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  • From €1090

  • 8 days / 7 nights
  • April, Ocotber
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Coast To Coast Walking Tour Istria - 8 days

Overview

Imagine walking through green countryside full of vineyards, olive trees, rivers and forests, full of beautiful villages and medieval towns situated on hills. Indeed it sounds like a dream. This dream can come true! Join us on a walking adventure through green Istria. Learn about the natural beauty that will open before you every step of the way, and with every new winding of the road. Learn about the culture and heritage of Istria and visit picturesque towns on the hills with unforgettable views which will leave you breathless. Visit Hum, the smallest town in the world and experience the spirit of the past in Motovun and Grožnjan, the town of artists. To get to know the best of Istria, walk through Učka Nature Park which contains a wealth of life and, finally, round off this green adventure with the delicious flavors of indigenous Istrian
delicacies and wines.

Highlights:
● Sightseeing tours of the medieval towns of Grožnjan, Motovun and Buzet
● Visiting Hum, the smallest town in the world
● Hiking on Učka Nature Park
● Exploring the rich cultural heritage and local culinary delicacies

Facilities

1. DAY - ARRIVAL
Arrival in Pula airport and group transfer to our hotel in Buje area. Brief orientation meeting with our guide followed by a dinner together. Overnight in hotel in Buje area.

Accommodation: Guesthouse Lovac 3* in Buje area or similar
Meals: Dinner
Walking distance: No
Transfer: Transfer from Pula airport to Buje in duration 50 minutes.

2. DAY - BRTONIGLA - BUJE
Today starts with a very brief transfer (10mins) to Brtonigla, a small Istrain village almost hidden from view and home to a pretty church and quaint architecture. This area is famous for its acres of vineyards and olive groves and today's trails lead us through meadows, woods and beautiful snippet of nature. Here we can enjoy some time away from modern civilisation in an area that is known for its superior wines and olive oils. Producing oils and wine is a way of life for many families in this wonderful area. The trail also takes us to the hilltop town of Buje located at 220m. Buje is known as the Guard of Istria and is a superb place to see the traditional landscape of Istria including fertile, terraced fields. The town grew in importance under the Venetians who took hold following the collapse of the Roman Empire. What is truly delightful is that most of the churches and architecture dates from the time of the Venetians. The town's walls have been restored and include a stunning medieval tower. The church was renovated in baroque style in 1784 and today is considered one of the most important churches in Istria. Buje has been inhabited since the Bronze Age and is a great place to stroll through. Our walk finishes near the famous old railway line - the Parenzana. Our walk finishes near the famous old railway line - the Parenzana. This line was once a lifeline for the rural communities of Istria and tomorrow we'll enjoy a walk along it. Tonight we'll enjoy a second night in the area of Buje.

Accommodation: Guesthouse Lovac 3* in Buje area or similar
Meals: Breakfast, picnic lunch, wine tasting, dinner
Transfer: Local transfers
Walking distance: 3-4 hours hiking, 15km, ascent 300m, descent -300m

3. DAY - GROŽNJAN - MOTOVUN
Today we wave goodbye to the area of Buje and take a brief transfer to the stunning medieval town of Groznjan. Superbly perched on a hill and surrounded by spectacular scenery, Groznjan is truly beautiful and from here you can see how Istria has earned the name The Tuscany of Croatia. Looking out we'll be able to see an abundance of Istrian villages amongst rolling hills. There will be time to explore meandering streets which are filled with elaborate sandstone houses, hidden art galleries, a towering castle and pretty floral courtyards. Enclosed in walls, the town was once home to two gates. Today the larger of the two can be seen today, whilst a Venetian column stands on the site of the smaller gate. On leaving Groznjan we join the Parenzana Heritage Line. Once a narrow gauge Austrian railway connecting Trieste in Italy with Porec in Croatia, the Parenzana meanders for 123kms and used to link the small towns of Istria. In use from 1902 until 1935, today it's a great way to walk and learn about the railway's history. We'll hike through several tunnels and over bridges whilst enjoying the views. Next we come to Livade, one of the most famous truffle centres of the world. Spread out over the hillside our walk ends here and we'll have time to visit the small shops that sell Istria's wonderful truffle oil. On the neighbouring hill sits the charming town of Motovun which is our base for tonight.

Accommodation: Hotel Villa Borgo 3* in Motovun or similar
Meals: Breakfast, picnic lunch
Transfer: Local transfers luggage transfer
Walking distance: 6 hours, 25 km, ascent 700, descent -700

4. DAY - ROVINJ FREE DAY
Today starts after breakfast with a transfer to the coastal gem of Rovinj for a free day. In 1283, the town swore an allegiance to the Venetian republic in exchange for protection against piracy and today it's this wonderful architecture that makes it one of prettiest towns in Croatia. Situated on an oval-shaped peninsula, Rovinj is home to wonderful cobbled streets, hidden piazzas and a fantastic variety of pavement cafes. The old town is dominated by a tall church tower which rises from the highest point. Originally an island, Rovinj was only connected to the mainland in 1763 when the narrow channel that separated it from the mainland was filled in. From the end of WW1 until 1947 Rovinj remained part of Italy, however it was made part of Yugoslavia in 1947 and although many Italians fled, the town still feels and looks incredibly Italian. The famed Balbi Arch is the official entrance to the old town and a symbol of Venice's rule over Rovinj. On the top of the arch stands the Venetian Lion of St Mark holding an open book to signify the town's acceptance to the Venetian Republic without war. On entering the old town don't forget to look up as you'll see Romanesque, Gothic, Renaissance, Baroque and neoclassical windows and balconies. St Euphemia's Church is the largest baroque church in Istria and dominates the town from its hilltop location in the middle of the old town. It is home to a 61m-high bell tower which is older than the present church. The imposing tower was modelled on the campanile of St Mark's in Venice, and is proudly topped by a 4m copper statue of St Euphemia. This rather elaborate statue shows the direction of the wind by turning on a spindle. Rovinj Heritage Museum is located in a wonderful Baroque palace and displays collections by old masters, a maritime section and archaeological findings. Tonight we stay in Rovinj so you can expore the town as the sunsets and the evening lights create an almost fairy-tale atmosphere.

Accommodation: Guesthouse Baron Gautsch 3* in Rovinj or similar
Meals: Breakfast
Transfer: Local transfers
Walking distance: -

5. DAY - OPRTALJ - BUZET
This morning we leave Rovinj and head to the picturesque little town of Oprtalj - the official start of the Istrian Mountain Trail. Initially we head through rich forest which leads us to the pretty villages of St. John and St Lucija. St Lucija has a beautiful church and along the way we'll be rewarded with wonderful views over the Mirna Valley, which is home to the atmospheric castle of Pietrapelosa. Hidden in lush vegetation, this 10th Century ruined fortress is a great place to explore and has a fantastic location. We'll walk through Mali Mlun and pass a host of traditional villages and an aqueduct. Towards the end of the walk we hike through lush forest and traditional fields to reach Buzet and our hotel for the next two nights. Buzet was first settled by the Romans but achieved real prominence under the Venetians, who built great walls, gates and churches. With its cobbled streets, Buzet is a lovely place to stay.

Accommodation: Hotel Vela Vrata 4*, Buzet or similar
Meals: Breakfast, picnic lunch, grappa tasting, dinner
Transfer: 15 min transfer luggage transfer
Hiking distance: 5-6 hours, 18 km, ascent 600, descent -750m

6. DAY - BUZET - HUM - BUZET
This morning's walk starts by a river which meanders through forest before passing waterfalls and lakes. Next we reach Korita, which is home to natural springs and an old watermill. Our trail follows a river and takes us through a wonderful abandoned village where we'll be able to see some examples of traditional Istrian stone houses. From here we'll be able to see Hum and its church tower in the distance. On reaching Hum there will be time to explore the smallest town in the world before enjoying lunch in an Istrian Konoba. These small local restaurants specialise in simple but typical Istrian dishes and are popular with locals. After lunch we pick up a lovely trail called the Way of Mistletoe which leads us back to Buzet for a second night.

Accommodation: Hotel Vela Vrata *, Buzet or similar
Meals: Breakfast, lunch in local tavern
Transfer: local transfers
Walking distance: 4-5 hours, 13km, ascent 450, descent -200m

7. DAY - UČKA
For our final day of walking we start with a brief transfer to Poklon which is nestled between hills and trails to the top of Ucka (1401m), the highest mountain. Our mountain trail takes us from the mountain of Ucka all the way to Lovran on the beautiful Adriatic Coast. We'll be surrounded by rich oak and chestnut forests and will have fantastic views over the bay of Kvarner and its coastal towns. Behind us sits the mountains of Obruc, Snjeznik and Risnjak whilst the complete Istrian peninsula lies in front of us. If we are lucky we'll be able to see as far as Venice and the Slovenian Alps. Today is a wonderful grand finale to the week as we reach the coast and get to enjoy our last night on the wonderful Istrian coast.

Accommodation: Hotel Štanger 3* in Lovran or similar
Meals: Breakfast, picnic lunch
Transfer: 30 min transfer from Buzet to Poklon (Startpoint) luggage transfer
Walking distance: 5-6 hours, 13km, ascent 500m, descent -1400m

8. DAY - DEPARTURE
After brekfast group transfer to Pula airport.

Accommodation: Not included
Meals: Breakfast included
Transfer: Transfer from Lovran to Pula airport in duration 1 hour
Walking Distance: no
Points of interest: no

© This itinerary is the copyright of Fiore Tours

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Essentials

Included

  • 2 x overnight with breakfast in a guesthouse in Buje area
  • 1 x overnight with breakfast in a guesthouse in Motovun
  • 1 x overnight with breakfast in a guesthouse in Rovinj
  • 2 x overnight with breakfast in a guesthouse/hotel in Buzet
  • 1 x overnight with breakfast in a guesthouse /hotel in Lovran
  • 5 x lunches (picnic or local restaurant), 3 x dinners
  • English-speaking local guide
  • A single timed return airport transfer
  • All land transport required by the itinerary
  • Excluded

  • Travel insurance
  • Visas
  • Airport taxes
  • Airport transfers other than group transfers
  • Some meals as detailed in the meal plan
  • Extra activities and excursions not part of the itinerary
  • Tips for local staff
  • Miscellaneous personal expenditure
  • Pickup Instructions

    We can organize transfer from any other airport or bus/train station nearby (Trieste,Venice,Ljubljana,Zagreb) to start point and back

    Restrictions

    This hiking trip requires moderate physical shape.

    GROUP SIZE:

    Minimal number of participants: 4 persons
    Maximal number of participants: 16 persons

    Extras/Upgrades

    Minimal number of participants: 4 persons
    Maximal number of participants: 16 persons

    SUPPLEMENT FOR SMALL GROUPS - ON REQUEST

    SINGLE ROOM - ON REQUEST

    Essentials

    What to Bring?
    Backpack, hiking shoes, sunscreen, hat, extra clothes

    Who carries my luggage?

    On all tours, whether guided or self-guided, your luggage is transferred to your following night's accommodation. Luggage transfer is mostly carried out by Fiore Tours, by  sometimes we use also the accommodation provider or a local taxi service. Bags should be ready for collection by 09:30am and will be at your next overnight stop by 3pm.


    What equipment/clothing do I need to bring with me?
    You will need good walking shoes or boots, comfortable walking clothes, waterproof jacket and trousers, a daypack, and hats, walking poles etc


    Can I organize a trip with just my friends or family?

    Yes, just let us know your chosen trip and we can organize a private departure. Prices may vary from those given on the website, depending on the size of the group and date of departure.


    What is the accommodation going to be like?

    Accommodation is clean and simple. You'll mainly stay in small, locally-run, 2-3 star hotels and guesthouses, which reflect the character of the area.


    What is the food like?

    Breakfasts are generally buffets that take your active program into consideration with a variety of low-fat and high-nutrition choices. Lunch is generally on your own, although some groups tours decide to pool funds on some days and enjoy picnics en route. Dinners are usually included with guided tours, and dinner packages ("half pension") are a frequent option with self-guided tours. Expect either a fixed menu or a few choices. If you have any allergies, restrictions or strong preferences, please let us know as far in advance as possible.


    How far in advance do I need to book?

    We suggest you book as soon as your plans are finalised as Istria is extremely popular over the summer months.


    When is the best time of year?

    Traditionally April/May/June and September/October have always been the most popular time of year because the weather is better. July and August is better to avoid as it can be too hot for walking.


    When do I get my tour documents?

    You receive tour documents, including your hotel list and information on how to get to your starting town and hotel, tour operator contacts, packing tips, and other helpful information, about 2-3 weeks before your tour. You get packets with maps, route instructions, and sightseeing information at your start hotel.


    What is the size of the group on a guided tour?
    We usually take between four and twelve guests on each guided tour. If we have a larger group, we'll have additional leaders so that we can split up if necessary. With this size of group, we can cater for individual needs and still ensure the whole party is well looked after.


    How knowledgeable and experienced is the Group Leader?

    The local guides undergo extensive training in all aspects of travel in the region. They are full-time professionals and are selected for their empathy and knowledge of the area you are visiting.

     

    - Customer Reviews

    Reviewed by Elaine Duncan on
    he selection of places to stay (hotels) was really good. The care, attention and love of preparing and serving food to our group really added something to the whole walking experience. This was especially the case at our first place in Buje. Maurice really pulled out all the stops to prepare delicious food and probably the best of the whole holiday! That is saying something when I consider how many great food experiences we had.
    I wasn't so blown away by the buffet arrangement in the final night hotel (something hard to get used to when we had all enjoyed so many intimate dinners and conversations about the menu!) But I understand that accommodation books out quickly and the hotel we did have was of a good quality, generally.Ilija was excellent at ensuring his clients needs were met. He seemed to care about the person not just about the walking and he gave a lot of his time to answering questions and sharing what he knew about history and culture of Croatia/more widely. Professional but also with a good sense of fun, good with the logistics with respect to needs of a couple of the clients. Helped to introduce us to hotel owners, and places to eat when we were independent of hotel food a couple of nights. Hw was really good with me and the nightmare time I had with bites from mosquitos! I can react badly (just about anywhere in the world I am exposed to them!). Croatia had a late than usual flurry of them due to wet May. Normally they wouldn't be too much of an issue.
    Reviewed by Grant Phillips on
    Ilija was superb. excellent spoken English and very empathetic to the differing walking needs of the small but diverse group.
    He really was top class and great fun as well as being very willing to share his insights upon Istrian culture and the history of Yugoslavia.
    Reviewed by Bill Hoffman and WPW Walkers on
    Fiore Tours did an excellent job preparing and executing a program for our Minnesota USA walking group. We walked the Parenzana Trail beginning in Koper, Slovenia just down the Adriatic coast from Trieste, Italy, into the hill country of Croatia, and finishing in Porec on the western coast of the Istrian peninsula. Luka was a superb guide for our 110 km journey. He was very knowledgeable about the history, geography, culture, languages, and contemporary characteristics of the region. We had fine accommodations throughout (Hotel Roza in Portorose, Pension Lovac in Kaldanija, B&B Al Merlo Olivo in Krasica, Villa Borgo in Motovun, Rural House Ritossa in Vižinada, Rural House Milena in Višnjan, and Hotel Porec in Porec). After finishing the Parenzana Trail we were transported by Fiore Tours across Istria to the Poklon pass of the Učka mountain nature park from where we climbed to Vojak, the highest point (1400m). We then descended to Lovran on Istria's eastern coast located in the "Riviera" region of the old Austro-Hungarian Empire. Istrian food and wine and associated village festivals, together with the goodwill of the people we encountered along the way, made this a journey to remember. Bill Hoffman, group leader, WPW Walkers, Saint Paul, Minnesota, USA.

    Visited October 2013
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