Hotels in Istria
Places similar to Istria to visit
Fancy a holiday to Poreč? You can’t go wrong! Centred around a gorgeous Old Town, this mini city-by-the-sea offers a mesmerising mix of medieval streets, Roman ruins, swoon-inducing scenery, and Croatia’s largest waterpark. With all that plus beaches, islands and tantalising cuisine, the Poreč area is one of the best places to stay on the Istrian coast.
History and culture
Let’s start with that Old Town. A pretty maze of stone-built streets, this part of Poreč is almost entirely surrounded by the waters of the Adriatic. Check out the views from the steeple of the Euphrasian Basilica – they’re totally worth the climb! And you can’t miss the city’s striking towers, dating back centuries. Will you stop for a drink on the terrace at the Round Tower, book a table for dinner at the top of the Pentagonal Tower, or take a selfie with the ruins of the waterfront North Tower?
Plus, soak up more Croatian history with a romantic walk around the city walls – just one of the must-do activities for couples in Poreč, which rivals nearby Rovinj for its idyllic setting. And if you like what you find here and want to see more of the Istria region, you’re going to love the Roman amphitheatre in the heart of Pula.
With all that heritage and a reputation as the ‘city of mosaics’, it’s little wonder that Poreč’s brimming with creativity. Cultural treats to tickle your fancy range from exhibitions of exciting young artists to classical concerts in the basilica – with an impressive setting like that, an evening there is one of the most special things to do in Poreč, so make sure you find out what’s on before you go.
Coast and countryside
More into natural vistas than manmade photo opps? Poreč’s the perfect base for country walks and bike rides. With hiking and cycle trails galore, plus plenty of places to hire some wheels, you can pop out for a short family outing or pedal off for a day-long adventure. You might find yourself following the old Roman road Via Flavia, whizzing along a river valley or enjoying scenic routes by the Adriatic Sea.
And as for beaches, you’ve lots of choice with an incredible 21 Blue Flag options in the area around Poreč. Head to Zelena Laguna for the biggest holiday hotspot near Poreč, with everything from beach volleyball to waterskiing. Make the most of it with a stay at the All Inclusive Hotel Albatros Plava Laguna. As well as its handy transport links for sightseeing in the city, Zelena Laguna is a prime jumping-off point for a day at the awesome Aquacolors waterpark. It’s one of the best in the whole of Croatia!
But if you’re looking for a beach you can walk to from the town centre, follow the prom to Val Parentino. Grab refreshments at the beach bar, take a dip in the sea or just chill in the sun. And as it’s overlooked by the 4 star Valamar Parentino Hotel, you could be just steps from your room. Like much of the area’s coastline, Val Parentino is pebbly. Don’t worry, though – if you’re after sand there’s a real gem of a seashore less than 4 km from Poreč. Called Val Marea, it’s just the ticket for sunbathing, castle-building and paddling.
Food and nightlife
Look forward to tasty Mediterranean treats laced with locally produced olive oil, fresh seafood brought to your waterfront table, and the chance to try world-class regional wines. And it’s not just the Istrian menus that will make your mouth water, thanks to some excellent world flavours – from pizzerias to Malaysian curry spots.
With 13 hours of sunshine a day in July and August, you’re going to want to make those light evenings last as long as possible, for sure. Poreč delivers some cracking nightlife to suit all tastes. Sip cocktails at a beach chill-out. Chat the night away in a cosy waterfront bar in the Old Town. Pack your ‘out-out’ clothes for clubs like Byblos, which attracts big names from David Guetta to Roger Sanchez. Or get a taste of Beatlemania at Yesterday, the themed bar you never expected to find in Croatia! Go on a Friday for live music by local acts.
More travel guides
There’s plenty more to see in this beautiful country! Take a look at our other Croatia travel guides, including: Brac Island | Cavtat | Dalmatian Coast | Dubrovnik | Hvar | Istria | Korcula | Makarska | Rovinj | Split | Zadar | Zagreb
Rovinj holidays are postcard-perfect. A cluster of pastel-coloured townhouses adorns the peninsula, framed by the brilliant-blue Adriatic Sea. In the morning, St Euphemera, a Baroque church rising above the hilltops, rings its bells to awaken the city. And if you’re staying near the port, you’ll probably hear the sound of the morning catch being hauled in.
Holidays to Rovinj feature beaches with a faraway feel, stunning Italianate architecture and a foodie scene that punches well above its weight for a town of this size. This is one of Croatia’s Michelin-starred destinations, but you’ll also find affordable, family-run restaurants with sea views, where you can tuck into some of that freshly-caught seafood, washed down with local Istrian wine.
Take a wander up the cobbled streets of Rovinj’s old town to browse the local arts and crafts. One of the most popular spots is Grisia street, which is home to several quirky galleries and cute cafes. To get a real feel for the city, explore its fishing traditions with a visit to the Batana House Boat museum, then stroll along the pine-fringed coastal path until you find a wild cove where you can lay down your towel and dive into the Adriatic.
Find your private paradise
The coastline looping around Rovinj is wild and rocky, and there are plenty of secluded bays and coves where you can enjoy peace and quiet. With fine shingle and easy access, the city beach is ideal for families looking to cool off. Or you could hike to the Golden Cape, a forested peninsula where you’ll find the bulk of the hotel resorts, hidden amongst the pines. With private beaches and elevated bars, you can enjoy the sunset as the sky turns brazen shades of orange at sunset – sit back with a cocktail and soak up the view.
Immerse yourself in ancient history
The Italian-influenced Rovinj is brimming with history and culture. This former island was once surrounded by stone walls, and you can still see some of them around the old town. Connected to the mainland in the 17th century, the town grew rapidly as people fled the plague that afflicted the neighbouring towns of Porec and Pula.
Walk up the sloping cobbled streets until you reach the hilltop and the Venetian-style church that overlooks the city. Here you’ll find the remains of Saint Euphemia, preserved in a sarcophagus dating back to the 6th century – alongside a wealth of antiquities and religious art. Wander past the crumbling walls that once guarded this church, where you’ll stumble upon the occasional bar or cafe nestling among the ruins.
Dress up for dinner
Rovinj is easily one of Croatia’s most luxurious destinations. Even the nightlife here is sophisticated, with fine-dining restaurants and wine bars where you can hear the tinkling of piano keys alongside the crashing waves. Sip on a cocktail or two at a harbourside bar and enjoy the lively atmosphere while taking in the views of the stunning coastline.
The legendary Monte restaurant is an excellent choice if you’re looking to fork out for a fancy meal. Expect exquisite gourmet cuisine, and a price tag to match. On the waterfront, a cluster of family-run restaurants provides a typical Istrian welcome and simple, affordable dishes. Try the local specialities like Istrian black Fuži pasta, served with lashings of truffles.
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Found on Croatia’s Istrian Peninsula, Pula holidays are celebrated for their antique attractions, Adriatic beauty and picturesque Old Town. From a towering amphitheatre dominating its streets to century-old temples showcasing Pula’s long history, the city’s Roman sights should be first on your must-see list. As for relaxing you’ve got a bustling piazza packed with open-air cafes and serving the most delicious traditional food. While beach lovers won’t have to venture far for a day on the sand with a bunch of Blue Flag spots just a short bus ride away. So whether you like your holidays jam-packed or laid-back, Pula offers a blend of both.
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