Motovun, the magical hilltop Istrian village

Motovun is one of those story-book villages you see in slick travel magazines, but never seem to find. But there it is, magically perched on the top of a hill, surrounded by farms, lush forests, vineyards and valleys with a spiral of red-roofed stone houses curling its way up to the top. Wow. Motovun is rural medieval Istria at its most captivating—complete with a 13th century Romanesque-Gothic bell tower rising out of its center. Flanking it in the square is the Romanesque Municipal Palace, the largest secular building in Istria. Motuvun has become a haven for artists and expats who love the area, the people and the peace. Every July, the place welcomes the world to the International Motovun Film Festival—and it’s pretty amazing that thousands do show up (including some famous film makers!) Motovun’s other attraction is gastronomic. Surrounded by vineyards, its Malvasia white and Teran reds are very high quality varietals. And in, or rather under the forests, the famous white Istrain truffle waits to be dug out. Nearby Livade lays claim to being the World Truffle Capital, but the folks up the road in Buzet will argue that. But no matter which local bistro or restaurant you choose, the chances are good that the meal will be memorable. And if you want to get away from it all, go for a balloon ride. Motovun’s elevation and microclimate has made it a balloonists paradise and you can probably find someone to take you up pretty much all year round.

Tourist Office

Trg Jozefa Ressela 1

Motovun, Croatia 52424



–the town site, may still be under construction, but no worry, the county site below has terrific information!


Our favorite links

–this is the excellent site for all of Istria, so just click on the town, etc. to learn more

–more of an outdoor party event than a serious film festival (like the one in Split, which has an international jury and only shows premieres), the Motovun Festival is still the place to be at the end of July in Istria.  This year will be its 17th!


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