Croatia self guided walking holiday, Istria region

“Five days of self guided walking in Istria, discovering ancient towns, unspoiled landscapes and local wine and food, staying in small hotels.”

Highlights

Five days self guided walking | Buje | Circular walk through villages, forests and fields past Momjan Castle | Wine tasting | Walk the disused Parenzana railway | Livade | Truffle tasting | Motovun | Oprtalj | Buzet | Hum | Ucka Nature Park | Lovran

Description of Croatia self guided walking holiday, Istria region

Get to know the unspoiled north of Croatia, on this self guided walking holiday in the Istria region. A large peninsula in the north of Croatia, Istria is famous for its fertile landscapes, ancient towns and excellent local food and wine. This week-long holiday includes five days of walking, over distances between 11km and 25km, through beautiful countryside, along rivers, through forests and past vineyards and olive groves.

This is a chance to get close to a beautiful, quiet corner of Croatia, enjoying its peaceful countryside but also soaking up its culture and heritage as you explore small villages and towns, often perched on hillsides with magnificent views. Visit postcard-pretty Hum, the smallest town in the world, and explore medieval Motovun and Buzet. Spend time in Grožnjan, a town famous for its community of artists and many studios and galleries. Walk along the disused Parenzana railway, which once connected Trieste in Austria to Porec on the west Istrian coast, and scale Ucka Mountain, for long views over Kvarner Bay towards Venice and the Alps. Throughout this walking adventure, you can taste and enjoy the excellent regional food and wine, including truffles, superb olive oil and wonderful Malvasia and Muscat wine.

You will be supplied with a self guided walking book, as well as a list of recommended local restaurants serving traditional Istrian food. Transfers to walking route start points are provided and accommodation is in small, friendly hotels and guesthouses with breakfast included.

Hello. If you'd like to chat about this holiday or need help finding one we're very happy to help. Rosy & team.

01273 823 700

Departure information

This trip can be tailor made throughout the year to suit your requirements
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Responsible tourism

Responsible tourism: Croatia self guided walking holiday, Istria region

Environment

Tourism is the world's fastest growing industry. Traveling to far flung places gives us a wonderful opportunity to experience cultures that are so different from our own. But with the wondrous joy of travel comes the responsibility of ensuring that we do not adversely affect those countries that we visit. In a nutshell, Responsible Travel is about ensuring that you, as travelers, and we, as a promoter of travel:

-respect the local culture
-do not inadvertently introduce new social ills and
-promote & practice environmental responsibility in the places that we visit.

That way, you enjoy a unique and memorable experience as well as authentic cross-cultural exchange and our local resources, cultures and customs are protected.

Our environmental policy:
We recycle all our waste paper.
Our correspondence and promotion is carried out via the internet and email, minimizing the amount of paper used for our activities.
We use established, locally-owned and run accommodation wherever possible and aim to leave sites in better condition than we find them.
Our vehicle fleet is managed to minimise environmental impact.
Our group sizes are small, helping minimise cultural and environmental impact.
We monitor our impact, and where necessary alter our programmes accordingly.
We always abide by site-specific guidelines pertaining to flora and fauna.

On our tour "Walking adventure through green Istria" accommodation is mostly provided in small hotels, guest houses or apartments. On all our tours we use local produce and provide local-style meals, and we encourage our guests to try local dishes and delicacies. Hotels on the tour in countryside of Istria (Buje, Motovun, Buzet) are offering specific Istrian food such as truffles or wine which are products from local food factorys and wineyards. With this offer we are helping local economy and redounding region of Istria to be known as "land of truffles and Istrian Malvazia".

Community

All our staff are locally employed and all our guides are, ensuring a more authentic experience for travelers, as well as sensitivity to local customs and culture. Guides are part of local sports clubs and except at the guiding job they are active in free time. On our biking and hiking trips we are helping local community with the marking bike trails and hiking paths to make more secure trips. Also all our guides have mission to take the garbage where ever they see it (on the sea, river, mountain...).
We also involve local communities in remote areas that we travel to.

We support local economy and small business by supporting locally owned shops, restaurants, and using local guide services. Using local employees, accommodation providers, local restaurants and transportation services, we ensures that financial benefits remain in the local community. Following this rules in tour "Walking through green Istria" is included town of Grožnjan which is well known as "town of artist". With many galleries with products made by local artist we are offering our customers authentic products (suvenirs) such as "kažun" which is trade mark of Istria and Croatia. Kažun is a small field shelter, built in drystone technique, without any mortar. As well in our self guided walking books we have list of local restaurants (konoba) with traditional Istrian food as suggestion for our customers. Parenzana railway know as "Route of health and friendship" is part of our tour in green Istria. Parenzana is rebulided railway which was connecting Porec, Koper and Trieste and it is using in tourism purposes as a walking and cycling path.

2 Reviews of Croatia self guided walking holiday, Istria region

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Reviewed on 29 Jul 2018 by

1. What was the most memorable or exciting part of your holiday?


The accommodation for the self guided walk was really great

2. What tips would you give other travellers booking this holiday?


Keep a lookout for the trail markers each day.

3. Did you feel that your holiday benefited local people, reduced environmental impacts or supported conservation?


The walk was a great opportunity to support local businesses along the way.

4. Finally, how would you rate your holiday overall?


The whole experience was rewarding and enriching

Reviewed on 01 Nov 2017 by

1. What was the most memorable or exciting part of your holiday?


We especially enjoyed our stay in Motovun, which was a beautiful place to spend a couple of nights, and the guesthouse had a beautiful terrace and
outstanding breakfast. The hikes were, for the most part, varied and beautiful.

2. What tips would you give other travellers booking this holiday?


Request that the tour operator book you in the nicer hotel options.

3. Did you feel that your holiday benefited local people, reduced environmental impacts or supported conservation?


It probably benefited the local people who work in the restaurant industry.

4. Finally, how would you rate your holiday overall?


Overall the holiday was good. But there were some critical components that made it less enjoyable than it could have been.

- There was insufficient communication and organisation for daily pickups and lunch options. After the first two days, the tour operator neglected to tell us what time we’d be picked up the following day, so it was up to us to text them each evening to find out. They sometimes took several hours to respond, even on their so-called emergency number, which was a bit worrying at first. They also did not clearly explain our options for lunch: on a couple of days there were no lunch options available and we needed a picnic, but that wasn’t clearly explained to us the first time, so we didn’t have a picnic and just had to stick it out until a very late lunch; and on the second day, we had to proactively request that our driver take us to a supermarket so we could buy picnic provisions.

- Several routes were much more difficult than described - extremely steep/slippery/overgrown with thorns - and took much more time than estimated. This may have been because of different weather and foliage conditions in the off-season, but it’s something that the tour operator should warn hikers about and, ideally, provide alternate routes when the planned trails exceed the "moderate" level.

- The final hotel in Lovran was a huge disappointment. It was supposed to be a four-star hotel, but it was quite a bit worse than any of the previous three- or
four-star accommodations. The air conditioning in the room wasn’t functioning (the staff said it had been turned off for the year, as the current warm
weather was unexpected, so there was nothing to be done). So we had to rely on keeping the windows wide open, which unfortunately let in a horrible smell.
The staff offered to switch us to another room on the same floor where the smell wasn’t quite so strong, so we did that. But in both of the rooms the windows
were in the ceiling so you couldn’t see out except through the filthy skylights.

- The first stop in Kaldanija was also a disappointment: the guesthouse was located on the side of the road in the middle of nowhere, with no views, no
picturesque surroundings, and no other guests - we were the only people staying there. The next nearest hotel, Casa Romantica la Parenzana, which is also
used by Fiore and seemed much nicer when we stopped there for tea, was a 30-minute walk away. There were also problems with having enough hot water for
showers, which took some time to remedy. The breakfasts weren’t adequate: presumably because we were the only guests, we were provided a fixed amount
of food rather than a continental spread, and for some reason got even less on the second day than on the first.

- The taxi driver who took us to the airport on our last day was not a very safe driver. He was regularly driving 2x the speed limit (80 in a 40 kph zone) on a
winding coastal road, and was frequently fiddling with his papers, his coffee, and his mobile phone. We had certainly expected a higher level of safety, especially at a cost of 120 Euro.

- This wasn’t a problem but just a suggestion: I would recommend that the tour operator guide book include more information about the routes so that people can learn where they come from, and about the villages and landmarks along the way. We were constantly wondering how the paths came to be, and how there were old stone walls in the middle of dense forests, and it would have been great to learn more about the origins and history.

Read the operator's response here:

Dear Katie,
Thank you for your feedback about our self guided tour. We will use your comments to improve our tour and service in future.
Because of nature of our job we are not always able to tell schedule for next day until late afternoon previous day. This is the reason why we didn't answer you some of the days at same time as we get question. Transfers of clients are always from 8-9:30 in morning except if clients wants different. On first meetings with clients we are explaining that we will call hotel reception and leave the message for the clients about the transfer next day in most of the cases. Our emergency phone number is in our offer for our clients to fell more safe, they are coming from foreign country for a walks so our opinion is that is better to have some number they can reach 0-24 in case they get lost or have some big problems or issues. For that reason we have our emergency phone on call redirection in case no one is answering on emergency phone, call would be redirected to someones other phone from the agency. On our road book writes number of agency too. From our experience emergency phone was great service for clients and us.
We apologize if we didn't mention information about the lunches. Most of the days have options for lunch. For the days where the restaurants are not reachable in time of lunch we are suggesting our clients to ask driver to stop in super/market for a picnic or if they prefer to buy previous day in market. Some of the towns (start points of the walks such us Grožnjan and Oprtalj) have small markets so there is possible to buy picnics too. We are aware that some of the clients would like shorter routes. So we are offering shorter routes and walking options too (except for the first day). On maps (not in instructions) which we are providing to our clients, there is shorter route option too. If someone wants to have shorter route we would need to know that information day before so we could prepare our schedule for different transfer next day and prepare instructions for shorter routes. We are mentioning information about shorter routes on our meeting points especially when the walking conditions are harder than usual (warm, heavy rain etc.) In our road book on first page there are some information about the possible problems on the routes, we are aware that clients cannot always remember every detail about the routes we mention on meeting.
For our clients we are always looking for best accommodations and service. I will provide yours feedback to hotels and driver. We appreciate your suggestion about the more information of the trails and history of the area. We will consider this idea for our new road-book and instructions.
On our meeting points with clients we are try to give as much information of the trip. We are explaining each day us much details as we can. It might be possible that we sometimes forget to tell something but for that reason on first page of our road book we have main information for each day.

Once again thank you for your feedback, which we will use to improve our service.

Despite of some of the yours bad experiences I hope you had great time in Croatia and Istria.

Please if you will need anything else write us back

Regards from Croatia

Ilija

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