Istria is the largest peninsula in the Adriatic is located on the westernmost part of the Croatian. It is rich in natural beauty, cultural and historical sites, with a coastline and mystical interior full of medieval towns from which a view of the vineyards, olive groves and fields. Evidence of human settlements in Istria date back to prehistoric times. First known inhabitants of the region were the Histri.
Natural beauty below ground, in the Baredine cave, are hiding strange world of stalactites and rare animal species. Its beauty stands out Brijuni archipelago, which consists of fourteen islands and islets, of which the two largest islands Veli and Mali Brijuni, were inhabited since the prehistoric times. It has beend declared as National Park in 1983, a few years after the death of Yugoslav President Tito, who owned one of his own residence there.
Istria is certainly one of the most desirable destinations in Croatia for families with children. A variety of entertainment that suits different age groups will make summer holidays unforgettable.
Slow Bike (18 km of length) is open for visitors of all ages and it is especially interesting for families with children. The start of the race is at the Vrsar waterfront and it goes through the Kontija forest with a stop point above the pirate cave which is situated on the slopes of the Lim channel with a beautiful view of the bay.
This is an opportunity to have a pleasant ride through Kontija forest, to hang out and take photographs at the beautiful lookout which offers a unique view of Lim channel. There will be organized a lunch break for all the participants at the hunters lodge which is situated in a protected forest Kontija.
There will also be a prize draw which will take place after the race finish. It is worth of watching the attractive acrobatical bike show which includes acrobatics on a BMX bicycles over the various obstacles and jumps. The show will surely provide a memorable experience for all visitors.
Vrsar (formerly Orsera) is one of the most desirable towns situated on a hill above the Lim channel. Vrsar is intertwined with vaulted stone streets that lead to small squares, ornate buildings with interesting stone figures, balconies and Mediterranean roofs. The view from the hill is magnificent - Vrsar islets in the deep blue sea and the beautiful green coastline.
Vrsar is known for its quality stone which still bear witness to numerous sculptural and architectural works from the Roman masters, Venetian artists to modern sculpture lovers. Montraker Peninsula, located at the foot hill of the town, is one of the most important symbols of local identity.
Wolrd-famous sculptor Dusko Dzamonja exhibits his works in the sculpture park Dzamonja. These are modern sculpture made of steel, iron, bronze, aluminum, cement and marble, located in a natural setting. The park is located near Valkanela, about a kilometer north of Vrsar.
Besides stone production, Vrsar was added to the Old World maps as the place where the salt was produced. Vrsar sea is rich in flora and fauna, which is deeply woven into the culinary offer.
Vrsar has always been connected with the sea, once a small fishing town, developed in a favourite port for sailors. Its harbour is declared as the most beautiful harbour on the Adria.
The main gates are located next to the church of Sv. Fosca and for centuries was the entrance to the fortified town, which is only in the 19th century spread beyond the city walls. It was built in the 13th century in a Romanesque style. A stone plaque above the door is a relief from the Venetian lion holding a closed book, the carved sign explains they were built at a time when the Venetian republic led war. Church of St. Martin with a bell tower is the parish church, is located on a hill. From the top of if, the view expands to the Italian mountain range Apeninnes. There are also old churches St. Mary of the Sea from the 12th century and the church of Sv. Fosca.
Vrsar's hospitality is widely known, and Vrsar boasts one of the first and Europe's largest nudist camps Koversada located on the south, right at the entrance of the Lim Channel. From the 1960's, Vrsar unhindered naturism, signaling its libertarian spirit and undisturbed harmony with nature.
Istrian Malvasia is more than a hundred years maybe the most famous and the most wine of our peninsula. Great complements the entire variety of sea food. Istrian Malvasia is counterbalanced - Teran. Teran and its subtype 'refosk' keep the old and indigenous wines of Istria. We call the red wines - black, primarily because of teran's intense, deep ruby color.
Many connoisseurs of Istrian wines put in the first place the Istrian muscatel or rather, Moscato from Momjan, because of its golden colour, intense aroma of wild carnations and exquisite aroma.
The story of wine begins in the vineyard, it is an old and wise saying. A story about wine roads and Istrian wine renaissance started in early 90s primarily in the minds of few wine lovers and young winemakers who wanted to change something. Istrian wine roads have become customary things as well as the quality wines that can be tasted in a hundred Istrian basement.
Gourmets agree only on one thing - the truffle is the pinnacle of gastronomy. It is a strange, mysterious and hidden underground tuber, found by trained dogs or pigs. The terrain of our heart shaped peninsula, has two types of land, intensely red in the coastal and grey, clay-like in the middle. Truffles grow in the gray soil, in damp Motovun forest river Mirna. The truffle zone extends further to the north to Lanišće, then Raša creek to the southeast in the Labin and south to Pazin.
Istrian white truffle is one of the most respected in the world, it matures in autumn, and it is best to sample this rare delicacy freshly picked within the original setting of small inns and renowned restaurants. In the immediate vicinity, in the hills along the river Mirna often is the black truffle, as well as other variations of white truffles that are consumed in winter and summer.
What is a truffle? Many gastronomes disagree on whether the truffle is a food or spice. A renowned aphrodisiac with an intensive and unique aroma, this strange and nondescript "potato" has, and will continue to remained at the heart of culinary excellence for millennia.