POD NAPUN AKA TRUFFLE HEAVEN
World renowned for the truffles found in the surrounding forest, including the largest white truffle ever found (in 1999 by Giancarlo Zigante), Motovun is a thoroughly charming hilltop village in central Istria and a lovely place to spend an afternoon. Although quite small, Motovun is an idyllic medieval town with a handful of galleries, truffle and local delicacy shops, a church, one hotel, several restaurants, and stunning views of rolling green hills.
There is a small fee to bring a car up to the base of the town, but well worth it to save you a climb. Even so, you will have to park on the side of the road outside the first row of buildings as only local access is allowed into the small town. When it's more crowded in the summer months, a shuttle bus will take you up from the lower parking lot for 20kuna. Take your time perusing the small streets and stopping in any shops that interest you. If you're a foodie, you will find yourself buying tons of olive oils, tapenades, and truffle creations. After some shopping, take the short, but scenic lap around the town on the ancient city walls for beautiful views of the surrounding landscape.
Now, it's lunch time. Walking around the cobblestoned streets of Motovun with my friend one afternoon, we both stopped abruptly when we came upon an arched wooden door slightly ajar with the sign Pod Napun overhead. Through the opening we could make out what appeared to be a shop selling various goods made out of olive wood, but what lay beyond had us transfixed - a sunny balcony with flowering pots and a handful of tables and chairs overlooking hills and hills of green. A restaurant. We tentatively made our way into the restaurant and were seated promptly on the terrace by a pleasant waitress.
Seeing as we were in the Croatian truffle region and had no other plans for the afternoon, we decided to have our own leisurely multi-course truffle tasting. A cheese platter topped with truffle came out first, followed by a simple broth with dumplings and truffle. For the main course, a creamy pasta with black truffle, arguably the best truffle pasta I've had anywhere, including Italy. We washed it all down with some nice white wine. The truffle, the wine, the impressive vistas in every direction, the warm sun, and the company of my best friend made this lunch one of the more memorable moments of my entire trip to Croatia. Happiness emanated from both of us many hours after leaving Motovun and the restaurant Pod Napun.
In the area surrounding the town you can find several other activities to occupy your day including wine tastings, olive oil tastings, truffle hunts, bike rides, and more.
MOTOVUN PACKING ESSENTIALS