Frescoes, delicious cheese, history, wellbeing.

Zminj is a small town (700 people) and is a lovely old place in the centre of Istria, surrounded by vineyards, olive groves, orchards and flower meadows. A citadel with four towers and a fountain date from 15th century. The window sills of the old stone houses are filled with red geraniums and the village squares with shady archways hide an odd wine bar and a good restaurant. The patron saint of Zminj is St. Barrtholomew, in whose honour the town folk prepare a fantastic end of summer fete. You will find its tiny church immediately at the town gates. A special thing about Zminj are its further three small churches, all filled with precious frescoes from 15th century. An old Croatian dialect is spoken in Zminj and poets come to read their poetry, musicians come to play their accordions.

You will enjoy so much authentic local atmosphere and delicious food, from several excellent restaurants serving home made noodles, gnocchi, ravioli and some other local shapes known as fusi and pljukanci (delicious, you must try). The heart of pasta country, Zminj even has its own festival of pasta in the first week in July. Along the fantastic fresh food a special treat has been prepared for children who can attend their own pasta workshop. A local farming family has specialised in making dairy products. Cheese lovers can visit their award winning Latus farm for aged and young cheeses and a talk about how they are made. Plates of grilled cheese, air dried ham, olive oil and corn bread are on the menu.

Beaches are 20 min drive away and plenty of hiking and biking trails are nearby. There is a cave which will keep you occupied and has interesting formations made of limestone.

The magical towns of Porec, Pula and Rovinj are a short trip away. For a special day out, visit the famous hilltop towns Motovun (great views and film festival), Groznjan (music, wine bars), Oprtalj (truffles) and Momjan (wineries, restaurants) ...endless possibilities.


An important town located in the centre of Istria. The castle in Pazin is the best preserved medieval fortress in Istria. It was first mentioned in written documents in 983. Located in the castle are the Ethnograhic Museum of Istria and the Museum of Pazin. Under the walls of the castle lies the entrance to the Pazin cave through which flows an underground river that inspired Jules Verne to give Pazin Castle and cave a central role in his novel Mathias Sandorf (1885). There is a 1.3km walking path through the canyon which includes sightseeing within the cave.

Other places of interest in the area

Beram: a small fortified town on a circular hill. The chapel of Sv. Marija na Skriljinah about 1 kilometre from Beram contains amazingly well preserved frescoes painted in 1474. The chapel is kept locked and you will need to ask locally to obtain access.

Gracisce: a hilltop town offering superb views across central Istria towards mount Ucka. The town is host to the annual Exhibition of the Wine of Central Istria. Within the town you will find a choice of restaurants and cafe's for refreshment. Gracisce is the starting point for an 11.5 kilometre circular walk taking in the Sopot waterfall.

Draguc: a medieval hilltop town built along a ridge with the hillside falling away steeply on both sides and offering spectacular views across Istria. One of the best Istria hilltop towns and with its dramatic setting and unspoilt medieval character Draguc has been a setting for several films. There are local restaurants and cafes for refreshment


Rovinj is unquestionably the most picturesque of the medieval Venetian towns on the Adriatic. Every guide book features the colourful facades of the tightly packed houses that encircle this tiny peninsula with the cathedral of St Euphemia and its dominating 60 metre bell tower standing over the town. The harbour is tightly packed with local fishing boats and the cafes on the harbour front are the perfect place to relax.

As you walk up the narrow cobbled roadways between the old stone houses every corner brings another scene that seems perfectly composed for a photograph; a glimpse into an ancient courtyard or the subtle fading paintwork on wooden shutters. Around one corner a lively konoba (bistro); around another a gallery with local craftwork.

Rovinj Harbour
Rovinj Harbour

Rovinj has classy cocktail bars and smart restaurants overlooking the bay as well as simple pizzerias and bistros down side streets. From the harbour there are excursions and taxi boats to nearby islands, notably Red Island, that are ideal for a day swimming and relaxing. There are also many beaches to choose from on the mainland shore. The "Blue Flag" beaches of Valalta and Villas Rubin and the beach in Lone Bay are amongst the most popular.


In the vicinity of Rovinj there are opportunities for tennis, paintball and rock climbing. Climbing is organised at Zlatni Rt on the caost and inland near the ruined fortified medieval town of Digrad in the Lim valley. The Lim estuary (Limski Kanal) is another place for a relaxing swim with excellent restaurants beside the beach.

Other coastal towns

Within easy reach of Rovinj are other attractive coastal town such as Vrsar and Porec. The inland hilltop town of central Istria such as Motovun and Groznjan are a short drive and provide a relaxing contrast to the coast with scenic landscapes, stunning views and many excellent restaurants.

Getting there.

Rovinj is 40 km from Pula airport and 150 kilometres from Trieste airport in Italy. There are regular ferries from Venice to Rovinj making it an ideal destination to combine with a couple of days in Venice. But day trips to Venice are also possible.


Porec is one of the principal tourist centres on the Istria coast. The town has a long history. Porec was an important Roman army base in the second century AD (the Roman name was Parentium). Today the old town has elements originating from its Roman and later Venetian history. The most notable building is the Episcopal Complex of the Basilica of Euphrasius dating from the 6th century, an important example of early Byzantine architecture and the earliest example of a triple apsed church in Western Europe.

Porec old town
Porec old town

In the summer Porec is a busy tourist centre with an abundance of restaurants, cafes and hotels around the centre and along the coast, a selection of beaches and a wide range of activities and entertainments for all age groups close at hand. These activities include waterparks, cable water skiing and wake boarding, cycle routes (including level tracks along the sea shore), kayak and jet ski hire, banana boat rides, Dino park (an amusement park for kids with rides and life size model dinosaurs), Barendine cave and the Parenzana electric train.

Getting there : Pula airport is 55 Kilometres (40 minute drive) and Trieste airport in Italy is 126 km (2 hours drive). There is a ferry service from Venice so a holiday in Porec can be combined with a short stay or a day trip to Venice.

Our Villas in Zminj

Villa Germana
Villa Germana A luxury newly built stone villa with the character of an Istrian farmhouse, but with all the modern facilities. Three bedrooms, three en-suite bathrooms, lovely light interiors, lush garden and a heated swimming pool. Wonderful countryside views and proximity of charming Istrian towns, within the best culinary region of Croatia. Pet friendly. Internet access. Fans provided.

MasterCard, Maestro and Visa cards accepted