Horseriding

NEW! 2013 BOOKING NOW OPEN FOR YOUR HORSE RIDING HOLIDAY ISTRIA, CROATIA! Email us on info@istrawiz.com for more info!

 

In 2013 We offer two types of horeseriding holidays: stationary and trail – descriptions are below and dates/prices for each programe are at the end.

2013 ~ TRAIL PROGRAM DISCOVER MAGICAL ISTRIA ON HORSEBACK

Experience the charming Istrian countryside with our friendly, family-run establishment. Your guide Petar has over fifteen years of experience in horse riding and trail guiding. The ranch is currently home to around twenty well-kept horses and young stock, mainly Arab crosses, English full-blood crosses, draft crosses, local breeds and Appaloosa. We specialise in small groups to ensure quality riding and personal attention to each guest.

horseriding trail 2013

Istria is situated in the north-west of Croatia, close to the borders of Italy and Slovenia. It is the largest green oasis in the Northern Adriatic. The coast and its surrounding islands are covered with pine woods, whilst its streams flow to the sea through deep valleys and gullies. Pungent truffles, Roman ruins, striking hill towns, quaint villages, carefully cultivated food and wine, and breezy Italian culture compete for your attention. The ever-visible Mount Ucka watches over a landscape laden with lush fields, plateaus, valleys, vineyards and olive groves, which are framed by the clear Adriatic Sea. The Italians call Istria, Terra Magica.

 

The Central region of Istria is known for its beautiful, lush, unspoilt and under-populated areas. It provides plenty of wilderness and greenery, and life is pleasantly laid back, with amicable locals wherever you go. Everything is warm-hearted and friendly here: nature, towns and people. Welcome to the land of history, beauty and vitality!

 

The Mediterranean climate provides warm, dry summers and mild, pleasant winters. The average, daily-high temperature in the coldest months is 6ºC, whereas the warmest months average 30ºC.

The riding programme offered is suitable for intermediate to advanced riders, comfortable in all paces and with experience of riding outdoors. A reasonable level of fitness is required. Emphasis is on the natural beauties of the Istrian hinterland, although several cultural/historical points are part of the itinerary.

PROGRAM DESCRIPTION:

Riding through the interior of Istria is a special experience that every true nature and horse lover will be delighted with. The horses that you will ride are specially trained for this type of terrain. The trail takes you across open countryside, through valleys, over rolling hills, and past medieval towns, and at the end of each day, comfortable accommodations and traditional, local dishes await.

DAY ONE:

Arrive at the airport where you will be met and transferred to the farm/ranch, or alternatively arrive by your own car. Settle into your accommodations in the small village of Karnevali, which is 4km from the market town of Žminj. Once you are settled in, you will enjoy your first evening meal and be introduced to your host family and fellow riders. Schedule permitting, we may already visit the stables and look around the ranch in the afternoon/evening.

 

DAY TWO:

trekking

 

After a traditional breakfast of fresh bread/rolls, ham, cheese and home-made preserves, we will go to the stables where a horse will be selected for you. Today is an easy riding day through open countryside, vineyards and olive groves. The first day’s riding will ensure that you are suited and happy with your mount.

The first stop, mid-morning, will be at the small but fascinating caves of Feštinsko Kraljevstvo, which were accidentally discovered in the 1930’s underneath a vineyard, and are now open to the public. A 20-minute visit (entrance fee included) in the ‘Kingdom of Feštini’ will help show what forms the foundations of the Istrian Peninsula. A complimentary Medica (honey-flavoured grappa) will help to enhance the illusions and treasures that this underground little world has to offer.

This will be followed by a leisurely ride, across the former border area between the Hapsburg and Venetian Empires, to the medieval town of Svetvincenat. The Grimani Castle dominates the now peaceful town, which once would have been the first defensive point on the Venetian side of the border. It has a charming church which overlooks an elegant square where many events are held, such as a competition for the most beautiful goat! The castle also attracts some of the biggest names in Croatia to come and perform in this otherwise sleepy settlement.

Return home along forest trails to a delicious dinner and a well-deserved rest.

DAY THREE:

Our journey today takes us down into Draga, the dry section of Lim Fjord. The fertile valley divides Istria into two parts, and in Roman times was the border between two cantons. Halfway along the valley the ghost town of Dvigrad awaits us. The town was probably abandoned after the plague in the 16th century but still many legends abound as to why the inhabitants deserted their home. The dominating twin fortresses will be your backdrop for a well-earned picnic lunch. It is reputed that Captain Morgan, the famous pirate, sailed into Lim Fjord and stashed some of his treasures nearby. The village of Mrgani, above the fjord, is probably named after the Captain, or his descendants. His gold is still to be found.

There are the most amazing views of the valley from Dvigrad, and each season’s colours contribute to an ever-changing ‘landscape’. Following an exploration of the ruins, we will return up the valley, through tranquil villages, which often seem more deserted than Dvigrad itself, ending back at the farm in Karnevali. Although more and more visitors are drawn to discover the Istrian hinterland, it is still a unique pleasure to meander along the rural back roads.

DAY FOUR:

rovinj

 

Today there will be a leisurely morning ride via the ancient settlement and one-time stone quarry to the hamlet of Draguzeti, where we shall have time for refreshments and a light lunch. This will be followed by an afternoon excursion to Rovinj, by car or by van. Rovinj is Istria’s most picturesque coastal town, better known as the St. Tropez of the Adriatic. Its old town has a distinct Venetian architectural influence. You will have a chance to visit the commanding church of St. Euphemia, offering marvellous views of the Rovinj archipelago and the western Istrian coastline. There will be time for exploring the town’s delightfully twisty streets, its attractive harbour, or weather permitting, having a swim in the clear Adriatic Sea.

Return to Draguzeti for our evening meal and a good rest before tomorrow’s longer riding day.

DAY FIVE:

Today we will experience new and varied landscapes as we ride eastwards into the heart of the Istrian peninsula. We will ride through the dense Cere Forest, known for its seasonal mushrooms, then through fields and villages with more and more of the peninsula opening up to you – you will be surprised by the variety of terrain, flora and fauna. At the end of the plateau, we will start a 3km descent into the Rasa Valley. We will enjoy a picnic lunch on the bank of the River Rasa. We will then have a well deserved easy ride along the soft green river banks, with ample opportunities to gallop, and enjoy the fresh air in the traffic-free surroundings.

By late afternoon we will reach the family hamlet of Gologoricki Dol, nestled in a lush ravine, far from the madding crowd. This will be our resting place for the night, and this evening we shall enjoy a special meal, traditionally cooked in a ceramic pot (cripnja) under the glowing embers of an open fire.

 

DAY SIX:

After breakfast, we head to Cerovlje – dramatically situated high above vineyards, and offering stunning views of the sprawling Istrian countryside. This will be a memorable day of riding across an undulating landscape, dotted with hilltop villages and lonely churches proudly fighting the forces of time. By lunchtime we shall reach the once-fortified town of Beram where we will have a typical Istrian lunch in the local tavern, and opportunity to visit the local church. In the late afternoon we shall reach Rafo’s ranch, which will offer rest for our horses, and a delicious local dinner for us, including a taste of truffles, typical to this region.

Overnight in either local rooms, in a tent, in a hay barn (weather permitting) OR return to Karnevali (30 min drive).

For those with yet more energy left, a short evening visit to medieval Motovun is possible. Its old town, situated high on a hilltop, is particularly alluring, with a colourful old church and a rampart walk with panoramic views across the entire region.

This area differs completely from the entire surrounding karst region because of its wildlife and moist soil. The most common tree is the English or Brown Oak, and it is under these trees, in the Motovun Forest that the rare and expensive fungus truffle is to be found. It grows underground and trained dogs or pigs are used to sniff out the pungent speciality.

 DAY SEVEN:

This morning we will take our horses on a homebound trip, traversing the charming countryside, alongside ancient stone walls, with rich red soil adding to the colour and a contrast to the karst rock formations. Country roads will bring us to the middle-age town of St. Peter in the Woods, where Pauline monks have renovated the original Benedictine church and monastery dating back to the 13th Century. After a picnic lunch we continue through fields and small vineyards. Riding along the slow and windy roads will be a perfect time to reflect and feel at one with nature. We finally return to the stables where we began, saying goodbye to our dutiful horses that have carried us proudly during the last seven days. We spend the last night in Karnevali and enjoy a farewell dinner.

 

DAY EIGHT:

Breakfast and departure.

FOOD & ACCOMMODATION:

The programme is based from the small, family-run farm/ranch in the village of Karnevali. This is an ideal place to switch off and relax when not on horseback. The farm consists of several buildings around a courtyard, built in the traditional Istrian style (stone and red tiled roofs), and has modern amenities.

 

There are four guestrooms, each with private bathroom facilities. Three rooms have twin beds and one room has a double bed plus a single. All rooms are well kept and furnished in lovely colours, with solid rustic furniture and wooden floors. The bathrooms are spacious with either a large shower or a bathtub. There is central heating for the chilly mornings and evenings in early spring and autumn. Views are to the garden or the green valley at the back of the house. They are all non-smoking rooms. The rooms are in a separate building to the main house and the building has been arranged into a u-shape around a small courtyard. On one side of the building there is a common room for guests with a kitchen, living/dining room and an open fire, for use in cooler temperatures. Beside the building is a covered patio with barbecue where meals can be enjoyed outdoors. There is ample parking if guests arrive by car.

 

Two or three nights are spent away, in Draguzeti, Gologoricki Dol and Rafo’s Ranch. All of them offer clean but simple accommodations, and your overnight bags will be transferred for you, while your main luggage remains in your rooms in Karnevali.

 

The food and wine offered is traditional and locally produced to leave a lasting impression of the local countryside. All food served is freshly made using local ingredients – no frozen supplies! Many products are grown on the farm, or supplied by the neighbours. Home-reared chickens provide fresh eggs and there is a myriad of Istrian traditional dishes for guests to taste. Although Istrians are known as big meat eaters, vegetarians are also catered for.

The local food is wholesome and often consists of home-made thick soups (based on a variety of beans, herbs and potatoes), thin soups, meat stews (wild boar, beef, venison, rabbit, chicken) served with local varieties of pasta. Barbecues are also very popular and weather permitting, an evening is planned with an outdoor bbq dinner at the stables – to enjoy company of the horses in the evening. Another dish that guests will have the opportunity to taste consists of potatoes and meat cooked in a ‘cripnja’ – a specialty that is common to other parts of Croatia, but with slight variations.

 

A large tray with food is placed in the fireplace, covered with an iron-cast lid, and then submerged under the hot embers. Food then cooks in its own juices and is far superior to any roast prepared in a regular oven.

There is also the option of wild game. For those that have interest in game/bird hunting, excursions can be arranged to experience catching your own evening meal. This is dependant on the hunting season.

Of course, like the rest of Croatian coastline, locally made prsut (prosciutto) and cheese are very common. Istrian prsut has special international recognition and is now a regional trademark.

Local drinks include red and white wine, and a variety of strong drinks: grappa, walnut brandy, biska (mistletoe liquor), etc.

 

 

ORDER OF ITINERARY MAY VARY, SUBJECT TO LOCAL CIRCUMSTANCES.

 

NUMBER OF PARTICIPANTS: Minimum 4 – maximum 8. Medium to advance level of riding required. Children above 12 are welcome if accompanied by adults and have riding experience.

 

INCLUDED IN THE PACKAGE PRICE of €950 p.p.

* 7 nights accommodations based on sharing in a double/twin room

* daily breakfast (fresh bread/rolls, ham, cheese, jam, eggs on request, seasonal fruit, tea, coffee)

* daily picnic lunch (freshly prepared sandwiches, or a light snack in a local tavern, water and home-made ice tea included).

* daily evening meal (3-courses of freshly prepared local specialties; ½ litre of table wine per person, water and ice tea included).

* five and a half days of riding, at an average of 4-7 hours in the saddle, depending on the season and weather conditions. Total of approx. 150 km covered during the whole trail.

* afternoon excursion to Rovinj by car/van.

* local visits as specified in the description.

 

OPTIONAL EXTRAS:

* transfers from/to Pula airport (€30) or railway station – transfers from other airports on request (Rijeka, Trieste)

* additional drinks other than those listed above.

* insurance

* single room supplement (on request, €80).

 

DATES FOR 2013:

General arrivals are on Saturdays, however Sunday arrival is also possible on request.

June 01, 15, 29

July 13

September 07, 21, 28

2013 ~ STATIONARY PROGRAME

with an overnight excursion

ISTRIA – TERRA MAGICA

horseriding(1)

The riding programme offered is suitable for intermediate to advanced riders, comfortable in all paces and with experience of riding outdoors. A reasonable level of fitness is required. Emphasis is on the natural beauties of the Istrian hinterland, although several cultural/historical points are part of the itinerary.

 

PROGRAME DESCRIPTION:

Riding through the interior of Istria is a special experience that every true nature and horse lover will be delighted with. The horses that you will ride are specially trained for this type of terrain. The trail takes you across open countryside, through valleys, over rolling hills, and past medieval towns, and at the end of each day, comfortable accommodations and traditional, local dishes await.

DAY ONE:

Arrive at the airport where you will be met and transferred to the farm/ranch, or alternatively arrive by your own car. Settle into your accommodations in the small village of Karnevali, which is 4km from the market town of Zminj. Once you are settled in, you will enjoy your first evening meal and be introduced to your host family and fellow riders. Schedule permitting, we may already visit the stables and look around the ranch in the afternoon/evening.

DAY TWO:

After a traditional breakfast of fresh bread/rolls, ham, cheese and home-made preserves, we will go to the stables where a horse will be selected for you. Today is an easy riding day through open countryside, vineyards and olive groves. The first day’s riding will ensure that you are suited and happy with your mount.

svetvinc_horseThe first stop, mid-morning, will be at the small but fascinating caves of Feštinsko Kraljevstvo, which were accidentally discovered in the 1930’s underneath a vineyard, and are now open to the public. A 20-minute visit (entrance fee included) in the ‘Kingdom of Feštini’ will help show what forms the foundations of the Istrian Peninsula. A complimentary Medica (honey-flavoured grappa) will help to enhance the illusions and treasures that this underground little world has to offer.

This will be followed by a leisurely ride, across the former border area between the Hapsburg and Venetian Empires, to the medieval town of Svetvincenat. The Grimani Castle dominates the now peaceful town, which once would have been the first defensive point on the Venetian side of the border. It has a charming church which overlooks an elegant square where many events are held, such as a competition for the most beautiful goat! The castle also attracts some of the biggest names in Croatia to come and perform in this otherwise sleepy settlement.

Return home along forest trails to a delicious dinner and a well-deserved rest.

DAY THREE:

Our journey today takes us down into Draga, the dry section of Lim Fjord. The fertile valley divides Istria into two parts, and in Roman times was the border between two cantons. Halfway along the valley the ghost town of Dvigrad awaits us. The town was probably abandoned after the plague in the 16th century but still many legends abound as to why the inhabitants deserted their home. The dominating twin fortresses will be your backdrop for a well-earned picnic lunch. It is reputed that Captain Morgan, the famous pirate, sailed into Lim Fjord and stashed some of his treasures nearby. The village of Mrgani, above the fjord, is probably named after the Captain, or his descendants. His gold is still to be found.

There are the most amazing views of the valley from Dvigrad, and each season’s colours contribute to an ever-changing ‘landscape’. Following an exploration of the ruins, we will return up the valley, through tranquil villages, which often seem more deserted than Dvigrad itself, ending back at the farm in Karnevali. Although more and more visitors are drawn to discover the Istrian hinterland, it is still a unique pleasure to meander along the rural back roads.

DAY FOUR:

Today we will experience more beautiful landscapes as we ride towards the medieval town of Bale and the west coast of the Istrian peninsula. We will ride across the fields and through the forests, passing through the small village of Kranjcici, where there are still a couple of large flocks of Istrian sheep breed. We shall taste their cheese at our picnic lunch as we reach the 14ct Chapel of St.Peter of the Rock. A short rest here before continuing along stone tracks, and through fields and villages, with more and more of the peninsula opening up to you – you will be surprised by the variety of terrain, flora and fauna. By late afternoon we shall return back to Karnevali, via the ancient settlement and one-time stone quarry Gradina, in time to taste some more of the local specialties.

DAY FIVE:

Today there will be a short morning outing to the nearby market town of Zminj, with its interesting churches, quiet old town and bustling downtown. Zminj has a population of approximately 850 inhabitants, and 112 small villages and hamlets belong under its jurisdiction increasing the population to about 3500. The monthly fair encourages a vast amount of villagers to come to town to meet one another. Zminj is home to the Chakavska Parliament, which serves to preserve the most authentic Istrian language/dialect. Most of the community is involved in farming and we shall pass across local farms that still continue breeding typical Istrian breed of cattle. After time for refreshments in the town (not included), you will return to the farm for a light lunch, This will be followed by an afternoon excursion to Rovinj, by car or by van. Rovinj is Istria’s most picturesque coastal town, better known as the St. Tropez of the Adriatic. Its old town has a distinct Venetian architectural influence. You will have a chance to visit the commanding church of St. Euphemia, offering marvellous views of the Rovinj archipelago and the western Istrian coastline. There will be time for exploring the town’s delightfully twisty streets, its attractive harbour, or weather permitting, having a swim in the clear Adriatic Sea.

Return to the farm for another delicious evening meal and rest before tomorrow’s longer riding day.

DAY SIX:

After breakfast, re-join the horses and ride northwards to the medieval town of Gracisce. Its old centre, situated high on a hilltop, is particularly alluring, with a colourful old church and a rampart walk with panoramic views across the entire region – a perfect setting for your picnic lunch (weather permitting, or in a local tavern). After free time, we shall descend with the horses to the eastern valleys of the peninsula, affording a perfect view of the Mount Ucka that separates Istria from the continental mainland. By late afternoon we will reach the family hamlet of Gologoricki Dol, nestled in a lush ravine, far from madding crowd. This will be our resting place for the night, and this evening we shall enjoy a special meal, traditionally cooked in a ceramic pot (cripnja) under the glowing embers of an open fire. There is also a visit to the family wine cellar.

DAY SEVEN:

This morning we will take our horses on a homebound trip, traversing through the charming countryside and descending to the lush valley of river Rasa, where we shall enjoy a well-deserved easy gallop on the soft, green river bank and fresh air in the traffic-free surroundings. A short climb amongst the ancient stone walls and the karst rock formations. Riding along the slow and windy roads towards Karnevali will be a perfect time to reflect and feel at one with nature.

DAY EIGHT:

Breakfast and departure.

FOOD & ACCOMMODATION:

The program is based from the small, family-run farm/ranch in the village of Karnevali. This is an ideal place to switch off and relax when not on horseback. The farm consists of several buildings around a courtyard, built in the traditional Istrian style (stone and red tiled roofs), and has modern amenities.

There are four guestrooms, each with private bathroom facilities. Three rooms have twin beds and one room has a double bed plus a single. All rooms are well kept and furnished in lovely colours, with solid rustic furniture and wooden floors. The bathrooms are spacious with either a large shower or a bathtub. There is central heating for the chilly mornings and evenings in early spring and autumn. Views are to the garden or the green valley at the back of the house. They are all non-smoking rooms. The rooms are in a separate building to the main house and the building has been arranged into a u-shape around a small courtyard. On one side of the building there is a common room for guests with a kitchen, living/dining room and an open fire, for use in cooler temperatures. Beside the building is a covered patio with barbecue where meals can be enjoyed outdoors. There is ample parking if guests arrive by car.

 

 

 

The food and wine offered is traditional and locally produced to leave a lasting impression of the local countryside. All food served is freshly made using local ingredients – no frozen supplies! Many products are grown on the farm, or supplied by the neighbours. Home-reared chickens provide fresh eggs and there is a myriad of Istrian traditional dishes for guests to taste. Although Istrians are known as big meat eaters, vegetarians are also catered for.

The local food is wholesome and often consists of home-made thick soups (based on a variety of beans, herbs and potatoes), thin soups, meat stews (wild boar, beef, venison, rabbit, chicken) served with local varieties of pasta. Barbecues are also very popular and weather permitting, an evening is planned with an outdoor bbq dinner at the stables – to enjoy the company of the horses in the evening. Another dish that guests will have the opportunity to taste consists of potatoes and meat cooked in a ‘cripnja’ – a specialty that is common to other parts of Croatia, but with slight variations. A large tray with food is placed in the fireplace, covered with an iron-cast lid, and then submerged under the hot embers. Food then cooks in its own juices and is far superior to any roast prepared in a regular oven.

 

There is also the option of wild game. For those that have interest in game/bird hunting, excursions can be arranged to experience catching your own evening meal. This is dependant on the hunting season.

Of course, like the rest of Croatian coastline, locally made prsut (prosciutto) and cheese are very common. Istrian prsut has special international recognition and is now a regional trademark.

Local drinks include red and white wine, and a variety of strong drinks: grappa, walnut brandy, biska (mistletoe liquor), etc.

 

ORDER OF ITINERARY MAY VARY, SUBJECT TO LOCAL CIRCUMSTANCES.

NUMBER OF PARTICIPANTS: Minimum 4 – maximum 8. Medium to advance level of riding required. Children above 12 are welcome if accompanied by adults and have riding experience.

INCLUDED IN THE PACKAGE PRICE of €850 p.p.

* 7 nights accommodations based on sharing in a double/twin room

* daily breakfast (fresh bread/rolls, ham, cheese, jam, eggs on request, seasonal fruit, tea, coffee)

* daily picnic lunch (freshly prepared sandwiches, or a light snack in a local tavern, water and homemade ice tea included).

* daily evening meal (3-courses of freshly prepared local specialties; ½ litre of table wine per person, water and ice tea included).

* five and a half days of riding, at an average of 4-7hours in the saddle, depending on the season and weather conditions. Total of 135km covered during the whole trail.

* afternoon excursion to Rovinj by car/van.

* local visits and wine tasting as specified in the description.

OPTIONAL EXTRAS:

* transfers from/to Pula airport (€30) or railway station – transfers from other local airports on request (Rijeka, Trieste).

* additional drinks other than those listed above.

* insurance

* single room supplement ( €80, on request).

 

DATES FOR 2013:

General arrivals are on Saturdays, however Sunday arrival is also possible on request.

June 08, 22

July 06, 20

August 31

September 14

October 05, 12, 19