Buzet Istria Guide – Truffle & Wine Capital Of Croatia

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Post author SJ

Written by our local expert SJ

Sarah-Jane has lived in Croatia for 10+ years. SJ, as she is known, has been traveling the Balkans & beyond since 2000. She now shares her passion for traveling with her husband & kids.

As someone who lives in Croatia and has visited Buzet numerous times, I can confidently say that this small town in the Istria region is a hidden gem worth exploring. 

Famed for its wine and truffle culture, the town of Buzet is a haven for nature-loving foodies. Imagine wandering through the town, where the legacy of Venetian rule is etched in every corner, from the large gate welcoming you into a world of historic charm to the small gate leading you into quaint, cobblestone streets.

Buzet is the place where white truffles reign supreme. Whether you’re here for a short trip or a longer stay, the Truffle Days festival is something you wouldn’t want to miss. This event celebrates the town’s rich truffle heritage and offers a perfect opportunity for you to indulge in this exquisite local delicacy.

So, are you planning to visit this cute truffle capital of Croatia? You’re in the right place! In this comprehensive Buzet travel guide, I’ll share all the insider tips and must-knows to ensure you have an immersive and unforgettable experience in Buzet. Whether you’re a first-time visitor or a seasoned traveler, this guide is packed with practical advice to help you explore the town like a local.

Croatia Travel Blog_Buzet Istria_Croatia's Wine & Truffle Capital

Let’s take a step back in time and explore the rich history of Buzet, Croatia. 

Humans have been calling this area home for centuries. We’re talking way back—prehistoric times. Archaeological discoveries in the caves here confirm that people have been living in this region for ages.

Let’s fast forward a bit to the Bronze Age, roughly from 3300 BC to 1200 BC. This is when the first known settlements appeared. Illyrian tribes set up shop on the hilltops, marking the beginning of Buzet’s history. Then, in 177 AD, the Romans came along and took control.

But there’s more to the story. After a period of Byzantine rule, Buzet found itself under the authority of Frankish rulers around the 8th century. Things took an interesting turn in 1421 when the local elite decided to pledge their loyalty to the Patriarchate of Aquelia. This loyalty lasted for quite a while, all the way up to the late 18th century.

Now, let’s jump ahead to 1797, when the Venetian Republic fell apart. Buzet, along with the rest of Istria, came under Habsburg rule, which lasted until 1918. After that, Buzet had a bit of a geopolitical shuffle, becoming a part of Italy and later Yugoslavia.

Today, Buzet thrives within the borders of Croatia. So, when you visit this charming town, keep in mind that you’re walking in the footsteps of ancient tribes, Romans, Frankish rulers, and more who have all left their mark on this beautiful place. History buffs, get ready for a fascinating journey!

Best Things To Do In Buzet

1. Eat Local Delicacies At Konoba Vrh

Three small squares of bread with cream cheese and greens from Istria on a plate.

One of the Buzet hidden gems, Konoba Vrh, is the best option for those who want to try the unique Buzet cuisine. The establishment boasts a rich menu and an exquisite atmosphere with a mix of local elements and a modern aura.

The restaurant’s menu features various items that every traveler should give a try to have a complete Buzet experience. Among them is homemade bread, which offers a delicious eat thanks to its unique taste.

Truffle dishes are a must-try local delicacy made of the region’s signature Istrian truffles. Since Istria is the truffle capital of the world, you should expect to see many dishes with truffles in Croatia. At Konoba Vrh, you can try pasta with truffles made of local Croatian truffles and their homemade pasta.

Asparagus ice cream is another highly unique and unusual delicacy on Konoba Vrh’s menu that those looking for a new experience should try. However, if you’re not a fan of vegetables as dessert, don’t worry; the establishment offers brownies and all kinds of typical desserts.

We must highlight the – possibly – best food on the restaurant’s menu: Istrian Boskarin steak. It’s basically a steak made of beef from the Istrian cattle breed, Boškarin. “What is the difference between a Boskarin steak and a regular steak?” you might ask. Istrian steak has distinct flavors and a unique texture, which makes it a perfect choice for true steak lovers. Also, the way Konoba Vrh makes it, with special spices and truffles, is a must-try.

If you’re feeling hungry and curious already, you shouldn’t forget to make a reservation at the restaurant. Since Konoba Vrh is a popular establishment in the area, you might want to book a table in order to secure your meal.

2. Make Lively Memories Hunting Truffle

A group of people standing in a wooded area with a dog in Istria.

Truffle is the fruiting body of various fungi. Since it’s considered a rare delicacy, some truffle species are sold at high prices and regarded as diamonds in the kitchen.

While the food is popular in many European countries, Buzet is the genuine truffle capital with its own economy and cuisine based on the mushroom. There are even several Buzet festivals dedicated to truffles.

So, hunting truffles is the perfect activity to make lively memories with your loved ones or have some alone time in nature – it can even help you explore Buzet and its surroundings.

A few weeks ago, we embarked on a truffle hunt adventure with a group of friends that included five kids and six adults. Let me tell you, it was an absolute blast!

We were all out in the woods, following our trusty dog, who was on the hunt for those elusive truffles. Along the way, our truffle hunting guide is dropping some serious knowledge about these fungi treasures, and we’re all crossing our fingers, hoping to stumble upon a big one.

Alas, we only ended up finding a mini truffle, but the thrill of the chase was worth it.

In the stunning Istria region, a person lovingly feeds a white poodle amidst the enchanting woods.

A boy looking out the window of a green van with a dog in Istria.

Truffles from Istria under a glass dome on a wooden table.

After our truffle-hunting escapade, we headed back to the Karlic tasting room. There, they whipped up some delectable truffle eggs for us and laid out generous platters of food. Of course, we couldn’t forget the wine – a perfect pairing for our truffle feast. But that’s not all; they even gave us a demonstration of how to make fritule, those delightful Croatian pastries. We spent a few hours indulging in good food, good company, and some newfound culinary skills.

Before calling it a day, we couldn’t resist a little shopping spree in the souvenir and sales room, snagging a few truffle-themed mementos to remind us of our truffle-hunting adventure. It was the perfect way to wrap up an unforgettable day of fun and flavor.

3. Taste Buzet Wine Styles

SJ leaning against a wall in Buzet, Istria

The Istrian Peninsula boasts over 200 wineries, with a bunch of them in Buzet. Produced with local ingredients, local Buzet wines differ from mass-produced wines with a unique taste and texture.

Since local wine is favored and celebrated, we can say that Buzet has a rich wine culture. Residents of Buzet enjoy their wine during dinner and gatherings, using the delicacy as a way to connect with friends and family.

If you’re a culinary enthusiast, you should add tasting rosé and red wines to your itinerary in Buzet. You can purchase local brands at markets, wine shops, or – even better – during organized trips to wineries so you can take them home as souvenirs.

WINE TO TRY IN BUZET

Start with Malvazija Istarska, a crisp white with citrus and green apple notes. It’s great for warm days or seafood.

For red lovers, try Teran – bold, rich, and earthy, perfect with hearty dishes.

Don’t miss Muscat, a sweet dessert wine akin to honey with hints of orange blossom and apricot.

Lastly, Buzet’s sweet wines, like Momjanski Muscat and Teran, are ideal for a touch of sweetness after a meal. Cheers to your Buzet wine adventure!

4. Go On A Bike Through The Wine Region

Istria is among the most gorgeous corners of Croatia, and Buzet, with verdant greenery and stunning scenery, is its hidden gem. That’s why most Buzet outdoor activities revolve around discovering the region’s lush nature.

While hiking throughout Buzet’s mountains and coastline is the perfect activity, it’s true that there are too many places to visit on foot. Thankfully, you can always join a bike hike to explore Buzet hiking trails faster and more conveniently.

A bike tour is ideal for adventurous solo travelers, romantic couples, and families looking for Buzet family-friendly tours. With an experienced tour guide, you can see the most exciting locations within Buzet’s pristine nature. If you’re lucky, you can also taste the iconic red and white wines and local Istrian dishes along the way.

TOUR RECOMMENDATION

5. Explore The Old Town Of Buzet

The bell Tower of Buzet - stone tower, reminiscent of the architecture found in Istria, proudly stands tall in the charming town of Buzet. The tower's defining feature is its meticulously crafted clock, adding

Park your car and explore Buzet and the town square by ticking off these must-see sights in the Old Town on foot:

  1. Baroque House: notable for its portal and fence, finished in 1741, showcasing baroque architectural style
  2. Bembo Palace: built in 1728, this palace houses Captain Vicenzo Bamba’s coat of arms, a slice of local history
  3. Blessed Virgin Mary’s Parish Church: admire the church’s valuable equipment and treasury, including Gaetano Callido’s organs from 1787
  4. De Vertiis Palace: constructed in 1629, it features a nobleman’s coat of arms and an inscription
  5. Fontik: once a Venice storehouse for wheat, built in 1534 and renovated in 1587, it now serves as a public hall
  6. Lapidarium: discover the collection of historical plaques, inscriptions, coats of arms, and an ancient well
  7. Mala Šterna (Small Well): explore the history of this well, renovated between 1517 and 1563
  8. Mala Vrata (Small Gate): completed in 1592, this gate is a symbol of Buzet’s rich history
  9. Manneristic Portal: a 17th-century portal adorned with a count’s emblem, showcasing the era’s artistic style
  10. Parish Palace: visit the site of a 16th-century fortress, transformed into a palace in the 17th century by the Flego family
  11. Regional Museum (Bigatto Palace): founded in 1639, it features archeological and ethnological collections, an old kitchen, and a gallery for exhibitions
  12. Renaissance House: step back in time with this mid-16th-century house
  13. Renaissance Tower: explore this part of the fortress, offering a glimpse into Buzet’s storied past
  14. South Bulwark: witness the 16th-century bulwark, renovated in 1699, showcasing Captain Andrea Erizzo’s coat of arms
  15. St. George’s Church: finished in 1611, the Church of St George houses valuable gold altars from the 17th century and wood-carved pews by a local artist
  16. St. Vid’s Chapel: a chapel from the Middle Ages in the cemetery, known for its relief of St. Vid, the impressive bell tower from the 15th century, and historical inscriptions
  17. The Bell Tower: Rebuilt in 1897, it houses a Glagolitic-inscribed bell from 1541
  18. Vela Šterna (Large Well): built in 1788/1789, this well features rococo-style fencing and a relief of a Venice lion
  19. Vela Vrata (Large Gate): admire the craftsmanship of this gate, built in 1547, featuring a remarkable relief of St. George
  20. Venice Storehouse: visit this 1514-built storehouse, renovated in 1796, showcasing Capitano de Raspo’s coats of arms

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Famous Festivals In Buzet

Buzet might be a small town, yet its unique and lively culture is unmatched, which residents of Buzet celebrate through various local festivals. Two of the most famous festivals in Buzet are the Truffle Festival and Subotina Festival.

Truffle Festival

Black Istrian truffles in jars on a table at athe Truffle festival in Buzet

Truffle and truffle-based dishes – such as truffle pasta – play a significant role in Buzet culture. As a result, townspeople celebrate this pricey delicacy by holding truffle festivals.

During this festival, you can taste and buy local truffles, enjoy various dishes, and immerse in the town’s unique culture.

Subotina Festival

Thanks to the fabulous fall atmosphere and exciting festivals, September is the best time to visit Buzet. If you happen to be around at the beginning of September, you can attend Subotina Festival, which celebrates the town life in the 19th century.

Subotina Festival welcomes people of all ages and amazes them with various activities, from tasting local dishes to watching stunning performances. The festival is among the most interesting Buzet attractions, serving as a perfect way to celebrate the town’s heritage and attract more visitors.

Best Places To Stay In Istria

St.-George-Crkva-Sv.-Jurija in Buzet with a stunning blue sky backdrop, perfect for exploring Istria's truffle delights.

Hotel Vela Vrata 

Hotel Vela Vrata, a boutique hotel lying before a majestic forest, is among the best Buzet accommodations. The establishment is only a few steps from the historical city gate, Mala Vrata, and 4 kilometers from the natural wonder Sopot Waterfall.

Antique furniture decorates the hotel’s rooms, designed with everything a modern traveler needs, from flat-screen TVs to mini-fridges. The hotel offers its visitors a cozy sauna and relaxing spa. On the hotel’s terrace is a classy restaurant with spectacular forest views and a rich menu boasting local and international delicacies.

For shopping enthusiasts, the hotel is surrounded by several truffle shops. As Hotel Vela Vrata is set near the old town, various museums and towers are within walking distance.

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Hotel Fontana 

Hotel Fontana is another popular option among the best hotels in Buzet. Lying at the foot of Buzet’s old town, the hotel is known for its elegant design and convenient amenities.

The hotel’s prime location makes it the perfect base for travelers seeking to explore the Istria’s pearl, Buzet. The well-situated establishment is only 8 km from the Glagolitic Alley memorial and around 24 km from Holy Trinity Church.

Like most Buzet hotels, Fontana provides exciting activities, like truffle hunting trips. Besides, visitors can enjoy complimentary breakfast featuring both local and international dishes. Also, travelers can use the hotel’s restaurant on the terrace to have lunch or dinner with a myriad of food options.

Hotel Fontana’s well-decorated rooms boast balconies with stunning scenery and all the necessary amenities, from flat-screen TVs to air conditioners. As a pet-friendly business, Hotel Fontana welcomes travelers’ animal friends.

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Visit & Experience Buzet FAQs

expat adventures buzet istria

BUZET FAQs

Where is Buzet located?

Buzet lies in Istria, a peninsula in Western Croatia. The town is known for its picturesque scenery, historical sites, a unique architectural style influenced by various nations ruled over the area and rich cultural heritage. Known as the “City of Truffles,” Buzet is the truffle capital of Croatia.

The town is approximately 72 kilometers (45 miles) from Pula, the largest city in Istria, and about 95 kilometers (59 miles) from Rijeka.

What is the history of Buzet?

Due to its strategic location, Buzet has been an area desired by various nations throughout history. The town, founded by Illyrian tribes, had been ruled by Romans, Byzantines, Venetians, Habsburgs, and Italians until the foundation of modern Croatia. Many landmarks in the city reflect the town’s rich history.

What are the top things to see and do in Buzet?

Some of the best attractions you should see in and close to Buzet, Croatia are:

  • Aura Distillery
  • Truffle Museum
  • Karlic Truffles
  • Sopot Waterfall
  • Parish church of the Assumption of Mary
  • Hum Bell Tower
  • Mirna River

Besides these locations, you can always find Buzet day trips to discover the surrounding area and go truffle hunting among the olive trees.

Is Buzet famous for any particular cuisine or dishes?

Buzet is known for its unique cuisine that uses huge amounts of truffle. In Buzet restaurants, you can find a plethora of truffle-based dishes, including truffle pasta and truffle-peppered steaks. Another must-try delicacy in Buzet is the local Boskarin steak.

What is the climate like in Buzet?

Like the rest of the Istrian Peninsula, Buzet has a pleasant Mediterranean climate with warm, dry summers and mild, wet winters. If you’re planning to visit the town, you’ll find the best weather in September, besides the most interesting annual festivals.

Are there any annual festivals or events in Buzet?

Yes, there are various annual festivals and events that take place in Buzet. The most prominent are:

  • Subotina: An annual event in late August and early September, Subotina is how residents of Buzet celebrate their heritage. Since in Buzet history is important, residents of the town take this festival quite seriously. During the event, you can see townsfolk dressed in historical clothes and performing various dances or activities.
  • Days of Truffles: Also known as the Truffle Festival, Days of Truffles are a series of local events in early September. During these events, you might have the opportunity to taste, purchase, or hunt truffles.
  • Vinistra: An international wine fair, Vinistra is an exhibition held in Buzet to demonstrate the historical Istrian wine. During Vinistra events, you can meet local winemakers and taste their delicious products.

What accommodations are available in Buzet?

While there are many accommodations in Buzet, the most popular hotels are:

Thanks to lots of local options, visitors who want their own space can also rent entire apartments or houses:

Since all these hotels and apartments are located near the Old Town, visitors can easily access the major attractions.

Are there any nearby day trips or excursions from Buzet?

Since Istrian towns are set close to each other, Buzet offers plenty of day trips and excursions:

  • Motovun: The picturesque hilltop town with medieval houses is only a 30-minute drive away from Buzet.
  • Rovinj: A one-hour drive is all it takes to reach Rovinj, a typical Istrian coast town full of historic landmarks.
  • Pazin: Home to the famous Pazin Cave and Pazin Castle, you can get to Pazin after a 20-minute drive from Buzet.
  • Grožnjan: The hilltop town of Grožnjan, which is only 30 minutes from Buzet, is a haven for art lovers with its art galleries and studios.
  • Lim Fjord: A 45-minute drive from Buzet, Lim Fjord is a spectacular natural wonder offering scenic views and various water sports.

What’s the local culture and way of life like in Buzet?

We can describe Buzet’s local culture in a few words: relaxed, delicious, and communal. The town has a rich heritage, connecting the individual through a common culture and lifestyle.

Buzet has a slower pace of life compared to large urban centers. Residents of the town know that they live in one of the most beautiful corners of Europe and do their best to enjoy every moment of their lives – with lots of truffles and wine, of course.

What is the transportation system like in Buzet?

Buzet transportation is another topic most visitors have questions about. Since Buzet is a small town, public transportation is more limited than nearby urban centers.

The bus station in Buzet connects the town to the bigger cities and other settlements in the region. The most convenient way to get around is to rent a car from nearby places. As the town has plenty of space in its facilities, you won’t have much trouble finding a parking spot.

As it allows you to access most parts of the region, cycling is quite a convenient and popular way to get around the town. Also, visitors can join organized day tours or excursions to explore Buzet without spending too much.

What are some lesser-known gems or hidden spots near Buzet?

If you’re tired of crowds and want to enjoy your holiday in peace, these off-the-beaten-path places and experiences are perfect for you:

  • Kotli: Located a short drive from Buzet, Kotli is a hidden gem with picturesque views and a distinct culture. The village’s iconic stone houses, historic mills, and stunning waterfalls are among the must-sees in the region.
  • Hum: Hum, known as “the smallest town in the world,” is a village with a population of less than 100. The medieval town is known for its stunning streets and charming architecture.
  • Hidden Konobas: While bars and restaurants are popular among tourists, konobas offer a genuinely authentic experience. These family-owned small restaurants serve traditional Istrian dishes with regional specialties.

Can you provide a suggested itinerary for a day in Buzet?

If you have only one day in Buzet, here is the perfect itinerary for you to make the most of your time in the town:

  1. 9:00 AM – Have breakfast at a local café: Start your day by having breakfast at a local café,
  2. Around 10:00-10:30 AM – Visit Hum: Visit Hum to see the historic streets and take lots of pictures,
  3. 12:30 PM – See Glagolitic Alley: After Hum, take a trip to Glagolitic Alley and walk the unique trail representing the historic Glagolitic alphabet,
  4. 2:00 PM – Truffle hunting in Buzet: Return to Buzet to have a great time hunting truffles,
  5. 7:00 PM – Have a local dinner to conclude your journey: Visit a konoba to enjoy traditional Istrian dishes with local wine pairings.

Is Buzet a family-friendly destination?

Yes! Buzet is a family-friendly destination and perfect for making unforgettable memories with your loved ones. You can go hiking on local trails, enjoy traditional dishes, and hunt truffles with your family to make the best of your time in Buzet.

What’s the best time to visit Buzet?

The answer to this question might depend on personal choices and preferences. Since the truffle season begins in fall, it’s the perfect time for those enjoying outdoor activities. Plus, it’s worth noting that most annual festivals and events are held in the fall.

How much is a kg of truffles?

The price of truffles can vary significantly depending on several factors, including the type of truffle, its quality, the time of year, and the region where it’s sold. Generally, there are two main types of truffles: black truffles and white truffles. White truffles are usually more expensive than black truffles.

When I was in Buzet in November 2024, I was quoted $1,500 to $4,000 per kilogram for the white truffles and $250 to $1,500 per kilo for a black truffle.

Summer might be the best time to visit Croatia’s beaches after Buzet. Spring, on the other hand, is the best time to enjoy pleasant weather and green nature.

Are there any special tips or advice for travelers to Buzet?

If you’ve been to Croatia before and remember that they use a different currency, named Kuna, you should know it’s no longer accepted. Croatia adapted to the euro in 2023, and although the government implemented a dual currency policy throughout 2023, the widely used currency is the Euro

In small areas like Buzet, not all people won’t be able to converse in English. So, learning a few words in Croatian to order food or ask basic questions might help

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