Istria is full of surprises. Mountains, hills, forests, sea, truffles, wine, it has it all. It’s one of the most developed regions in Croatia and it has been for a long time on my bucket list. We visited the interior of Istria and went for a hike in one of the most beautiful hiking routes in Croatia. It’s called “The Seven Waterfalls” trail.
Zagreb, Italy, and Slovenia are quite close to Istria, so international flights are within reach.
Buzet – a treat for beer lovers
Buzet is a city placed in the interior of Istria, only a two hours’ drive from Zagreb. Among other things, it’s known for its brewery. They produce Istrian premium lager beer, but also beers with a stamp of the regions, such as beer with a taste of truffles and a sparkling beer with a taste of Muscat (a variety of grapes).
Of course, the city is full of historical monuments and lots of history, but maybe next time, we’ll do that as well.
So, before going for a hike you can grab a beer or two. In the end, the trekking path kicks off from the brewery in Buzet, so it’s pretty much on the way.
The trail of seven waterfalls is a circular path, so choose wisely a direction you’re heading.
The Seven waterfalls hiking route is a circular path, so be careful when choosing your hiking route.
I would recommend going on your left, towards Selca. From experience, I believe it’s better to pass the obstacles in the beginning.
After, everything is downhill and less demanding.
And when you get that right, it’s all about following a marked path. Besides, it’s a well-visited hiking trail so there’s always somebody to come across during a hike. In the summertime, I’ve heard, even though it’s a long hiking trail that goes through nature, it’s full of people.
In the beginning, there are steep cliffs that hikers need to climb. Steel ropes are even placed along the path, to help hikers climb their way. It might seem a bit too difficult at the beginning, but when you push through, the reward of discovering the whole path is truly magnificent.
And it’s a bit exciting when you turn around and see the accomplishment behind you.
It just looks more demanding than it really is.
After a bit of an effort in the beginning, everything else is just a pleasant walk through the forest.
Check the water level online, before going. A tourist office in Buzet might be your best choice. Call them up, and ask.
The best time to visit “The Seven Waterfall” trail is either in autumn or in springtime. After a rainy period, in wintertime, some parts can’t be crossed over so easily. While in summer, not all waterfalls can be seen, because some of them dry out.
It’s a 10 miles long hike, full of amazing nature. A six-hour hike passes in a second.
River Mirna was on our right as we followed the river towards a canyon. A narrow wooden path leads along the hillside, and the forest is leaning over a small river below. Already, in the beginning, well-preserved nature melted our eyes with beauty.
There are two main rivers you’ll come across your path: Mirna and Draga. All together seven waterfalls: Zagon, Bačva, Vela Peć (it’s the highest waterfall, up to 85 feet), Mala Peć, Kotli, Zelenščak, and Grjok.
Waterfalls are not that high but being a part of an unspoiled nature makes them truly beautiful.
Mala Peć is a waterfall where we took a short break before continuing. A few wooden benches and beautiful sights all around were more than enough for a break in nature.
The hiking trail is not that demanding, but still it takes around 6 hours to walk the whole length, without lunch breaks and taking photos.
For lunch, we stopped in Kotli.
Kotli – and old watermill, karst river, restaurant above and home-made food
Napoleon’s bridge is a stone bridge that crosses over a small river of Draga. It’s called Napoleon’s bridge, even though it was made after Napoleon, somewhere in the middle of the 19th century. Napoleon was in Croatia at the beginning of the 19th century.
But still, I like the name, it sounds nice.
Walking through the forests and the countryside, we came all the way to Kotli. Kotli was the first bigger settlement on our path. Most of the houses in Kotli are either for rent or private vacation houses.
And the atmosphere of the village was just breath-taking. Narrow stone streets, gardens full of flowers, almond trees, and forest all around. A charming maze of colourful and nature-like streets and houses lost in time.
In Kotli, existed a watermill, and today visitors can descend all the way to its lowest point. All the way to the river. In the summertime, people swim there. And the babbling karst river gives a nice tone to the surroundings.
For lunch, we went to a restaurant Kotlić (which means “little Kotli”) that’s placed just above the river, waterfall, and watermill. It’s the only restaurant that was opened. The surroundings were amazing and lunch went in the same tone.
As Croatians do, we opened our appetite with a homemade rakija. Rakija is schnapps and it’s quite lifting, as you can imagine. One is more than enough to get your appetite going or to warm yourself up after a longer hike. As we were in the truffles region (Istria), truffles and wine seemed like a nice choice. And it sure was.
Kotli is only at the halfway
We started pretty early, around 9 am. But it was already past 2 pm when we finished lunch in Kotli, it was definitely time to go.
Still, two waterfalls were ahead and we needed to cross the river. Fortunately, the water level wasn’t too high, so our crossing of the river ended up being funny, and not too complicated. Few larger stones in the river served us as a bridge. Most likely some other hikers or locals threw them in before.
We saw other hikers carrying their shoes in their hands while walking through the river. Not a bad way to refresh your feet after a long walk. Maybe next time we’ll do the same. After Kotli, it was pretty much downhill. Few round hills on our way, and a more open countryside gave us a bit of different scenery.
Should I stay, or should I go
“The Seven Waterfalls” trail ended up being an excellent hiking choice.
It’s great for beginners and active hikers. The whole length of the hiking route is never lacking in interesting sights. Not to mention waterfalls that are quite stunning. The scenery is constantly changing and the pastoral villages along the path are heart-melting.
And being a circular trail was a great way for getting back to our car.
To sum it up: it’s a route I’d gladly go again. So see you on the road. Subscribe for more Croatian travel posts. Have a lovely day.