The dreamlike nature, almost mythical landscapes and gorgeous mediaeval towns of central Istria will awake within you the primeval and deep, true pleasure! Central Istria is one of the rare Mediterranean regions adorned with the quality of unspoiled natural landscapes and rich heritage. Numerous coves and hillocks connect and divide many magic-like settlements, creating almost unreal scenery.
Any of the main roads from the eastern, western or southern Istrian coast will take you to Pazin. It is the administrative headquarters of the Istrian County, placed at the very center of the Istrian peninsula. The Pazin fortification Kaštel is elevated above the Pazinčica River, a spectacular pit, a natural phenomenon placed under special protection. From this fortification, Pazin County - feud of the Habsburgs - used to be governed. This is, no doubt, the most beautiful example of the evolution of karst hydrography. French writer Jules Verne has even placed part of the action of his novel “Mathias Sandorf” here. Today Kaptel serves as a home for the Ethnographic Museum of Istria and the Pazin City Museum.
If you move from Pazin to the north, in only twenty minute’s time, you will end up in lovely Motovun, most important inhabited place of these parts since prehistory. This picturesque mediaeval town placed on a hill, has a rich cultural and historical heritage. It dominates over the valley of the Mirna River and the famous Motovun wood, a habitat of the best truffle in the world.
Keep moving upstream towards Buzet, a town placed on a hill in the middle of the fruitful valley of the Mirna River. Inhabited already in prehistory, it was fortified during the Roman rule. The central square with the parochial church of the Blessed Virgin Mary’s Assumption, is the very core of the old town. While here, be sure not to miss a visit to the County Museum of Buzet and its surroundings. In the year of 1999, Buzet was publicly proclaimed the town of truffle, unique fruit of this mystical land.
You should also visit Roč, today an exceptionally active cultural center, as well as Hum - the smallest town in the world. Between these two small towns there is a unique memorial complex dedicated to the old Croatian Glagolitic alphabet and culture. Both of these towns are placed under protection as exceptionally significant cultural monuments. In only a few hours, one of many hiking trails will take you from the picturesque mediaeval architecture over the afforested slopes of the Cicarija plateau to the largest Istrian mountain and park of nature, Učka (1396m). It is one of the last European localities where a patient eye of a bird lover will be rewarded with impressive contours of the griffon vulture or the golden eagle.
If you move from Pazin towards the south, you will find yourself in Žminj, a small town where old Istrian houses and holdings now serve for agritourism. Here you can get accommodation and enjoy the homemade Istrian cooking and the unspoiled nature.
If you keep moving further to the south, you will come to Svetvinčenat, the art center of southern Istria. It is placed on the karst plateau and surrounded by woods, pasture grounds and vineyards. Kaštel, the churches and the beautiful Renaissance square form a perfect scenography for supreme art events. Your thirst for cultural atmosphere will thus be fulfilled, bringing closure to this remarkable evening in your journey through the fairytale land.