Share Istria – A Daily Diary of our week in Istria, Croatia

By Jonathan Howe June 3rd, 2015 Posted in Europe, Travel Blog, Travel Guides 41 Comments

I recently spent a week in Istria, Croatia with Share Istria and it blew my mind every single day. From the sun glistening off the crystal turquoise water of the Mediterranean Sea to the rolling hills and vineyards of its inland wine regions and architecture dating back as far as 500BC, there is perfectly preserved beauty in every direction. There was one view though, that blew them all away. I’ve finally discovered what real olive oil should taste like, eaten truffles in twenty different ways, sailed a catamaran in the Mediterranean sea and slept in a 180-year-old lighthouse. And that’s just the half of it!

Two Monkeys Tours

Check out some of the cool and cheap tours you could do in Istria

Share Istria – Day 1

Today was my (Jon’s) 1st day in the stunning Istria region of Croatia, working with the ‪‎Share Istria project! After three days of travelling from Costa Rica on two buses, four taxis, two planes, three airports, five countries, five cities, three hotels and hardly any sleep – I finally arrived in Novigrad!

Istria - Croatia - Two Monkeys Travel

This part of Istria is world famous for its fine wines, olive oil, truffles, fresh Mediterranean seafood, sailing and luxury, so we tried a little bit of each at the Nautica Marina and Hotel.
We had the chance to try delicacies like Piccoli Tagliolini with Black Truffles and Panino Pesce, followed by Adriatic squid on truffle mashed potatoes, with celery chips and green pea! And obviously the Istrian Malvazija white wine. It was a perfect welcome to Istria!

Istria - Croatia - Two Monkeys Travel

Istria - Croatia - Two Monkeys Travel

Istria - Croatia - Two Monkeys Travel Istria - Croatia - Two Monkeys Travel

Istria - Croatia - Two Monkeys Travel

Share Istria – Day 2

Today a new member of Two Monkeys Travel arrived in Istria for the Share Istria trip – Adam Pilmer, my good friend from university and a professional photographer. That’s handy!  Today was another amazing day. We started with a guided tour around the historic fishing town of Rovinj, where the Red Bull Air Race will be hosted this weekend! Then we had lunch at an amazing seafood restaurant called Puntalina, before trying some more of Istria’s famous wines. We finally arrived at our home for the next two days – Porer Lighthouse, located on a tiny island, just 80 metres wide! It was dark when we arrived, but we awoke to find ourselves 2 miles off the Mediterranean coast, with beautiful panoramic views. Adam took some amazing night time photos of the lighthouse.

Check out some of the cool and cheap tours you could do in Rovinj

Share Istria - Rovinj - Two Monkeys Travell

Share Istria - Rovinj - Two Monkeys Travell

Share Istria - Rovinj - Two Monkeys Travel

 

‪Share Istria – Day Three

We got up early to visit a local adventure / adrenaline park, Glavani Park is a British and Istrian owned climbing, zip line and obstacle course, all hand-built by the owners, with miles of ropes, swings, zip lines and even a high wire unicycle!

Istria - Croatia - Two Monkeys Travel 6

Istria - Croatia - Two Monkeys Travel 10

Istria - Croatia - Two Monkeys Travel 13

In the afternoon, we headed for a guided tour of Fazana, a small town full of historic buildings, traditional ice cream parlours, fishing boats, and seafood restaurants. The symbol of the town is the Pilchard, and it’s said that they have over 100 ways to prepare this humble little fish!  We ended the tour with something I’ve never tried before – Olive Oil Tasting! We visited a small, independent oil producer, Balija Oils, who taught us how to properly taste olive oils and treated us to an amazing array of Pilchard and Olive oil dishes that blew the taste buds out of our mouths! I don’t normally recommend organised tours but is no regular tour or regular meal; this is an experience that should be tried. We were so satisfied and exhausted by the end of the day that we just went back to the lighthouse and crashed out until the next morning!

Istria - Croatia - Two Monkeys Travel 16

Istria - Croatia - Two Monkeys Travel 14

Istria - Croatia - Two Monkeys Travel 21

Istria - Croatia - Two Monkeys Travel 20

Share Istria – Day Four

What was planned as a quiet half day and some relaxation, turned into another full day of awesomeness! We met Dario, from Clivo Sailing Club, at 10 am for a sailing lesson. We had two catamaran boats, with 3 in each. Although some of us had never sailed before, we all managed to learn to control the boat, sail upwind and downwind, tack and turn the boat. I think I’ve fallen in love with sailing!

Istria - Croatia - Two Monkeys Travel 22

Istria - Croatia - Two Monkeys Travel 25

Istria - Croatia - Two Monkeys Travel 24

After sailing, we went for a late lunch in Ancora, Premantura. There were four courses of freshly prepared fish, seafood, pasta, grilled calamari, squid ink risotto and walnut chocolate cake. This is turning into a serious gourmet food trip!

Share Istria – Day Five

After two amazing nights in the Porer Lighthouse, it was time to move to our next destination. The boat ride from the lighthouse back to the mainland was the roughest yet, with big, heaving waves and strong winds pitching the little boat up and down on the sea. One rogue wave even appeared to change direction to crash against the side of the boat, soaking all of the passengers and our luggage with cold, salty water. After a quick change of clothes and a surprise accordion show from Goran, we hit the road again and headed north to the ancient town of Porec. On the guided tour of the town we discovered that parts are as old as the 4th Century and that due to constant shifts in social and economic conditions, Porec has been abandoned and re-inhabited by various groups and cultures throughout its history, giving it a unique characteristic that is unlike any other.

Check out some of the cool and cheap tours you could do in Porec

Istria - Croatia - Two Monkeys Travel 07

Istria - Croatia - Two Monkeys Travel 07

For lunch, we had an incredible meal of local meats, fish, wine and desserts that left us incapacitated in a fine-food coma for a solid hour afterwards!

After we had recovered a little from the amazing meal, we headed for the hilltop town of Motovun, an old settlement in a defensive position at the top of the Motovun Mountain. With no vehicles allowed in the highest part of the town, you can just stroll around the old streets and winding alleyways, have a relaxing beer and eat lunch in the plaza overlooking lush green mountains, valleys and farmland. We have a private apartment in Hotel Kastel, right in the centre of the town at the very top of the hill, with the best views and rooms in the town.

Check out some of the cool and cheap tours you could do in Motovun

Istria - Croatia - Two Monkeys Travel 27

In the evening we had a very special treat arranged for us – A meal in one of the most famous truffle restaurants in all of Croatia, Konoba Mondo, who have been featured in the New York Times for their selection of fresh homemade pastas and gourmet dishes, all incorporating the subtle nutty flavour of Istrian truffles.

All Photography by Adam Pilmer.

Monkey DividersAre you on Pinterest? Pin these!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

41 thoughts on “Share Istria – A Daily Diary of our week in Istria, Croatia

  1. Croatia is my favourite European destination, so much so I have now visited numerous times from Australia. Istria is one of it hidden treasures away from the typical Dubrovnik, Split, Hvar, Plitvice Lakes. It has so many hidden gems. Please do yourself a favour and google image these gems Town of Betina on the island Murter and the Kornati archipelago. Mali Losinj on Losinj island,Pucisca on Brac island, Rastoke the Village on Waterfalls, Varazdin, Primosten and last but not least the stunning town of Sibenik and it’s neighbouring Krka falls.

  2. Your photos are amazing. They look like they do your trip justice. Croatia would be an interesting place to travel. Sleeping in a lighthouse makes it seem like you had an authentic experience.

  3. Istria! how did i miss this. I’ve been to croatia, but not to this place there. I had only been to plitvice and split. Thanks for the heads up! Will make it for a summer

  4. Looks amazing! We have been thinking about going somewhere this summer for a week. We have been thinking Croatia or Turkey!

COPYRIGHT DISCLAIMER:Many of the articles on Two Monkeys Travel Group are guest posts by a number of Approved Contributors and are hosted by Two Monkeys Travel Group. Approved Contributors control their own work and post freely to our site. This includes all text and images that they use within their own work. All contributors are instructed to follow internationally recognised copyright and intellectual property guidelines. Two Monkeys Travel Group takes its own responsibilities very seriously, so if you feel that any part of this work is abusive in any way, please send us an email so that we can investigate - theteam@twomonkeystravel.com


DISCLOSURE: Please note that some of the links above are affiliate links. So when you make a purchase we sometimes make a small commission, at no extra cost to you. The cost to you remains the same, sometimes even cheaper if we have negotiated a special deal for our readers.We use all of the companies we have listed here and that’s why they are in this list, but of course we need to keep Two Monkeys Travel Group running as well as it can, which is exactly what you’re helping with if you do decide to buy or book something through an affiliate link! If you have any more questions about the companies we use or any other companies you’re looking at, just email us and we’ll be happy to help.Please see our full disclaimer page for more information.

Written by Jonathan Howe

Jon is the Old White Monkey. Born in the south of England, Jon spent much of his early childhood in Kenya and Malawi, before moving to the Lake District in North West England aged 13 where he acquired a northern accent and a love for lakes, mountains, waterfalls, black pudding and gravy! After 14 years of studying and working in various (very various!) jobs, he too felt the need to get out and see the rest of the world. He loves tropical beaches, surfing, hiking, the outdoors, yoga, adventure sports and motorbikes!

Subscribe to our newsletter

Receive tips on how you can live a sustainable long-term travel lifestyle!

  • This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.

Send this to a friend