Novigrad and Umag are only 10 kilometres apart but there are several other places you simply must see. We decided to spend a sunny day in the middle of February visiting Grožnjan, a charming small town located on a hilltop, resembling a film set in the winter when there are no tourists. Brtonigla is famous for its excellent rural households and restaurants, just like Bušćina and Savudrija.
Umag, on the other hand, is an ideal town for athletes or wellness and recreational activities enthusiasts such as yours truly. Although I have stayed in the Sol Garden Istra Hotel several times during the tourist season and although it is a first-class hotel maintaining its services on the highest level no matter the time of year, I must admit that I was pleasantly surprised by the winter family atmosphere. Everyone’s at your disposal and in a good mood, whether you turn to the reception desk or the lobby bar, even when three women enjoying their weekend get-away decide to have a glass of wine at midnight.
The spa zone in this hotel is separate from the swimming pool available to all hotel guests, making it even more intimate. The Turkish, Finnish and aromatic biosaunas as well as the wet salt sauna are ideal for detoxification, leaving every woman a few kilograms lighter (I tried it and, believe me, it works). The Jacuzzi is big enough for 10 people but we somehow managed to keep it just for ourselves and enjoy the hydro massage as much as we liked.
However, the real massages came later on, the ones with olive oil which, I’m sure you know by now, reinvigorate your body and spirit. Considering my exquisite taste (read: spoiled) when it comes to massages (I have been going for a massage once a week since I took my new role of a recreational runner seriously, and that was a year ago) I have to complement the patient and expert massage therapists. They catered to my every need smiling and with absolutely no objections.
After a few hours spent both in and out water and a few kilograms lighter, we experienced the ultimate pleasure of falling asleep on lounge chairs overlooking the stars and the mild Istrian winter surrounding. Just like in a fairytale, cold outside, warm inside, with our bodies exhausted but reenergized, we felt like we were on cloud nine.