by Putopis

I visited Žminj in July this year. It was my first visit to this little town and I really didn’t know what to expect from the town itself or from the people that live there. Sometimes when you don’t have any expectations, you are surprised in a positive way and you have the most wonderful experiences. Besides learning about the town of Žminj and its surroundings, I met and got to know some amazing people – and isn’t that a true value on any journey?


Žminj – a charming little town in the heart of Istria region is really a hidden gem. It is centrally located – only 20 – 30 minutes drive from any of the bigger towns in the region ( such as Pula or Rovinj ) – and therefore, in my opinion, the perfect place for the events like Pasta festival.


This gastro event presents and combines the traditional and modern cooking, and of course everything revolves around pasta. It takes place every year at the beginning of July. ‘Makaruni, fuži, njoki, pljukanci’ – are just some of the pasta types that the famous chefs like Ljudevit Sabo, Damir Modrušan and Denis Zembo combine with home made groceries like shrimps, prosciutto, fresh cheese and make into a feast and amazing (gastro) experience. The hosts pay attention to every detail, so in addition to great food and selected wines, all the visitors can enjoy live rock and jazz music. This friendly and relaxed vibe of the festival makes Žminj definitely a very pleasant place to visit (you can find more information about the festival here Pasta festival).

I had the opportunity to learn how to make home made pasta from the Istian grandmums  – ‘nonas’  on the spot. Local ladies were very friendly, full of advice and patience. That was an amazing experience for me – to get to know the locals and learn the traditional way of preparing pasta. It’s just something that you won’t experience often in everyday life and it was so much fun. And when they started talking in their ‘čakavski’ dialect, it took the whole pasta preparation to the next level. I felt like I entered their kitchen, preparing meal with their family.

Photo credit: Putopis

TIP: I would recommed this festival to all the gastro lovers. It would be a great weekend getaway from Zagreb or any other nearby town or place in Croatia. It is suitable for families, groups of friends or solo travellers. Or, if you already are in Istria on vacation, visit this charming festival and enjoy great food, wine and very friendly atmosphere.


                                                                                      DAIRY FARM LATUS

During our stay in Žminj, we visited dairy Latus, a local family run business. Besides producing and selling their products (they produce approx 6-8000 L of milk per day), they also organize cheese and yogurth tastings and presentations. The hosts, Sandi the owner and Olivera the head of sales, welcomed us very warmly and the atmosphere during our visit was very  friendly. Their approach and phylosophy is that all their guests should be informed about what they do through the story they tell. The story that brings us back in history and teaches us about Istrian ‘boškarin’ (ox). The story that explains how their grandparents lived and produced milk and other milk related products many, many years ago when life was so much different. Nothing was left to waste and everything was used. The story behind the dairy Latus really gives us added value. One is not just tasting cheese and yogurt, but also understanding the history, process and why the same cheese tastes differently when it is fresh or when it has been preserved for a year, two or more.

Photo credit: Putopis

Cheese is a living product and it’s changing – like a person, througout the years, some become better, others stronger …

At the end of our tasting, we tried Veli Jože, the prize awarded cheese of Latus Diary, and a special desert – fresh cheese and figs. No need to mention that both were delicious.


Photo credit: Putopis

TIP: Don’t miss the opportunity to buy some of their products after the tasting. The yoghurt that I tasted was the best I had ever tasted in my whole life (and I am not a yoghurt fan). For more information be sure to visit: Latus dairy



A cave under the wineyard. Yes, that kind of cave actually exists in the heart of Istria county. It is situated in the little village Feštini, it’s called “Feštinsko kraljevstvo” (The Kingdom of Feštini)  and it’s a great place to visit. The cave was first discovered in 1930s when a local man, Tone Božac, was working in his wineyard. His tool droped into the hole he thought was just an ordinary pit. He didn’t have a clue that there was a whole labyrinth of underground passages underneath his wineyard.

Photo credit: Putopis

A decade later, villagers remembered that pit and went to it looking for a shelter from the misfortunes of the war. Then they realized there was a whole new underground world under the wineyard. Local children started to call the cave “kingdom” so the cave was named “Feštinsko kraljevstvo” (The Kingdom of  Feštini). I had the opportunity to visit the cave a couple of times. During the summertime, it’s a perfect getaway from the heat. However, if you visit it in spring or autumn, even if the weather isn’t as warm as in the summer, you are guaranteed a fun time. The hosts are amazing people – the families of Orbanić and Božac always make sure that you leave their “kingdom” with a smile on your face. And the cave really is a kingdom – a kingdom of nature’s magnificence. For more information visit Kingdom of Feštini

Photo credit: Putopis

TIP: This cave is great for a family visit. It also has a mini farm and a mini bar for refreshment. Children will be delighted with the big yard in front of the entrance to the cave, where they could play and enjoy wooden, fun toys made by the owner himself.



“A place is only as good as the people you know in it. It’s the people that make the place.” Pittacus Lore

I couldn’t agree more with this qoute when it comes to our host at Casa Matiki in Žminj. I’m so thrilled when I meet an amazing person with great energy, willingness, positive attitude and a lot of love and passion for their business. That was our host Sonja. The owner of the Istrian stone house, wonderful host, great cook, local ‘travel consultant’, people and dog lover. I know I’m not the only one to think so – as I spoke to her other guests and some locals – I would hear the same attributes for this exceptional lady.

Casa Matiki is a beautiful, spacious estate. The traditional stone house is surrounded by a beautiful large garden filled with lavander and a big pool in the back yard. The owner pays special attention to details so you’ll find numerous decoraitions in the house and in the garden, which are creating a homy atmosphere. You truly feel comfortable and relaxed and that’s exactly the way you should feel when you’re on vacation. The proprety is situated in the countryside, approximately 20 minutes away from Rovinj but also very close to the beaches. It’s the perfect place for families with children.

Sonja really does create a second home for her guests. Sometimes that’s all that matters – great hosts, people that will make your vacation unforgettable. Sonja’s energy and passion can be seen in every little detail of the house: decoration, food, cakes, flowers, garden, bed sheets, coffee, advice that she gives…. It is all reflected in her wonderful proprety. And, in the end, the most important is how you feel while staying there….and I felt like at home….

Photo credit: Putopis

TIP: I would definitely recommend this accommodation to all travelers. I especially enjoyed breakfast time at Casa Matiki. Sonja prepared delicious home made bread and different cake for us every morning.


Jasminka Đaković



This trip was part of the blog trip organised by Žminj Tourist Board. All stated opinions are my own and are not influenced in any way.

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Carl 4. October 2017. - 17:47

It looks like you found some wonderful hidden gems. I’ve been wanting to visit Croatia for so long and am happy I found your post via #TRLT. Thank you for sharing and I look forward to reading more about your travels through Croatia!

Putopis 11. November 2017. - 17:30

Hi Carl, I’m so glad you like the post and that you found it via #TRLT. I love to chat there and meet people from all over the world.
Croatia is really full of hidden gems and I hope you’ll have the chance to visit our beautiful country and explore it very soon.
Feel free to contact me, I’ll be happy to help you in any way I can regarding your visit to Croatia. More posts are coming and I hope you’ll enjoy them as well. Greetings from Croatia :-)


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