Discover the beauty of the westernmost region of Croatia with holidays to Istria. Nestled between Slovenia, Croatia and Italy, this heart-shaped peninsula is framed by rugged natural landscape and the tranquil blue of the Adriatic Sea.
The Istrian Riviera promises an authentic holiday experience, attracting foodies and history buffs from across the globe. Here you can uncover its fascinating past, unwind on pebble beaches and wander around bustling seaside towns.
Home to a Roman amphitheatre, a 150-mile stretch of coastline and numerous watersports facilities, there’s plenty to see and do. This idyllic part of Croatia boasts many outstanding resorts, the most popular being Pula and Rovinj – often referred to as the Pearl of Istria. Whether you’re visiting as a family or planning a peaceful retreat as a couple, Istria has something for everyone.
Italian and Balkan Influences
Istria showcases a fusion of Italian and Balkan influences. Until the early 20th century, Istria was part of Italy, the impact of which still echoes throughout the entire region today. You only have to visit one of the picturesque vineyards or villages to understand why it’s often referred to as the new Tuscany.
Istria’s Italian influence is strongly apparent in its cuisine, and homemade pasta dishes dominate much of the food scene here. The coastal location means shrimp and other seafood dishes are also popular throughout the region.
As the largest city in Istria, Pula is one of the most popular resorts among holidaymakers. Its impressive amphitheatre points towards the city’s Roman history and is an essential point of interest for those who want to learn more about Istria’s past.
Pula also boasts a range of exquisite restaurants serving traditional Istrian cuisine. From Tivoli to Epulon Food & Wine, there are plenty of delightful eateries to explore. And of course, this breathtaking resort isn’t short of beaches. Soak up some rays and relax with a book on Gortan Cove Beach, or head over to Hawaii Beach and enjoy an afternoon of snorkelling.
Rovinj’s cobbled streets and awe-inspiring architecture charm holidaymakers year after year. This town was originally an island until its narrow channel was filled around 250 years ago.
Rovinj is lively with galleries, cafes and an active fishing port, and there are plenty of sightseeing opportunities available. Gaze up at the Church of St Euphemia – the largest Baroque building in Istria. Or spend some time in the Old Town before heading to the harbour for a bite to eat.
If fun-filled activities are on the itinerary, why not try out scuba diving? Explore the Baron Gautsch wreck and witness the ancient remains of a boat beneath crystal-clear waters. Or for something more laid-back, stroll along the Golden Cape – one of the most beautiful stretches of landscape in Istria.
Ever-popular with sun-seekers, the town of Poreč offers something for families and younger crowds alike. From buzzing cocktail bars to a plethora of rocky and sandy beaches, there are plenty of reasons to visit Poreč.
Poreč is rich in history and is home to the Episcopal Complex of Euphrasian Basilica, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Other must-visit spots include the Roman temple, the town walls and the Round Tower, which dates back to medieval times.
This area is also the best cycling destination in Istria. Those who fancy a spot of exercise during their holiday can hop on a bike and explore the 250 kilometres of trails. And when the sun sets, you can sample delectable grilled meat, pasta and seafood dishes at one of Poreč’s many restaurants.
More Travel Guides
We also have travel guides available for destinations, including: Brac Island | Croatia | Dubrovnik | Hvar | Korcula | Makarska | Rovinj | Porec | Pula |