January in Labin and Rabac

Istrian Saffron

Discover the rich tastes of Labin area authentic dishes with exotic saffron from Nedešćina. The most expensive spice in the world is produced by Alessandro and Alessandra Candotti in their grandparents’ estate located in the village of Klapčići. This seductive and gentle spice which originates from the ancient Persia is collected at the end of October, and it takes 140 flowers’ pistils to dry in order to get one gram of spice. The location 300 m above the sea level and specific local climate conditions at Nedešćina plateau create ideal conditions for saffron growth. Saffron pistils are dried in a special procedure over oak ember up to 60 degrees Celsius in order to release the full flavor. Saffron is considered an aphrodisiac, and is available from local and selected Istrian restaurants, with prawns, in risotto, fresh goat cheese and marinade, or as a special treat- saffron ice-cream.
Suavis farm, 16 Klapčići, Nedešćina
T +385 (0)52 865 313
M +385 (0)99 798 7056


Gastronomic Tradition

Experience the local gastronomic tradition and winter delights of Rabac bay at Markus tavern in Ripenda Breg, the village located above Rabac where Labin rural tradition is still preserved. In winter Markus tavern, known for its Teran wine and hundred year old grapevine sorts, offers the irresistible tastes of home-made Istrian prosciutto, sausages and pork loin. While you taste wine in the tavern, your host Dino Knapić will introduce you to the old way of drying prosciutto, which were first pressed under a stone block, and then dried above open fire place and in bura (the northern wind). At the tavern, you’ll see the portrait of Antonio Knapić, Dino’s grandfather, a mine worker who planted the first grapevines 110 years ago at the estate, today one of the oldest in Istria. Have a glass of gamai, a typical old wine from Ripenda, and try some dried sausages and pancetta, traditional hand-made pasta called fuži and gnocchi with game goulash, Labin krafi and fritule (home-made sweet pastry) and home-made bread baked under a lid.
Restaurant and guest house Markus, 36A Ripenda Breg
T +385 (0)52 856 903


Terra Magica Trail

After New Year’s delicacies become fit on Terra Magica trail which runs along the most beautiful coastal landscapes from Rabac over Prtlog to Gondolići. Start your trekking in Maslinica bay, which used to be called Tihina and where people from the surrounding villages grew olives, and today there are olive trees inside Oliva camping site. The trail leads to Teleferika, the former cable car and bauxite transport port, which offers a breathtaking view of Rabac. Go on till you reach Remac bay, followed by cape Sv. Juraj. Along the whole trail, protected as a significant landscape, you’ll enjoy spectacular views over Cres and Lošinj islands and scents of Mediterranean herbs and holm oak forests. After Seničina bay, you’ll come to Prtlog, the place which served as the main port of Labin during Antiquity, medieval and Venetian period, and where the galleys docked at that time. A hill fort from the Bronze Age once stood on the highest point of the peninsula. On your way you’ll see the remains of an old oil mill (toš in the local dialect) used for olive oil production, and only five minutes from the trail there’re ruins of a lime kiln, once used for making lime. Instead of galleys, today in the port Prtlog you’ll see boats of the local people, as well as a small old bauxite transport harbor. From Prtlog bay the trail takes you to Gondolići from where you’ll return to Rabac.
Trail length: 13.3 km
Duration: 4.30 h


St. Vincent’s Day and Blessing of Vineyards

On the feast of St. Vincent, 22 January, the saint patron of winemakers, customary blessing of vineyards and marking the beginning of the new vine growth cycle takes place. Since ancient times, in the hilly parts of Gora Glušići and Skitača vine was cultivated using so-called lozine. Vine was planted next to an ash tree at the end of fields or in depressions and it would climb on it and give fruits. Lozina was never cut, weeded or sprayed; only the land around it was fertilized and hoed. This was the earliest way of growing vineyards on the barren rocky land. One of the oldest sorts in this area was pucovina (since it makes a crackling sound on the palate). In the village of Sveti Martin the tradition of winemaking dated back to the 19th century, when the whole area was governed by the baron Lazzarini. Nowadays, head to Kaštel Pineta agritourism and enjoy a glass of Malvasia, Pinot or Merlot, under the label San Martino. While in Ripenda Breg village vine was cultivated more than a hundred years ago and early sorts such as lightweight gamai (Burgundy) were preserved, in Kranjci village young winemakers Živolić, Glavičić and Juričić enrich the inherited crops and bring new freshness in the old sorts. Finest local wines are available from most restaurants and taverns in Labin and Rabac, agritourism estates and Labin area Wine Road.


Museum Night 29 January

This year the 11th national Night of Museums is dedicated to founders and reformers. Great minds of Croatian culture, art and science are presented through museums and sacred art collections and various events. Labin National Museum proudly presents Matthias Flacius Illyricus Memorial Collection (Labin, 3 March 1520 - Frankfurt am Main, 11 March 1575), dedicated to the famous Protestant reformer and a close associate to Martin Luther. Head to the Collection located in the Frankovich palace in Labin old town and find out more about the exciting life of one of the most influential minds of the 16th century Europe. A superb theologian, Church historian and Latin and Greek teacher, Flacius has written more than two hundred books. Copies of his most famous works-The Magdeburg Centuries (an ecclesiastical history divided into thirteen volumes) and Clavis Scripturae Sacrae are on display in the Collection. Exciting life of the versatile Labin visionary was marked by numerous trips across Europe and a curiosity that he had as many as nineteen children. Labin Museum can also be visited as part of St. Justus and Sentona tourist trails.
Night of Museums starts at 6 PM and finishes at 1 AM.
Labin National Museum, 6 1. svibnja
T +385 (0)52 852 477


Manorial Vacation

Just like Labin noblemen, enjoy the 20,000 sq m manor estate at Villa Vlastelini in Kapelica, Presika area, only a few miles away from the ancient Labin Old town. The villa was named after the Vlačić family (the owners) nickname Vlastelini, whose ancestors are associated with the famous European reformer Matthias Flacius. Vlastelini (the lords of the manor) were medieval noblemen and estate owners which nowadays provides luxury and comfort with numerous facilities. The villa, built in 1921 and renovated in 2011 using six types of stone and wood, is surrounded with seven hole golf course, tennis court with lighting, a swimming pool, garden with seasonal fruit and vegetables, small park with farm animals, two water wells and a hiking trail. The authentic country estate surrounded with wild plants and aromatic herbs offers peace and relaxation on the stone path decorated with Glagolitic letters, medieval Slavic script which remained in use in Istria until the 19th century. Have fun with translating the Glagolitic alphabet into Latin letters and play your personal scrabble in nature.
Villa Vlastelini
Presika, 133 Kapelica, Labin
M +385 (0)98 254 245