When the largest Croatian peninsula is mentioned, the most common first associations are the sea and good food. But there may be a little something for snow lovers in Istria, too. Mostly for those who like to conquer the snowy peaks! Žbevnica, the westernmost Croatian peak that is higher than 1000 meters is located in western Ćićarija, a mountain massif that is, for the better part, located in Istria. The hiking trail starts from the small town of Brest, and it is possible to spend the night there as well, in a mountain shelter run by the mountaineering society from Umag. If you are planning to stay the night, it is necessary to announce yourself in advance. Although I prefer to visit here in summer, at the very top one can see all three countries that I cannot really describe… you will have to visit Žbevnica and experience it yourself!
And after the ascent to the snowy Žbevnica, one should go back down, into Hum, to get warm with a little bit of biska! Hum, apart from the fact that it is often mentioned as the smallest city in the world, is also known for the Local Brandy Fair that is held there in autumn. A rue schnapps, or a regular herb one, or mead, my favorite! – whichever you choose, you will not make a mistake!
On the road to Hum, there is another natural beauty that you must not miss while visiting Istria: the abandoned village of Kotli, known for its old water mills and for the waterfalls of the Mirna river that descend through the village, forming rolling hollows in stone called kotli. From these the village takes its name. The remains of old mills, of which there were once upon a time around sixty, down the entire flow of Mirna, are still there. The village itself is protected.
Following the Mirna river, you will also come to Livade, a place already on the map of every real gourmet. Throughout the year, you can try the most varied truffle dishes there. The truffles are local, rare delicacies found in the centuries-old Motovun forest which used to a Venetian common oak nursery, whose wood was used to build Venetian ships.