The Mirna River Valley

From its source in the old Istrian hamlet of Kotli to its mouth in the bay Antenal near Novigrad, the Mirna River simply enchants with its natural beauty. On its meandering path to the Adriatic Sea, it has always brought life to places and to its green valley.

  • Hamlet of Kotli
  • Waterfalls
  • Protected area
  • Motovun forest
  • White truffle
  • Black truffle
  • Veli Jože
  • Active holiday
  • Cycling
  • Kayaking

Quiet and calm, cascading in falls, it has created ponds in rocks, which by their shape resemble cauldrons – dishes which were used in peasant households for cooking in hearths and after which the hamlet was named. Spilling over from one cauldron to another, from Kotli the Mirna River starts its 52.8 km long journey. Together with Draga, Rečina, Butoniga and Bračana, the Mirna River has tens of temporary tributaries, in which there are 17 waterfalls up to 30 m high.

The Mirna River used to be navigable as far as the port of Baštija at the foot of Grožnjan and it was even possible to reach the Pietrapelosa castle in smaller boats, almost right below the Buzet fortress. Today, it is crossed over by several bridges and, due to its biodiversity and tameness, it attracts river fishermen, excursionists and sportsmen. The Motovun forest, a natural particularity of the Istrian peninsula grew on its banks. Lush and magic, it is well known as a truffle site, the Istrian treasure hidden in the humid soil of the Motovun forest. However, the Motovun forest does not only fire imaginations because of the truffles; many mystic tales and legends about fairies and giants are associated with it – Veli Jože, who it is believed still lives there today.

It lures many kayakers and canoeists with its tranquillity and the landscapes that appear along its course, delighting cyclists and lovers of trekking. The Mirna River Valley is ideal for all forms of open air activities and all the magic it possesses is best experienced by visiting it!


The fresh Mirna River waterfalls quietly dwell by the old watermills. Quiet and calm, cascading in falls, it has created cauldron-like ponds in rocks, after which this place was named. Left for time to take its toll, old mills and stone houses witness the times when more people lived here.


Overgrown with old deciduous trees on the mud and debris by the Mirna River, the Motovun forest is the most famous habitat of white and black truffles. Apart from truffles, on the surface area measuring around one thousand hectares, it also hides many other secrets – secrets about the fairies, elves and gentle giants.


According to legend, once upon a time a lot of giants, who farmed the land and did the hardest jobs for little people, lived in Istria. The giant Veli Jože belonged to Motovun and, when little people aggrieved him, all he could do is to shake their Motovun bell tower. When, in Venice, he heard about freedom, he wanted to fight for his own, but without success. All the giants went back to their masters, except for Veli Jože, who is still, in the Motovun forest, waiting for the right time to do so.

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