Istria has it all. Among hills, beaches, splendid coastal cities, marvelous wine, gorgeous food, there are quaint hilltop towns. Istria is the biggest Adriatic peninsula and home to world-class wine, olives, famous to its bilingualism, festivals, and small towns. Let's talk about the latest one: four picturesque Istrian hilltop towns that are real jewels of central Istria.
Named after the tribe of Histri - Istria is a peninsula of a turbulent history. As history teaches us, the Histri were a brave tribe that was defending the land from the foreign enemy. In the Middle Ages, the barbaric tribes conquered this piece of heaven on the Earth. Through the history, many empires and kingdoms ruled this land - Romans, Venetians, Austrians... For its geographical position and shape (surrounded by the sea on three sides), the Istrian land was easy to conquer. That's why many small fortified towns were built in the Istrian inland. This is the story about 4 most interesting among them: Hum, Motovun, Grožnjan, and Buje.
Hum, as the reference says, is the smallest town in the world. What makes this place special is his peculiar tradition of the village chief election. Each year, the new chief of this fairy stone town is elected, when all the men from the town have to carve the line with the wooden stick. Hum has townhall, church, main square... all the town elements, but in the small scale. Visiting Hum, you will definitely fly back through the time. Prepare your phone memory for the photos of this medieval fairy jewel in the middle of Istria.
Read more: The smallest town in the world – Hum
You will love it. Trust me. Motovun/Montona is the medieval fortress town in the middle of the Istrian wilderness. What you need is a bottle of water while climbing up to the town, a glass of Malvazija wine, and someone to share the magnificent view with. If you are in Motovun in July and August, don't miss the festival dedicated to the independent movies from Europe and the US, the famous Motovun Film Festival.
This is the town of cobblestone streets, beautiful views and one of the important stops of the famous Parenzana railroad. Grožnjan/Grisignana is today the town of jazz, peace activism, youth, and painters, the town with more than 30 galleries and artist studios. It's magical how this town is easily converted into a busy artistic hub during the summer days. Grožnjan is every year's venue for big jazz festival - Jazz is back BP and Ex Tempore, an art exhibition. Its energy will conquer you and your feelings.
Buje/Buie is the biggest of these four towns. Located only 10 minutes from the coast, Buje/Buie is the town where one can start her/his Istrian hiking trail. Damaged facades of the Cathedral of San Servolo witnesses of turbulent and heroic history of this town and region. The best way to reach it is by hiking, but if you prefer faster transportation, then a bus or a car are the options from Novigrad or Umag.
Read more: Buje/Buie, a typical Istrian town
What is beautiful about Istria is that it offers a perfect vacation for everyone. Literally. Istria has it all - sandy beaches, mountains (Učka mountains), amazing cities (Pula, Poreč, Rovinj, Pazin) and spectacular inland with its picturesque hilltop towns. Welcome!
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