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Discover the beautiful green countryside and striking Adriatic coastline of the Istrian Peninsula in Croatia. Walk through olive groves and vineyards from the medieval walled town of Motovun. Discover secret turquoise coves following winding coastal paths from picturesque Vrsar.
Explore Tour Leader
4 nights comfortable hotel
3 nights premium hotel
Trip maximum 16 Explore Average 11
Itineraries on some departure dates may differ, please select the itinerary that you wish to explore.
Our trip starts in Pula, a cosmopolitan seafront city of contrasts where charming cobbled streets and Roman ruins sit alongside modern urban developments and the Uljanik shipyard.
There are no activities planned for today, your leader plans to meet you in the hotel reception at 7pm to welcome you to Croatia, and for those that wish, there is the chance to go out for dinner. If your flight arrives later in the evening, there will be a full trip briefing after breakfast on day two. If you would like an airport transfer today, you'll need to arrive into Pula Airport (PUL), which is around 10 minutes' drive from our hotel.
If you arrive earlier in the day, perhaps you might choose to take a walk around the historical centre, visit the Roman amphitheatre or enjoy a drink on Kandlerova street soaking up the atmosphere.
Hotel Galija Pula (or similar)
Today we'll be following the Seven Waterfalls Trail which starts in the town of Buzet, a one-and-a-half hour drive north from Pula. The trail takes us from the banks of the Mirna River, to quaint villages, forests, bridges, mine shafts and of course, waterfalls.
We begin walking through the forest and soon reach the first waterfall, Zagon. The second waterfall, Bacva (the Barrel), at nearly nine metres high is one of the most photogenic thanks to the small bridge suspended above the turquoise pond. Continuing, we come to view the third and highest waterfall, Vela Pec, watching the water tumble 26 metres down the smooth rock.
Old mining shafts, bridges, villages and shepherd huts are peppered along the trail offering an interesting window into the history of the area. The mines were first opened in the 16th century and miners looking for work came from Slovenia, Germany, Italy and Romania. As a result Istria has the highest percentage of minorities in Croatia and hearing Italian or Romanian in Istria is not a rare occurrence.
Between the third and fourth waterfall there is a short steep climb partially secured with fixed ropes and metal steps to make the climb easier. After the ascent we'll come out to a wider path, which brings us to the fourth waterfall, Mala Pec. From here it takes an hour of walking to reach the next waterfall at the tiny village of Kotli where we will stop for lunch. It's a picturesque spot with an old watermill built onto the rock face by the falls where the river has hollowed out cauldron-like forms into the stone. On our way back to Buzet, we pass by the final two waterfalls, Zelenšcak, and Grjok, with its wonderful wide pond and rock ledge. From here it's about a 40 minute walk through a small canyon to get back to our waiting bus.
We'll have a short drive back to the pretty town of Buzet where we will spend the next three nights. The Medieval town is perched high on a hill above the Miran River Valley. One evening be sure to try some local truffles, the town is known as the Istrian 'Truffle Capital' and olive oil - Istria has been declared the best extra virgin olive oil region in the world for the sixth year in a row.
Today's 14 kilometre circular walk is expected to take around five hours with 350 metres of ascent and descent. The trail is uneven in places with tree roots and there are some river crossings on larger boulders which can become slippery.
Hotel Kastel (or similar)
This morning we take a short transfer to Groznjan with some time to explore before starting our hike along the Parenzana Trail. The Parenzana was a railroad that operated from 1902 to 1935, connecting 33 Istrian settlements from the Croatian city of Porec to the Italian city of Trieste. This 123-kilometre disused railway line has been converted into a scenic gravel path, a popular hiking and biking challenge for both locals and travellers.
With its tunnels, viaducts, bridges and beautiful lookouts, the 20 kilometres between Groznjan and Motovun is one of the most attractive parts of the whole Parenzana Trail. Starting in the small village of Zavrsje, with its medieval tower, we'll enjoy views of olive groves, drystone terraces, vineyards and the Adriatic Sea glistening in the west while passing through four tunnels, over four viaducts and several old bridges. We'll stop for lunch at a family ran restaurant in Oprtalj before the route continues to descend toward the Mlinska valley reaching the village of Livade, before eventually heading back to Buzet.
Today's 14 kilometre walk is expected to take around five hours with 600 metres of ascent and 500 metres of descent.
This morning we drive to the charming ancient hilltop town of Motovun, with time for a stroll and coffee before we start today's walk. You could take the short walk around the city walls for panoramic views and visit the exhibition of local landscape photography housed in the tower above the outer gate.
We descend to reach a 222 metre long stone tunnel taking us to the Krvar viaduct. At the halfway point of this scenic walk we will visit a Tikel agriturismo in village of Spinovci for lunch (not included). After a delicious lunch we take a small divert from the trail to add a short walk to a nearby peak of St. Thomas which offers nice views of the surrounding countryside, river Mirna and the Adriatic. Continue back along the trail we reach a life-size model of the U20 locomotive that once used to chug away on the thin winding Parenzana line, we walk over the Sabadin viaduct and towards the southern entrance of Vizinada. We take some time here to wander the quiet streets and enjoy a coffee before driving back to Buzet.
Today's 12 kilometre walk is expected to take around four hours with 400 metres of ascent and 300 metres of descent.
After breakfast we check-out and transfer to the village of Butoniga. The trail today follows the Grdoselo stream and starts with two waterfalls. We pass by the abandoned castle of Zelendvor, before continuing south towards Grdoselo. From there we continue south towards Pazin and connect to a popular hiking route, the Mill Valley, whose highlights are the Pazinski krov and Zarecki krov waterfalls.
The route ends in Pazin with some time for lunch before the final walk of the day to Pazin Cave. Pazin Cave, located under the walls of Pazin Castle, forms part of the gorge of the river Pazin?ica. The one kilometre trail begins at Vrsic Bridge and descends into the Pazincica canyon and leads through the woods to a lookout for views down to the cave. The underground portion of the trail is around 200 metres long and ends in a large hall and an underground lake that measures 80 metres across.
Travel by bus to Vrsar on the coast, our base for the next three nights. Vrsar is a bit of an unknown gem, the old town set on a small hill, is surrounded by inlets with beautiful views and stunning sunsets.
Today's 14 kilometre walk is expected to take around five hours with 400 metres of ascent and 300 metres of and descent
Hotel Vista (or similar)
Today is a free day to relax in the quiet little town of Vrsar, walking up the hill for views of Vrsar archipelago. There is also the option to take a tour of Rovinj, wandering through the cobbled old town with a knowledgeable local history guide offering an insight into the history and culture of the city.
There is also the opportunity to explore Brijuni National Park independently, a striking archipelago of 14 islands and islets, an interesting mix of nature and history - it was Tito's presidential residence during his dictatorship. Throughout the island there are more than 200 visible dinosaur footprints left in the limestone, alongside Bronze-age fortified settlements, Roman villas and the Byzantine castrum. You can explore on foot or rent a bike or electric car.
This morning we drive to the town of Vabriga, or more precisely Santa Marina bay - a picturesque fisherman's marina. Today's walk follows the coastline, the first point of interest is the town of Cervar Porat where it is possible to look around the remains of the big estate from Ancient Roman times (villa rustica, oil refinery, amphora workshop and brick yard). Continue passing the devastated ruins of a Roman villae rusticae, on a wide land trail not far from the coast along the olive groves and around the Busuja bay to the cape of a beautiful peninsula which has the same name and offers views north towards Novigrad.
For the last three kilometres before Porec the trail becomes more popular and busy, joining locals to stroll along the seaside promenade. Entering Porec we will end the walk at the UNESCO protected basilica of Euphrasius. It is one of the most complete surviving complex's of the 6th Century with stunning examples of Byzantine mosaic art adorning the apse of the church. As with anywhere in Istria you can find excellent food and wine in Porec. You could savour a glass of Istrian Malvazija wine in the Round tower. This 15th century fort was built to protect the city, with the recent restoration the tower became a bar with a magnificent view of the whole city. We will return by bus to Vrsar in the late afternoon. This evening we enjoy a final meal together in a local restaurant.
Today's linear 13 kilometre walk is expected to take around four hours, mostly flat route.
The trip ends after breakfast at our hotel in Vrsar,
There are no activities planned for today, so you are free to depart from Vrsar at any time. If your flight is departing later in the day luggage storage facilities are available at our hotel. If you would like an airport transfer today, you need to depart from Pula Airport (PUL) which is around 45 minutes drive from the hotel.
Total distance : 38 miles
The Croatian Adriatic has a Mediterranean climate with mild winters and warm, dry, sunny summers. There is a chance of sporadic rain in spring and autumn, though generally it is in the form of short showers. Thunderstorms can occur in summer, generally helping to cool the air. Hvar Island gets the most sunshine in summer with 10-12 hours each day, followed by Split, Korcula Island and Dubrovnik with around 7-8 hours. Temperatures from May to October are generally in the low to mid 70's (in °F), but can reach into the 30's (in °C) in July and August. Trip itineraries with boat cruises can occasionally be disrupted due to bad weather.
2 Pin Round
Motovun, Walking The Walls: €4 Trip to Pula & Rovinj with a history guide and wine tasting: 500 HRK Brijuni National Park: €35 Entry tickets to the park can be purchased in Fazana at the Brijuni National Park visitor centre which is located just across the street from the boat pier. Park tickets include the return boat ride, guided train tour and museum entrance.
The Mediterranean summer can be hot, though much of the coastline is freshened by sea breezes. In the spring and autumn, a warmer sweater or fleece is recommended for the evenings, as is lightweight rainwear and long trousers. Bring light and comfortable clothing that can be layered according to the temperature. Tops made from wicking materials which keep you drier and walking trousers are preferable to trousers of heavier material such as jeans. -Breathable wind and waterproof jacket -T-shirts -Long sleeved tops -Sunhat -Long trousers -Shorts (if you prefer to walk in them) -Swimwear and towel -Midlayer Fleece/pullover -Socks (liner and thicker pair)
We recommend you bring walking boots/trail shoes with ankle support, make sure that your boots are worn-in and comfortable before the start of the trip. Also trainers or sandals for relaxing and general wear. We suggest that on international flights you either carry your walking boots in your hand luggage or wear them - should your luggage be lost or delayed, your own boots are the one thing that will be irreplaceable.
Bring one main piece of luggage and a 20-30 litre day sack is recommended. You will need to carry what you need for the day which may include a raincoat, jumper, camera, sun-cream, water and picnic lunch. On hot days you will carry fewer clothes but more drinking water.
-Sunglasses -Sun cream -Small Torch (with spare batteries and bulb) -Camera -Walking poles (if you usually use them) -Personal toiletries -Personal first aid kit - On each walk a first aid kit is carried but you should have your own blister kit, supply of plasters, aspirin and other essentials. -Insect repellent -Small waterproof dry bag (for items such as your mobile phone) -Reusable water bottle (minimum 1 litre) - Get 15% discount on a Water-to-Go bottle www.explore.co.uk/about-us/responsible-travel/water-to-go-discount-with-explore -Lunch box/Tupperware (for packed lunches)
In Motovun the group will stay for three nights in the family ran Hotel Kastel located within the medieval old town. All rooms are neutrally decorated, en-suite and with either a street or countryside view. There is an indoor swimming pool, innovative restaurant and outdoor terrace under the shade of centuries old chestnut trees where breakfast can be taken. In Vrsar, spend three nights at the Hotel Vista, located a five minute walk from the beach, the town quay and Old Town. The Adriatic themed rooms are light and contemporary, all with en-suite with air conditioning. There is a garden terrace and sundeck with views to the coast. The 7th October 2023 departure will stay at the waterfront Resort Belvedere in Vrsar, with the beach on its doorstep, outdoor swimming pools, tennis courts and on-site restaurant. All of the rooms are en-suite with air conditioning and a private balcony.
Can you drink the water?
It is generally possible to drink the local tap water, therefore to reduce the need for single-use plastic bottles we recommend you bring a refillable water bottle with you. Your leader will advise you on refill points each day.
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Please refer to our COVID-19 entry requirements page for any country-specific conditions of entry. Whilst we strive to update this on a regular basis we recommend you also check the FCDO website for the latest advice on entry requirements in this fast-evolving situation. Information can change at any time.
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Once your booking has been confirmed we guarantee the price will not increase, whatever the circumstances. However, please note that if you voluntarily make any changes to your booking including changing your trip or departure date, any additional costs or charges incurred will not be covered. Before booking please ensure you have read our important tour pricing information.Booking Conditions
Before booking your Explore trip, please ensure that you read both our Essential Information and Booking Conditions.
Customers who have chosen to book on the ‘Land Only’ arrangements of our tour, please ensure that you have checked your tour specific ‘Joining Instructions’ prior to booking your own travel arrangements. Your joining instructions can be found below in the dates and prices information.
You may also be eligible for the Free Explore Transfer.
Customers booked on the ‘Land Only’ arrangements will receive a Free Transfer, provided you arrive and depart on the tour only itinerary start and end dates. The complimentary transfers will be arranged from the Explore designated airport or train station to your trips joining point, and then back from the ending point to the designated airport or train station. Generally the airport or station that Explore have selected will be the one that is closest to the town or city where the trip starts, or the one nearest to the joining point. It will be either an airport or train station but not both.
The exception to this rule is customers who are booked on a tour where the joining and ending point is at the designated airport or train station.
Free transfers are not available for Polar customers.
If you are not eligible for the Free Transfer then you will need to make your own way through to the joining and ending point. On a majority of our tours Explore will be able to provide a private transfer at an additional cost. Please ask for a quote at the time of booking.
For more information regarding the Explore Free Transfer click here
It is a condition of booking with Explore that you have adequate valid travel insurance. It is your responsibility to arrange appropriate travel insurance and ensure you have read and understood the full terms and conditions of your travel insurance policy to ensure that you are covered for all activities you intend to undertake whilst on the tour, including all optional activities. Your Insurance Policy must fully cover you for medical expenses and emergency repatriation to your home country. Please ensure your policy includes medical emergency helicopter evacuation in the event of illness or injury and covers the entire duration of your holiday. If you are trekking at altitude please ensure that there is no upper altitude limit which may limit or exclude cover for your trip. The cost of many of our Polar Voyages will exceed the capped amount covered by standard insurance premiums and you will be required to pay an additional premium to cover the full value of your trip. Please ensure that you are covered for the full amount of your holiday cost, as insufficient cover could invalidate a claim under the policy. Medical and repatriation insurance cover is not mandatory for UK residents who are travelling on trips within the United Kingdom.
Read more information about what travel insurance is required.
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You are able to book this tour on a 'land only' basis or as a ‘flight inclusive’ package. Your flight inclusive package will be fully protected by the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) ATOL protection scheme.
We have a good selection of flights not only from London but from many regional airports around the UK allowing us to compare fares between scheduled carriers as well as low cost and charter airlines. Our dedicated flights team will match the best flight options to your arrival and departure airport.
On our website we display a UK flight inclusive package guide price which is generally based on a London departure. To avoid paying supplements or to secure your preferred flight option, we recommend booking as early as possible, especially for peak travel dates.
Nothing compulsory, but we recommend being up-to-date with your routine vaccination courses and boosters as recommended in the UK including protection against measles, mumps, rubella, tetanus, diphtheria, hepatitis A, typhoid and polio. Tick-borne encephalitis protection is recommended by some medical sources at certain times of the year. Ticks are most active between spring and late autumn. Please check the latest requirements with your travel clinic or doctor prior to departure. The above is not an exhaustive list. Further information regarding vaccinations and travel health advice can be found by following the NHS and NaTHNaC links at Explore Travel Health and from your local healthcare provider. Visa and vaccination requirements are subject to change and should be confirmed by you before travelling.