Visit Motovun: Paradise Near Pula.

Top Highlights

Motovun, a captivating hilltop town in Istria, near Pula, is a place where the charm of the old world meets breathtaking natural beauty. This medieval town, perched on a hill surrounded by vineyards, offers panoramic views of the Istrian countryside, making it a must-visit destination for anyone exploring Croatia.

Motovun is perfect for history enthusiasts, food lovers, and adventure seekers. Whether you’re looking to explore ancient architecture, indulge in Istrian culinary delights, or embark on outdoor adventures like truffle hunting and biking, Motovun has something for every traveler.


About Motovun

Motovun is a picturesque medieval town perched on a hill in the heart of Istria, Croatia, not far from the coastal city of Pula. This enchanting town is steeped in history and surrounded by lush forests, which contribute to its magical atmosphere and stunning views of the Istrian countryside.


Dating back to the prehistoric period, Motovun’s rich history is visible in its well-preserved architecture and ancient walls that encircle the old town. These walls have stood the test of time and now serve as a vantage point for visitors to gaze out over the vineyards and truffle-rich forests that make the area famous.

The town itself is a testament to various periods of history, with influences from the Romans, who were among the first to fortify the hill, to the Venetians, who left a significant architectural mark during their rule. The central square is dominated by the Romanesque-Gothic Church of St. Stephen, which houses a bell tower that resembles those seen in Venice, a reminder of the town’s Venetian heritage.


Motovun’s cobbled streets wind through the town, leading to charming boutiques, art galleries, and restaurants that serve the best of Istrian cuisine, including dishes enriched with the area’s renowned truffles. The town is also celebrated for its annual Motovun Film Festival, which attracts filmmakers and enthusiasts from around the globe, turning the quiet streets into a lively cultural hub.

Above all, Motovun is a symbol of Istria’s cultural and natural beauty. Its history, stretching from ancient times through the Middle Ages to the present, tells a story of survival and preservation, making it a fascinating destination for history buffs, romantics, and anyone drawn to the allure of old-world Europe.

When to Visit

The best time to visit Motovun is during the late spring to early autumn months, from May to September. This period offers the most pleasant weather for exploring the outdoors and participating in local festivals, such as the famous Motovun Film Festival.

What to do in Motovun

Explore the Ancient Walls

Take a walk along the ancient walls for stunning views of the surrounding countryside. This is a perfect opportunity to capture memorable photos and soak in the beauty of Istria.


Indulge in Local Cuisine

No visit to Motovun is complete without trying the local cuisine. Istria is known for its truffles, olive oil, and wine. Be sure to visit a local konoba (tavern) to sample these delicacies. For those wondering where to eat in Motovun, we recommend  Restaurant Pod Napun and Tavern Mondo.

The Church of St. Stephen

The Church of St. Stephen stands as a centerpiece in the historic hilltop town of Motovun, Croatia. This architectural gem, rooted in the Romanesque-Gothic period, showcases the diverse layers of history that define the region. With its construction influenced by the Venetian Republic, the church not only serves as a place of worship but also as a symbol of Motovun’s rich cultural heritage. The prominent bell tower, reminiscent of those found in Venice, offers a visual connection to the town’s past Venetian ties. Inside, the church houses valuable art and historical artifacts, contributing to its status as a key historical and spiritual site in Istria.


Local Tips & Tricks

  • Visit Early or Late in the Day: To avoid crowds and experience Motovun’s tranquil beauty, plan your visit early in the morning or later in the afternoon.
  • Wear Comfortable Shoes: The cobblestone streets and pathways can be challenging to navigate, so comfortable footwear is a must.
  • Participate in Local Festivities: Check the local event calendar to participate in cultural events and festivals that offer a deeper insight into Motovun’s traditions.


Motovun is not just a destination; it’s an experience. This enchanting town offers a blend of history, culture, and natural beauty that makes it an unforgettable part of any trip to Croatia. Whether you’re wandering through its ancient streets, sampling its culinary delights, or exploring the countryside, Motovun is sure to leave a lasting impression.


What is Motovun known for?

Motovun is renowned for its striking medieval architecture, panoramic views of the Istrian countryside, and as a prime location for truffle hunting. Its ancient walls and picturesque setting make it a must-visit for those exploring the Istrian peninsula.

When is the best time to visit Motovun?

The best time to visit Motovun is during the late spring to early autumn months, from May to September. This period offers pleasant weather for outdoor activities and coincides with local festivals, including the famous Motovun Film Festival.

Are there any special gastronomic experiences in Motovun?

Yes, Motovun offers unique gastronomic experiences, notably involving truffles. Visitors can enjoy truffle hunting tours, taste various truffle dishes in local restaurants, and purchase truffle products. Istrian wines and olive oil are also must-tries in the region.

Can I explore Motovun on foot?

Absolutely, Motovun is best explored on foot. Its cobbled streets, ancient walls, and compact town center make it ideal for walking. Comfortable shoes are recommended due to the uneven and steep pathways.

Is Motovun suitable for families with children?

Motovun is suitable for families. While its historical and gastronomic attractions may appeal more to adults, the town’s scenic views and nature trails offer enjoyable experiences for children as well. However, parents should be mindful of the steep streets and steps when navigating with strollers.

What is the architectural style of The Church of St. Stephen?

The Church of St. Stephen is a beautiful example of Romanesque-Gothic architecture. Its design reflects the historical influence of the Venetian Republic on the region, evident in the church’s structure and the prominent bell tower that echoes Venetian style.

When was The Church of St. Stephen built?

While the exact date of the original construction is not precisely documented, the current structure has roots in the Romanesque period, with significant Gothic additions made in the later centuries. The bell tower, a significant feature of the church, was added in the 17th century, showcasing the layered history of the building.

How can I get to The Church of St. Stephen?

The Church of St. Stephen is located in the heart of Motovun, a hilltop town in Istria, Croatia. Visitors can reach Motovun by car or bus from major cities in Istria, including Pula. The town is pedestrianized, so visitors will need to park outside the town walls and walk to the church.

What are the top dining recommendations in Motovun?

Restaurant Pod Napun offers a delightful array of Istrian and Mediterranean cuisine, with a focus on local, seasonal ingredients. Expect a menu that includes truffle dishes, fresh seafood, homemade pasta, and a selection of local wines that perfectly complement the flavors of Istria.

Tavern Mondo is known for its cozy and authentic atmosphere, making guests feel like they’re dining in a traditional Istrian home. With its rustic decor and warm, welcoming vibe, it’s a perfect spot for a romantic dinner or a relaxed meal with family and friends.