There is Croatia. The Croatia of Dalmatia, where the sea sparkles under the sun, the Croatia of Plitvice lakes, where the aquamarine, blue and turquoise all blend in and one cant separate from the other. Then there is the capital, Zagreb, where well-dressed men and women walk the high street, looking at their phones. I like all of Croatia, and what it gives with its food, the drinks, and the people. Most importantly I like the language of Croatia. I am however in love with Istria. A peninsula all by itself, a region which can be driven around in a day but might take a lot more to live in.


My love with “Istria” or “Istra” as it is locally called, started when Croatia started accepting Indian passports with multiple entry Schengen Visas. I was not very happy with Vienna and wanted my itinerary to have the third dimension of water after the lakes and the rivers. The Adriatic I thought was the reason I went to Istria in the first place, but later it turned out that the sea took backstage. Although the Adriatic was beautiful, Istria is not as much about the sea as Dalmatia is, and this is the reason I felt like exploring the land more and more every year. The more I did it, the more I liked it.

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Most of the cars I see in the region are from Germany or Austria. They like buying property by the sea, I hear, so the prices are very expensive. Over the years I have developed a liking for the inland. Motovun might be the most popular small town inland. Its rise to fame has been the Motovun film festival and Truffles. The Truffles to food is the same as gold to jewelry. The olive oil is the other product the Istrians make very well. They know that they can’t compete in quantity with the other Mediterranean countries, so they take them in quality.

Top 5 of Istria with food and drinks

  1. Tasting truffles and maybe even go hunting if it’s September – October.
  2. Learning how to taste olive oil and the right way of buying and storing it.
  3. Visiting the town of Motovun and looking at the scenery below with wild asparagus.
  4. Having an experience of the Malvazia white and the Terran red wine.
  5. Enjoying fresh seafood in a town like Rovinj and Opatija.

Though I get only 48 hours in Istria every tour and I have always wished to have a week at least, I know I will get the time to live Istria. There is so much in the region that to have a week of traveling in Istria all by myself seems very selfish and a thing of pure pleasure. Some places that I find myself identifying with become too attached, and the space between work and personal pleasure widens. In other words, I fear if I spend a week or more in Istria, I will only eat, drink, drive and meet the Istrians, not to make work connections, but just because I think they are good to know.

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Istria towns where to stay and why?

  • Motovun for Inland charm and food.
  • Opatija for walking by the sea.
  • Rovinj for a combination of Sea and small-town charm.

This time too like every year I told myself, I should come to Istria all by myself. I guess I will let the need to be alone in Istria grow a little more. But then, this has been there since 2013.