Feel the heartbeat of Izola
On the coastline and at sea with Sanela
Fancy an eventful adventure around the centre of Izola to discover some interesting facts about its romantic narrow streets while also getting to know the locals, who will add a familiar touch to your visit? Come on, let's go! This time, we set off with Sanela, Izola’s local, and Urša from Nova Gorica, the winner of the competition “A day with local people”.
In April, the Tourist Board of Izola started this competition and later enthusiastically evaluated all the participants' videos. The main prize, awarded to the winner, was to spend a day with Sanela, her family and friends. Sanela welcomed Urša and her boyfriend Uroš on her usual Saturday and took them on an active tour of the city and its surroundings. The red thread of this journey was, of course, the sea.
Grab the oars and let's go!
Knowing that an eventful day awaited them, Uroš and Urša arrived in Izola a day early to settle comfortably at the Mirta hotel of San Simon resort and later visited the archaeological park nearby. The following morning, on Saturday, both well rested, they met up with Sanela. They were immediately ready for an extraordinary adventure!
The first challenge awaited the guests at the Argo rowing club, where they were welcomed by Sanela's husband Igor, a rowing enthusiast. After Urša and Uroš learnt some basics about the sport while rowing in the training pool, they were ready to go to sea. With an abundance of laughter, Urša and Igor managed to make “the rounds” and returned to the club safe and dry. The members of the rowing club found out that her boyfriend, Uroš, is almost a born rowing star!
What about you, do you dare to try our rowing challenge? Book your experience here!
In case Argo sounds familiar to you, we can tell you that the name of the club comes from the former fish factory, one of the most important among the fish processing industries in this area, which stood within close proximity to today's rowing club. By visiting Izolana – The House of the Sea, you will find out more interesting stories about the marine heritage.
To the local market to buy delicacies from the Istrian fields
Do you also think that a perfect Saturday must include a visit to the local market? Buying fresh, local fruit and vegetables as well as supporting the local food producers is considered by Sanela to be of great value, which is why she decided to introduce Urša and Uroš to her favourite fruit sellers Gigliola, Brigita and Ondina, who during the high season delight people with local specialities every Wednesday and Saturday between 8 a.m. and 1 p.m.
Support local producers and shop at the local market. If you are in Izola, make sure to stop by the local market “Stuff from my field”. We can guarantee that you will leave with your hands filled with local delicacies and with a beaming smile on your face.
So, what shall we put in the oven today?
One of Urša's expectations was to have a local culinary experience, so Sanela, being a great host, planned a delicious sea-food based lunch at her home. The visit to a local fisherman in the mandracchio (the old harbour in the city centre) did not, however, go according to plan ... What went wrong?
Sanela's friend, fisherman Daniel, boasted about a good catch, which also impressed Alen Pušpan, owner of the restaurant Bujol, to the point that the two guests were almost left without a lunch! Fortunately, Izola is known for its kind and friendly locals, so you can guess how everything turned out to be. For the time being, we can only tell you that the group was left without fish on the plate, but everyone was still more than satisfied in the end.
The impact of fishing can, to this day, still be felt in Izola.You can see that by visiting one of the local taverns or restaurants, where you will be able to see what "From the sea to the plate!" truly means.
A glass of wine in the heart of Izola
Let us return to the welcoming locals, who you will undoubtedly meet when in Izola, most certainly when visiting Manzioli Square, the oldest square in town. Aside from being the meeting point for the locals, the square is also the headquarters of the Italian national community in Izola, as well as a place for all lovers of good wine and local gastronomy. To top it all off, there is also an antique shop on the square.
The group’s next stop was, therefore, the Manzioli Wine bar. Sanela, her family and the two guests were welcomed there by Matej Zaro, who kindly introduced them to the family tradition of viticulture and wine production. Matej comes from one of the oldest families in Izola: his ancestors settled in Izola in the far 1348. Precisely for this reason Matej feels a very strong connection to the town where he lives; his love for Izola can also be felt when tasting the quality wines produced by his family.
Would you like to have a glass of organic wine, have a relaxed chat and watch the hustle and bustle on the square?
On the hunt for Izola's forgotten secret
Sanela knows countless of Izola’s secrets, but she wanted to share one of them with Urša and Uroš. The two guests were taken to the Izolana - The House of the Sea, where they embarked on a special adventure, namely to discover the Forgotten Secret of Izola. Gregor, the museum guide, told them all the details and then entrusted them to the mysterious guide who led the couple to the corners that remain hidden from the eyes during a usual visit. Rebuses, riddles, time ticking and lots of laughter. Did they make it?
Cultural heritage has never been so fun, especially if the guide tells you about it through the events of his eventful life ... who is he exactly? You will have to find the answer yourself! How? You will also have to embark on this adventurous journey.
The mysterious guide is always ready for your visit! Just let us know and we will tell him about your arrival!
The catch ended up in the hands of ...
Do you want to know where the fish that Daniel offered Sanela ended up? At the Bujol restaurant! Sanela accepted the offer Alen made – to prepare the Saturday lunch in his restaurant. Therefore, Sanela had more time left to spend with her guests, who were truly amazed by the flavours of the local food. Bujol is a restaurant with a long culinary tradition, known mostly for the tasty recipes of our grandmothers - simple recipes prepared with local ingredients based on blue fish.
Do you also want to taste herring spread, prepared the way our grandmothers made it?
Sanela's favourite viewpoint
Sanela promised the guests an active day, so she led them, while still full of culinary impressions, to the top of a hill, to show them her favourite viewpoint. Along the way they were joined by two of Sanela's friends, Tamara and Mateja, members of the Isola Alpine Club. Sanela is, indeed, also an avid hiker.
Together they reached the panoramic point with a breath-taking view over Izola. Along the way, the group was lucky enough to stumble upon some wild asparagus. Well, to be honest, Urša was more excited about the fish than with the wild plants!
Do you think the hike was worth it? We think it was, because all of Izola’s viewpoints are breath-taking!
On the pier where Istrian flavours meet
And true friends! Urša and Uroš excitedly accepted Sanela's next suggestion. They decided to spend some time with Sanela's friends at one of Izola’s events where Istrian flavours reign. They stated that one should never turn down good food and we totally agree with them.
The Pier of Tastes is Izola’ street food event held several times yearly on the North pier. You can find tasty Istrian delicacies all in one place.
Write down the dates and visit us. You can certainly agree ... friends and tasty food always go hand in hand.
Magic at sea
The day already faded into night and Sanela thought of one last special surprise, which left Uroš and Urša speechless. A boat trip to Bele skale and a magical sunset on the way left the two guests amazed.
This was the beginning of a new friendship. Sanela gave Urša a T-shirt with the inscription “Koša”, which means Urša almost became a true local. Do you know what the word that was voted to be the most typical of Izola means? To give you a hint, we use it when we see friends …
Do you want to be lulled by the waves and admire Izola from the sea? Book your sea adventure!
Feel the heartbeat of Izola yourself!
Urša and Uroš truly felt Izola’s heartbeat during their special Saturday, but they also created some unforgettable memories and formed new friendships. Which of these wonderful experiences would you like to try?
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We look forward to seeing you in Izola!