Oprtalj travel guide
Authentic medieval hilltop town rich in character, totally peaceful and views across central Istria to take your breath away
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. 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.
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.
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.
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.