Travel Destinations

Monday, April 21, 2014

The Towns of Croatia’s Istrian Interior

Motovun Istria Croatia Travel
The hilltop town of Motovun.
Croatia’s Istrian peninsula has a number of small towns with unique sightseeing opportunities.  Traveling through Istria by car is easy and the towns are within short driving distance of each other, meaning a number of Istria’s towns can be visited in a single day.  Here are some highlights from our road trip through Croatia’s Istrian interior. 


The town of Pazin is the location of one of the best preserved castles in Istria, originally built in the 9th century.  Pazin Kastel is a worthwhile sight on its own, but it also houses the Istrian Ethnographic Museum.  The Istrian Ethnographic Museum has a collection of cultural artifacts ranging from prehistoric artifacts, traditional Istrian clothing, wooden pieces, and ironworks, and bells from the 17th to 19th centuries.  The bells were collected from village churches throughout Istria during World War II to save them from being melted down to make bullets.  Behind the castle is the Pazin Chasm over which travelers can zipline.

Pazin Kastel Istria Croatia Travel
Pazin Kastel


Motovun may be one of the most recognizable towns of the Istrian peninsula.  High on a hill overlooking acres of grape vines, Motovun provides a very picturesque sight.  Motovun is a town known for its wine and truffles.  One of Motovun’s shops proudly displays a Guinness World Records certificate for a 1.31 kilogram white truffle found in nearby Buje.  Motovun is a beautiful medieval walled town and a great place to stroll and take in the views.

Motovun Grape Vines Istria Croatia Travel
Wine grapes growing on the vines surrounding Motovun.


Poreč is not technically a town of the Istrian interior, but provides a beautiful seaside stop on the way back to Rovinj after exploring the Istrian interior.  Poreč’s claim to fame is the Episcopal Complex of the Euphrasian Basilica, which has been put on the UNESCO World Heritage List and is the most complete surviving complex of its kind.  Originally built in the 6th century, the complex features a basilica, atrium, baptistery, episcopal palace, and some stunning gem-studded mosaics.

Euphrasian Basilica Porec Istria Croatia Travel
Euphrasian Basilica
Euphrasian Basilica Mosaic Pazin Istria Croatia Travel
Gem-studded mosaics of the Euphrasian Basilica.
Exploring the Istiran peninsula of Crotia makes for a tranquil day’s road trip with some unique and varied sights both in the many towns and while driving through the Istrian countryside. 

I planned our Croatia travels, including our time in the Istrian peninsula, using Rick Steves' Croatia & Slovenia and Frommer's Croatia.  This post contains affiliate links.  If you purchase or book through them you pay nothing extra and they help fund our travels so we can bring you more travel stories.

Croatia's Istrian peninsula has a number of towns to explore including Motovun, Pazin, and Porec.

Katherine Belarmino and Romeo Belarmino are the authors of Travel the World, a travel blog for the everyday working stiff. They work full-time in non-travel related jobs, but take every opportunity they can to travel the world during their limited vacation time.