go biking all year long; however, in the summer most people prefer it for swimming. First go to the village of Premantura, which is also the entrance to Kamenjak. A 600-meter-long walking route called Following the Dinosaur Ways on Kamenjak begins near the entrance, where you can see dinosaur models and actual footprints left by the dinosaurs that used to walk these parts. You can explore the route on foot or by bike, and enjoy the smells of aromatic plants and the sound of crickets chirping in the summer fields, luring you to go swimming. Drive all the way to the Parking lot at the cape’s very end (cca. 4 km), park your car, and after a few more minutes on foot you will reach the coast. A piece of advice: take a parasol if you are planning on spending the entire day there, because there is almost no shade. The higher rocks urge numerous people to try out various water jumps – you will immediately notice the jumpers’ gathering place. The cape’s wild nature is also an interesting location for diving, exploring the plant life (there are about 550 various plant species), etc. Would you ever expect to find an actual bar in this wilderness? The Safari Bar is fused so perfectly with its surroundings that you cannot really be sure whether you are in the bar or not. You will find yourself walking on straw, passing by irregularly shaped wooden benches and trunks at the tables, and pouring your drink from a faucet embedded in a rock. Besides the shade, the bar also offers numerous opportunities for play and exploration, making it a kid’s paradise. From there you can also see Porer, a little island with a 19th century lighthouse. From a protruded part of the cost, or from higher ground, you can see the nearby little island of Fenoliga, whose southern part is one of the richest dinosaurs’ footprints sites in Europe, with over 100 identified footprints. More information is available at www.kamenjak.hr
Basic Information TICKET PRICE: 25.00 HRK per car (valid all day) LOCATION: Premantura, near Pule NEARBY POINTS OF INTEREST: City of Pula
Together on wheels through the past and the present
Once upon a time the Parenzana was a narrow gauge railroad, built to connect Trieste and Poreč (Parenzo in Italian), connecting thirtythree other Istrian towns along the way. The route is 123 km long; 78 km are on Croatian territory. It was opened for traffic in 1902, but in 1935 the Mussolini government decided that the iron used for railways would be much better used for weapons. The tracks were then dismantled and loaded onto a ship bound for Abyssinia, where they were supposed to be melted into raw metal for weapons. Instead, the tracks of the Parenzana railroad met their sad end at the bottom of the Mediterranean: the ship was torpedoed, and today the railway tracks keep company to Mediterranean fishes. However, what was once a train route today is a wonderful biking route! The Parenzana is a very popular for biking and hiking. The route is very well marked and you can get started from any of a number of Istrian villages it passes by: from Poreč and Vižinada to the Slovenian border, including little towns such as Buje, Grožnjan, Oprtalj and Motovun. The well maintained eleven tunnels, numerous bridges and viaducts on its path give the experience a special atmosphere. The route is interesting to explore at any time of the year. In the winter, when the tunnels temporarily turn into ice caves with icicles hanging from the ceilings, you can chose a less demanding segment and regain your strength at one of the nearby taverns, sitting by an open fireplace and sipping Istrian soup*.
The Parenzana Museum is located in the small town of Livade. The Museum exhibits numerous fantastic old photographies and other interesting details, offering answers to any and all questions you might have about the Parenzana. Call +385-52-644-150 an hour in advance to notify the staff of your arrival, and one of them will come and give you a tour of the museum (group visits, as well as individual visits). The museum is open all year round, and free of charge. More information is available at www.parenzana.net (Parenzana itself), and at www.istria-bike.com (biking on the Parenzana).
*Istrian soup is not really a soup – it is a typical local beverage. Red wine with some spices and olive oil is warmed up on open fire, and served with pieces of toasted bread. Delicious.
Basic Information TICKET PRICE: 0,00 kn LOCATION: Savudrija – Buje – Grožnjan – Oprtalj – Motovun – Vižinada Parenzana Museum: Livade (on route from Motovun to Oprtalj NEARBY POINTS OF INTEREST: all the towns and villages the route passes by Baredine and Mramornica caves (see pp. 8-9)
The mystic underground
The glittering, amazingly shaped stalactites and stalagmites will surely be a welcome refreshment to your vacation in Istria. Istria belongs to the karst area stretched along the entire Croatian coastline, full of caves and sinkholes. How so? Trying to make its way deeper and deeper underground, water is constantly melting the limestone and opening up passages; as a result, caves are formed. Perhaps you have already noticed that there are very few rivers in Istria, and even the existing ones are rather small? In karst areas such as this one water quickly finds its way down, so karst areas are generally characterized by scarce surface waters, and – numerous caves! There are four tourist caves in Istrian countryside: Pazinska jama (the Cave of Pazin), Baredine Cave, Mramornica (Marble cave), and Feštinsko kraljevstvo (The Kingdom of Feštini). Some are caves (underground spaces with a horizontal entrance), and others are sinkholes (underground spaces with a vertical entrance), and you enter them by stairs. These mysterious spaces are home to numerous animals that never go outside, such as the olm (lat. Proteus anguinus, called čovječja ribica in Croatian, which means human fish), various crabs, insects, sponges, etc. If bats are the first animal species that comes to mind when you think of the underground, think again: actually, they are not real cave animals, as they go outside to hunt. If you decide to visit one of the caves, make sure you bring some warm clothes (long pants and a sweater). Although it may be hot outside, and even the very thought of warm clothes repels you, the temperature in the underground varies between 13 and 15oC, so do not be taken by surprise. The temperature in the inner parts of a cave is constant (never changes), and it matches the average annual temperature of the area..
Basic Information TICKET PRICE: Baredine: adults 60,00/children 35,00 students 45,00 kn Mramornica: adults 50,00 children 25,00 / students 40,00 kn Feštinsko kraljevstvo: adults 40,00 children 25,00 kn Pazinska jama: Educational trail: adults 30.00/children 15.00 kuna Speleo-adventure 100.00 kuna per person FREE OF CHARGE ON MONDAYS. All the above mentioned caves have special group discount prices.
LOCATION: Baredine: Nova Vas (near Višnjan) Mramornica: near Brtonigla Feštinsko kraljevstvo: about half way between Žminj and Barban Pazinska jama: City of Pazin OPENING HOURS: daily, 09:30-18:00 (July/Aug.) 10:00-17:00 (Sept.) Mramornica: 10:00-18:00 (prior notification at 00385-52-774-313 or 00385-52 774-276) Feštinsko kraljevstvo: daily, 10:00-18:00 (prior notification at +385-91-561-6327, +385-91-721-2854)
Pazinska jama: daily, 10:00-19:00
ŠKARLINE CANYON Refreshment accompanied by croaking frogs
NOTE: There are several villages in Istria that go by the name Nova Vas (Eng. New Village). Nova Vas referred to in this text is the one near Brtonigla, not the one near Poreč, or the one near Kršan, etc.
If you feel like taking a break from the sun and the sea, visit the Škarline canyon! Start from the village of Nova Vas. Drive to the centre of Nova Vas (a roundabout with three cypress trees, two benches and a table), turn right, and after 30 metres on your right you will see a sign and the beginning of a macadam road leading to Škarline. After a 1.7 km drive along vineyards, you will reach the entrance to Škarline. At the entrance there are two ponds with a little bridge, and a water faucet. There is also an educational board, and a waterfall which comes to life during rainy seasons. At this point the canyon is not yet visible: cross the bridge, and you will see a couple of signs, one of which points the way to Škarline canyon. On its way towards joining Mirna River, Škarline brook has created a lush green canyon. Its fresh air makes it a lovely sanctuary from the summer heat. Remember to bring some food and drink. If you are not sure which way to go, just follow the sound of the brook. Entering the canyon feels like entering a different world, with a waterfall and a clear brook meandering for several kilometres towards Mirna River through thick, shady woodland. (www.coloursofistria.com) You can also go for a hike on St. Zenon hiking route, which begins at Škarline and leads back to Brtonigla; the walk takes about two hours, depending on your pace. The hike is an easy one: a macadam road passing through vineyards, and only a small portion is asphalted. The route is well marked, courtesy of Friends of Nature association, whose members take care of the route’s signs and marks. You might also like to visit Mirna River Delta, an ornithological reserve and a popular biking area. Park your car at Antenal (next to Novigrad) and go on a bike safari in search for numerous birds!
Ĺ karline Canyon
Basic Information TICKET PRICE: 0,00 kn LOCATION: 1.7 km to the N-NE of the village of Nova Vas (near Brtonigla) NEARBY POINTS OF INTEREST: St. Zenon hiking route Mirna River Delta ornithological reserve (Antenal, next to Novigrad)
ˇ KA NATURE PARK UC A view from the above
This gorgeous part of Istria combines rich forests, educational trails, fountains, a tower, evidence of ancient events in the Earth’s crust, and – finally – a fantastic view of the entire Kvarner Bay! You can see some of the Kvarner islands and all the way to the mountain tops of Gorski Kotar, Velebit, the Alps, and Italy. Učka Nature Park stretches across 160 km2, and its highest mountain peak Vojak (1401 m) is also the highest mountain peak of Istria. Vojak Tower, built in 1911 during the Austro-Hungarian rule by mountain climbers and nature enthusiasts, was used by the Austro-Hungarian army as a military and naval lookout post in World War I. Take a walk on Plas educational trail (2 km long) which begins about 300 meters further away. There are so many places to visit in Učka Nature Park… Do not miss some of the following: • Veli Planik, the second highest mountain peak of the park. It belongs to a different mountain: Ćićarija. Take this opportunity to enjoy a unique 360o all-around view from its peak. • Medieval castle of Kožljak, built on a steep cliff above the former lake of Čepić, still recalls the turbulent past. A series of coats of arms chiselled into the rock tells a tale of numerous owners, battles and dreams dreamt by people just like us, but from long, long ago. • Korita (Eng. Troughs), a meadow at 1000 m above sea level, where a mountain stream pouring into nine solid wooden troughs, overflowing from one into another. In the past, the troughs were a major water source for the local people and their cattle, but today Korita is a popular destination for people who like to enjoy beautiful views and pristine nature. Visit the nearby mountain hut and have a cup of tea prepared from local aromatic herbs. A well-marked trail from the village of Brgudac (park your car there) takes about 45 minutes on foot, making Korita easily reachable. • Vranjska draga (a.k.a. Vela draga) is a canyon located on the landlocked side of Učka Mountain. The unique canyon was formed due to the collapse of a ceiling of what was once a huge underground river; the pillars which once supported the ceiling nowadays stick out pointing to the sky. The canyon is a popular destination for free climbers.
• Visit the Trebišća-Perun history and mythology trail, and dive into the mystic age of the first Slavic settlers on Kvarner! From the very entrance, this gorge tells an exciting tale of their most sacred beliefs. Leave your car in Mošćenička Draga and embark on this whole-day trip. ...and much, much more! More information is available at www.pp-ucka.hr/en
Basic Information TICKET PRICE: 0,00 kn. You can hire a guide for any of the excursions, and at a very affordable price, too. Price list at www.pp-ucka.hr/en
LOCATION: Učka, Ćićarija NEARBY POINTS OF INTEREST: Raspadalica is a plateau next to Buzet, an ideal spot for paragliding, free climbing, mountain biking, adventure races, caving, etc. Start from Buzet and drive to the end of the road which leads from Buzet train station to the village of Slum, and then continue on a macadam road for another 2 km until you reach Raspadalica plateau. Žbevnica is another lovely plateau. Start from Buzet and drive towards Brest, after which continue towards the village of Dane. At the saddle turn left to a macadam road. Turn left by the antenna, continue for another kilometre and park your car next to the former entrance to an underground water tank. Proceed on foot for another 500 meters uphill, following the mountain trail towards west, and here you are at Žbevnica.
TRIP No. 1:
The Sea, Vampires, the Stars, the Underground, and Great Wine – All in the Same Day!
BAREDINE Go underground for refreshment! The interior of this geomorphological monument will reveal its amazing rock formations which have been forming for millions of years, and provide you with a welcome refreshment from summer heat. In addition to visiting the cave, you can also try out the basic caving techniques of going up and down the rope, get some refreshments in the coffee bar and the fast food, or pay a visit to Tractor Story, a museum with numerous old photographies and agricultural machinery, an art gallery and a wine boutique. If you wish to try out the caving techniques, you should announce your arrival by phone a few hours in advance, so that the personnel have enough time to prepare the necessary equipment. Two donkeys, Keko the goat, geese and ducks will keep you company at Baredine. How to get there? Go to the village of Nova Vas (4.5 km to the west of Višnjan) and from there follow the road signs to Baredine for another 1.3 km. Ticket prices range from 35.00 to 60.00 kuna, rope climbing costs 40.00-50.00, and tractor museum tickets cost 20.00-30.00 kuna. More information is available at www.baredine.com, www.speleolit.com, and www.traktorstory.com. VIŠNJAN You have probably heard of the Višnjan Observatory? One of the most efficient observatories in the World in discovering asteroids was located here for years. However, even this charming little town’s light pollution eventually became too great for the observatory, so in 2009 a new observatory was built next to the village of Tićan, 2.5 km away. How to get there? Take the road from Višnjan towards Karojba, and when you see a huge tree and a big rock looking like a table on your right, turn left to a narrow road through a vineyard and leading to the observatory. The first scene is fantastic: an old church and a modern observatory stand facing each other on a well-groomed meadow. There is also a replica of a pre-historic calendar (the so-called Istrian Stonehenge, originally located near Poreč, on a hill called Mali Sveti Anđeo – Little Holy Angel in English), and various measuring instruments. Call +385-5-2-449-212 to inquire
about a preannounced group of visitors, join them for a tour of the observatory and find out anything and everything you have ever wanted to know about the stars, the Solar system and the known universe! More information is available at www.astro.hr/ pocetna.php. RADOVAN WINERY In the village of Radovani, the surname of 80% of the population is Radovan. The village is located on a hill, so it has a lovely view of the sea. Every house has a huge iron gate. Call +385-52-462-166 to announce your arrival a few hours in advance, to make sure the household members are at home. With the sound of crickets and the taste of cool wine in your mouth you will sense what the summer is like in the Istrian countryside. How to get there? After the visit the observatory return to the main road, proceed towards Karojba for another 600 meters and at the crossroad turn right (towards Baderna). After about 4 km you will see a road sign directing you right to Radovani. When you reach the village you will see the winery’s sign under a road mirror. Turn right, pass the bowling court and turn right again, and then slowly proceed to the end of the village. KRINGA The village of Kringa is becoming increasingly famous due to the first documented vampire in Europe. Jure Grando was a peasant who terrorised his widow and the fellow-villagers for sixteen full years. Finally, after a couple of unsuccessful attempts, a group of nine men lead by the parson managed to settle this vampire problem… This entire case, which involves one parson, one undead, a wooden stake, nine men and a lot of fear, can be explored at the Jure Grando Museum. Vampire literary evenings are held once a month at Vampir bar; if you miss out on them, at least try one of their vampire
cocktails. The Vampire Menu awaits you at the nearby Danijeli tavern, which we warmly recommend regardless of whether you are into vampires or not (see p. 28). POREČ One of the shiniest jewels of the Istrian coastline. The small town is rich in mosaics (the Euphrasian Basilica), numerous evening events in the historical centre, and great pizzerias, while its surroundings are full of lovely bike routes. The famous film director Luc Besson used to spend his childhood summers here, diving with his father at the Plava laguna (Eng. Blue Lagoon). Plava laguna was a source of inspiration for his movie The Big 15 Blue; also note that the blue alien singer from the movie The Fifth Element was named Diva Plavalaguna. There are many opportunities for fun in Poreč, such as the aquarium and one of the nine sensory plays from the project Istra Inspirit: Iustitia, a fantastic interactive play followed by a rich baroque-style dinner for the audience (see pp. 24-25).
TRIP No. 2:
From hill to hill through the Kingdom of Truffles!
MOTOVUN The most famous little town in Istria became widely known thanks to its appearance in Vladimir Nazor’s tale Veli Jože (Eng. Big Joseph), a touching story of a kind-hearted giant. For the younger generations the town is best known as the site of Motovun Film Festival, symbolized by a propeller – in homage to Josef Ressel, a Motovun citizen who invented the propeller, an endless screw. In the Patent Office records his invention was defined as an endless screw which can propel the ship both forwards and in reverse. Josef Ressel, Czech by origin, was sent to Motovun as district forester, particularly responsible for the afforestation of the entire area. Motovun forest is known as one of the most productive truffle habitats in the world, both white and black truffle alike. You will notice dogs in many yards: they are truffle-searching dogs, specially trained to sniff out this underground delicacy. Contrary to the general belief, pigs are not used in truffle searching. You will have to leave the car at the Parking lot at the foot of the hill, but the view from the town walls is absolutely worth the trouble of climbing all the way up to the top. Having a cup of coffee in one of the bars at the town walls is a pleasure everyone should be able to experience. The river Mirna passes just beneath Motovun, so in the morning the town seems like an island floating on a sea of morning mist. Take a look down from the town walls and imagine Veli Joža tilling the fertile land with a huge hoe. A piece of advice: if you approach Motovun from the road Poreč-Pazin, the town will look like an island in a sea of vineyards. PUHI The village of Puhi offers a real treat for the curious. Certainly at this point you have already heard a lot about the truffles, and came to wonder: OK, so what is the deal with these truffles? You will finally get the answers to all your questions about this underground delicacy, because here you will meet Kristijan Krt, truffle wholesale merchant. Mr Krt is a kind and friendly man who will gladly tell and show you anything you would like to know about truffles. The Krt family also make excellent red and white wine which is sold at a very affordable price. Call +38598-224-109 or +385-98-415-344 a few hours in advance to announce your arrival. The best time to visit Puhi is on weekends, but also during the week there is always someone at home. How to get there? Take the road from Motovun towards Buzet and turn right (to the south-east) and
cross a bridge over Mirna river, following the road sign to Puhi. About 1.6 km after the bridge turn left, and proceed for another 800 meters to the village of Puhi and the home of Mr Krt. Be careful not to end up in the village of Krti, a couple of kilometres down the road. LIVADE A village opposite to Motovun, situated on the other bank of Mirna River, is the centre of Zigante Truffle Production. Here you can find out more about truffles, but also about the Parenzana (see pp. 6-7). Already on the way down from Motovun you will see a small sign for the Parenzana, so you can include it in your trip if you have enough time and energy. In Livade there is the Parenzana Museum, which is free of charge: you only need to call +385-52644-150 and announce your arrival an hour in advance, so that the guide could come to open up and give you a tour. OPRTALJ The homey and intimate atmosphere of this hidden pearl unknown to most tourists will surely warm up your heart. This little town on a hill and its brightly coloured houses is located near, but still far away from the usual tourist routes. If you wish to have a taste of genuine local speOprtalj cialties, have lunch at Loggia tavern (see p. 29), situated right beneath the town loggia newt to the main Parking lot. How to get there? Pass straight through Livade and take the road winding uphill, continue driving for another 6.2 km, and you will be at Oprtalj. Some events taking place in Oprtalj should be singled out: the Antiques Fair (second Sunday every month), the international folk music festival Alpe Adria folk fest (July), and the International Accordionists’ Meeting (August), a loud and cheerful event with a bunch of accordion players and great music.
GROŽNJAN Known as the town of artists, Grožnjan is a venue for various art workshops throughout the year. While you walk down the streets, from every other house you can hear the sounds of musicians practicing their instruments. Have a cup of coffee at terrace of the bar Vero (the building behind the main stage 17 of the jazz festival), and enjoy a fantastic view of Motovun and the fairytale-like landscape of the Istrian countryside. Find a way to the western side of the town, from where you can see the sunset over the sea. We recommend the international jazz festival Jazz Is Back BP, taking place during July and August.
TRIP No. 3:
A trip through the odd PAZIN The biggest town in the Istrian countryside is home to Pazinska jama (Eng. the Cave of Pazin, see pp. 8-9), Pazinski kaštel (Eng. the Castle of Pazin), over one hundred various species of trees, and much, much more. At the end of June the manifestation Jules Verne Days takes place. The protagonist of Jules Verne’s novel Mathias Sandorf was held captive at the castle, but managed to escape using the lightning rod to descend into the Pazin cave, from where he rode the underground river all the way to Limski kanal (Eng. Lim Channel). Of course, such a trip is not possible, but the escape was brought to life in Jules Verne: the Escape from the Castle, a fantastic play accompanied by a dinner for the audience, as well as entertainment from that age. The play is one of nine plays from the project Istra Inspirit (see pp. 24-25).
ZAREČKI KROV A small, deep lake of fresh water with a little waterfall is a popular swimming destination among local people. The lake is especially popular among the young, because they can jump from the 6-7 meters high rock roofZarečki krov ing over a semi-cave, an extension of the lake’s coastline. Do not be perplexed by the colour of the water: the clay soil dissolved in water gives it a bluish-green, non-transparent colour. The rocks surrounding the lake are a popular destination for free climbers, especially because they can climb the semi-cave’s ceiling. In the winter, ice climbers can try out the frozen waterfall. Zarečki krov is located just outside Pazin: start from the centre of Pazin, and take the old road towards Učka tunnel (not the highway!). At the city limit sign turn left, and continue on the macadam road for another 300 meters. Considering the intimate nature of the ambiance and the fact that it is located on private property, we implore you to take special care of the environment. If you are in a bigger group, try to use as few cars as possible, and park the remaining cars at a Parking lot in Pazin. BAŽON WINERY When they are not at the vineyard, the members of this friendly and hardworking family are at the wine tasting room, and vice versa. For this reason you should call +385-52-621-997 and announce your arrival in advance. You will get a tour of the property in the company of their well-mannered dogs, and finish up facing numerous bottles of wine and rakija (Eng. brandy) at the tasting room. There are four types of degustations you can choose from, differing in combinations and quantity of food and drink, the richest one being practically an entire meal. Consid-
ering the combination of great wine and lighthearted atmosphere, it is a real challenge to restrain oneself from having too much to drink. Therefore, if you are planning to visit Bažon winery, first choose the poor thing who is to be the designated driver, and – enjoy! GRAČIŠĆE The site of two truly unique churches, a Venetian palace, and a great tavern to have lunch at! The miniature town of Gračišće seems to be stuck in the past, and in the future it is sure to become one of the shiniest jewels of the Istrian countryside. However, its present condition enables you to take a direct glance into the past! The main church is situated at the top of the town, so from its lawn you can enjoy an amazing view of the entire surrounding countryside. Next to the town gate you will see the Salomon palace with still visible remains of frescoes on the ceilings, and the little church of Sveta Marije na Placu (Eng. Saint Mary at the Square) is right across the palace. Frescoes and Glagolitic graffiti inside the church date back to the 15th century, but due to certain symbols on its walls the church is sometimes mentioned in a somewhat mystical context of the Knights Templars and the Freemasons, and even the Illuminati. Note the big stone block with circular holes of various sizes: in the past, the holes were used as measures for grain and liquids. The church’s outer wall is full of iron nails hammered into the stone, as a plea by barren women to Mother Mary to bless them with children. People say that miracles were known to happen. We recommend having lunch at Marino (see p.30), a tavern in front of the church and the palace.
PIĆAN The correct accent is Pićan. The little town seems to have come to life from a fairytale, especially if you visit it at the end of July www.legendfest.hr (usually the last weekend in July). You will find yourself surrounded by fairies, dragons, druids, wizards, enchantresses, and other magical creatures! Legendfest, a popular festival of myths and legends, has been taking place for years at Pićan at the end of July. Plays, concerts and workshops will be a delight for all generations, from little children to adults who have managed to keep their imagination alive! More information available at www.legendfest.hr
TRIP No. 4:
e A tribute to Ancient Rom ice and the Republic of Ven
LIM CHANNEL (Limski kanal) Despite its fjord-like appearance, Lim Channel is not a fjord: it was not formed by glacial activity, but by a prehistoric river which eventually disappeared, mainly due to the rising of the sea level. Nevertheless, the channel successfully posed as a fjord in The Vikings, a movie starring Kirk Douglas and Tony Curtis, filmed here in 1958. A 10-kilometer long channel is the finishing part of a 35-kilometer long Limska Draga Hollow. You can take a boat tour of the channel: tourist boats are waiting for visitors in front of the restaurant at the beginning of the channel. The name of the channel is supposedly derived from the Latin word limes, which means border. It is known that in the Ancient Roman times the channel represented a natural border line between the ager of Pula and the ager of Poreč. Numerous ancient artefacts were found at the bottom of the channel, but all of them were found broken. Historians presume that ancient ships used the channel as refuge from violent storms: while waiting for the storm to calm, the crew would undertake a major clean-up and got rid of all the objects that were damaged during the turbulent voyage. And a bonus curiosity for the end: the end of the channel is called Cul da Limo, which means Lim’s Bum. DVIGRAD Located inside the Limska Draga Hollow near Kanfanar, the castle of Dvigrad has had a turbulent history and eventually slowly died out, gradually remaining without all of its inhabitants. Once upon a time there were two castles (hence the name Dvigrad, or Duo Castra in Latin, meaning Two Castles), but only one of them survived. The castle was built on a high ground at the junction point of a couple of important roads. Due to a strategically excellent location, there was a building at this site already in prehistoric times. As the rulers changed, so did the castle. Today, still standing are the city gate, the defence tower, the remains of numerous houses, and the church of Saint Sophia. The town had as much as 2000 inhabitants at some point; just try to imagine all the life! A relief depicting the symbol of Dvigrad, St. Sophia holding one castle in each hand, can be seen in the parish church in Kanfanar. SVETVINČENAT The town centre is dominated by the castle, the first thing you notice when you enter Savičenta, as the locals call this town. The green meadow in front of the castle is used as a football court and as venue for numerous events taking place all through the summer, such as the Medieval Fest in August. The castle was once one of the strongholds along the border between the Republic of Venice and the Habsburg Mon-
archy, the present-day border between Žminj and Savičenta districts. Built from a single point prospective, Savičenta historical centre is an exemplar of ideal Renaissance town, a fact which earned the town a place at the Museum of Renaissance in Paris, France. The castle of Savičenta is where Mare the Witch takes place, a sensation play with an actual bonfire and accompanied by a Renaissance feast for the audience (see pp. 24-25). If you think of it as a dinner accompanied by a fantastic play, it is absolutely worth it! The play is one of nine such sensation plays from the project Istra Inspirit. We recommend lunch at Kod kaštela, a tavern just across the castle, at the opposite side of the meadow (see p. 31). FEŠTINSKO KRALJEVSTVO Local children gave the cave its name (whose name means the Kingdom of Feštini), because in a child’s mind it really does look like a kingdom: full of beautiful, discreetly lit cave ornaments, making a real treat for an imaginative mind. If there are children in the group visiting the cave, they will hear from the King of the Cave (through the hole in the cave’s ceiling – but do not tell them that!). The temperature inside the cave ranges from 13 to 15°C, so by all means bring some warm clothes: a long shirt and trousers, and shoes or sneakers if possible. Despite the summer heat in the outside world, the chill in the underground might take you by surprise! The cave is surrounded by a nicely groomed meadow, where you can lay down and rest, have a picnic, or visit the cages with small animals, such as guinea hens, pygmy hens, turtles, etc. There are also various educational boards, such as the story about quartz sand which used to be mined here and then transported to Murano to be turned into Murano Glass. The easiest way to get there is to follow the road signs from Žminj. (for basic information, see p. 9) ROVINJ Surrounded by little islands, the historical centre itself used to be an island: a channel with a bridge connecting it to the mainland was filled up in 1763, and Rovinj became a penin-
sula. Many people agree that Rovinj is the most beautiful Istrian coastal town, with intimate narrow streets, art galleries and bars. The seaside houses seem to arise directly from the sea, somewhat reminding of Venice. Visit the Aquarium of Rovinj, the oldest in Croatia (located next to the main Parking lot, summer opening hours 09:00-21:00). The museum Batana House is dedicated to a typical local flat-bottomed fishing boat and to the way fishermen used to live. The museum even published a cookbook with recipes for old fishermen’s dishes, such as fried sea anemones. Do not miss out on Spacio, a 21 sensation play accompanied by an old-style dinner for the audience. The play is one of nine such sensation plays from the project Istra Inspirit (see pp. 24-25). Saint Euphemia’s Basilica, harbouring the sarcophagus with the saint’s remains, is located at the top of the town. The square in front of the basilica is a perfect place to enjoy the sunset.
A salty-Sweet trip with memorable views RAŠA The youngest town in Istria is interesting for two reasons: first, it looks as if it were not in Istria at all; and second, it was built in accordance with Mussolini’s planned construction projects, so it has two identical twins: the first is located near Rome, and the other at Sardinia. All three towns were designed by Gustavo Pulitzer Finali, and Raša was built in no more and no less than 547 days. Since the town was built for the needs of mining, it is not surprising that even the town church is shaped like a turned-over mine cart, the bell tower reminds of a mining lamp, and the church itself is dedicated to Saint Barbara, the patroness of miners. The style the town was built in was considered very modern at the time. From a town-planning viewpoint, Raša is considered exemplar of humane architecture: every house consisted of four two-bedroom apartments and had some green surface around it, and the town had a post office, a school, a hotel, a movie theatre, and even a public swimming pool.
TRGET Already the trip to Trget is a unique experience: while driving along the river Raša, you can follow how the river becomes more and more mixed with sea water, watching its colour change before your eyes as you approach the sea. The sandy estuary is home to many bird species. The easiest way to find Trget is to take the road from Barban to Labin, and take a turn at Most Raša following the river Raša towards the sea. Pass the marine border crossing, three large cranes, and even though at this point it will seem you have reached the end, go pass the green sea beacon, across the little bridge, and here you are at Trget! The little fishing village is quite secluded and will be found only by people who know exactly what they are looking for. The search is worth the trouble because here you will find a real gourmet jewel: Martin Pescador (see p. 32), a tavern where you can have a really good lunch. SWIMMING TIME!!! If you are in the mood for a swim, whether salty or not, there are several possibilities en route. If you wish to freshen up in a river, you can have a swim in the river Raša, just under the bridge at Most Raša. At Trget you can try what swimming is like in brackish water (mixture of salty and fresh water), and if you prefer the sea we recommend you set off to Viškovići, from where you can go to Tunarica camp. The camp will be a good choice for those who like civilized beaches (entrance is free, even by car). On the other hand, if you prefer natural beaches, leave your car at the entrance to the camp and go on for another 250 metres on foot, following the macadam road leading to Hrvatske šume entrance gate.
At the gate turn left, walk for 200 meters, and continue straight ahead onto a narrow passage through the bushes that leads to the sea. There you will find a stony coast and clear water. You can also go to Labin Luka: at the roundabout south of Labin start following road signs, and after about 4 to 5 kilometres you will find a number of uncrowded little beaches.
SKITAČA When you are at Viškovići, turn right and pass through Brovinje village. Do not let the narrow road confuse you: just carry on. After a few kilometres uphill you will reach a wide resting area by the road with a view of the island of Cres, and the entire Kvarner Bay: Rijeka, Učka Mountain and its plateaus, Rabac, Labin, and the other islands. Take your time to explore this beautiful part of Istria, immersed in sound of crickets and aromatic aromas! At the village of Skitača there is a mountain hut where you can have a cup of tea prepared from local herbs (if you find it open). There are also biking and hiking trails passing through the area; due to summer heat, we recommend you explore them in the springtime or in the autumn. LABIN A cobbled street will lead you uphill to the historical centre. At one point, the colourful former mining town of Labin became the Miners’ Republic: in 1921, two thousand miners called a general strike, took over the mines, and pronounced a republic under the motto kova je nasa (the mine is ours), organized their own local government and the red guard as protection against the fascists, and began managing
the mines with the help from local farmers. The Miners’ Republic lasted only for a month; however, Labin Art Republic comes to life every year during July and August. Old squares, streets, and city stairs become a stage, and the sounds of local, classical and jazz music fill up the streets of Labin. You will enjoy the sensation play The Miners’ Republic, one of nine sensation plays from the project Istra Inspirit (see pp. 24-25). After a tour of the old centre climb the bell tower and enjoy the view! If you have enough time and energy you can 23 go to Plomin, a little town 10 kilometres away (towards Rijeka) with an excellent view of the Plomin Bay and the power plant with a huge black pile of coal. Another 2.5 kilometres down the road there is the Flanona hotel, with an unusual semi-circle terrace perfect for enjoying the view of Kvarner Bay over a cup of coffee and an excellent cake.
ISTRA INSPIRIT e! rough Tim Travel th s, on ati ns ´ Se of a Se ces, a Nine Experien e Istria. a Myriad of Flavours, On
MYTHICAL CREATURES OF ISTRIA - Enjoy an interactive program for children and adults, including sketches, workshops and playrooms with Istrian mythological creatures and legends. While watching a play of the ancient circus that once provided entertainment at fairs with unusual musicians, jugglers, clowns and fakirs, you can try the magic potions of sorceresses and sorcerers and the food of the giant Veli Jože! TICKET PRICE: 100 HRK per person (14 €) LOCATION: Pula, Historical and Maritime Museum of Istria
CRISPO - The year is 326, and Crispo has just returned from war and his father, Constantine the Great, declares him his heir. Fausta, Crispo’s stepmother, tries to seduce him but does not succeed and decides to seek her revenge. This play takes you into the world of Roman plots and intrigues, love, hate and revenge, followed by a feast of dishes made according to ancient Roman recipes. TICKET PRICE: 200 HRK per person (27 €) LOCATION: Medulin, Vižula archaeological site SPACIO - Not so long ago, fishermen would catch fish from their batana (a type of boat), while farmers made wine, after which they would all meet in the Spacio (tavern) and sing about their lives, the sea, the countryside, tales of unhappy loves and happy endings. They would comment everyday events and sometimes, filled with wine and fish, they would quarrel... TICKET PRICE: 200 HRK per person (27 €), LOCATION: Rovinj, Batana Eco museum in the historical centre MARE THE WITCH - In 1632 Mare Radolovich was a local herbalist and healer who was accused of witchcraft by her neighbours, the same people that she had healed and helped. They accused her of making a pact with the devil, declared her a witch and condemned her to death by burning at the stake in the castle’s courtyard. Did she survive? Discover the truth at this renaissance feast in a magnificent Venetian fortress... TICKET PRICE: 200 HRK per person (27 €) LOCATION: Svetvinčenat, The Grimani-Morosini Castle THE LIGHTHOUSE OF LOVE - The year 1818 marked the construction of the lighthouse that will later serve as love nest for Count Metternich and his lover, a young woman from Savudrija. Experience the delight of this
forbidden love with the sound of a crackling fire and the fragrances and flavours of love potions. Enjoy the dishes sprinkled with aphrodisiacs and follow the story of two lovers... TICKET PRICE: 200 HRK per person (27 €) LOCATION: Savudrija, Lighthouse IUSTITIA - In the year 1699, the infamous robber Domenico Furlan destroyed the tabernacle of the Basilica in Poreč and stole its gold and silver ornaments. At his trial, he was found guilty of this unprecedented act and was executed. Join the people’s celebration of justice served that turns into a baroque celebration... TICKET PRICE: 200 HRK per person (27 €) LOCATION: Poreč, Peškera Bay JULES VERNE: ESCAPE FROM THE CASTLE - In Jules Verne’s novel, in 1867 Mathias Sandorf was preparing a conspiracy for the secession of Hungary from the Austro-Hungarian monarchy. But, he was discovered, and after a trial, was thrown in the Castle of Pazin to await execution. Sandorf and two other conspirators managed to escape from the castle by descending the cliff of the Cave of Pazin into its abyss. Enjoy this adrenaline adventure followed by a party, drinks and music from original historical time period. TICKET PRICE: 200 HRK per person (27 €) LOCATION: Pazin, the Castle of Pazin THE MINERS’ REPUBLIC - Take a walk through the year 1921, 150 meters below ground, under 20 million tons of stone, where there were no sunlight, sky and perception of time, there was only the darkness... and REVOLUTION! This difficult and touching story about the human strength and pride will reveal the life of miners in one day, from their job to their meals... TICKET PRICE: 200 HRK per person (27 €) LOCATION: Labin, Lamparna and the Raša coal mine OLD BUZET - In an extraordinary surrounding you will experience sounds, flavours and fragrances, talk and music, sights and spirit of the 20th century and the past times. You will make your bread in the old-fashioned way, learn old dances accompanied by the sound of accordion, double bass and violin, play the game ‘pljočke’, or simply take a walk and discover the streets and squares, old workshops, tasting rooms, wine shops, souvenir shops... TICKET PRICE: 200 HRK per person (27 €) LOCATION: Buzet, historical centre More information available at www.istrainspirit.hr
´ (ZRENJ) ˇ IC TONtryC side estate
An idyllic coun
Tončić Agrotourism is run by brother and sister Sandro and Orjeta; however, three generations of Tončić family live there, and all of them are involved in running the estate and entertaining the visitors. The house, once upon a time a barn, has a wonderful panoramic view of Učka, Buzet, and Mirna river valley. The peace and quiet of the landscape fills your heart with pleasure. The family members are into hunting and truffle hunting. They also have a big garden and lots of domestic animals: truffle-searching dogs, chickens, cows, goats, sheep, and cats. At the meadow next to the terrace there is a couple of metres-high apple tree growing from solid rock. The kitchen does not open for less than ten people, so if you are on your own you should call up in advance and see if there is a group scheduled for dinner. If there is (and there probably is) you can join in. As it is always crowded in the winter, you should announce your arrival in advance. SPECIALTIES All food is produced either at or near the estate: meat and cured meat products, sheep cheese, wine, various kinds of rakija (medica – honey rakija, biska – mistletoe rakija, and kimel – cumin rakija), and the vegetables are from their own garden. All products are homemade, and the food is seasonal: mushrooms, asparagus, black or white truffles (depending on the season), etc. They also make five types of homemade pasta. In the winter try the corn maneštra (thick vegetable soup) and jota (sauerkraut). The owners especially recommend wild boar goulash, and homemade cakes. PRICES Main course prices range from 50.00 (homemade pasta with Istrian ox goulash) to 150.00 kuna (homemade pasta with white truffles). BASIC INFORMATION Owner.......................Izak Tončić Credit Cards..............None Address.....................Čabarnica 42, Zrenj Web Page..................None Phone........................052/644-146 Parking......................In front 091/20 60 512 Opening Hours: FRI-SUN 12:30-23:00 (kitchen is open until 21:00) MON-THURS with prior announcement - Closed throughout July
Getting there: Take the road Buzet–Motovun and turn north, towards Livade village. At the roundabout in Livade pass straight and proceed on the winding road uphill for another 6.5 km, pass through Oprtalj and follow the road signs for Zrenj. Follow the main road passing through Zrenj and heading south and turn left after about 350 metres. Half a kilometre away at the road’s end you will see Tončić Agrotourism.
ELIet m(NeaEAl R KRINGA) DANIJ yle gourm
Danijeli tavern is located in the village of Danijeli, next to Kringa. A word for the uninformed: Kringa has a vampire story of its own, the one about Jure Grando – the first documented vampire in Europe. Therefore Kringa is home to Jure Grando Museum, Vampir bar where you try one of their vampire cocktails, and vampire literary evenings are held once a month either at Vampir bar or at Danijeli tavern. Whether you believe in vampires or not, a visit to Danijeli tavern will bring you great pleasure. You can also order a vampire menu, with dishes from The Vampire Cookbook by B. Perić. If you prefer walking in the daylight, use your time before lunch to visit the Dry Stone Trail, a circular hiking route beginning at Kringa football field. You can add a stone to the centuries-old dry stone walls, thus making a contribution of your own; if you contact the local prefect or Danijeli tavern, you will even get a souvenir certificate. You can also bring your own stone, as many have done already – even from other states. SPECIALTIES Being a true countryside tavern, Danijeli does not offer fish; however, you will surely forget about it over a dish of Istrian soup (see note at p. 6), Istrian ox (boškarin) prosciutto in oil, fresh seasonal dishes with homemade pasta, and Istrian maneštra (thick vegetable soup). You can also have the vampire menu, which needs to be ordered in advance. PRICES Main course prices range from 35.00 (asparagus or porcini mushrooms omelette) to 120.00 kuna (beefsteak stuffed with prosciutto and cheese). BASIC INFORMATION Owner...................... Mirjana Fabris Address................... Danijeli 76, Tinjan Phone...................... 091/6866-588
Credit Cards............. None Web Page................ None Parking.................... In front
Opening Hours TUES-FRI 14:00-23:00, SAT 13:00-02:00, SUN 12:00-24:00 (closed on MONDAYS, and from 10th to 31st January)
Getting there: Take the main road Pazin–Poreč, turn left by the Na kapeli tavern, and after 6 kilometres you will get to Kringa. Pass through Kringa and proceed; the main road will lead you to the village of Danijeli, where you will see Danijeli tavern on your right.
RTALJ) LOGGIAe to(OP wn loggia
Hidden under th
Loggia tavern is situated in the very heart of the colourful little town of Oprtalj, under the town loggia. A small, simple terrace with a few tables and a charming homey interior form the perfect ambience in which to enjoy the tavern’s simple and excellent food. Homemade food all year round is just one of the advantages this tavern has to offer. Bigger groups can have their lunch organized in the town loggia. The family who owns the tavern also has a local homemade products boutique about 50 meters from the tavern, where you can sample and buy, as a gastronomic souvenir, various sorts of wine and rakija, meat products, cheese, honey, etc. The shop can be visited whenever the tavern is open: you only need to tell one of the tavern employees you would like to visit the shop, and someone will take you there right away. During truffle season you can call the tavern to see whether there is a group scheduled for a truffle hunting demonstration which you can then join in. The demonstration takes about two hours and it will satisfy your curiosity about this underground delicacy.
SPECIALTIES Oprtalj and Livade area being one of the richest truffle habitats in the world, this tavern offers a range of truffle dishes. The owner recommends the Istrian platter (a plate containing Istrian smoked ham, sausage, steak, cutlet, sheep cheese, and truffle flavoured cheese), served all year long. Also worth mentioning are the nettle-filled ravioli, and the dessert is the one and only: the sweet raviolo, a pasta casing filled with fig jam and coated in teran wine chateau. The owner says everybody orders the sweet raviolo, so there is no need to introduce other desserts. All of the above will be nicely rounded up with their homemade wine. PRICES Main course prices range from 35.00 (sausage omelette) to 150.00 kuna (beefsteak with truffles and side dish). BASIC INFORMATION Owner...................... Daniel Coslovich Credit Cards............. None Address................... Matka Laginje bb, Oprtalj Web Page................ None Phone...................... 052/644-219 Parking.................... None Opening Hours: 01st April – 30th October 10:00-24:00 every day 01st November – 31st March closed on TUESDAYS - 07th -31st January closed
Getting there: Take the road Buzet–Motovun and turn north, towards Livade village. At the roundabout in Livade pass straight and proceed on the winding road uphill for another 6.5 km. In Oprtalj leave the car at the parking lot next to the red coloured town loggia, visible from the town entrance. Loggia tavern is situated at the opposite side of the loggia.
O (GReACˇ IŠC´ E) MARIN memory lan
A trip down
Situated across Solomon palace and the town gate, the tavern is listed in Lonely Planet’s Western Balkans travel guide. A town plan painted at its outer wall will be helpful if you wish to take a tour of Gračišće. The tavern and the town are inseparably linked, so let us mention the amazing view from the lawn of the nearby main church, and the little church of Sveta Marija na Placu (St. Mary at the Market) right next to the tavern. Frescoes and Glagolitic graffiti inside the church date back to the 15th century, but due to certain symbols on its walls the church is sometimes mentioned in a somewhat mystical context of the Knights Templars and the Freemasons, and even the Illuminati. Note the big stone block with circular holes of different sizes – the holes were used as measures for grain and liquids. Inside the tavern there are many old items, such as old dishes, baskets, a wagon, harness, furniture, and an old open fireplace, lit most of the year (except in the summer, naturally). By that fireplace you will feel the very special atmosphere of Marino tavern and the little town of Gračišće. SPECIALTIES Suggestion: if you still have not tried the Istrian soup (see note at p. 6), Marino provides the ideal ambiance to try Istrian field labourers’ traditional beverage (or meal?). Warmed up teran wine with olive oil, a bit of pepper and spices is served with fire roasted bread, and will instantly warm you up on a cold winter day. If you are in the mood for genuine Istrian cooking, a corn maneštra (thick vegetable soup) and homemade pasta with game stew will be the right choice. In the winter regain your strength with some homemade sausages and smoked pork fillet. PRICES Main course prices range from 35.00 (grilled turkey steak) to 80.00 kuna (homemade pasta with truffles). BASIC INFORMATION Owner...................... Svetlana Buljan Address................... Gračišće 75, Gračišće Phone...................... 052/687-081
Credit Cards............. None Web Page................ www.konoba-marino-gracisce.hr Parking.................... Park outside the town, near the town gate Opening Hours: 14:00-23:00, closed on WEDNESDAYS - (14:00-22:00 in the winter)
Getting there: Gračišće is 8 km away from Pazin (a 10-minute drive). Start from Pazin, taking the road towards Vozilići and Brestova ferry port. When you reach Gračišće town walls, leave your car outside the walls. Walk through the town gate and you will be right in front of Marino tavern.
ˇ TE LAˇ NAT) KOD KAS (SVETVINCE stle
edieval ca Across the way from a m Kod kaštela (At the Castle) tavern is situated next to a green meadow in front of the Castle of Svetvinčenat (called Savičenta among the locals). The friendly personnel are full of information about the surrounding area and the events you can participate in. The shady terrace is facing the Castle, once one of the strongholds along the border line between the Republic of Venice and the Habsburg Monarchy, which is now the district line separating Žminj and Svetvinčenat. Svetvinčenat historical centre is an exemplar of an ideal Renaissance town: built from a single point prospective and therefore introduced into the Museum of Renaissance in Paris. SPECIALTIES Apart from fish and meat dishes, Kod kaštela tavern also offers a range of typical Istrian dishes such as corn and chickpea maneštra, homemade pasta with game or hen stew, and seasonal dishes. We recommend you taste their mushroom platter (porcini, chantarelles, trooping funnel mushrooms, etc.) in the autumn, while fresh porcini mushrooms from Gorski kotar are available all year long. And for dessert: have a piece of their excellent apple strudel, or pancakes which come in three-piece servings! PRICES - Main course prices range from 45.00 (homemade pasta with hen, mushrooms, or four cheeses) to 120.00 kuna (grilled or stewed shrimps). BASIC INFORMATION Owner...................... Villi Bašić Credit Cards............. Visa, Maestro, Address................... Svetvinčenat 53, MasterCard, American Express Svetvinčenat Web Page................ None Phone...................... 052/560-012 Parking.................... In front Opening Hours: 10:00-23:00 every day (food orders until 22:00) (15th October-01st May until 21:30)
Getting there: Savičenta is located at the road from Žminj to Vodnjan and Pula. Having entered the town, follow the road signs leading you to Kod kaštela tavern. As soon as you see the Castle (you cannot miss it) you will know the tavern is just across.
Tavern Kod Kaštela
OR PESCAD MARTIN (TRGET) tavern in a real TAVERN
A real fishing fishing village
The tavern named after a local bird is located at a small, secluded village of Trget in the Raša river estuary. The terrace is at the coast, and the shellfish and lobsters caught nearby are kept in the sea in front of it. The personnel are also fishermen so the fish is always fresh, and what you see at the platter really is what you will get on your plate. The inside bar was made from an old boat, and numerous old marine things and gadgets add to the overall maritime atmosphere of the tavern. You will only find Trget if you are specifically looking for it. Enjoy the great food, the relaxing atmosphere, and the sound of waves wrinkling the brackish water of Raša estuary...
Tavern Martin Pescador
SPECIALTIES Fish and seafood! Their seafood risotto, made with seafood caught in or near the channel, is well known among the connoisseurs. If you are in the mood for excellent local sea cuisine, this is the place to be! They also have a kids menu. PRICES Taking only individual portion meals as guidance, main course prices range from 45.00 (cuttlefish risotto) to 85.00 kuna (grilled or stewed seashells). BASIC INFORMATION Owner........................Patrik Vlačić Address......................Trget 11a, Raša Phone.........................052/544-976
Credit Cards...............All Web Page...................None Parking.......................In front
Opening Hours 12:00-23:00 every day (01st September – 30th April: closed on MONDAYS)
Getting there: The easiest way to find Trget is to take the road from Barban to Labin. Take a turn at Most Raša following the sign for Luka Raša. Continue along the river Raša, towards the sea. Pass by a marine border crossing (do not worry, you do not need a passport), three large cranes, across a little bridge by a green sea beacon, and here you are at Trget! Another 400 meters down the road you will see Martin Pescador tavern right in front of you.
TONIGLA) EicyAan(BR AR ASt T ecdotes on the side food with ju
A family tavern famous for its fish- and seafood-based dishes, located at Brtonigla, right next to the road from Novigrad to Buje. All food is prepared with their homemade olive oil, produced only for the needs of the restaurant and family members. In the winter the food is prepared on a spacious open fireplace in the main hall. The owner’s son plays the saxophone, so at the bar there is an old saxophone turned into a beer tap. In warm weather you can enjoy the food while sitting at a soft lawn, while in the winter you can choose between sitting near the warm fireplace, or at the bright glazed terrace. SPECIALTIES There are not many places where you can get dishes such as codfish fillet in oil, or spidercrab salad. Black risotto at Astarea is excellent, also due to the homemade olive oil used in its preparation. If you are a fan of shellfish, do not miss out on the famous grilled Novigrad kapešante. Kapešante (scallops) from Novigrad area are a well-known delicacy due to their brackish water habitat. PRICES Main course prices range from 55.00 (pork cutlet with side dish) to 130.00 kuna (steak with truffles). BASIC INFORMATION Owner Anton i Ivan Kernjus Credit Cards Address Ronko 6, Brtonigla Web Page Phone 052/774-384 Parking Opening Hours: 11:00-23:00 every day Closed: 05th November – 05th December
Getting there: The tavern is located by the road from Novigrad to Buje, almost at the end of Brtonigla.
Maestro, Mastercard www.konoba-astarea-brtonigla.com In front and across the road
(BRTONIGLA) MORGAdeN d by vineyards
On a hill surroun
Relax and enjoy at one of the most beautiful terraces in Istrian countryside! Spend a summer afternoon at a shady hilltop enjoying the light breeze and the sound of crickets, or a cold winter day in a charming interior where you can enjoy delicious Istrian cuisine and a rich wine list all year long. The tavern is far enough from the usual tourist routes to provide you with a true countryside atmosphere, and yet close enough to be easily reached by car or by bike. A neat macadam road will lead you to a tree with a swing, and a tavern at the hilltop. A nicely groomed little park will direct you towards an airy terrace with a view of the surrounding hills and vineyards. Children will be cheered up by a couple of cute, well-mannered dogs, and a number of sheep and a donkey grazing in a fenced area about 50 metres from the tavern. SPECIALTIES Like many other countryside taverns, Morgan does not serve fish dishes, but rather local meat dishes, especially game. Try the roasted rooster, or boškarin (Istrian ox) brasato: the meat is baked in a pot, which takes about 4-5 hours. Many of the groceries you will get here were grown by the Morgan family themselves, such as vegetables, chicken, and lamb. PRICES Main course prices range from 55.00 (roasted rooster) to 140.00 kuna (steak with truffles). BASIC INFORMATION Owner........................ Darinka i Ana Morgan Credit Cards............... All Address..................... Bracanija 1, Brtonigla Web Page:................. www.konoba-morgan.eu Phone........................ 052/774-520 Parking...................... In front Opening Hours: all year long 12:00-22:00, closed on TUESDAYS
Getting there: Take the road from Novigrad to Buje. About a kilometre after Brtonigla, which is about 3.5 km before Buje, turn right (towards east) to a smaller road, and then a macadam road which will lead you directly to Morgan tavern.
Y WINERY AND OIL REFINER (SV. MARIJA NA KRASU)
Amid solid rocks
The owner’s grandfather’s prop-phrase Cuj da ti recem… (Eng. Let me tell you…), spoken in local dialect, earned him the nickname Cuj, which in his honour became the name of this winery and oil refinery. The owner and former caterer Danijel Kraljević decided to dedicate himself to oenology, and found the perfect way to combine the two. At Cuj you will find an old-style tasting room with an open fireplace, and answers to all your questions about Istrian wines and olive oil: which soil, which glass, how, why, when, etc. You will see the samples and hear the story of all three types of Istrian soil, which have found its place in Cuj products’ logo. After that, you will be lead downstairs into a cellar hewn into solid rock. The bare rocks of the cellar give it a cave-like appearance and maintain the ideal temperature for wine and oil preservation. During olive picking season in October and November it is also possible to visit and see the entire procedure of olive oil production.
PRODUCTS DEGUSTATIONS AND GUIDED TOURS: 35.00–100.00 kuna per person, depending on your wishes. In addition to wine tasting, you can sample the homemade products such as smoked ham (prosciutto), baked olives, various cheeses, salted sardines, etc. Malvasia, aged Malvasia, Teran, Chardonnay, semi-sweet Muscat, Rosé: 45.00–80.00 kuna per bottle. Call or e-mail to announce your arrival in advance. BASIC INFORMATION Owner............................Danijel Kraljević Address.........................Farnažine 5, Sveta Marija na Krasu, Umag Credit Cards...................None
Phone............................098/219-277 Danijel Kraljević 091/2121-920 Massimo Web Page......................www.cuj.hr (under construction) Parking..........................In front
Opening Hours: 08:00-15:00 every day; After 15:00 with notification in advance. October/November 00:00-24:00
Getting there: In Petrovija, a village at the road from Buje to Umag, turn right (northwards) towards Vilanija. Pass through Vilanija, and after about 1.3 km (3.5 km after Petrovija) you will see Cuj winery on your right.
ˇ INA UŠl C RN B TAVE ted and traditiona in a
Sophistica perfect combination
When Buščina tavern first opened its door in 1992, the road passing by was still a macadam road (moreover, the war was not exactly favourable to the development of tourism either). For 20 years this tavern has been building its reputation and good name, based exclusively on the winning combination of homemade food and high quality service. For five years in a row this tastefully decorated tavern exuding warm family atmosphere has been listed among the Top Five Taverns in Istria. In May of 2012 the tavern threw a huge and cheerful party to celebrate its 20th anniversary, as a treat for everyone and anyone who wished to join in.
SPECIALTIES The tavern offers typical Istrian dishes, made of homemade and seasonal ingredients. Every spring it also participates at the Days of Istrian Asparagus, which means that in addition to the regular offer there are also a few asparagus-based menus. Some of the more interesting details from these menus are for example asparagus tea, or asparagus ice-cream with olive oil. Try homemade pasta with boškarin stew (Istrian ox) and homemade bread on the side, all prepared in an open fireplace which is lit throughout the year. For true gourmands, we recommend the boškarin carpaccio and truffle cheese, or some of the more unusual dishes such as homemade pasta with donkey stew, or deer steak.
PRICES Main course prices range from 40.00 (pasta with stew or sausages) to 180.00 kuna (beefsteak with white truffles). You can have a bowl of boškarin soup or Istrian maneštra (thick vegetable soup) already for 20.00 kuna. BASIC INFORMATION Owner..................... Fabiana Mijanović Address................... Buščina 18, Umag Phone...................... 052/732-088
Credit Cards............ All Web Page................ www.konoba-buscina.hr Parking.................... In front
Opening Hours 12:00-24:00 every day, all year round; Closed on TUESDAYS (in July and August open on Tuesdays, too) Closed throughout January.
Getting there: About 4 km from border crossings of Plovanija-Sečovlje and KaštelDragonja. The easiest way to arrive is from the road Buje – Umag: in Petrovija turn right, towards Vilanija. After about 4.5 km you will see Buščina tavern.
I ELtto KAP N NA TAVER , ciu os pr e th ce the guests see
On vio Šegon, Owner) they cannot resist it! (Ne
Located across the chapel it was named after, this lively and busy tavern never closes its doors. By agreement with the District of Tinjan, the tavern’s food offer is based exclusively on homemade local products from the district of Tinjan. Na kapeli thus became a great example of promotion of local products such as local prosciutto (smoked ham), various kinds of cheese, rakija (biska – mistletoe rakija, or medica – honey rakija), etc. With advanced notification you can participate at a prosciutto production presentation projection in one of five languages (Croatian, English, Italian, German, and Russian). Due to exclusive local products use, this tavern has appeared on several occasions on TV shows such as Fruits of the Earth, etc. In the winter the food is prepared at an open fireplace indoors, and in the summer outdoors. On Thursdays and Sundays 20:00-23:00, from 15th June on and throughout the summer, you can participate in folklore dances at the tavern’s terrace. SPECIALTIES The tavern offers excellent food made under a baking lid, called peka, served with homemade bread and pasta made at the tavern. Since the District of Tinjan is officially known as the District of Istrian Prosciutto, do not miss out on sampling the products of some of the four prosciutto producers from Tinjan: Dujmović, Antolović, Radetić, Milohanić. If you are unable to resist it, try all four and choose your favourite! Depending on the time of the year, try the seasonal dishes prepared with mushrooms (porcini and trooping funnel mushrooms), asparagus, or sausages. Every day from 10:00 to 14:00 you can have a genuine worker’s lunch menu. PRICES Main course prices range from 45.00 (grilled chicken) to 135.00 kuna (beefsteak with truffles and noodles). BASIC INFORMATION Owner............................Nevio Šegon Credit Cards...................All, except Diners Address.........................Milinki 146, Tinjan Web Page: www.epazin.info/konoba-na-kapeli/ Phone............................052/626-318, 091/219-8903 Parking..........................In front Opening Hours: 07:00-24:00 every day, all year round (The kitchen is open until 23:00)
Getting there: The tavern is located at the main road leading from Pazin to Poreč, 13 km from Pazin.
RAM) ATA (BE VELA VR late and enjoy the
Satisfy your pa wonderful view
Tavern Vela vrata
The tavern is located in a house which was once a part of the town gate. Therefore the tavern, which stands at the entrance to a charming medieval little town of Beram, got the name Vela vrata (Eng. The Grand Gate). You can choose between a comfortable interior and a roofed-over terrace with a view of the surrounding fields and the thick green forests of the Istrian countryside. The relaxing ambiance fills you up with pleasure and makes you lose track of time. After dinner you can take a walk through the town or visit the famous little church of Sveta Marija na Škriljinah (St. Mary of the Rocks), famous for Vincent of Kastav’s fresco the Dance of Death. If you wish to visit the church you should call Tinjan Parish Office (+385-52-626-016) or the key keeper, Mrs Sonja Šestan, at the address Beram 38 (+38552-622-903), at least half an hour in advance. You can also ask the personnel of the tavern for help with the key. SPECIALTIES The offer consists of typical Istrian countryside dishes, made exclusively with local seasonal groceries, such as fresh truffles, mushrooms, asparaguses, wild game, and homemade pasta. Excellent sausages are available when it is their season, i.e. from St. Martin’s Day (11th November) until the beginning of March. Vegetables are from the family’s own garden. You can also taste homemade Malvasia from Beram. PRICES Main course prices range from 25.00 (mushroom or asparagus omelette) to 110.00 kuna (beefsteak in green pepper, or with mushrooms). BASIC INFORMATION Owner..................... Sandro Jurčić Address................... Beram 41, Pazin Phone...................... 091/781-4995
Credit Cards............ All, except AmEx Web Page................ None Parking.................... In front
Opening Hours 11:00-24:00; kitchen is open until 22:00 Closed on Mondays (except from 07th July to 20th August) Closed for two weeks in January – call and check.
Getting there: Take the road from Pazin to Poreč, and turn towards Beram.Follow the winding road uphill, all the way to the town centre. The tavern is located at the very entrance to the historical centre, on your left.
VINJ) VELI JOŽE (RO corner
Excellent food at a rock
Just like the story of Veli Jože, this tavern will not leave you cold. At the entrance you will be greeted by an old diver leaned against the bar (that is, an old diving-suit), introducing you into an interior filled with antiques and curious items. One of the walls is covered in old musical instruments, and the piano in the corner is still in function – just say you would like to play something, and everybody will be happy to hear some live music. The tavern is especially recommended to those who pay attention to music when they choose a place to eat. If you are in a mood to eat outdoors, there is also a terrace located in a cheerful street just outside the tavern, where you will feel like you are merging with the dynamics of this charming and colourful little town. SPECIALTIES As the owner puts it, Why complicate things? Meat, seafood, and fish dishes (except tuna) are prepared using quality ingredients and cooked in simple, well-tried ways. The owner takes fish and seafood from the local fishermen. Various kinds of Adriatic fish are prepared also al cartoccio (baked in paper). There is also grilled food, but no pizza. PRICES Main course prices range from 50.00 (seafood risotto) to 160.00 kuna (beefsteak with truffles). BASIC INFORMATION Owner............................Ivan Šverko Address.........................Sv. Križ 1, Rovinj Phone............................052/816-337 098/366-785
Credit Cards...................All Web Page......................None Parking..........................None (leave your car at the parking lot outside Rovinj historical centre)
Opening Hours: 11:00-01:00 every day (Closed 15th January – 15th March)
Getting there: The tavern is located in Rovinj’s historical centre, in a street parallel with the waterfront. Come to the fountain in the centre of the square next to the main, biggest pier in the port. A street parallel with the waterfront will take you by the Adriatic hotel and straight towards the historical centre. After about 100 metres you will came to Sv. Križ street, and Veli Jože tavern at No. 1.
Tavern Veli Jože
VINJ) CROCEdi(RO SANTA eth ing a little fferent.
And now… Som
This tavern is actually a gourmet restaurant located in Rovinj’s historical centre, perfect for relaxation. The interior is airy and light, and the terrace is calm and relaxing. The tables at the terrace are located at a wider part of Sv. Križ Street, but quite removed from the people passing by.
Tavern Santa Croce
SPECIALTIES The restaurant combines traditional groceries in somewhat unusual ways: not radically experimental, but simply a little different. For example, try the gilthead bream fillet with orange, sea bass fillet with black olives, smoked seafood risotto, or gnocchi in vodka and gorgonzola cream sauce.
PRICES Main course prices range from 60.00 (Istrian pasta with rocket and pine nuts, with asparagus and prosciutto, etc.) to 150.00 kuna (angler fillet in black truffle sauce). BASIC INFORMATION Owner..................... Dean Cerin Address................... Sv. Križ 11, Rovinj Phone...................... 052/842-240 091/27 27 226
Credit Cards............ All except Diners i Am Ex Web Page................ None Parking.................... None (leave your car at the parking lot outside Rovinj’s historical centre)
Opening Hours 01st April – 30th September: every day, 12:00-15:00, 18:00-24:00 Closed 01st October – 31st March)
Getting there: The tavern is located in Rovinj’s historical centre, in a street parallel with the waterfront. Come to the fountain in the centre of the square next to the main, biggest pier in the port. A street parallel with the waterfront will take you by the Adriatic hotel and straight towards the historical centre. After about 100 metres you will came to Sv. Križ street, and Santa Croce tavern at No. 11 (a little square).
JANKA (PULA) VODN d jazz Tripe an
The place to be for a great meal! Most of the clientele of this homey trattoria are local people, who like coming here for lunch. It is general knowledge: if you wish to eat good, homemade, and fresh food – just follow the locals! The young owner works at the tavern and plays the music of his choice; so, if you like rock, jazz, and blues, you will not be disappointed. The combination of good music and homey atmosphere makes this place unique, as well as very cosy. Oh, right: the trattoria got its name due to certain circumstances. It is not in Vodnjan. SPECIALTIES Apart from worker’s lunch menus you can choose from a number of typical Istrian dishes. Our recommendation is homemade pasta with boškarin stew, or Istrian maneštra (thick vegetable soup) with sausages. Tripe fans will also be satisfied. All of the above can be nicely completed with a glass of good homemade wine. PRICES Main course prices range from 34.00 (battered meatballs) to 80.00 kuna (Adriatic squids, or mixed fish). BASIC INFORMATION Owner...................... Moris Civitico Address................... D. Vitezića 4, Pula Phone...................... 052/210-655
Credit Cards............. None Web Page................ None Parking.................... None (public parking in the street in front)
Opening Hours: MONDAY-FRIDAY 10:00-17:00 SATURDAY 11:00-16:00 SUNDAY Closed Closed throughout September.
Getting there: Depending on where you entered Pula, find Marulić Street, one of the longest streets stretching from north to south. Vitezić Street stems from Marulić Street at a right angle. When you find it, turn west and enter the street. Pass by s modern-style St. Joseph’s church, go straight for another 100 metres, and you will see trattoria Vodnjanka on your left.
KAŽETthA e main road
Kažeta tavern is located right next to the road, but as soon as you enter it everything changes and it seems as if you have entered a different world: more peaceful, intimate, remote. The owners personally restored the old, ruinous family house back to life, and most details there are their own handiwork. The tavern has a spacious roofed-over terrace with solid-wood tables, while in the wintertime the fire from the open fireplace sheds light all over the interior room. There is also a separate room with a large table perfect for a bigger group, coved by a ceiling with stars painted on it. The entire tavern is full of lovely old things and lovely details. SPECIALTIES Local Istrian cuisine is available all year long, such as young corn maneštra (thick vegetable soup), homemade Istrian pasta pljukanci with asparagus and prosciutto, or the Kažeta-style beefsteak (stuffed with prosciutto and cheese). Due to a constant supply of fresh snails from a farm in Matulji, you can also try several snail dishes. PRICES Main course dishes range from 30.00 (omelette with snails and spring onions) to 100.00 kuna (Kažeta-style beefsteak with a side dish, or beefsteak with truffles and a side dish). BASIC INFORMATION Owner..................... Julijana Brljafa Address................... Kadumi 4, Poreč Phone...................... 052/460-615
Credit Cards............ All Web Page................ www.istrabiz.hr/detalji. php?KB=132405133 Parking.................... In front Opening Hours 01st May – 30th September: MON-SAT 08:00-23:00 - SUN 12:30-23:00 01th October – 30th April: MON 08:00-15:00 - TUE-SAT 08:00-23:00 SUN 12:30-23:00
Getting there: The tavern is located right by the main road from Pazin to Poreč, about 4.5 km before Poreč.
(MOTOVUN) FAKIN ovun and great view from Mot
Great food is there to say. town walls... What more The location alone invites you to come and sit down: the tavern is situated on Motovun town walls, right next to the town loggia between the two town gates. The tavern has no connection with its famous namesake, a coffee bar which used to stand at the foot of the town, well-known to all who used to visit the Motovun Film Festival during its first decade. However, apart from the name, what the two also have in common are the friendly staff, and a cosy ambience. The view of the river Mirna, Oprtalj, Grožnjan, and the surrounding hills can be enjoyed either from the terrace or from the nicely decorated interior. Just as it is written on the outside pricelist: Look for the tavern with red tablecloths!
SPECIALTIES In addition to the unavoidable Istrian maneštra, you can also try homemade sausages in teran wine, or beefsteak in red wine sauce. The tavern offers a number of classical dishes with truffles, but also some unusual ones such as truffle soup and black truffle pancakes. For dessert, try the pears in teran wine. There is also a kids menu. PRICES Main course prices range from 45.00 (homemade sausages, or 50.00 kuna for sausages in teran wine) to 120.00 kuna (beefsteak in asparagus or red wine sauce). Naturally, truffle dishes cost more: from 40.00 (black truffle pancakes) to 220.00 kuna (beefsteak with white truffles). BASIC INFORMATION Owner............................Marko Fakin Credit Cards.................None Address.........................Trg Josefa Ressela 4, Motovun Web Page....................None Phone............................052/681-598 Parking........................None (the town is for pedestrians only) 092/14 20 092, 092/23 94 400 Opening Hours: 12:00-23:00 every day (open from 01st April to 15th November)
Getting there: Leave the car at the big parking lot at the foot of the hill or the smaller one up the hill, next to the graveyard. Parking is charged at all parking lots. Walk along a cobbled street uphill; when you reach the first town gate go on straight towards the second gate. The last tavern before the second town gate is Fakin tavern (with red tablecloths).
UN) PUN (MmOTbeOV POD NAth tween no museu
A living gastro-e the sky and the ground
This is in fact an actual restaurant, but it had to be named snack-bar as well due to its open-type kitchen, where the guests can see the process of food preparation and even ask for culinary advice. The restaurant owes its name to napa (Eng. hood; Pod napun means Under the fireplace hood), originally a little roof over the fireplace, traditionally a place where families would gather round. In order to enter the restaurant you must first walk through the Ethno-shop Ča, offering local products and a chance to see lots of old local things, including a bed with old linens. The restaurant has a magnificent two-floor terrace which seems to be hanging from the town walls, giving you a between-the-sky-and-the-ground kind of feeling. The terrace is 200 metres above sea level; after the rain, when the air is at its clearest, visibility can be up to 50 kilometres.
SPECIALTIES Apart from numerous truffle dishes, there is also a wide array of canapés (with truffles, olives, anchovy, etc.) for those in a mood for a little bit of everything, and olive oils degustations. There is also a vegetarian menu. The owner recommends the wild herbs omelette, and ladvenica in teran wine sauce (ask the waiter what kind of meat that is). PRICES Truffle dishes prices range from 55.00 (homemade pasta with truffles) to 210.00 kuna (beefsteak with white truffles). Olive oil degustations range from 20.00 to 35.00 kuna, and a portion of canapés ranges from 17.00 to 22.00 kuna. The aforementioned wild herbs omelette costs 42.00, and the ladvenica 90.00 kuna. BASIC INFORMATION Owner..................... Livio Lanča Address................... Gradiziol 33, Motovun Phone...................... 052/681-767
Credit Cards............ All Web Page................ www.antique-motovun.com.hr Parking None (the town is for pedestrians only)
Opening Hours 20.03.-01.05.TUE-SUN 12:00-22:00, Closed on MON 20.12.-06.01.UTO-NED 12:00-22:00, Closed on MON 01.05.-15.11. every day 12:00-22:00 (the ethno shop is open 10:00-22:00, so you can have a drink at the terrace of the restaurant before noon, too)
Getting there? Leave the car at the big parking lot at the foot of the hill or the smaller one up the hill, next to the graveyard. Parking is charged at all parking lots. Walk along a cobbled street uphill; after about a hundred metres or so you will see the Ethno-shop Ča on your left. Pass through the shop and you will be at the restaurant/snack-bar Pod napun
A detail from Buščina tavern
Sheep behind Morgan tavern
CONTENTS: What is the RONA PLUS GUIDE? CAPE KAMENJAK THE PARENZANA ISTRIAN CAVES ŠKARLINE CANYON TRIP No. 01 TRIP No. 02 TRIP No. 03 TRIP No. 04 TRIP No. 05 ISTRA INSPIRIT TONČIĆ AGROTOURISM DANIJELI TAVERN LOGGIA TAVERN MARINO TAVERN KOD KAŠTELA TAVERN MARTIN PESCADOR TAVERN ASTAREA TAVERN MORGAN TAVERN CUJ WINERY AND OIL REFINERY BUŠČINA TAVERN NA KAPELI TAVERN VELA VRATA TAVERN VELI JOŽE TAVERN SANTA CROCE TAVERN TRATTORIA VODNJANKA KAŽETA TAVERN FAKIN TAVERN RESTAURANT POD NAPUN
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pleasure Your holiday sibility! n o sp and is our re -99-229-1575
ATIONS +385 ents-rona.com INFO & RESERV firstname.lastname@example.org www.apartm ok bo 43 +385-99-230-46
Publisher: RONA TRADE d.o.o., Publisher for: Roman Cvek - Texts: Jelena Bičanić-Ščedrov Photo: www.fotolia.com | www.dreamstime.com | TZZI | Istra Inspirit | Morten Smalby | www.colorsofistria.com | www.baredine.com | arhiv Rona trade d.o.o. Prepress: Vladimir Šijan - Print: AKD, Zagreb