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Discover the Enchanting Veli Badin - The Ears of Istria

The ears of Istria may not be widely known, but once you visit them, you'll realize they deserve a place among the most beautiful destinations for hiking and cycling.

The Ears of Istria
The Ears of Istria

Veli Badin, located in the picturesque region of Istria, offers breathtaking views, unique geological formations, and a serene atmosphere that will captivate outdoor enthusiasts. Join us as we explore the hidden treasures of Veli Badin and uncover the magic of this enchanting destination.

Hiking and Cycling Adventure:

The starting point for your adventure is the church of St. Quirina in the charming village of Sočerga. Follow the narrow asphalted road that branches off to the left from the main road, where you'll find a small sign guiding you up the hill towards the church. Park your vehicle at the church and begin your journey toward Cervica. The trail descends gradually for the first half hour, leading you past the Bunker natural window and the village of Dvori, where you'll find a registration box.

As you make your way along the circular route, you'll encounter informative boards that provide insight into the area's natural wonders. One of the highlights is Veli Badin, located on the southern edge of the plateau. Here, steep walls descend towards the border crossing of Sočerg on the Slovenian side and Požana on the Croatian side.

The village of Mlini sits amidst these magnificent walls, showcasing the steepest and most eroded formations. These impressive cracks in the wall are remnants of collapsed karst caves, formed through a combination of tectonic, temperature, and corrosive events.

The Podmoles, resembling giant ears, add a fascinating touch to the landscape. These unique formations capture the surrounding sounds, creating captivating ambiance pools. Numerous spools, varying in depth, can be found here, with the largest one measuring 13 meters in depth and 12 meters in height. This natural habitat also serves as a nesting ground for rare bird species, which should be respected and left undisturbed.

Tips for Your Adventure:

If you plan to visit during the summer, it's essential to take precautions and ensure you have an ample supply of water. The locals claim the area is particularly magical in autumn when the rug effects bushes turn vibrant orange, creating a stunning backdrop for your exploration.

Cycling enthusiasts will find Veli Badin to be a true paradise. In the southernmost part of the karst edge, the impressive spools, known as the Ears of Istria, attract cyclists with their unique sound effects. The largest spool reaches a depth of 13 meters and a height of 12 meters. This characteristic shape creates a warm microclimate, offering a nesting shelter for endangered bird species. A mountain trail suitable for cycling passes through this area, marked by a thin blue line underneath the mountain markings.

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Practical Information:

To reach Veli Badin, leave the Ljubljana-Koper highway at the Črni Kal exit, immediately after the viaduct. Follow the signs for Sočerga or Buzet. Look for a suitable parking spot in the village of Kubed. From there, embark on your journey, traversing the dry stone bed of the Potok and passing through the village of Gračišče until you reach the church of St. Quirina. Follow the ridge from the church, descending gradually over the top of Veli Badin. Information boards will guide you to the walls of the spools, where caution is advised to protect the nesting birds.

As you explore the visiting suchrea, you'll also encounter other attractions worth visitingsuch as the remains of a medieval fortress and the five-pointed bell tower in the village of Kubed, as well as the Church of the Holy Trinity in Hrastovlje, which features impressive camp walls that once protected the local population from Turkish invasions in the 16th century. Additionally, don't miss the opportunity to witness the majestic Trebeše and Veli Vir waterfalls in their full glory during rainy periods.

Please note that some nature trails may not be marked, and cycling is not permitted on forest trains, mountain trails, and other restricted areas unless explicitly allowed. Respect the rules and regulations to preserve the natural beauty of the region.

Veli Badin, known as the Ears of Istria, offers an unforgettable adventure for hikers and cyclists alike. Immerse yourself in the breathtaking landscapes, explore unique geological formations, and embrace the tranquillity of this hidden gem. Whether you're seeking a peaceful hike or an exhilarating cycling experience, Veli Badin promises to be a destination that will leave you in awe of Istria's natural wonders.



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