Motovun is a medieval Istrian city situated on the top of a small hill and is encircled by city walls offering incredible panoramic views of the area.
The earliest records of the enchanting Motovun can be traced back to the end of the 2nd century and the beginning of the 3rd century. With its strategic location on top of a hill, Motovun has been a significant settlement throughout the centuries, witnessing various historical events and transformations.
Many people compare Istria to Tuscany as its continental part is full of small hilltop towns, only a bit more colorful. And Motovun is no exception.
Motovun is most famous for the ‘Motovun film festival’ held each summer.
Food lovers also adore Motovun as vast forests all around the town hide the precious truffles. So if you love truffles, welcome to truffle heaven.
Things to do in Motovun
While the city is not big and doesn’t offer a crazy amount of attractions, there’s still plenty to do, so here’s a list of the top things to do in Motovun.
1. Walk around the city walls
The top thing to do in Motovun is to walk around the city walls.
Make the city walls your first stop in Motovun, and if possible, go in the morning to see the first sun rays. The walls go all around the city and offer incredible views wherever you look.
In our opinion, Motovun has one of the best panoramic views out of all Istrian hilltop towns. And it’s all because of the fantastic landscape of Mirna Valley and its river.
The entrance fee for Motovun City Walls is about 5 euros, and there is a discount for students and cheaper family tickets also exist.
However, we visited outside the working hours, really early in the morning, and it was open, and nobody was charging entry.
2. Roam through Motovun streets
We loved roaming around the small towns in Istria without much of a plan, as we always ended up having a good time, and Motovun was no exception.
In Motovun, you can find beautiful street art on the walls of houses, along cute streets, and many exciting details all over.
These small hilltop towns really offer a lot if you’re ready to explore a bit.
3. Visit the main square
While roaming the streets of Motovun, make sure to see the main square, which is easily recognized by its main landmark, the Bell Tower.
The Bell Tower of Motovun, at 27 meters in height, was built in the 13th century as the town’s main observation point.
And next to the tower, you can see the Church of St. Stephen.
4. Try local delicacies
After roaming around Motovun, we suggest dropping by one of the restaurants or cafes inside the city walls and having some local delicacies.
Don’t forget to try a dish with truffles, a must-try thing in Istria. One such famous dish in Motovun and across Istria is fuži with truffles, a type of pasta.
And if you drink alcohol, this is your chance to sample some extraordinary wine for which Istria is known.
Best restaurants in Motovun:
- Pod Napun (great food and views)
- Zigante Restaurant (in nearby Livade)
- Konoba Mondo (excellent food)
- Montona Gallery (great truffle dishes and amazing views)
If you haven’t had truffles before, remember that you’ll either love it or hate it.
We actually properly tried truffles for the first time in Istria, and we’re still not sure if we’re fans. 😅 But it’s definitely one of the best places to give it a go!
5. Go truffle hunting
Motovun is renowned for its truffles-rich woods.
And if you’re curious to learn about the fascinating process of finding these elusive delicacies, why not join one of the local experts and embark on a truffle-hunting adventure?
Truffle hunting in Motovun offers a unique and immersive experience that allows you to witness firsthand the skill and expertise required to unearth these prized treasures.
So put on your walking shoes and prepare for an unforgettable journey into the heart of truffle country!
6. 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.
Parenzana bike rental
You can rent bikes for Parenzana at Montona tours, just below Motovun hill. And then you can bike to Grožnjan and other nearby places.
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Festivals in Motovun
- Motovun Film Festival
- Teran and Truffle Festival
- Veli Jože Festival
- Zigante Truffle Days (in nearby Livade)
How to get to Motovun
The best way to get to Motovun is by car.
Coming by bus is a good option too, but keep in mind that the bus connections to Motovun are limited. Although there are more frequent ones in the summertime.
While most travelers visit Motovun independently, there are also organized day trips from nearby Istrian cities or even Trieste in Italy and Koper in Slovenia.
Best Motovun tours:
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.
Parking in Motovun
You can’t enter the city of Motovun in a car unless you have a friend or accommodation there to let you in the city. Essentially only residents are allowed to enter the town in a car.
However, Motovun offers two public parking lots not far from the city gates. The first parking lot is at the bottom of the hill, and one is halfway up the hill.
The price for both parking lots in Motovun is the same, so if there’s free space at the upper one, park there, as it’s closer to the city. However, during the season, that’s almost impossible as that one is much smaller and fills up quickly.
OPENING HOURS AND TICKETS
Motovun parking lots’ working hours usually start at 9 or 10 am.
The price for parking in Motovun is 7 euros for a ticket valid for 24 hours.
During December, January, and February, parking in Motovun is free.
If you come super early, before the working hours of the parking lot, you can park for free. We came before anyone was there and didn’t end up paying.
Best time to visit Motovun
The best time to visit Motovun is between May and September when the weather is the nicest. However, Motovun is a great place to visit all year long.
But if you want a more “lively” atmosphere, definitely visit in summer. It’s also when most festivals are happening.
Where to stay in Motovun
Motovun has accommodation options to suit every traveler’s preferences, from charming stone cottages to modern apartments with panoramic views, luxurious hotels, and unique vacation homes.
One of the best places to stay in Motovun is the Hotel Kastel. Located within the ancient city walls, this boutique hotel offers stunning views of the surrounding countryside and provides guests with comfortable rooms and excellent service.
Another popular option is Villa Borgo, a beautifully restored villa that offers spacious rooms and apartments, also located inside the city walls.
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