Europe’s Hidden Artist Colony Atop One Of Istria’s Most Picturesque Hills

The tiny village of Grožnjan is a spec of a town atop a hill overlooking the Istriran countryside. It’s a mecca for Croatian artists and for those who have come from outside to seek refuge and artistic freedom amongst the town’s cobblestone streets and charming buildings. As a visitor, you can’t help but think you’ve entered some sort of time warp, where life stands still and art is the only thing that matters.

Climbing the steep hill, up to the village by car, the views grow more spectacular. Preoccupied with the ribbons of sunlight dancing along treetops below, you might forget to notice that the road is coming to a near dead end, walking being the only available option to explore further. So, by foot you must go.

Grožnjan is tiny, but vibrating with an unbelievable energy. Small cafes, a couple of local hotels and numerous galleries where artists display their work is all that’s on offer. The cobblestone streets wind through the buildings, crooked, leading you into Alice and Wonderland-like tailspins of disorientation. But, this is the design of it all. You’re not supposed to know where you’re going in Grožnjan, instead, you’re to rely on your instincts and eye.

My intuition told me to shop. So, as a lover of art, I did. I stopped by four galleries and purchased small paintings and ceramics in three of them. I spent two hours happily getting lost in Grožnjan. Authenticity, beauty and creativity bombarded me from every corner. These are the only feelings you will leave with after a visit. This is if you really want to find your way out of Grožnjan. I surely didn’t.