It isn’t easy being green in a country where blue is the dominant color. The Istrian interior’s countless hues of vegetation hint at the unspoiled nature and unique experiences that await those who venture into this often overlooked part of Croatia. It first hits you as you exit the deep blackness of Učka Tunnel in the east, or as you drive away from the golden brightness of the Istrian Coast in the west: This is territory that feeds the senses—all of them. In Green Istria you can take time to breathe the perfumed air, listen to the birds chatter, touch the rough stone of a medieval castle, or savor the taste of local wines.

In this land of discovery, you can climb a hill to listen to cool jazz at Grožnjan, travel the wine road through Momjan, or watch films under a night sky in Motovun. Inland Istria is also where you can marvel at still-vibrant 15th-century frescoes in a woodland church near tiny Beram, or tramp through the woods outside Buzet while following a couple of dogs hunting truffles. While you’re here, you can feast on an elaborate dinner in an award-winning restaurant in Livade and wake up the next morning to a breakfast of home-smoked ham, homegrown fruit, and homemade cheese in the kitchen of the rural farmhouse where you spent the night. You can also nose around Glagolitic artifacts in tiny Hum, or explore the historic walled city of Roč.

Inland Istria is waiting to immerse you in the land.