Discovering Motovun: A Guide for First-Time Visitors

Nestled in the heart of Istria, Motovun is a charming medieval hilltop town that captivates visitors with its rich history, stunning architecture, and breathtaking landscapes. For those planning their first visit, Motovun promises an unforgettable experience filled with cultural treasures, culinary delights, and serene natural beauty.

The Enchanting History of Motovun

Motovun's history dates back to ancient times, with its origins tracing back to the Roman period. However, it is the medieval charm that predominates the town, characterized by its well-preserved architecture and narrow, cobbled streets. The town's strategic hilltop location made it a significant stronghold during various historical periods, and today, it stands as a testament to the region's turbulent yet fascinating past.

Top Attractions in Motovun

Motovun Walls and Towers

The town's most iconic feature is its ancient walls, which provide panoramic views of the surrounding countryside. Walking along the walls, visitors can imagine the medieval fortifications that once protected the town. The two main towers, the Great Tower and the Polesini Tower, offer unique vantage points to appreciate the beauty of Istria.

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Church of St. Stephen

Located at the highest point of Motovun, the Church of St. Stephen is a must-visit. This baroque church, built in the 17th century, is renowned for its stunning interior, including a beautifully decorated ceiling and valuable artworks. The adjacent bell tower, originally part of the 13th-century fortifications, adds to the historical allure of the site.

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Motovun Forest

For nature enthusiasts, the Motovun Forest is a treasure trove waiting to be explored. Famous for its truffles, this dense forest is perfect for a leisurely hike or a truffle hunting expedition. Guided tours are available for those interested in learning more about the truffle hunting process and the region's unique ecosystem.

Activities and Experiences

Wine Tasting at Benvenuti Winery

Istria is known for its excellent wines, and Motovun is no exception. Benvenuti Winery offers tastings of their finest wines, allowing visitors to sample the renowned Malvasia and Teran varieties. A visit to a vineyard provides insight into the winemaking process and the opportunity to purchase exquisite local wines directly from the source. More information can be found on their website.

Truffle Hunting with Miro Tartufi

Motovun is synonymous with truffles, and participating in a truffle hunting tour is an experience not to be missed. Miro Tartufi offers guided tours led by knowledgeable guides and their specially trained dogs. These tours take you deep into the Motovun Forest to search for the elusive truffle. This hands-on adventure is both educational and rewarding, culminating in a tasting session of fresh truffles. Visit their website for more details.

Parenzana Tunnel

One of the unique activities in Motovun is exploring the Parenzana Tunnel, a part of the historic Parenzana railway. This former narrow-gauge railway, which once connected Trieste with Poreč, has been transformed into a scenic cycling and hiking trail. The tunnel near Motovun offers a fascinating glimpse into the region's transportation history and provides an adventurous route for outdoor enthusiasts.

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Motovun Film Festival

For those visiting in late July, the Motovun Film Festival is a highlight of the cultural calendar. Held from July 23rd to July 27th, this renowned festival showcases independent and avant-garde films from around the world, set against the stunning backdrop of the historic town. The festival atmosphere is lively and engaging, attracting filmmakers and movie enthusiasts alike. More information is available on the official festival website.

Culinary Delights

Motovun's gastronomy is a reflection of its rich cultural heritage. Local restaurants serve traditional Istrian dishes, often featuring truffles, wild asparagus, and fresh seafood. Don't miss the opportunity to try "fuži," a traditional Istrian pasta, paired with a rich truffle sauce. The local olive oil, another regional specialty, enhances the flavors of every dish.

Recommended Restaurants

  • Konoba Mondo: Famous for its truffle dishes and warm atmosphere, Konoba Mondo is a must-visit for any food lover. More details can be found on their website.
  • Pod Voltom: Located in the heart of Motovun, this restaurant offers a delightful selection of Istrian cuisine in a cozy setting. Visit their website for more information.
  • Taverna Bastija: Known for its panoramic views and excellent local dishes, Taverna Bastija provides a memorable dining experience. More details are available on their website.

Truffle Shops

  • Zigante Tartufi: Renowned for their high-quality truffle products, Zigante Tartufi offers a wide range of truffle-based delicacies. Their shop in Motovun is a great place to purchase truffles and other gourmet items. Visit their website for more information.
  • Karlić Tartufi: Another excellent choice for truffle enthusiasts, Karlić Tartufi offers an array of truffle products and even hosts truffle hunting tours. More details can be found on their website.

Practical Tips for Your Visit

  • Getting There: Motovun is easily accessible by car, with ample parking available at the foot of the hill. From there, a shuttle bus or a pleasant walk will take you to the town center.
  • Best Time to Visit: Spring and autumn are ideal for visiting Motovun, offering pleasant weather and fewer crowds. The summer months are also popular, especially during the film festival.
  • Accommodation: Euro Tours Villas offers a selection of charming villas and apartments in and around Motovun, providing the perfect base for exploring this enchanting town.


Motovun is a destination that captivates the senses and enriches the soul. Whether you're wandering its ancient streets, savoring its culinary delights, or immersing yourself in its natural beauty, Motovun promises a memorable experience for every visitor. Plan your visit today and discover the magic of this timeless Istrian gem.

For more information and accommodation options, visit Euro Tours Villas.

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