Istria, Croatia – Pula, Rovinj, Grozngan, Motovun, Volosko | Travel

Posted by on Jul 5, 2014 in Blog, Mine, Travel | One Comment

Traveled from May 15th to May 18th.

Previous Destination: Ljubljana, Slovenia
Next Destination: Plitvice Lakes National Park, Croatia

After Ljubljana we took a bus to Rijeka Croatia and picked up a rental car that would be with us for the rest of the trip. The plan for the day was to make our way to Rovinj from Rijeka while stopping in Pula to see it’s Roman amphitheater. We would stay in Rovinj for two nights and then drive through the hill towns making our way to the fishing town of Volosko. Istria is at the northern most part of Croatia and is known to have the biggest Italian influence in the country. The entire area was ruled by the Venetians and is only a few hours away from Venice. On a clear day you can actually see Venice from Rovinj’s bell tower. I’ve never been to Tuscany but the interior of Istria is suppose to be some what similar with rolling hills and endless wineries and olive oil producers. When planning this trip I was very much looking forward to spending time in this area and it didn’t disappoint.

Pula

A priority of mine for the trip to Croatia was to find a place to get a dish called peka. This dish takes hours to make and consists of throwing meat and/or seafood (we picked Octopus), potatoes, and other vegetables in a big pot they call a bell. You then close the lid and cover it with coals and wait for the entire dish to stew. The key being never to open the lid until it’s ready to serve. We found a place near Pula that makes peka called Konoba Istriana which we made reservations for since the dish takes hours to make so it must be reserved ahead of time. When we pulled up in our car we could smell the intense octopus flavor throughout the area. Here is our peka cooking on the coals.
Istria Croatia cooking Peka

Here is what it looked like served. This was the best, most flavorful, and tender octopus I’ve ever had. This is one of the dishes on the trip that I can still taste. I highly recommend trying this if you can! If you’re in the area we highly recommend going to Konoba Istriana as well. All the food we got was fantastic and the owner was extremely nice. He even gave us his card and told us to call him if we ever had any questions later on our trip.
Istria Croatia Peka

After our fantastic lunch we drove over to Pula to see it’s impressive Roman amphitheater. This is one of the most well preserved Roman amphitheater’s in existence. It’s even still used as a venue for shows and has been featured in the movie Titus staring Anthony Hopkins.
Istria Croatia Pula Amphitheater

Istria Croatia Pula Amphitheater

Istria Croatia Pula Amphitheater

Istria Croatia Pula Amphitheater

Istria Croatia Pula Amphitheater

Now for some gladiator reenactments.
Istria Croatia Pula Amphitheater Fight

Istria Croatia Pula Amphitheater Fight

Walking through the old town of Pula.
Istria Croatia Pula old town


Rovinj

After dinner in Rovinj we went to Valentino for some cocktails with American prices. They were worth it for the view though! There’s no tables and chairs here. You get a pillow and sit on the rocks on the edge of the water overlooking a great view. The atmosphere is fantastic. We enjoyed it much more than the famous Buza bar’s in Dubrovnik.
Valentino Rovinj Istria Croatia

Walking through the narrow streets of Rovinj at night. Rovinj was a great little town. You can really see the influence of the Venetians in this town. There’s narrow alleyways winding throughout the town and like Venice it’s fun to just wander the streets and get lost.
Rovinj Istria Croatia

Rovinj Istria Croatia

A view of Rovinj from the top of it’s bell tower.
Rovinj Istria Croatia bell tower view

Originally Rovinj was an island until the channel was filled in in 1763. It’s easy to see where the channel used to be from up here.
Rovinj Istria Croatia bell tower view

These steps are very narrow and creaky. You can see the entire way down under your feet. As you can see with Chau’s two handed grip she wasn’t a big fan of these stairs.
Rovinj Istria Croatia bell tower

Rovinj Istria Croatia street

My sister and her boyfriend taking a Rovinj selfie.
Rovinj Istria Croatia selfie

Rovinj Istria Croatia lamp posts

After a day of wandering around we watched the sunset over Rovinj with a bottle of wine.
Rovinj Istria Croatia sunset

Rovinj Istria Croatia sunset

The view of Rovinj from the northern harbor.
Rovinj Istria Croatia sunset

This is the dog, named Bubba, of the owner of the incredible sobe we stayed at called Casale Bed and Breakfast. If visiting Rovinj we can’t recommend this place enough! Great location, clean, and the friendliest family you’ll ever meet. We missed our dog very much so we gave Bubba a lot of attention during our stay here.
Rovinj Istria Croatia Casale Bed and Breakfast dog

We actually ended up drinking with Adriano, the owner of Casale, until 2am at his favorite bar nearby. We stayed at this bar past closing time drinking an endless number of shots with our new friend Adriano (pictured to the right) and the bartender. Afterwards Adriano made us a great homemade pasta dish to cap the night of an amazing day.
Rovinj Istria Croatia Casale Bed and Breakfast Adriano


Grozngan

The next morning after a round of hangovers we reluctantly left Rovinj and headed inland through the hill towns of Istria. Grozngan was our first stop. Not long ago this town was completely abandoned until a bunch of artists took up residence here. There’s a handful of galleries and art shops littered throughout the town. We picked up a few nice souvenirs here.
Grozngan Istria Croatia view

Grozngan Istria Croatia street

Grozngan Istria Croatia view

Grozngan Istria Croatia view


Motovun

Our next stop was Istria’s most famous hill town named Motovun.
Motovun Istria Croatia gate

It’s easy to see the strategic advantage these hills give the town from up here.
Motovun Istria Croatia view

Motovun Istria Croatia bell tower

Motovun Istria Croatia view


Volosko

We planned to visit more hill towns but it’s amazing how fast the day goes wandering around these towns. It was getting late after Motovun so we headed straight to Volosko where we would spend one night.
Volosko Istria Croatia

This beautiful path along the water leads to the town of Opatija and eventually Lovran.
Istria Croatia Volosko Opatija walk

Istria Croatia Volosko view

We had dinner here at Konoba Tramerka which ended up being one of the best meals of the trip. The seafood at this place is incredible.
Istria Croatia Konoba Tramerka restaurant

One last drink before calling it a night.
Istria Croatia Volosko view

Previous Destination: Ljubljana, Slovenia
Next Destination: Plitvice Lakes National Park, Croatia

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