OPRTALJ - LOCAL AND TOURIST INFORMATION

Oprtalj

Oprtalj (known as Portole in Italian) is located on the crest of a hill at 378m (1240 feet) and from this high vantage point offers stunning views across the Istrian peninsula stretching coast to coast from Mount Ucka (above Rijeka ) in the east to the Adriatic coast in the west.


Oprtalj
Oprtalj

The site was occupied in prehistoric times and was a Roman military post. The present town was established during the medieval period and part of the original fortifications are now incorporated into houses built into the town walls. From 1420 to 1797 the town was controlled by the Venetian Republic. The parish church, set on the town square was built in the early 16th century with baroque features added in the 17th century. Oprtalj has kept its town walls and its medieval lay-out of narrow streets, tiny squares and arched passages. On visiting Oprtalj the overwhelming sensation is one of quiet and tranquillity coupled with a direct association with its medieval past. The town has a restaurant, local shop/general store and a post office. It is a growing centre for antiques with several antique shops and a periodic antique market in the summer months. Oprtalj is well positioned to explore the Central Istria region.


View from Oprtalj
View from Oprtalj
Spa and pool at Istarska Toplice
Spa and pool at Istarska Toplice

Food and Wine

The area around Oprtalj is one of the principal areas in Europe for finding truffles. The largest ever truffle (as recorded in the Guinness book of records ) was found in the Motuvun forest just a few kilometres from Oprtalj. The local restaurants specialise in providing dishes incorporating truffles and a grilled steak covered with a thick layer of fresh truffle shavings will cost less than a regular steak in London or Paris. On of the most highly regarded restaurants in Istria, Zigante, is just 10 minutes drive down the hill to Livade. In the autumn there are annual truffle festivals centred on Livade and Buzet. Within a 15 minute drive from Oprtalj there is a wide selection of first class restaurants. We provide details and recommendations. Excellent wines are produced in the area and well marked wine routes lead you through charming countryside to wineries where you can sample some of the very best Croatian wines. Local olive oil is another feature of the cuisine.


Activities

There are some excellent marked cycle routes in Istria. Cycle route maps are also available. Istria has a number of caves that are open to the public. For example Pazin, Baredine and Mramornica caves. The spectacular caves at Postojna in Slovenia are a possible day trip. This 20 kilometres long network of passages, massive galleries and spectacular chambers is the most visited cave in Europe.


Baths and spas - wellness centres. Istarske toplice

This thermal resort less than 15 minutes drive from Oprtalj is located in beautiful and dramatic countryside. It has a hot mineral spring that is beneficial for the treatment of chronic rheumatic diseases, dermatological and other diseases. The resort offers a variety of beauty treatments and massages and can also provide simple relaxation and swimming in the outdoor or indoor pools.


Motovun

Motovun is by no means the highest of Istria‘s medieval hilltop towns but it is the most striking both viewed from a distance and from within. It sits atop a conical hill that rises steeply from the Mirna valley to give an enchanting view from almost every direction of approach. The town's fortifications are well preserved and it is possible to walk around much of the wall while the central square contains the Romanesque Municipal Palace, the largest secular building in Istria of that period, and many other historic buildings.


Hilltop town of Motovun
Hilltop town of Motovun

Motovun (Montona to the Italians) has long since been an attractive and popular tourist destination. Every July, Motovun is packed with visitors to its International Film Festival. In May each year Motovun hosts an event for hot air balloons. Motovun has an excellent micro climate for hot air ballooning and paragliding. Motovun based Istra Paragliding provides tandem flights with an instructor. As with other towns along the Mirna valley, Motovun hosts a truffle day in the autumn.


Motovun
Motovun

Buzet

Buzet is located in the north of Istria close to the border with Slovenia. Buzet is one of the larger Istrian hill towns. The picturesque old town rises steeply from the banks of the river Mirna to the peak of a conical hill. The old town retains it medieval character and the Buzet regional museum, located in the old town, contains archaeological finds from the Roman period and bronze age and local artefacts including an old kitchen and a collection of agricultural tools.


Hilltop town of Buzet
Hilltop town of Buzet
Buzet
Buzet

Buzet is major centre for truffles which are gathered from the woodlands in the Mirna valley. Truffle Days are organised in Buzet every year in September and October. The truffle season in Istria opens in Buzet on the second weekend in September when a giant truffle omelette is cooked using over 2000 eggs and 10 kilograms of truffles. There are further truffle days in the region throughout September and October.


A street in Buzet
A street in Buzet

Novigrad

Novigrad (or Cittanova in Italian) is a charming coastal town from the Venetian era. It has an attractive harbour crowded with local fishing boats and an old town surrounded by fortifications and on the outer side (away from the harbour) a lungamare (promenade) providing a pleasant walk along the coast and an ideal place to sunbathe and swim. The main streets of the town, from which cars are excluded, is crammed with cafes, restaurants, shops and galleries. Nearby a new marina makes it a good base for boating on this coastline. Navigare Restaurant in the marina is a stylish spot for lunch or dinner.


Novigrad
Novigrad

If you are staying near Novigrad and go into the town for shopping or a coffee take your swimming kit and you can walk through to the outside of the town walls and take a refreshing dip.


Other towns on the west coast of Istria such as Rovinj, Porec and Vrsar are within easy reach. Most of the towns on this coast are communities first established in the Roman era or earlier but the dominant influence that can be seen today is Venetian. Most of the major coastal towns were under the control of the Venetian Republic during the medieval period. A short drive inland from Novigrad takes you to the most scenic part of central Istria with its stunning hilltop town such as Motovun and Groznjan. Here too is the heart of Istria's truffle region and hence many fine restaurants. Wine routes will guide you to the best wineries where wine tasting and guided tours are available.


Getting there

Novigrad is 70 kilometres from Pula airport (50 minute drive) and 100km form Trieste airport in Italy (90 minutes drive time).



Our Villas in Oprtalj


Casa della Vigna
Casa della Vigna A two bedroom house in medieval hilltop town. Breathtaking views across central Istria. Air-conditioned, terrace and garden. Golf course 30min away. A house for all seasons.
Villa Basiacchi
Villa Basiacchi A newly renovated luxury air-conditioned villa with six bedrooms and six en-suite bathrooms. Lovely large private garden and infinity pool, surrounded by beautiful countryside. Free wireless internet.
Villa Grigio
Villa Grigio A luxury villa in the peaceful hamlet of Poropati only 5km from the medieval town of Groznjan. The villa is separated into two wings, each with its own fully equipped kitchen. A total of seven bedrooms and six bathrooms. There is a pool, a separate pool for children and parking for six cars. Air-conditioned. Wifi.


MasterCard, Maestro and Visa cards accepted