Frequently asked questions
If you want to book a house with us, than please click the button "BOOK NOW" on the webpage with prices for the house of your choice (►Casa Balini or ►Casa Acqua Dolce). Here you can fill out the reservation form. Of course you can also just mail or phone us. By clicking on the "Availability" button you can check whether the house of your choice is still available.
Please do realize that renting a whole house has priority over renting just an apartment or room.
Once you have made a reservation, the system will automatically mail to both you and us, stating that it received your request. We kindly ask you to check the specified data once more.
After your booking you will have to confirm your reservation. For this we do request you to make an advance payment of 50% of the total. Once we receive this payment on our account, we will send you a mail confirming your reservation and indicate these dates on the calendar as "booked". At least 30 days before your arrival, we need to receive the full amount. At arrival we will ask for a guarantee of 250 €.
Cleaning is included in the price.
Evidently this does not mean that we do not expect from you that you treat the house as if it were you own.
We may have to claim extra in case of damage or when the house is left behind in such a state that we have to pay extra for it's cleaning.
Both Casa Balini and the house in Oprtalj dispose of an alarm installation for which you will be given the key code.
In case the alarm goes off, the "house care-taker" is automatically informed by phone. Please give them your phone number, so that they can reach you if needed.
Evidently we have to ask you to use the alarm each time you leave the house, but also to avoid false alarms!
Most of the summer we are in Istria ourselves. So when needed we can help you. In any case we have appointed a "care-taker" for the houses. When there are technical or other problems, do not hesitate to ►contact us.
In the house you will find a folder with general information on how to contact us or the care-taker. Here you will also find info on what to do, whom to go to or who to phone in case of an emergency (technical, administrative or medical).
Moreover do not forget that Croatia nowadays is part of the European Union. This has a number of advantages, for example with reference to your health- or car-insurances. Best is to inform you before departure.
If possible, the owners will be the ones to receive you personally. Since they speak many languages (English, French, German, Dutch, Spanish and Italian) communication should not be a problem. This enthusiastic couple knows the region very well and can give you first hand information on what there is to see and to do.
If they are not around, we will make sure that the house keeper is there to receive you.Moreover a complete information folder will be at your disposal. This information will also be send to you on forehand.
About a week before arrival we will send you a mail with the least instructions and suggestions. If you then still have questions, you can always mail or phone us.
The houses are fully equipped. All necessary kitchen utensils are available. For Balini and Oprtalj bed and bath linen are available (not beach towels).
In all houses the usual house supplies (cleaning, basic food stuffs, a bottle of drinking water, herbs, etc) are available. We just ask you to replenish these when required.
All the houses rented are owned privately. There is no intermediate agency. Balini and the house in Oprtalj are owned by Aline Massin and Marjo Lapidaire.
They bought, renovated and furnished the houses as if it were their permanent residences. Marjo (Dutch) and Aline (Belgian), after having travelled the world, they became addicted to the beauty of Istria since they first visited the region in the early 80's.
Their local knowledge and contacts may also prove to be invaluable to you.
Their multi-cultural background and knowledge of several languages (Dutch, English, French, German, Spanish, Italian and even some Russian) is an additional asset.
The official language is obviously the Croatian. Yet, many know another language. The elderly often know some German. Most young people speak English.
In the region where the houses are, and also on the coast, Italian is widely spoken at home. In fact, it is called a Venetian dialect, but that does not mean that they do not speak the official Italian language. That's because the region was part of Italy during the first half of the last century. Balini and Oprtalj (Portole) are officially bilingual..
In Croatia the national currency is the "Kuna". It is more or less linked to the Euro at a rate of 1 Euro = 7,4 Kuna (June 2019).
Everywhere you can find money machines that work with credit- or maestro cards. Of course you can also change money (Pound Sterling, Euro, or other) in any bank.
In case you only dispose of Euros, do not worry too much. In most places people will accept the Euro, using a very reasonable rate.
After all you are only just outside the Euro zone.
Toll roads can be paid in Euro.
Croatia, and especially Istria, is very safe to travel. In fact one can easily state that the security situation can be compared with that of Austria, and is considerably better as in some EU other Mediterranean regions.
Even during the last Balkan war, in Istria there was not one shot fired. One should also realise that the Balkan war (1991-2001) ended already some 18 years ago.
For us, feeling safe was an important reason to come to Croatia.
Croatia, and especially Istria, is really close to the hart of Europe. For example, from Brussels it is only some 1.300 km away. Munich is only a little more than 500 km away. Croatia is a full Member-State of the European Union.
In fact our houses are some 10 to 20 km from the border with Slovenia and only 50 km from Trieste in Italy. The historical city of Venice in Italy or the Alpine mountains around Villach in Austria, are both at some 200 km of which 150 km highway, and can easily be visited in one day.
So the answer to this question is clear: Croatia and in particular Istria are not far away and part of the hart of the Western European Mediterranean region.