Before you know it, the spring is knocking at your door! It feels like yesterday that I was visiting the Motovun Forrest in full winter getup: a cap, scarf and wool socks, looking for inspiration for a text on winter destinations to visit. All right, so I might be embellishing a little bit, the winter has been pretty mild this year, but we did see some frosty days, that much I can say for sure. But enough about the winter, let’s get to exploring the springtime in Northwest Istria.
The Škarline Nature Park
The Škarline Nature Park, a beautiful green canyon located near Brtonigla was named after a stream whose source is not far away from the park itself. For a minute you get to forget about your troubles and daily chores and realize that just a few hours ago you were getting through the city hustle and bustle and now you are in the middle of a beautiful natural oasis you never knew could be so close by. People will tell you that Škarline are unique. And they are! That luscious, green canyon, a beautiful, clear waterfall and spacious meadows will thrill any nature lover, inviting them to revisit every summer.
The Baredine Pit
If you’ve had enough of the spring sun, you can look for shelter by exploring the unique Baredine Pit. This underground treasure provides a unique experience for anyone with an adventurous spirit. The beautiful underground structures, like the statue of the Virgin Mary and the Leaning Tower of Pisa, were shaped gradually by the passage of water. Also, you will have an opportunity to see the cave olm, endemic animal that can be found only in this karst area. The pit was first explored in 1926 and in 1986 it was given the status of geomorphological monument. Since 1995 it also features a paved path that will take you, in the company of an expert guide, inside this treasure trove. And don’t worry, the cool temperature of around 14°C will be quite refreshing during the warm spring days.
The Feštini Kingdom Cave
Let’s stay underground a bit longer, so we can add the Feštini Kingdom Cave to your Northwest Istria spring itinerary. Located near the village of Feštini, the cave abounds in natural beauty and is pervaded by mysterious sounds of dripping water, which adds to its mystical ambience. The same water drops crawling along the walls since time immemorial, have created incredible natural decorations reflected in the ponds inside the caves. And why a kingdom? Among the many stalagmite shapes, you are certain to notice the wizard’s hat, the Tower of Babel, the giant bat wings, which justify the mystical tone of this place. And when you decide you want to get back into the spring sun, the beautiful scenery surrounding this location will prompt you to go exploring!
A walk around Oprtalj
The beautiful forests, the view of Motovun and its surrounding villages, and the medieval atmosphere the town has to offer in the spring when it magically comes to life, are the reasons why I recommend Oprtalj. Located at an altitude of 378 meters, Oprtalj is first mentioned in 1102 as an urban bastion of feudal masters. Among its sites is the St. Juraj church, built in 1517 and accompanied by a 27 meter tall bell tower. Today Oprtalj is an ideal destination for an excursion, filled with historical sites and bathed in the spring sun.