Croatia might be a small country, but its extraordinary nature
is something not many other countries can gloat about. Our flattering county Istria has a stunning piece of nature that should be on the list to visit, for sure. The most famous Istrian forest is located in the northern and central part of Istria, just 10 km away from the lovely medieval city of Motovun. The Motovun forest sits on a hill-top overlooking the valleys of rivers Mirna and Butoniga. It is one of the 3 preserved lowland autochthonous forests
on the Mediterranean and is special for many more reasons.
In the past, the trees were used for shipbuilding and for wine barrels, so 1/3 of the forest was destroyed. After 1963, its 275 hectares were declared as a special forest vegetation reserve and it has been protected ever since. A gorgeous hinterland is unique for its tree sorts - the common oak, narrow-leafed ash and elm. There are only 3 Mediterranean forests of this type left. Besides this, the famous underground mushrooms - the truffles
, also grow there.
The locals used to call them “scented potatoes
” and today the white Istrian truffles
are a delicacy worth the price of gold. There are many truffle hunting tours
you can go on, as there are black and white truffles growing throughout the year.
The white truffle is, safe to say, the king of Istrian cuisine
and you will notice it as soon as you find yourself there. Many restaurants, souvenir shops and stores will proudly present this authentic symbol of Croatia
. The white truffle grows only from September to January and underground, so it requires a bit of a skill and experience to find. Something similar like a treasure hunt. But not to worry, the amazing tours are accompanied by dogs that are professionals in discovering them. If you’re still not sure, let us tell you a cool story. In 1999, the truffle hunter Giancarlo Zigante
, became the owner of the Guinness World Record
, as his dog Diana found a 1.310 g white truffle in the forest of Motovun! Now, that was a successful treasure hunt and who knows, you might discover something of your own. A place for peace and quiet for sure.
The Motovun forest is home to one special animal species as well - the brown frog (lat. Rana Larastei), that you might also come across while walking the calming pathways. If you prefer a relaxing walk in nature
, we recommend visiting the forest from mid-summer until autumn. It is the time when nature comes to life; the trees and the flowers are blooming, you can hear the birds singing, see the colourful butterflies playing, feel the warmth of mild temperatures and the fresh air.
The forests have the kind of magic that enchants you with their calmness, peace and quiet
, yet are a vivid oasis that is never still or the same. No wonder many artists were inspired by it. According to many folk tales, giants lived in Istria
and the inhabitants used them for work. One of the famous Croatian writers, Vladimir Nazor got inspired by all these legends and incorporated them in his novel. He wrote a story about a brave and gentle giant, Veli Joze, who lived in Motovun forest. He was a very hardworking farmer, also used by the Motovun people. The story says that his master sent him to Venice, where he met another giant that taught him a lesson about freedom. As he returned to his home, he wanted to gather other giants and share the lesson too, but the locals bribed the others with wine and gold. Seeing this, Veli Joze decided to change, and vanished into the unknown midst of the Motovun forest, on his quest for long-awaited freedom. Don’t worry - it is just a tale, no giants were spotted in Istria for decades now, so it is safe to visit :)
This gorgeous beauty of the Istrian peninsula is a true natural, cultural and historical inspiration, beloved by nature and recreation lovers. The Motovun forest is just a 20 minute car-drive from the towns of Oprtalj, Livada, Buzet and Motovun and a place worth paying a visit. No matter how long you wish to stay, we can help you find the best accommodation
that will reset your body and mind in no time!