You will be convinced of the perfection of Earth once you visit Green Istria. Magical forests, castles which are still the home of living legends and tales of yore, the finest food and wine you will ever taste and the heart on their sleeves worn by every Istrian who invites you to their precious home.
Green (central Istria) with its picturesque medieval towns located on the hills, natural beauties, greenery which oozes tranquility and peace, and its charming villages clearly suggest the fairy-tale land. No wonder it is called 'Croatian Tuscany'.
Woody and hilly landscapes surrounded by the pleasant Mediterranean climate will have a beneficial effect on all your senses. People who come here on holiday say the climate is ideal.
The area of central Istria is mostly covered by dense forests which make local hills and valleys exceptionally picturesque.
This area deserves its title of 'Green Istria'. The Učka mountain is widely popular beyond the Croatian borders due to its unique beauties, mountain and cycling trails, and other outdoor activities in the lap of untouched nature.
Istria is undoubtedly ideal for enjoying a unique atmosphere of a traditional Croatian village.
Agritourism is an interesting phenomenon on the tourism market, recently developed. Central Istria has rightfully become one of the recognized European leaders in this new area.
And yet, there is no noise and overcrowded tourist areas. There is only surreal beauty and tranquility.
Multicultural and hospitable, this is the region which continues to appreciate and celebrate differences.
Green Istria still keeps numerous undiscovered secrets. Secrets are hiding in their towns such as Pazin, Buzet, Draguć characterized by the heroic and ancient history. They are mostly situated on tall hills and were the protectors of the region from attacts by numerous enemies and conquerors. The ancient walls of their bulwarks have preserved their magnificent air.
Did you know that one of the most interesting little towns on our planet is in central Istria? It is the town of Hum with its 20 inhabitants. The Guiness Book of Records named it 'the smallest town in the world'.
According to the legend, Hum was erected because of a joke played by the local giants: some stone which was left after building the towns in the Mirna river valley was used for erecting the fort of Hum.
In the course of its history, Hum was developing within the walls of said fort, while the modern appearance of the town was completed in the early 19th century after the parish church of the Assumption of Virgin Mary had been completed. The town's main attraction is the Church of St. Jerome with its unique frescoes.
Despite its miniature size, Hum possesses all necessary town features: a square, two temples, a post office, a wine shop of Istrian craftsmen, and a museum with two rooms.
The incredibly fertile red soil of Green Istria has fed many generations of hard-working Istrian peasants.
It has vast vineyards with traditional varieties such as malvasia or muscat, well-known beyond the Istrian borders, as well as its own grape varieties grown by caring winemakers' hands in small villages, which annually produce thousands of litres of aromatic homemade wine.
Many, family-owned wineries offer the taste of these precious drops, while the cordial welcome by Istrian winemakers will hardly be surpassed by the most luxurious hotels in the world.
Central Istria is rightfully named the gastronomic destination in Europe.
It has been well-known that the Istrian people produce the best olive oil in Europe. Yellow drops of this pure gold make an essential ingredient of most national dishes.
Though, the first place on the list of local gastronomy is definitely prosciutto. Meat lovers will not be able to resist this thinly sliced speciality served with olives, herbs and hard cheese.
If you prefer sea food to meat, you will be delighted by the abundance of oysters and mussels, which are eaten in the way it used to be done by our ancestors – slurping them down with lemon juice. The selection of traditional fish dishes in Istria is also large. Fresh sardines, sea bass, delicious squid and scampi are an integral part of every resturant's menu.
Chefs from all over the world come to this small Istrian peninsula as a perfect location for finding one of the most precious culinary ingredient. It is white truffle, of course, which is used in pasta, risotto and meat dressings as well as for making various sauces and pates.
Let us not forget asparagus, an exceptionally healthy wild plant which grows in green Istria forests. You must try this high-value ingredient in a combination with eggs, the so-called 'fritaja' or an omelette. In spring you may join asparagus harvesting in Istrian forests, which have just awaken from their hibernation.
You will definitely return as Istria will take a special place in your hearts.