Made in Croatia

Istrian Kastelir-Labinci Boasts 15000 Residents and 150 OPGs

By 10 August 2021

August the 10th, 2021 - When you think of Istria, you probably think of Motovun, Vrsar, Porec, Novigrad, Pula, Rovinj... I could go on. There are very many hidden little places all over Istria which most people don't even know about, much less visit. The Istrian Kastelir-Labinci, with its 1500 residents, is just one of them. This little place, however, is climbing the ladder when it comes to tourism.

As Poslovni Dnevnik/Marta Duic writes, right in the very heart of Istria lies this little municipality which boasts an impressively rich of offer of local products despite having only 1500 inhabitants.

The Istrian Kastelir-Labinci Municipality proudly points out that half of its 1500 inhabitants are engaged in domestic production and as many as 150 family farms are registered there. One of them is owned by the Kocijancic family, who recently enriched the area's growing local offer Robinson accommodation with a capacity for 50 people.

According to the owners, Antonija and Valter Kocijancic, Natura Camp Karli is an oasis in a natural environment with a combination of forest and olive groves in decorated wooden houses and tents.

The 10,000-square-foot green area is located on the edge of the village surrounded by vineyards, orchards and cultivated areas, and offers five high-quality accommodation units in Robinson-style accommodation - a camping resort, wooden tree houses, glamping tents in tree canopies, covered tents and free places on the grass for tents.

"Our household has a long family tradition when it comes to winemaking and olive growing, and recently we've even started producing honey. All of the family members are employed on the family farm. This year is specific in that our household, after five years, managed to open a camp with Robinson accommodation,'' explained Antonia Kocijancic.

Foreign guests are noticing the Istrian Kastelir-Labinci more and more...

Their camp offers accommodation in wooden houses, covered tents and glamping tents. ''These facilities provide the special pleasures of peace and relaxation because they have no electricity, only flashlights. Motorhome parking with eight plots is specially arranged with all water and electricity connections, and the accompanying facilities such as toilets and kitchen are fully furnished and used by all guests in the camp.

The toilets have a bathroom for the disabled, as well as for children, men, women and even pets. There's also a gathering place by the fire in the camp. The kitchen has a fireplace and a bread oven, a refrigerator, an oven and a freezer, and guests can use vegetables, olive oil, coffee, ice cream, homemade jams and honey,'' Kocijancic pointed out.

In order to make the specialty of this little Istrian destination even more accessible to visitors, the municipal government, the local tourist board and the Vitis Association have all come together and designed a special offer. Every Friday, during the months of July and August, tourists can visit local family farms and restaurants and taste products and order items at promotional prices.

For now, the response from foreign tourists is more than fantastic, of which there are over two thousand a day in the Istrian Kastelir-Labinici area.

"Our most frequent guests are foreign guests, but we were among the first to have a nice group of young people from Zagreb with their pets. Among the more numerous visitors from Europe, the most frequent guests are those from the Netherlands, Belgium, Germany, Slovenia and Italy, but there are also guests from Switzerland, France and Poland,'' the Kocijancic family pointed out.

A praiseworthy EU project

In addition to Robinson tourism, which they started engaging in only this year, this family also offers wine, olive oil and honey, all from their own production. This family farm cultivates as many as four hectares of vineyards and 3,000 olive groves, and they also have 40 bee hives. As they say, they don't have any subcontractors, and everything they process and offer to guests is from their very own production. The products can only be bought from them, and the most sought after is, in true Istrian style, olive oil.

This is a project funded by the European Union with a grant of 50,000 euros from the rural development measure 6.2.1. While that figure is already high, the owners point out that the value of the investment is many times higher than that, as their camp opened in July and they aren't lacking when it comes to making plans and coming up with new ideas.

“Our most significant investment was this camp that opened four weeks ago. For now, we're still getting used to it and seeing what the reactions of the first guests are like, so we will eventually think about some further plans at the end of this season,'' concluded the Kocijancic family who are placing the Istrian Kastelir-Labinci area on the tourism map.

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