Istria Design Villa

Zamask, Istria & Kvarner, Croatia
Book from GBP Book from £504 per night

Istria Design Villa

Zamask, Istria & Kvarner, Croatia

Contemporary villa with minimalist interiors, a dreamy infinity pool and spectacular views over inland Istria (sleeps 4-7)

Contemporary villa with minimalist interiors, a dreamy infinity pool and spectacular views over inland Istria (sleeps 4-7)

On a hillside, in the sleepy rural hamlet of Zamask (population 19), stands this slick luxury villa, designed by Pula-based studio Fabrika. This was once the border between Venetian and Austro-Hungarian territories: a customs house stood here, and some of its original stonework has been incorporated into the new building. Ideal for guests who want total privacy, the villa sits in 5 hectares of private land (including 300 olive trees) and turns its back on the hamlet, while the front facade, almost totally glass, looks down onto the River Mirna valley - so while you can see out for miles, no one else can see in.

Wrapped in concrete, glass and oak, the sleek minimalist interiors are tastefully furnished with modern Danish design pieces. Upstairs are 3 ensuite bedrooms with breathtaking views; down below, the open-plan living space houses a sleek kitchen, 3-sided fireplace and big L-shaped sofa for lazy evenings. And if you're feeling really lazy, the villa manager can deliver food supplies or even homemade meals for you, so you can just stay put, hidden from the world, for days on end.


  • Slick contemporary design, with high-quality materials and careful attention to detail
  • The heavenly infinity pool; we relaxed by it for hours rather than heading to crowded beaches on the coast
  • Good value for a larger family, multi-generational holiday or a group of friends (and rates include daily cleaning!)
  • Istria is a haven for foodies, with delicious local seasonal produce, and quality wines and olive oil
  • Bikes to borrow: explore undulating green hills and freshwater lakes


  • No twin bedrooms and no bathtubs, though the walk-in rain showers are super
  • Remote - the nearest shops and restaurants are 9km away in Motovun, so stock up on groceries on your way here
  • And if you want glitzy nightlife, you'll have to drive over to Rovinj, Poreč or Novigrad on the coast
  • Note the 7-night minimum stay during summer months (Saturday changeovers)
  • Be aware you'll have to pay a security deposit in Cash on arrival
World Favourite Family Hideaway

    Best rooms for families

    An extra bed and baby cot are available to borrow (max occupancy 7), and can be set up in any of the bedrooms

    Parents should know...

    The pool is not fenced

Heated pool and bikes to borrow

Great for...

Great Outdoors
  • Boutique Villa
  • 3 bedrooms
  • Self-catering; meals on request
  • All ages welcome
  • Open all year
  • Heated Pool
  • Spa Treatments
  • Beach Nearby
  • Babysitting
  • Creche / Kids Club
  • Car recommended
  • Parking
  • Pet Friendly
  • Disabled Access
  • Restaurants Nearby
  • WiFi
  • Air Conditioning
  • Guest Lounge
  • Terrace
  • Garden
  • Gym
  • Daily Maid Service
  • Towels & Bedlinen
  • Bicycles Available
  • English-speaking caretaker


There are 3 double bedrooms on the 1st floor, each with a picture window giving fantastic views down onto the hills. You'll find oak wood floors, earthy coloured fabrics, built-in wardrobes with mirrored doors, wall-mounted TVs, designer armchairs and rough concrete ceilings. Spacious ensuite bathrooms have walk-in rain showers, a hoard of fluffy towels, slippers, Hydro Spa toiletries, even candles.

The master bedroom is a little larger than the others, and has the added luxury of a private covered terrace with table and chairs, and picture windows looking across the valley. In bedrooms 2 and 3, the beds are positioned so you literally awake with the valley at your feet.

Features include:

  • Bathrobes
  • Fan
  • Hairdryer
  • Washing machine
  • WiFi


On the ground floor, the open-plan living space includes a slick kitchen area, with a free-standing counter and espresso coffee machine. It's a joy to cook here, looking out to mesmerising views over the surrounding countryside as you toil; diners have the same dramatic vista from the long wooden table (seating 8). Sliding glass doors open onto a terrace shaded by awnings, where another table awaits for alfresco meals. The grounds include a barbecue, and a vegetable garden and orchard - you're welcome to pick fresh produce for cooking.

The nearest shops are in Motovun, 9km away, but a homemade breakfast can be ordered (just let the owners know at least 3 days before you arrive). Freshly baked bread is delivered to the villa and is prepared by your host alongside free-range eggs from a neighbour and extra virgin olive oil produced from the estate's trees. This also includes homemade Istrian marmalades, Istrian ricotta, ham, yoghurt, milk, and hot drinks (including Nespresso).

On request, the villa manager can also deliver homemade local dishes for lunches and dinners (pasta with truffles, local chicken with wild asparagus, that sort of thing). Or you can book a gourmet chef.

For eating out, in nearby Livade (9km), upmarket Zigante specialises in truffle dishes - we loved their divine homemade tagliatelli with butter, sliced white truffle and parmesan. In Beram, Vela Vrata is a rustic tavern serving traditional local dishes.

Features include:

  • Barbecue
  • Chef on request
  • Coffee maker
  • Dinner by arrangement
  • Dishwasher
  • Fridge
  • Full kitchen
  • Hob or stove
  • Lunch by arrangement
  • Microwave
  • Oven
  • Shopping service
  • Toaster
  • Basic supplies


  • Try truffle hunting with the villa manager and his dogs - white truffles in autumn only, black truffles all year (you can get truffles included in your breakfast during the season at a small cost - just ask)
  • Go wine tasting at Benvenuti winery in Kaldir, near Motovun - we were impressed by their white Malvazija, several excellent blended reds, and a sweet desert wine
  • Visit the medieval fortified hill-town of Grožnjan, declared a Town of Artists in 1965; you'll find lots of small galleries and ateliers
  • Borrow bikes to explore the surrounding hills, or cycle a stretch of the Parenzana, a disused railway line, which originally ran from Poreč to Trieste
  • Don't miss the lovely seaside town of Rovinj (50km), with its highly-regarded seafood restaurants, pebble beaches and romantic cocktail bars
  • Children will love Istralandia aqua park, between Nov Vas and Novigrad

    Activities on site or nearby include:

    • Cycling

Best Time to go

Thanks to its isolated rural location, the villa makes a wonderful escape at any time of year - views over the valley are dramatic in all weather conditions. If you want to enjoy the pool and late-night suppers below the stars, come in summer. For an active holiday, spring and autumn are better. Autumn is also the ideal season for gourmets, as Istria hosts various food festivals and the grape and olive harvests are in full swing.

Our Top Tips

Inland Istria is famed for its pungent truffles, found in the oak forests of the River Mirna valley - it was here that restaurateur Giancarlo Zigante found a truffle weighing 1.31kg in 1999, thus earning a place in the Guinness Book of Records (since usurped). Every autumn, local towns and villages, including Livade, Motovun and Buzet, host truffle festivals, where you can sample Istrian specialities, based on truffles.
Kid Friendly:


Istria Design Villa is set in the tiny hillside hamlet of Zamask, overlooking the River Mirna valley in inland Istria, Croatia. It's 9km from Motovun and 15km from Pazin.

By Air:
Fly into Pula (48km), Rijeka (55km) or Ljubljana (160km); click on the links below for a list of airlines. Hire a car from the airport to drive to Zamask.

Detailed directions will be sent to you when you book through

More on getting to Croatia


  • Pula 48.0 km PUY
  • Rijeka 55.0 km RJK


  • Beach 35.0 km
  • Shops 9.0 km
  • Restaurant 9.0 km

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