5 Bedrooms, 4 Bath, Private Pool, Courtyard Garden, Restaurants and Shop
Phil and I are two Brits who settled in Istria in early 2005. Having left the UK in the early 80s to take up jobs in The Netherlands and then Belgium, we ended up running our own small marketing communications agency in Antwerp. After many years beavering frenetically in the corporate jungle, we came to Istria for a more relaxed, outdoor lifestyle: to live somewhere we could have outdoor sofas, lunch on the terrace and an afternoon swim. We fell in love with Istria and decided it was the perfect holiday location. First we built a little house at the bottom of our garden for family and friends. Then, after a year’s hunting, we bought a traditional 3-bed place as a holiday let. A few years later, after another long hunt, we bought Kovaci and spent the whole of 2012 renovating it and turning it into the lovely place it is today. Over the years we’ve stayed in a lot of self-catering places and we wanted to make all our places somewhere we would want to stay. Somewhere cosy and comfortable, where everything has been thought of. The sort of place we’d want to come back to time and again. We live in a small Istrian village, not far from the sea with our 2 cats (Baggy & Tally). As well as running my small rental business, I also write/run Live Istria - the website for everyone interested in Istria or living in the sun - and when I have time, I love to garden.
Owner purchased this Villa in 2011
Why Owner chose Kovači
It took me over a year of solid hunting to find Kovaci, but it was well-worth the hunt. It's a slice of real Istria - a lovely old stone property which still had many of its original features - and there was exactly the right space for a garden and pool - perfect! It's in a great location - less than 10 minutes drive to the sea, in a lovely village with plenty of restaurants and shops.
What makes this Villa unique
One of the best things is you can walk to the restaurant - and there's a good choice of them too! It's unusual to find a property sleeping so many people in a village with good facilities just around the corner. I've always dreamed of having a pool in a courtyard garden - in Kovaci I've achieved it. It feels really special swimming in the pool with the gorgeous stone walls surrounding you. My favourite room must be the master bedroom under the eaves in the house. It's huge and the beams are so beautiful and totally original. As are the well-worn floorboards: if only they could talk! Phil loves the barn's wonderful stonework and the courtyard garden which is enclosed, yet there's plenty of space. (Having plenty of great wine producers near by was an added bonus). Now that it's finished I'm delighted with how well its come out. It just fits together so well. I just hope everyone else loves it as much as I do.
Smoking permitted outside, ashtrays provided
See below Rates for Cancellation Policy for this property
Booking implies acceptance of Owner's Rental Agreement
Cancelled bookings will not receive a refund.
Charming villa with good capacity
We were 10 people (6 adults and 4 children) having a great week in Kastelir. The house is spacious, well equipped and very charming, being an old renovated house.
Kovaci was perfect for our party of four adults and six teenagers. The two separate cottages provided privacy for the two families when needed although most of the time we all sat around the large dining table in the farmhouse kitchen or sprawled around the tables outside under the shade of the umbrellas! For our six teens (aged between 14 and 19) the WiFi was essential and after initial difficulties obtaining signal in the barn (we had to move the router upstairs) they declared the signal strength to be good! We all loved the pool, which is a good size for playing or swimming, but would have liked to have used it after dark. Unfortunately the pool light was broken and awaiting a replacement bulb and the lights around the pool were not working. The property is situated within a two minute walk of a very handy shop - we can recommend the croissants (fresh every morning but get there early!) and the butchers. The staff were friendly and helpful. There are several restaurants within walking distance and we loved Zardin with it’s great food and welcoming atmosphere. Istria itself is beautiful, the scenery is stunning and there are endless things to do from swimming in the sea to jumping off cliffs into pools, exploring the coastal towns and villages to hurtling around karting tracks, water parks to caves, churches to dolphins, there really is something for every age and every interest! We can’t wait to return! The owner Nicky was very easy to contact before our trip and answered all our queries incredibly quickly and once in Kovaci Elbina was friendly and very helpful! All in all a wonderful holiday - our teens declared it “ the best holiday ever” and you can’t get better than that!!
Lovely reviews like this are always greatly appreciated. I'm just replying because you raised a question about the outside lights around the pool. I apologise for the lighting not working, as the pool area looks gorgeous after dark with the uplighters against the stone and the pool light on. Hopefully the new pool bulb will be fitted soon and I'm not sure what the problem with the uplighters was. When we checked them they worked. I suspect you simply did not find the switch for them in the storeroom.
Exactly as described, a wonderful holiday home for a larger group.
Kovaci was perfect for the 10 of us who stayed there (6 adults and 4 children). The house is kitted out for 10, so there is enough for everyone (sun loungers, chairs etc.). The pool is small, but more than perfect, we found it the perfect size for water volleyball!
You can walk to the little supermarket, which is wonderfully stocked. The children went every morning for pastries. There are 3 restaurants in walking distance, we loved Zardin.
Elbina manages the property and is the most helpful, thoughtful person. She is on hand if you need anything and always willing to help you.
We had a super time.
Mittendrin und doch viel Urlaub
Schon der erste Blick in das Ferienobjekt bestätigte alles, was wir uns von den Bildern im Vorfeld erhofften.
Der Pool sorgte mit einer optimalen Wassertemperatur jederzeit für eine angenehme Abkühlung und einer positiven Urlaubsstimmung. Der Garten und das Poolgelände ermöglichten auch Rückzugsmöglichkeiten. Die Ausstattung (Sitzgelegenheiten, Liegen, Geschirr und Küchenutensilien) war für 9 Personen sehr gut und ausreichend. Die Schlafräume und Badezimmer gefielen uns und wirkten sehr sauber und gepflegt. Wir hatten das erwünschte Glück, unsere Urlaubstage bei tollem Sommerwetter zu verbringen und hielten uns tagsüber fast ausschließlich im Freigelände auf. Ein Hinweis für Internet- und Handyfreaks: das WLAN-Netz funktionierte ohne Störungen und lief immer stabil.
Sehr angenehm empfanden wir den kleinen, aber gut ausgestatteten Supermarket in nicht mal 100m Entfernung. Es gab täglich frisches Brot und Gebäck und ein Drink in der Bar nebenan machte den Einkauf zu einem Urlaubserlebnis. Weiter sehr positiv zu erwähnen sind die zu Fuß erreichbaren Restaurants, die allesamt ein schmackhaftes Essen auf sehr sympathische Weise servieren.
Der nächste Badestrand ist mit dem PKW in 15 Minuten zu erreichen, wir bevorzugten den Hawai Beach ( einfach ins Meer zu gehen, nahe Parkmöglichkeiten und eine nette Strandbar). Noch ein Tip: Wanderung oder auch Radtour zur durch endlose Weingärten und Olivenhaine (Radstrecke 142).
Die "Vermieterin Elbina ist jederzeit bereit zu helfen, falls nötig. Wir hatten während unseres Aufenthaltes keine Hilfe nötig. Wir können das Anwesen auf jeden Fall bestens weiter empfehlen und geben auch 5 Sterne.
Gunter, Many thanks for your lovely review. For those of you who don't speak German, here's an English translation:
'A first glance at the accommodation confirmed everything we had hoped for from the images in advance. The pool provided with an optimal water temperature at any time for a pleasant cooling and a positive holiday mood. The garden and the pool area also enabled retreat. The facilities (seating, chairs, crockery and kitchen utensils) was for 9 people very good and sufficient. The bedrooms and bathroom we liked and looked very clean and well maintained. We had the desired good fortune to spend our holidays with great summer weather and talked during the day almost exclusively outdoors. A note for Internet and mobile freaks: the wireless network worked without interference and was always stable. Very pleasant we found the small but well-equipped supermarket in less than 100 meters away. There was fresh bread and pastries and a drink in the bar next door made shopping a holiday experience. Next very positive to mention are within walking distance, restaurants, all of which serve tasty food in a very pleasant way. The nearest beach can be reached by car in 15 minutes, we preferred the Hawaii Beach (easy to go into the sea, close parking and a nice beach). Another tip: Hike or bike ride to through endless vineyards and olive groves (bike 142). The owner's representative, Elbina, stands ready to help if needed. We needed no help during our stay. We can definitely highly recommend the property and also give it 5 stars.
What a welcome
This traditional Istrian House and associated barn conversion provided a tranquil retreat. Just 10 minutes drive from the coast and surrounded by a variety of other attraction in fact the most fantastic thing about staying here are the people. Elbina is a fount of knowledge not just about the house but also the surrounding area. More impressive however, are the people you meet i the shop and the end of the road or the local restaurants. Rightly proud of the beautiful countryside and happy to help and offer suggestions of things to explore off the beaten track. Istria is slowly being recognised as a great holiday destination. Go before everyone else discovers this unspiolt corner of Europe
Very nice property, ideal base + great support
We were two families of four plus a mother in law!
We stayed in the height of summer, and had blazing heat all week. The pool was essential, and is a lovely temperature despite not being heated. We spent a lot of time in it! The bedrooms have aircon and this is also very welcome. Like the previous reviewer, we struggled a little to get enough shade in the garden though; it will be a relief when the vines have grown over the porches. Maybe a sun sail in the interim to create a larger shaded eating area?
The owners obviously understand the needs of those coming to stay, and I can endorse the quality of the houses and equipment. We also received really good support during the week when the internet went down (not their fault!) and the owners went above and beyond to get it back in a couple of days. Really excellent.
The village is nice, and we visited both restaurants. I would not hesitate to recommend Zardin which is 2-3 mins walk and the food and service are great. Tony's was a little disappointing in comparison (and some quite nasty barky dogs on the way there too!). The supermarket is well stocked and the staff charming; in fact, we found the vast majority of Istrian folks to be kind and helpful, and with good English and German. Good value too especially compared to nearby Italy.
There are lots of places to visit within 30-40mins drive, and it would be easy to fill 2 weeks (let alone 1!) without trying too hard. Because of the heat, we didn't do as much as we usually do, but nevertheless appreciated the coast and the lovely inland scenery. We would come back no problem.
Set on the edge of the village, Kovaci is less than ten minutes drive to the sea. There are two restaurants within a couple minutes walk and others close by. The mini-supermarket has a butcher and the café (for morning coffee or afternoon beers/wine and ice-creams for kids of all ages) is next door. In the other direction there’s a children’s playground about a minute’s walk away. Various wine and olive oil producers are close-by (for example, there’s an award-winning olive-oil producer next door and much-sought after Cossetto wine is only a short stroll). There’s also a post office, tourist information office and other shops in the village. Larger supermarkets and petrol station are in Porec, 10 minutes drive away.
For such a small area there is an amazingly large amount to do in Istria. As well as all the usual seaside attractions there are numerous attractive coastal towns and unspoilt hill-top, stone villages. Here are a few:
Porec – the main local centre has a 12th Century Basilica which is a world heritage site in the lovely old centre. Also plenty of restaurants and beaches (about 10 minutes drive).
Rovinj – Rovinj is one of the jewels of the Adriatic. It is a beautiful, old coastal town which is totally unspoilt. Many of our guests have also gone for dinner in the evening and said it is magical.
Groznjan – this lovely hill-top village is a musicians and handicraft enclave. It has charming handicraft shops, no modern development and fantastic views.
Novigrad – just up the coast is a lovely coastal town, much sleepier than Porec.
Motovun – is a perfect hill-top, walled town. It’s a steep walk up from the parking, but if you park in the car park at the bottom there is a bus.
Limski Canal – this flooded gorge is a wooded inlet from the sea. It lies between Porec and Rovinj and the drive beside it is beautiful. If you like mussels, it is the place to go as they are grown in the gorge and served fresh from the sea. It is also possible to visit by boat on one of the many boat trips available in Porec.
Pula – the biggest town in Istria, is home to the 6th largest amphitheatre in the world. It is perfectly preserved and hosts concerts in the summer. A few years ago we saw Nora Jones and in 2012 Tom Jones (coincidence on the surname). Both concerts were brilliant, made even more so by the wonderful location. There are various other Roman ruins in Pula.
Vrsar – between Porec and Rovinj is another lovely coastal town. The town cascades down the hillside to the sea. Make sure you get right to the top as the views are spectacular.
In-land hill villages – totally unspoilt and a beautiful drive away are several other beautiful inland hill-top villages including Roc, Hum, Draguc and Gracisce. For me these are the best bit of Istria. They look as if time's stood still and even in high summer you'll often have them all to yourselves.
Just over the border in Slovenia, there’s the delightful seaside town of Piran. You can also visit the world famous Lipanja horses and the Plitvise caves (the largest in the world). Ljubljana, the capital, is worth a visit, but it’s 2.5 hours away.
Apart from sightseeing, Baredine Caves is only a few minutes drive away. Also close-by are two water parks and an adventure park (zip lines etc), as well as paragliding, horse riding, karting and paint-balling. On the coast there are the usual amusements - banana boat, parasailing, boat hire and trips, diving etc.
Istria's great for bike riding and the area round Kovaci has lots of quiet lanes. Bike hire can be arranged before you come (just let me know) and bikes can be delivered to the property for you, or there are plenty of places for bike hire in Porec.