Motovun, Grožnjan & Hum: A trip to Istria's most beautiful mountain villages

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When you think of Istria, you think of coastal towns, picturesque bays and palm trees swaying in the wind. But did you know that the Istrian hinterland is at least as worth seeing? At least once during your vacation you should definitely take a trip to the most beautiful mountain villages in the interior.

Olive groves, grapevines and rolling hills on which medieval mountain villages are enthroned – the Istrian hinterland reminds us personally a little bit of Tuscany. In any case, the tiny villages all exude medieval flair in perfection.

From the famous Motovun to the creative village of Grožnjan – in this blog article we present you our favorites for a day trip to the romantic interior of Istria. If you fancy a little time travel, you shouldn’t miss the mountain villages of Istria.

1. Motovun: The most famous mountain village of Istria Yes Seen from afar, Motovun is just a jewel. Wow! The town is enthroned on a hill, surrounded by vineyards and the lush green nature of the Mirna Valley.

Unique and visible from afar is the historic city wall, which surrounds Motovun and which you – small spoiler – fortunately can also walk on. In any case, it doesn’t surprise us that Motovun is probably the touristic mountain village in Istria.

Sights in Motovun Once you arrive in the historic old town, you will immediately notice what Motovun is famous for: truffles! The area around Motovun is known as Truffle Mecca. That’s why you can buy truffle specialties on almost every corner in Motovun.

Motovun is a bit larger than other mountain villages, but you hardly need more than two hours to explore all the sights and highlights in a relaxed manner. You should not miss the following highlights:

View from Trg Josef Ressel: Via the outer city gate of Motovun (Toranj novih vrata) you will immediately reach a highlight, the Trg Josef Ressel. There are a few bars and the historic city loggia from the . settled in the century. The great distant view over the hilly landscape is particularly unique. Main Square with Church of Sveti Stjepan: Leads through the inner town gate (Vrata kaštela). your way to the main square, the Trg Andrea Antico. In this comparatively spacious square, the most important church in Motovun, the church of Sveti Stjepan, draws everyone’s attention. By the way, the bell tower can be climbed. Great panoramic views guaranteed!City wall: A walk on the historic City walls of Motovun. You can buy your ticket for this directly at the main square in the tourist information. Then walk along the wall to the vantage point. Culinary recommendations for Motovun Konoba Mondo: We can only warmly recommend you to stay in Motovun for lunch and reserve a table at Konoba Mondo. There is really excellent Istrian cuisine here. The restaurant is quite touristy (no wonder given the location), but it tastes fantastic here.

Ipša olive oil: About 11 drive from Motovun away is the organic olive oil producer Ipša. Its olive oils are regularly voted among the best in Istria. After a short tasting, we immediately took a huge supply of olive oil home with us. Highly recommended!

Arrival & parking in Motovun Motovun is located in northern Istria. If you travel by car (which we would recommend), then it takes about an hour from Rovinj and a good hour from Pula to Motovun. You can find more information on how to get here further down in this blog article.

Once arrived, you have two options for parking:

Option 1: You park at the foot in the old town in the large (paid) car park. From there it goes up on foot (just 20 minutes) or alternatively by shuttle bus.

Option 2: You continue on the road at the parking lot that leads up towards the old town and hope to get a free parking space at the roadside (also subject to a fee depending on the season). From there you are only a few minutes away from the car-free old town of Motovun.

2. Grožnjan: Istrian artists’ village Picturesque Grožnjan is (after Labin) our favorite mountain village in Istria. Grožnjan has the reputation of being an artist village. And when you stroll through the stony alleyways, it immediately becomes clear why this is so. Galleries and studios line up next to each other. The flair in this winding mountain village is really very special.

Sights in Grožnjan Grožnjan is really small and tranquil. That means: You are the historical center of the 700 soul village easily in one hour gone. We can particularly recommend the following highlights and sights:

City loggia: The im Renaissance style loggia comes from the 16. Century. Although the plaster is already crumbling, we find this building in the heart of Grožnjan very worth seeing. Today the Fonticus Gallery is located here, where national and international artists regularly exhibit their works. Church of Sveti Vida: Grožnjan’s most important church is this baroque parish church dedicated to the saint is dedicated to Vitus. Galleries & studios: Last but not least, we also strongly recommend that to experience the creative flair of Grožnjan. In the countless small shops you can not only buy works of art, but also souvenirs such as oils or truffle products. Eating & drinking in Grožnjan The culinary offer in Grožnjan is very (!) manageable. This means there are only a handful of restaurants. We can highly recommend the Caffè Bar Vero for a break. Coffee with a view of the landscape around Grožnjan – what more could you ask for?

Arrival & parking in Grožnjan Grožnjan is about half an hour’s drive northwest of Motovun – so you can easily combine these two mountain villages. The old town itself is car-free. However, you can park your car directly in front of the town entrance in the large paid parking lot.

3. Hum: The smallest city in the world The tiny mountain village of Hum in the northern Istrian hinterland can actually call itself the smallest town in the world. Just 30 People live in Hum – probably even fewer. There is a mayor, but nothing more than a few alleys and a few rows of houses. Pretty strange.

We personally found Hum charming, but overall not quite as worth seeing as other mountain villages in Istria. It’s primarily the world record that got Hum quite a hype.

Sights in Hum No matter how small you imagine Hum: Hum is even smaller! In this respect, there is actually no need for any preparation at all, because you will automatically pass every corner anyway. We recommend that you approximately minutes to a maximum of one hour.

Historical city gate: Coming from the parking lot, you enter the medieval town center through the city gate with its massive copper doors. It comes from the . or 12. Century. Church of the Assumption of the Virgin Mary: This baroque church is probably the most important sight in Hum. It sits enthroned in the heart of the old town and is hard to miss. Next door, the associated free-standing bell tower protrudes from the 16. Century upwards.Cemetery Church of St. Jerome: Near the parking lot, outside of the historical center of Hum, lies the cemetery together with the cemetery church. Arrival & parking in Hum Hum is located in northern Istria, about an hour’s drive from Rovinj. Parking is possible directly in front of the historic town center on the paid parking lot.

4. More mountain villages in Istria One day trip is enough unfortunately not to explore all the villages of inland Istria. If you are looking for even more inspiration, then check out the following mountain villages.

Labin: This colourful, Venetian-style village is our personal favourite. Labin is located somewhat apart from the villages described above in south-eastern Istria and thus off the classic excursion route. We would therefore rather recommend visiting Labin separately. Check out this article for our detailed tips: Labin. Buzet: Just like Motovun, Buzet is also considered the truffle town of Istria. With more than 5000 inhabitants, Buzet is the largest town in the northern Istrian hinterland. In any case, there are a number of sights to be discovered in the medieval town centre. Pazin: This village is geographically particularly spectacular. It is perched on the edge of a cliff, 30 meters above Fojba Gorge. Wow! Definitely one of those villages that is memorable to look at. Oprtalj: The tiny Oprtalj is still considered an Istrian insider tip. The houses in the historic center are not as spruced up as in other villages. In some corners, Oprtalj almost makes a slightly dilapidated impression. It’s probably only a matter of time before Oprtalj wakes up from its slumber. 5. Arrival & other tips for your excursion We personally recommend a car for the excursion in order to be as flexible as possible. If you have not traveled to Istria in your own car, you can simply hire a rental car on site.

We book our rental car ourselves practically always via Sunny Cars. Sunny Cars is a platform that compares the offers of various rental car companies. So you book through Sunny Cars, but then pick up your car from a local company (e.g. Hertz). The great thing: Fully comprehensive insurance (incl. reimbursement of the deductible) is already included with Sunny Cars. Never again without!

If you don’t want to drive yourself, then of course there is also the possibility to book a tour. Here you can, for example, book a great day tour: Tour to the mountain towns of Istria.

By the way: If you are still looking for great accommodation in Istria, then we can recommend, for example, the San Tommaso Relais estate and Wine highly recommend. This way to our detailed Istria travel guide: Istria travel tips.

6. Map: The most beautiful mountain villages in Istria at a glance Finally, we have drawn the most beautiful villages in Istria together with the most important sights on this map. We hope that our tips for your day trip are helpful.

A little tip: Click on the rectangle in the top right corner to open the map in the Google Maps app on your smartphone. So you can easily navigate from A to B on site.

Transparency : Affiliate Links This blog article contains our personal recommendations in the form of so-called affiliate links. If you book or buy something through the links, we will receive a small commission. For you, this does not change the price at all. A thousand thanks from both of us!

Have you ever been to Istria and perhaps also explored Motovun, Grožnjan or another village in the hilly hinterland? We look forward to hearing about your experiences below this article in the comments.