Croatia is our new favourite place - we're thrilled to have finally discovered it. Our villas here in the heart of Istria - an area renowned for its culinary delights, spectacular views and rich culture.

With plenty to offer, from mountain biking to truffle-hunting, wine tasting to water sports, you have the benefit of being surrounded by beautiful Tuscan-esque landscapes but near the coast.

The area is steeped in history - explore Roman ruins, grandiose castles and stunning churches. Spend time meandering through the ancient cobbled streets, stopping to enjoy the buzzing cafe culture.

Enjoy the local olive oil, great wines and fresh truffles or sample the catch of the day straight from the boats at one of the area's fabulous harbour-side fish restaurants in Porec.

Think truffles, truffles and more truffles. The forests around Motovun are saturated with them, and there are plenty of restaurants serving an array of delights incorporating them.

During the truffle season (October - January), you can hunt for them yourselves, and savour them even more knowing they were the fruits of your own labour! Try the old classic - truffle pasta - with the Croatians' very own pasta variety, 'Pljukanci', the hand-rolled shape providing the perfect surface area to soak up the delicious white truffle sauce..

Istrian prosciutto is very good, especially when paired with the famous Istrian asparagus (an ingredient so vital to Istria's culinary identity that there is even a local festival dedicated to the vegetable!).

The olive groves in Istria produce some of the finest oil, a perfect accompaniment to the fresh, local ingredients you can pick up from any number of the village's daily markets.

And there are vineyards in abundance with lots of tastings and the chance to buy and sample the wine in your villa.

It is easy to forget just how close to the coast you are here given your verdant pastoral surroundings, but the seafood here is plentiful and delicious.

The landscape is so varied and breathtaking, enjoy it at a pace of your choosing, with wonderful walks, tours, water sports and boat trips.

In late July, Motovun hosts its annual film festival - not to be missed if you are in the area. The main square of this medieval hilltop town is transformed into an outdoor theatre, and screenings take place throughout the day and into the evenings.

Potter around any of the daily produce markets and marvel at the delights on offer - with lovely fresh fruit and vegetables, providing the perfect refuel after a day spent exploring any one of the country's 7 UNESCO World Heritage Sites, unrivalled museums or cultural festivals.

The nightlife in Istria can be described as laid-back and relaxed - the local restaurants are good and there are a few bars open late.

If you had something more upbeat in mind, head to the coast for a more lively scene, with nightclubs and bars open later.

The area is so beautifully tranquil, this is the prefect chance to switch off completely and succumb to your rural surroundings. In the summer months, have dinner on the terrace and enjoy the spectacular sunsets.

Istria is rich in both culture and history with museums and galleries to explore. There are several historical sites well worth a visit – including a Roman amphitheatre in Pula, and the breathtaking Euphrasian Basilica in Porec.
You can also enjoy Croatia from the sea - if you're feeling adventurous head over to Venice for the day or explore the Croatian coastline.

Swim or kayak in the scenic Mirna River, enjoy countless walks soaking in the scenery and enjoy many a glorious supper in any number of the area's restaurants.

Try and get to Motovun, you'd be forgiven for thinking you'd stepped back in time to Tuscany in the 70s with its charming cobbled streets, beautiful buildings and medieval roots.

Swimming in clear, blue water, incredible landscapes, visiting vineyards, truffle hunting, walking, cycling and enjoying the beauty of your surroundings, as well as the charm and hospitality of the local people.

Brad Pitt, Reese Witherspoon, Cliff Richard, Nicole Scherzinger and Tom Cruise to name but a few!

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