Savudrija – Buzet: Istrian Hiking Trail and E-12 trail
Via Dinarica HR-B-01
The main route of the Via Dinarica Blue Line enters Croatia from Slovenia on the mountain of Ćićarija, via the trail called Sakomanov put and the border crossing point Rakitovec / Slum (for citizens of EU member states). Visitors from abroad who are not citizens of EU member states can use the border crossing point Požane / Sočerga near Buzet.
Given the fact that the northern part of the Istrian peninsula has many natural and cultural sights of interest that are already connected by good walking and hiking infrastructure, this corridor is included in Via Dinarica as an access route option of the Blue Line. This particular route option begins at Cape Savudrija – the westernmost point of Croatia and also the westernmost point of all Slavic countries. Savudrija also has the oldest lighthouse in the Adriatic area. Very quickly, at the settlement of Crveni Vrh (Monte Rosso), the Via Dinarica route reaches the starting point of the Istrian Hiking Trail (Istarski planinarski put, IPP), visiting the most beautiful mountains and landscapes of Istria. The total length of the Istrian Hiking Trail is approximately 150 kilometers, and it can be passed in eight one-day stages. In the fourth IPP stage, at Žbevnica on Ćićarija, this Istrian route option of the Blue Line connects with the main route of the Blue Line, and the main route then follows the IPP route across the peaks of Ćićarija to Učka and to Vojak – the highest peak of Istria (1396 m.a.s.l.). Along one section of this route, which follows the layout of the defunct narrow-gauge railway Parenzana, the route of IPP and Via Dinarica overlaps with the route of the European Long-Distance Path E-12.
IPP begins in the settlement of Crveni Vrh (Monte Rosso), above the tourist settlement Lavra in Savudrijska vala. From Crveni vrh, IPP markings lead along the top of the hill offering a nice view of Savudrijska vala, and continue to the viewpoint of Sv. Petar (75 m.a.s.l.). From the viewpoint onwards, the trail continues in the same southeastern direction, above the coast and the tourist settlement Kanegra, and towards the TV transmission tower on the hill of Markovac (162 m.a.s.l.). Passing through the village of Markovac, we reach Kaldanija on the asphalt road Buje – Plovanija. The route takes us onwards, along the former narrow-gauge railway Parenzana (built in 1910 and closed and disassembled in 1936). We then continue across Triban (175 m.a.s.l.) to the picturesque medieval town Grožnjan. From this town onwards, the markings take us further along the route of Parenzana, next to the chapel of St. Cosmas and Damian, and then next to a hunting lodge, to Sv. Juraj (315 m.a.s.l.) and further through the settlements of Sv. Ivan, Sv. Lucija, Laganiši, Vižintini and Čabrnica. The route offers beautiful views of the valley of the Mirna River. The markings then lead us down into the valley, next to the ruins of the fortress Pietrapelosa. From the valley of the Mirna River, we continue to Mali Mlun, proceeding to Pruhari (260 m.a.s.l.) and to IPP control point 7 (Buzet) – a pleasant viewpoint of the town of Buzet. What follows is a descent to the town itself. This is where a climb to Ćićarija begins (across the Buzet railway station, which is located high above the town). Hikers who wish to tour the entire route stage described here, need to plan three or more days for this tour.
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