Istria is a heart-shaped peninsula known for being multicultural and welcoming, where great diversity has successfully coexisted with happiness. Istria epitomizes the authentic Mediterranean charm with its crystal clear sea, spotless coasts and harbors, bustling fishing boats, and narrow stone alleyways. The tranquility and softness of the landscapes that are eerily reminiscent of the most stunning regions of Tuscany or Provence emanate from small, charming medieval towns located on the peaks of its hills.
Where to go?
Istria has seen many different civilizations and cultures come and go, and each one left behind much more than just historical incidents.
Prehistoric hillforts and ancient, fortified medieval settlements, which dominate nearly every little hill in the Istrian hinterland and have distinctive streets, squares, churches, and town halls, can be found in this limited area. Find out what makes Pazin the setting for one of French author Jules Verne’s novels and why Hum is referred to as the world’s tiniest town. Discover why Dvigrad abruptly vanished from history in the 17th century. These small Istrian communities have had their gates open for hundreds of years.
Crystal clear sea & Blue flag beaches
The Blue Flag is a project carried out in Europe from 1987 with the aim of protecting the water, coast, beaches and marinas. The project expanded globally in 2000. The Blue Flag represents a maintained, secure, and pleasant atmosphere for enjoyment, rest, and recreation. The Blue Flag designates beaches and marinas that provide high-quality services, have a clear seashore, are tidy and well-equipped.
This coveted sign is only given to marinas and beaches that meet all the criteria set forth by each particular criterion, but which also consistently maintain high standards for the coast’s quality and educate and inform the general public about environmental conservation. The prize must be re-earned every year and is only good for one year. The Blue Flag may be taken away from the beach at any time during the year after it has been issued if the condition worsens.
Land of truffles
Truffles are highly prized fungi that grow at a depth of 5 to 30 cm below the ground. The year-round availability of fresh black and white truffles in Istrian cuisine sets it apart from other cuisines globally. In particular, truffles have a distinctive and potent aroma, which is why top chefs throughout the world employ them in their culinary delicacies. They are a highly expensive item due to their scarcity and difficulty in obtaining them, but the way they enhance meals and the regional Istrian cuisine justifies the price.
The best time of year to go hunting for a more valuable white truffle is in the fall. You can tell something is significant when a fungus gets its own name. One such truffle, the tuber magnatum pico, sold for up to USD 61,250 at Sotheby’s. Would you consider that to be good for a “potato”? Therefore, it should come as no surprise that the top truffle hounds can fetch up to EUR 20,000.
Photo credit: Karlić Tartufi