The Istrian Farmhouse

near Motovun, Istria & Kvarner, Croatia
Book from GBP Book from £513 per night

The Istrian Farmhouse

near Motovun, Istria & Kvarner, Croatia

Converted stone farmhouse in a lush Mediterranean garden, with heated pool and gym, near the medieval hilltown of Motovun (sleeps 10-15)

Converted stone farmhouse in a lush Mediterranean garden, with heated pool and gym, near the medieval hilltown of Motovun (sleeps 10-15)

As foodies and lovers of the outdoors, there are myriad reasons why we adore this pretty part of rural Istria. The landscape here is a pleasing melange of olive groves, vineyards and oak forests, interspersed with pastel-hued hilltop villages, and a glistening coastline is never far away. Local restaurants showcase the best of the region’s produce, like truffles and wild asparagus, and, of course, the wines and oils are top notch. It’s heaven for gourmands, walkers and cyclists.

This lovely stone villa captures the essence perfectly. A former farmhouse, it’s been lovingly converted into a seven-bedroom retreat with two living rooms, a big country kitchen and striking original features – just look at that open stone fireplace! But it’s the outside that steals the show. Expansive gardens with leafy lawns, a barbecue and a patio for eating out are perfumed with jasmine, herbs and fruit trees (help yourself to produce whenever you please). The heated pool comes with long, rugged views, there’s a garden pergola for lounging in the shade, and a separate annexe houses a private gym and yoga studio. Other facilities include a chef on request, free bicycles and table tennis – plenty to keep kids happy. This is the ultimate retreat for a big family holiday or group getaway that won’t break the bank.


  • Great value for an exclusive villa with all the trimmings: private swimming pool, gym, yoga studio, chef on request
  • Peaceful hillside setting in a sleepy hamlet in the unspoiled 'Croatian Tuscany'; Istria’s tourists are nowhere to be seen
  • Lots of original features from the building’s former life as a farmhouse
  • Fantastic for big family getaways, with heaps of kid-friendly activities on-site and nearby
  • Nearby attractions include hilltop Motovun, romantic Grožnjan, Istrian wineries, and the beaches of seaside Porec


  • This is a rural location with no provisions within walking distance - you’ll need a car
  • Don’t expect cutting-edge design; interiors are rustic, in keeping with the traditional style of the area
  • There’s a minimum stay of 7 nights in summer (but arrival days are flexible)

Best time to go

Istria is at its busiest and warmest in July and August, when the tourist season is in full swing. For hiking or cycling, spring and autumn months bring the best temperatures. Foodies will love Inland Istria in autumn, when it stages the grape and olive harvest, various truffle festivals, plus a chestnut festival in Oprtalj.

Our top tips

Keen cyclists should try one or more sections of the lovely, car-free Parenzana Trail, which follows an old railway line near the coast. It runs from Trieste (in Italy) all the way to Porec (in Croatia), which is just 30 mins' drive from the villa. Here, if the villa's three bikes aren't sufficient, various outlets (including well-reviewed Labinci) can rent you bikes or e-bikes, as well as delivering or collecting you. The gradients are not challenging, and the whole route is very child friendly; the 500m-long Valeta tunnel is a highlight, as is the swim at the end of the day!

Great for...

Great Outdoors
  • Boutique Villa
  • 7 bedrooms
  • Self-catering (chef on request)
  • All ages welcome
  • Open all year
  • Heated Pool
  • Spa Treatments
  • Beach Nearby
  • Pet Friendly
  • Disabled Access
  • Car essential
  • Parking
  • Restaurants Nearby
  • WiFi
  • Air Conditioning
  • Guest Lounge
  • Terrace
  • Garden
  • Gym
  • Daily Maid Service
  • Towels & Bedlinen
  • Laundry Service
  • E-bikes and bicycles available


The three-storey villa has been carefully restored to retain its rustic farmhouse style. Original stone walls, wooden floors, shuttered windows, exposed beams and open fireplaces are characteristic features of its interior, with fresh white linen curtains, bright cushions and artworks adding colour.

The ground floor houses an open-plan kitchen/living/dining room with a terracotta-tile floor, seating for eight and plenty of cooking space. There’s also a very tranquil second living room on this floor with squishy seats and patio doors. The seven bedrooms (four doubles, two twins, one single) are spread across the first and second floors, alongside three white-tiled bathrooms and a big, shaded loggia (covered terrace) with views down onto the garden.

The outside space is vast, with leafy lawns, a patio with dining table, and an inviting garden pergola with lounge seats and cushions. The annexe houses a gym and a yoga studio, while the summer house has a WC and a mini kitchen for rustling up poolside snacks.

Features include:

  • Hairdryer
  • Washing machine
  • WiFi


The main kitchen is well-equipped for cooking, with all essentials and a dishwasher – plus the two bottles of wine you receive for booking through i-escape. During summer months you’ll want to dine on the patio, which is framed by climbing grapevines and pink roses. For provisions, buy basics at a supermarket in either Pazin or Poreč, then shop locally in Višnjan, which has an excellent butcher. Close to the villa, a market gardener will deliver fresh seasonal fruit and vegetables on request.

For eating out, head into nearby Motovun or Oprtalj where restaurants tend to focus on local cuisine, with specialities like wild boar goulash or steak with truffles, wild asparagus in spring. For truly authentic fare, visit an agrotourism – our favourites are Tikel in Spinovci, which you can walk to (they have a spectacular view of hilltop Motovun), and Selo Mekiši near Vižinada, which does sublime carpaccio of Boškarin (Istrian cattle) and homemade pasta with truffles. Or stay in and request a private chef – the daughter of the family who run Tikel offers a choice of meat-based or fish-based Istrian menus, using homegrown produce, accompanied by local wines.

Features include:

  • Barbecue
  • Chef on request
  • Coffee maker
  • Dishwasher
  • Food blender
  • Fridge
  • Full kitchen
  • Hob or stove
  • Microwave
  • Oven
  • Toaster


  • Pack a picnic and spend a day hiking or cycling through the green hills of inland Istria; the villa has three mountain bikes to borrow and the lovely coastal Parenzana Trail runs nearby
  • Visit the nearby medieval-walled hilltown of Motovun (15 mins), which hosts an international film festival each July, to walk the walls and savour Istrian culinary specialities
  • Also see the hilltop "town of artists" Grožnjan (25 mins), a huddle of cobbled alleys and old stone buildings, hosting some 20 artists' ateliers, an annual summer music school and a jazz festival
  • Other historic sights hereabouts include fascinating medieval frescoes in a little chapel near Beram, 6th-century golden Byzantine mosaics in the Unesco-listed Euphrasian Basilica in Porec, and a magnificent Roman amphitheatre in Pula, which hosts open-air summer concerts.
  • Go wine tasting (try Benvenutti winery in Kaldir or Polleti winery in Markovac) or truffle hunting in the oak forests of the Mirna valley (with Miro Tartufi)
  • Book a session with a fitness instructor or yoga teacher, who will come to the villa
  • For the seaside, Porec and Rovinj are within easy reach (30-40 mins). There you can find pebble beaches, Venetian-era architecture and fresh Adriatic seafood specialities

Activities on site or nearby include:

  • Cycling


The villa is a fantastic retreat for a big family getaway. Kids can splash about in the heated pool (fence available if required), play table tennis on the lawn, explore the gardens or go for a bike ride. There are two waterparks nearby, plus great beaches within driving distance (Porec).

Best for:

All ages

Family friendly accommodation:

Rooms come in double, twin or single. The two master bedrooms on the top floor are best if you're bringing small children as they have sofabeds (which sleep 2 kids apiece) and space for baby cots.

Kids Activities on site:

  • Swimming pool
  • Bicycles to borrow
  • Games room
  • Table tennis
  • Kids DVDs


  • Airport: 40-minute drive
  • Hospital: 20-minute drive
  • Supermarket: 5-minute drive
Kid Friendly:


The Istrian Farmhouse is situated near the small village of Karojba, in central Istria. It's a 15-min drive from Motovun and a 30-min drive from Porec.

By Air
Most will fly into Pula, which is a 50-minute drive away (56km). Alternatively, try Rijeka (100km), Trieste (120km away in Italy), or Ljubljana (180km away in Slovenia).

From the Airport
Hire a car from the airport to drive to the villa. Check that you are (where relevant) allowed to take the car across borders into Croatia. There's on-site parking.

Detailed directions will be sent to you when you book through i-escape.


  • Pula Airport 56.0 km PUY


  • Beach 17.0 km
  • Shops 4.5 km
  • Restaurant 4.5 km

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