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Motovun (Montona in Italian) is a captivating little walled town perched on a 277m hill in the Mirna River valley. The setting is astonishingly gorgeous and a large part of its appeal is in the lost-in-time views over the verdant valley, with the town rising above it like something from a fairy tale. The damp, dark Motovun Forest at its base also has a mythical quality, especially as it contains hidden treasure in the form of Istria's famous truffles.

It was the Venetians who decided to fortify the town in the 14th century, building two sets of thick walls. Within the walls, an atmospheric cluster of Romanesque and Gothic buildings houses a smattering of artist studios, restaurants and tourist-oriented shops. Newer houses and shops have sprung up on the slopes leading to the old town.

Motovun's main claim to fame is its popular film festival, which takes place every summer.

Top attractions

These are our favorite local haunts, touristy spots, and hidden gems throughout Motovun.