Dvigrad Ruins, Istria, Croatia

Istria is probably the most developed tourist region in Croatia with towns such as Rovinj and Poreč that attract a serious number of tourists. Besides the beautiful coastline the peninsula of Istria boasts excellent cuisine and medieval hilltop towns much like the region of Tuscany in Italy. However, there are still many off the beaten track places in Istria and in Croatia in general that you can visit.

There is a significant number of fortresses in different stages of disrepair and ruin around Croatia that can be visited for free. Recently, I had the opportunity to visit one of such forgotten and abandoned fortresses. But there are many well-preserved castles and fortresses too that attract tourists.

Since my husband and I both love medieval festivals we recently visited a small medieval festival at Dvigrad Ruins in Istria (only 25mins from Rovinj inland). I found out about it by coincidence, an ad popped on my Facebook news feed. So, we took our 20 months old boy to see some medieval knights. It was a hot Saturday afternoon which might explain the lack of visitors (admission was free, the ruins can be visited any time for free too). I think there were more performers than visitors at this festival. Firstly, we walked all over the Dvigrad Ruins. Dvigrad was a prosperous town with a fortress and a church until the plague and the malaria depopulated it in the 16th century. The last surviving  families moved out at the beginning of the 18th century and since then this town has been abandoned.

There was a procession of all the participants at the opening of this medieval festival. Then there was a dance by the local folklore group followed by presentations of sword fighting, short shows and workshops for the kids. It was fun to watch the sword fighting and my husband was even picked from the audience to participate in one show. I must say, he does know a bit about sword fighting:) Our boy liked climbing all over the walls and the ruins and he also seemed interested in the shows. My biggest complaint was the lack of rubbish bins and food/drinks stalls. There were a couple of portaloos below the fortress. There is some sort of a roadside cafe at the road below the fortress but there was nothing on the premises of the actual ruins where the festival was held. All in all, it was a fun half-day trip.

Dvigrad, Istria, Croatia

medieval festival at Dvigrad ruins, Istria, Croatiamedieval festival at Dvigrad ruins, Istria, Croatia

Do you like medieval festivals? Have you visited some abandoned ruins too? Check out my other Croatia posts too in my blog’s archive.

 

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35 thoughts

  1. I’ve never been to Croatia, although it has been on the list for a long time! I’m not sure that a medieval festival is our kind of thing – but ruined castles certainly are – I didn’t realise that there were so many in Croatia. #CulturedKids

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  2. More Viking festivals and battle reenactments here in Scandinavia than Medieval knights – but similar sentiment. I can be a fun way to experience history. And without throngs and masses of visitors – also great! Thanks for sharing with #FarawayFiles. Cheers from Copenhagen.

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  3. Yes! I would love this Medieval festival! I especially enjoy castles and sites that are in ruins. You can imagine all that went on here before the roof and walls started disappearing. Lovely photos!

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  4. Istria looks like a fun place to visit and will certainly be on my list when I get to Croatia. Not sure that a medieval festival will be something I’d attend, but I enjoyed looking at one through your eyes. #FarawayFiles

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  5. We attended a medieval festival in Budapest. It was fun and slightly crazy. I somehow ended up drinking “something” out of a horn. We visited Istria back in 2016 and we loved it. We were based in Rovinj and visiting the hill towns was definitely a highlight for us. It was a little off season so some of them were very quiet and felt almost abandoned. Some get very little tourism and the people are so welcoming that I often didn’t want to leave. It makes me sad to think that some of these communities are still disappearing. Croatia is such a beautiful country. I will always love it a bit more than any other place.

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