Zagorje, Plitvice Lakes, and hill towns of Istria

Zagorje is a region north of Zagreb where we first visited a museum dedicated to Antun Augustincic, a famous 20th century sculptor who created the Peace Monument at the UN in NYC.  Augustincic is known for his large commemorate monuments.

Close by was an open-air museum in the village of Kumrovec that included the house where Tito was born.  The buildings were carefully restored.

On our way back to the Adriatic Coast again, we spent several hours exploring Plitvice Lakes, another Croatian UNESCO World Heritage Site. The 114 square mile park has 16 lakes and an abundance of wildlife.  We took a tram 440 feet up to the upper lake and walked along wooden paths and bridges observing gorgeous views, ponds, birds and many waterfalls and cascades as the water from the upper lake made it’s way down to the lower lake.  The weather was perfect and the one and half hour long hike peaceful.  It was a super day! (I could not stop taking pictures….)


The map shows where we were and how we traveled as the crow flies.  Next on the itinerary is the region of Isteria (red circle) where we stayed in Opatija, an old world luxury resort town popular with the Austrians dating back to the Austro-Hungarian period.  Its close proximity to Italy is also apparent in its stylish shops and restaurant menus.

From Opatija we took a day trip to two of 136 medieval hill towns in the area, Motovun and Buzet.

When we started out in the morning, we encountered fog (low clouds) but rose above them as we made our way to the hilltop towns.  The fog lifted later in the day, but a haze remained.

In Motovun we encountered TRUFFLES galore!  It was my first taste and I liked them.

We met a truffle hunter who explained the art of truffle hunting and introduced her dog, Ricky, who demonstrated how he locates truffles.  Since white truffles are extremely scarce this year, the price is astronomical!  She showed us black truffles as they are found in the ground.  (In France pigs are used to sniff out truffles, but French hunters have to be on their toes because the pigs will eat them.  In Isteria, hunters use dogs who can be trained to not eat them.)

After lunch we visited a distillery in Buzet to learn about fruit brandies which are very popular in this part of Eastern Europe.

Many in our group took advantage of tasting many of the various flavors offered to them. Many in our group slept on the bus back to Opatija!

Here are Charlotte’s photos of sunset over the Adriatic in Opatija.

Next post: Slovenia

3 thoughts on “Zagorje, Plitvice Lakes, and hill towns of Istria

  1. betsey delaney

    Joan, I have enjoyed traveling on your blog. Excellent! A fabulous trip. Thank you. Xox Betsey

    Sent from my iPad



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