Start by exploring Croatia’s capital of Zagreb, taking in its old town and cafe culture, before travelling to Istria and Pula’s ancient Roman architecture. Take a day trip to Cape Kamenjak to see a nature reserve that’s home to 20 different species of orchid, before travelling to the port town of Rovinj. Head away from Istria’s coastline into its hills, where you can visit the picturesque, medieval villages of Motovun and Grožnjan. Next, travel to the seaside resort of Lovran before ending your trip back in Zagreb to depart.

Key information

Destinations Destinations Rovinj, Lovran, Zagreb, Motovun, Pula
Activity Activity Beach, Culture
Physical Level Physical Level Moderate
Season Season May - September

Suggested itinerary

Arrival to Zagreb — Fažana

Arrival to Zagreb — Fažana

Day 1 in Fažana

Meeting at Zagreb airport around midday, we have a scenic drive (3 hrs) to the southern part of the peninsula and our boutique seafront 4-star hotel in the village of Fažana, one of the favourite haunts of the former president of Yugoslavia, Josip Tito.

Nesactium—Cape Kamenjak—Pula

Nesactium—Cape Kamenjak—Pula

Day 2 in Pula

In Nesactium, the deserted and tourist-free home of the King of the Histri, conquered by the Romans in 177 BC, we learn about this local tribe, which gave the peninsula its name. Moving on to Cape Kamenjak, the southern-most point of Istria, we wander on this narrow headland, a nature reserve protecting over 20 species of orchids. We explore the area on foot, looking for species such as Pink Butterfly Orchid, Bertoloni’s, Dark or Bumble Bee Ophrys. After an agrotourism lunch of farm produce, a short drive takes us to Pula, Istria’s largest city and a major port, where we visit the 1st century BC Pula Arena, one of the best-preserved Roman amphitheatres in the world.

Don't miss

See orchids in Cape Kamenjak

See orchids in Cape Kamenjak

The Cape Kamenjak Nature Reserve is just 12km south of Pula. Here, you can spot more than 20 different varieties of orchid, as well as explore its hiking and biking trails.

Dvigrad—Rovinj

Dvigrad—Rovinj

Day 3 in Rovinj

Our walk (2.5 hrs) this morning follows a wide track at the bottom of the fertile Lim valley, starting from the ruins of the mediaeval fortified town of Dvigrad and arriving for a seafood lunch by the sunken 10-kilometre-long estuary. In nearby Rovinj, a Venetian port for centuries, we explore the picturesque harbour and the cobbled lanes of the old town leading to the hilltop church of St. Eufemia, a local saint and legend.

Explore Istria’s hilltop villages

Explore Istria’s hilltop villages

Day 4 in Motovun

Moving into the interior of the Istrian peninsula, we follow a woodland path (3 hrs) to the Chapel of our Lady of the Rocks, near Beram. The frescoes, dating from 1475, vividly depict the Adoration of the Magi and feature a detailed Danse Macabre. We have lunch in a popular country konoba, perhaps fuzi pasta with wild asparagus. Our ultimate destination today is the hilltop town of Motovun, where we stay at a comfortable 3-star hotel in a reconstructed mediaeval palazzo on the chestnut tree-filled square. We walk around the Venetian 14th century battlements before a dinner featuring local truffles.

Hiking in Draguć & Grožnjan

Hiking in Draguć & Grožnjan

Day 5 in Motovun

A morning’s walk (2.5 hrs) on a marvellous ridge across the heart of Istria leads us to the splendidly sited mediaeval village of Draguć, where we see the frescoes in the little chapel of St. Roch. After a rustic lunch nearby, we drive to the village of Oprtalj, where we wander through the historic centre of this almost deserted mediaeval town. Later, we proceed to the start of our walk (1.5 hrs) to the picturesque hilltop village of Grožnjan, well known for its artists and Summer Music School. Returning that evening to Motovun.

Vižinada— Poreč— Motovun

Vižinada— Poreč— Motovun

Day 6 in Motovun

A track following a section of a disused railway brings us to the frescoed Romanesque Church of St. Barnabas in Vižinada (2.5 hrs). After lunch, we continue to Poreč to visit the fine 6th century Euphrasian Basilica. The rest of the afternoon is free to explore Motovun’s mediaeval charms, including the parish church erected to a design by Andrea Palladio, buy presents to take home in the truffle shops or relax in the indoor pool of our hotel.

Glagolitic Way

Glagolitic Way

Day 7 in Opatija

We explore the ‘Glagolitic Way’, celebrating the ancient Slavonic script, on our way to the village of Hum, officially the smallest ‘town’ in the world. 21 inhabitants of Hum enjoy a 1,000-year architectural and civic heritage and the church of St. Hieronymous contains remains of 12th century Byzantine frescoes. Leaving Istria behind, we head for the Kvarner Gulf and the village of Lovran. We follow the coastal path leading past the botanical gardens and fin-de-siècle villas to Opatija, once the favoured Adriatic resort of the Austro-Hungarian Emperor, Franz Joseph, and our seafront 4-star hotel.

Return to Zagreb

Return to Zagreb

Day 8 in Zagreb

A morning transfer (2 hrs) to Zagreb airport concludes our holiday.

Where to stay

Classic

Hotel Kastel Motovun

This family-run hotel in the heart of the medieval town of Motovun offers fantastic views of central Istria, the Mirna river valley, Motovun vineyards and city square. Facilities include an indoor swimming pool, à-la-carte restaurant, spa with sauna and gardens to relax in.

Deluxe

Amadria Park Hotel Milenij

This 5* luxury hotel is located in central Opatija, overlooking Kvarner Bay. With stylish contemporary suites, this hotel offers a number of facilities, including an indoor swimming pool, sundeck, tennis courts, wellness centre, sea-view terrace, 2 restaurants and a lobby bar complete with piano music.

Book this itinerary

This route booked with one of our specialist tour operators would cost from £2,026pp. Pricing varies by accommodation class, and can be tailored to suit your budget.

Pricing is typically inclusive of hotels, transfers, meals, and all guided excursions and activities.

Other itineraries you might like

Why Horizon Guides?

Impartial guidebooks

Impartial guidebooks

Our travel guides are written by the leading experts in their destinations. We never take payment for positive coverage so you can count on us for impartial travel advice.

Expert itineraries

Expert itineraries

Suggested itineraries and routes to help you scratch beneath the surface, avoid the tourist traps, and plan an authentic, responsible and enjoyable journey.

Specialist advice

Specialist advice

Get friendly, expert travel advice and custom itineraries from some of the world’s best tour operators, with no spam, pressure or commitment to book.

Loading...