Istria in Croatia is a must-visit. Its streams flow to the sea through deep valleys and gullies which bring to mind the ancient local myths about giants. Rolling hills overlook the fields and valleys with little towns perched on the peaks, recalling some old paintings. The view is splendid: white-topped mountains, lush wheat fields, plateaux, valleys, vineyards and olive groves on hillsides, and, finally the sea. As you get to know Istria you will notice more and more enchanting details: church facades and portals, tiny village alleyways with their specific architectural touches, the babble of a stream, the blossoming cherries. Everything is warm–hearted and friendly here: nature, towns and people.
We’ve selected 4 towns you shouldn’t miss:
If you are looking for activity, remarkable experiences and rich cultural heritage, Poreč with its 100 years of experience in hospitality and supreme tourist offer, is the place for you. Be sure not to miss the numerous parties organized in tourist villages and the town’s center. There are beach clubs, coffee bars, and after midnight you can enjoy the pleasant atmosphere of night bars and discos. Nothing but fun from sunset till sunrise!
In this former Roman colony you can enjoy the sights of Romanesque architecture with beautiful Venetian gothic palaces that will make your walk a truly memorable experience. Its orthogonal set of streets has been completely preserved till today! During the reign of the Byzantine emperor Justinian, Porec reached its highest peak. This will become obvious to you once you see the Euphrasius’ basilica, beyond doubt a breathtaking sight. It was built in the middle of the 6th century in the Byzantine style, and the mosaics on its front and interior are truly one of the most beautiful works of art in the world! The whole edifice has been included in the UNESCO’s World Heritage list. Entering the basilica, you will feel the ghosts of past centuries and will be able to touch the eternity!
Welcome to the 3000 years of history! The history of Pula-Pola starts with the myth of the Argonauts and the search for the Golden Fleece. It was the home of the Histrians, the Romans and the Venetians. Once the central Austrian port, today it is the largest cultural and economic center of Istria. Various layers of history took part in the making of this unique town in which Roman temples defy baroque palaces, early Christian churches stand face to face to Austrian villas, and the remnants of mediaeval walls are cut through by antique town gates.
And then, you will come across the Amphitheatre, revealing itself to you in all its beauty. This is one of the best preserved Roman amphitheatres in the world, the most significant monument in Pula! Arena, the place where gladiators faced lions, used to be able to entertain 25 000 spectators. This grandiose edifice allows you to get an insight of its glorious history, the one you can see, feel, and experience. It also serves as a host to greatest cultural programs.
Still, there is more. The Austrian Pula, with its numerous gorgeous historicist buildings surrounding the port and the historical nucleus, waits for your arrival. Wherever you go, you will see that the town’s rich history and culture make a perfect scenography for supreme musical and dramatic spectacles. Concerts, operas, ballet, theatrical performances, film festivals, all kinds of surprises in the streets and squares of Pula – this is only a small part of what Pula has to offer.
In your search of the perfect vacation, be sure to visit Vrsar. On the Vrsar-Orsera hill, you can see the remnants of a prehistoric settlement that used to be enclosed by defensive walls. It stayed unchanged during the Roman period, when Vrsar-Orsera became a significant Christian center. Kaštel-palace, a fort protected with a defensive rampart with towers, was built on a place where a smaller and humble-looking Romanesque palace used to be, today housing the gallery of Edo Murić, one of the most famous Croatian painters.
After that, you should visit the cave of St. Romuald, the Benedictine monk and ascetic who brought to Istria the learning of St Benedict of Norcia, and then continue on to visit Benedictine churches and monasteries on the northern coast of Lim Bay.
On the beautiful west coast of Istria, just underneath the Lim canal is the most romantic place in the Mediterranean! The town of Rovinj-Rovigno is the right destination for all of you who long for a sentimental atmosphere of the times long lost. Due to the lack of space, houses are closely built, streets are narrow and squares are small, still untouched by modern urbanism.
A walk through these lovely little streets will take you to a distant past, so be sure to bring your camera. From the seaside, Rovinj-Rovigno is protected by the high rocky coast and walls of the houses built on the cliffs, and from the landside it is sheltered by solid bulwarks. All of it still preserved! Once you step through the Balbi Arch and enter the old town, you will find yourselves in a different time dimension. All its lovely little streets will take you to the top of a small hill, where you will find the biggest and most significant monument in town – the church of St. Euphemia .
In Rovinj-Rovigno and its surroundings you will enjoy the magical nature and learn about its incredible heritage. The experience will fill your heart with love and your memory with genuine romance still preserved only on this green corner of the Mediterranean.
Of course there is many more to see and visit in Istria: towns like Umag, Novigrad, Funtana, Opatija, Motovun, Rabac, Bale, Grožnjan and many more. Also don’t forget to visit the Brijuni Islands.