Grožnjan is a medieval hilltop town in Istria, located on a 289 meters high hill, offering a view of the river Mirna Valley, Motovun, and Učka Mountain.
The name “Town of Art and Music” is given to Grožnjan because of the music practice that began in 1965 when musicians and artists from all over the world started coming to live and work in houses that Italians abandoned after World War 2.
The town would likely be deserted by now if it weren’t for them setting up exhibitions, boutique shops, galleries, and manufacturing.
Each Istrian hilltop town offers something unique, and Grožnjan is definitely the most charming one! No matter where you go in Grožnjan, you’ll find some photogenic corners in the lovely streets.
Most Grožnjan houses are made of stone, decorated with many plants, and have beautiful colorful doors and windows. Everything looks so alive and playful. And you can definitely see the strong Venetian influence in the town’s architecture.
So there are plenty of reasons why Grožnjan should be high on your Istria trip.
Things to do in Grožnjan
While it’s definitely a small town, we still have a few recommendations and inspiration for the top things to do in Grožnjan that will come in handy on your visit!
1. Roam through the artistic streets of Grožnjan
Grožnjan is full of art, so our best advice is to simply roam the streets and find spots that are interesting to you. It’s the best thing to do here.
2. Check out the historical landmarks of Old Town
There are a few historical landmarks in Grožnjan that you will surely pass by on your exploration, so it’s worth checking them out as well.
Grožnjan historical landmarks:
- The main town gate
- Renaissance loggia
- Baroque Parish Church
- Chapel of St Cosmas and Damian
3. Eat and drink with a view
After sightseeing, the best thing to do is to sit at one of the cafes with a beautiful view of the Istrian landscape. Or better yet, grab a bite of some delicious Istrian food!
4. Try truffle products
Truffles are the most famous specialty of Istria and also of Grožnjan. You’ll find it everywhere and in everything.
There are so many products with truffles and in all kinds of combinations that you can’t even imagine.
Don’t miss this, and use this opportunity to try something new!
We gave the truffle chocolate a go, and although we didn’t like it the most, we’re still glad we tried it. For us, the taste is too strong.
However, if you like truffles, then it might just be what you’ve been missing in your life!
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5. Check out the galleries and art exhibitions
While exploring Grožnjan, you will come across numerous art exhibitions and galleries inside charmingly decorated boutiques.
You can find a list of the galleries on the official website.
6. Visit a festival
In addition to its charm and cultural heritage, Grožnjan is known for hosting a variety of music events throughout the year.
Some of these have been taking place for decades already and include the internationally renowned jazz festival “Jazz is Back” as well as the summer academy “Jeunesses Musicales,” where aspiring musicians can enhance their skills.
You can find the calendar of events on the official website.
7. Biking the Parenzana
You can also bike or walk the Parenzana, once an old railroad that connected Trieste and Porec, now transformed into a popular biking and walking path with panoramic views.
The Parenzana offers a unique opportunity to explore the region’s rich history while enjoying the beauty of nature.
This picturesque route takes you through breathtaking landscapes, passing by charming towns such as Motovun and Grožnjan.
Unfortunately, there is no bike rental shop in Grožnjan, but you can rent bikes for Parenzana at Montona tours, just below Motovun hill.
How to get to Grožnjan
The best way to get to Grožnjan is by car, as there are no direct public transportation lines to Grožnjan.
However, there is a bus from Buzet to Buje that doesn’t exactly go to Grožnjan town, but you can get off at Bijele Zemlje and then walk for 3 km up a lovely path with gorgeous views.
And while most travelers visit Grožnjan independently, there are also organized day trips from nearby Istrian cities or even Trieste in Italy and Koper in Slovenia.
Best Grožnjan tours:
- Istria in 1 Day Tour (from Rovinj)
- Istria in 1 Day Tour (from Pula)
- Truffle Hunting Adventure Motovun
You can also visit Motovun and Grožnjan on an organized Parenzana Guided Old Railway Bike Tour from Pula, get picked up in Pula, and then pick up a bike in Grožnjan and bike the Parenzana to Motovun.
Best time to visit Grožnjan
The best time to visit Grožnjan is in early May and throughout summer because it’s when many artists and musicians occupy the town.
During summer, you can hear all kinds of music throughout Grožnjan because of the festivals and many visiting artists, from the sounds of guitar to the violin and piano, from jazz to classical.
If you want to avoid the crowds, then it’s best to visit in September. It’s still warm, but there are fewer tourists. However, you might miss all of the action.
Where to stay in Grožnjan
Grožnjan doesn’t have a big selection of accommodation options, but there are a few really good ones that we can recommend.
Best places to stay in Grožnjan old town:
More things to do in Istria: