Spring invites us to discover new experiences, views and tastes. Padna's Olive oil and Chard Festival provides a perfect opportunity to visit this idyllic village in Piran's hinterland.
1. A charming Istrian village
Tired by crowded beachside? Padna is an idyllic village in Piran's hinterland where peace and quiet awaits you, with beautiful views of neighbouring hills and the Bay of Piran. Padna remains a traditional Istrian village, with its compact stone houses surrounding the church of St. Blaise. A 26-metre-high stone bell tower watches over the church. The residents of Padna built it in 1885. Božidar Jakac, one of the most famous Slovenian painters of the 20th century, spent his childhood in Padna. His gallery, exhibiting a collection of prints and illustrations, can be found in a renovated building which was once a school. Padna's charm is also found in the lovely and welcoming locals, always ready to offer homemade delicacies.
2. Olive oil and Chard Festival
The most beautiful village festival offers the best opportunity to visit Padna. The locals will open their backyards and offer you the chance to try homemade food, from the 27th to the 28th of April. Visit the market offering autochthonic olive oils, healthy farm produce and traditional Istrian food from times gone by. Don’t miss the cooking duel between MasterChef winner Sara Rutar and Chef Darko Maršič, as well as the best food made with chard competition. Use this opportunity to take a guided tour of Padna, go for a walk to the nearest village or go on a bike ride on nearby hills. Prifarski muzikanti, or Musicians of Fara, will enhance the evening atmosphere with beautiful music and entertainment.
3. Cycling and hiking trails with picturesque views
Padna is an ideal location for all who enjoy walking, cycling and lovers of untouched nature. Not sure which way to go? A walk to the nearby village of Nova Vas is not demanding and is suitable for the whole family. Those of you fancying a challenge, can go on a three-hour long Boškarin path hike around Padna. Cyclists are welcome to go on cycling trips in surrounding areas. For example, ride towards Koštabona and Pomjan. To aid you on your adventures, visit TIC Padna where you can borrow an electric bike.
4. Superior olive oil
Padna is renowned for its high quantity production of olive oil. It is surrounded by olive groves, some of which have trees over 300 years old. The olive oil from Slovenian Istria, made from olives grown in favourable climate, is recognised by its aroma and is valued for its perfect composition of fatty acids. These are top quality oils, rivalling world's olive oils, as evidenced by a number of awards won at local and international events. Istrska belica is the most famous, and most widely used, olive which gives the oil distinctive freshness and a slight spicy flavour. It is also worth mentioning the autochthonic štorta, perfect for table olive spread in brine.
5. You will fall in love with chard
The residents of Padna will quickly tell you that chard is not something which causes you to go pale, or makes you faint. Chard translates into “bledež” in Slovenian. The word “bled” in bledež can mean “to go pale”. Joking aside, the residents will also proudly tell you how their ancestors built a stone bell tower in 1885, which stands by the church of St. Blaise, the town's protector. The bell tower was built with the proceeds of chard sale throughout the year. Using this spinach-like vegetable, which contains a lot of potassium, calcium, magnesium, iron, folic acid and vitamins B and C, the locals can prepare a number of delicious dishes such as “mulce” (black pudding) with rice or cuttlefish and polenta. You will be able to taste all of this, and much more, at the Olive oil and Chard Festival at the end of April.
Photo: Jaka Ivančič, Jaka Jeraša and Matevž Kostanjšek