Destination Information for Holidays in Croatia

Rovinj and Vrsar, two enchanting towns on the western coast of the Istrian peninsula, offer a unique holiday experience that combines rich historical and cultural heritage with stunning natural surroundings.

Rovinj

With its tightly packed pastel-coloured houses that seem to rise directly from the sea, the view of old town is undoubtedly one of the most recognisable motifs of the Croatian coast and also one of the main reasons for visiting this Istrian town.

We invite you to explore its natural and cultural heritage, admire the magnificent Punta Corrente forest park, walk along the narrow lanes in the historic part of the town, and experience the beauty that has enchanted so many guests.

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Vrsar

Situated on a hill right by the sea, Vrsar is a quaint fishing village with a special ambience that continues to thrill and inspire an ever-growing number of visitors.

During your stay in Vrsar, make sure you walk along its narrow lanes up to the Romanesque citadel, enjoy the beauty of the blue and green panorama of the archipelago of 18 uninhabited islands, and taste the seafood specialities from the nearby Lim Channel.

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Istria & Croatia

Istria

Istria is the largest Croatian peninsula and a wonderful green oasis surrounded by crystal clear blue sea.

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Croatia

Croatia is a European oasis of cultural and natural diversity.

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Weather in Istria

Mild mediterranean climate

134 sunny days per year

Mild mediterranean climate

3rd sunniest place in the Adriatic

Mild mediterranean climate

Least cloudy place in the Adriatic

Mild mediterranean climate

Only 100 days per year are windy

Average temperature

spring is: 12,5 °C, summer at: 23,4 °C, autumn at: 15,6 °C, winter at: 5,5 °C

Average sea temperature

June to September, between 22°C and 24°C

Top 10 things to do

More information about things to do is available on our website

Istria Experience

Rovinj

1. Climb the Tower of St. Euphemia

A central part of the panorama of the old town of Rovinj, the 62-metre-high bell tower of the Church of St. Euphemia, the highest of its kind in Istria, offers a magnificent view of the town and the surrounding archipelago. It was built in the 17th century based on the model of St. Mark's Campanile in Venice. At the top, there is a 4.7-metre bronze statue of St. Euphemia, patron saint of Rovinj, which replaced the former wooden one.

2. Take a walk in the old town

The old town of Rovinj has preserved its original appearance of a historic town centre located on a peninsula overlooking a picturesque harbour. Take a stroll along its most well-known streets: the Carrera, dotted with shops and galleries, Bregovita Ulica, and finally the Grisia, famous for its open-air painting exhibitions.

3. Discover bike trails in the Golden Cape (Zlatni Rt) Forest Park

The protected Golden Cape (Zlatni Rt) Forest Park is particularly popular among biking, jogging and walking enthusiasts. Magnificent Himalayan cedars, exotic cypresses and typical Mediterranean vegetation blend here to create a unique backdrop for your favourite sport activities.

4. Visit the Batana Museum

The batana is a flat-bottomed wooden boat typical of this area. In this museum, dedicated to this traditional boat type, you can learn more about the long history of fishing in Rovinj and watch a 15-minute movie about batana construction accompanied by bitinada, a local form of a capella singing.

5. Visit Monkodonjo

The walled Monkodonjo archaeological site with its well-preserved Bronze Age remains is located five kilometres from Rovinj and consists of three main parts: the central barrow, the crafts district and the living quarters. It is estimated that approximately 1,000 inhabitants lived here.

6. Bird watching in Palud Bird Reserve

The Palud Bird Reserve is a protected area only a dozen kilometres from Rovinj. Located right next to the coast, this area includes a wetland, lush vegetation and brackish water, and attracts many bird species. Its biodiversity is the result of the specific combination of wetland and sea.

7. Dine at the Wine Vault Restaurant

The elegant Wine Vault restaurant in the 5-star Boutique Hotel Monte Mulini offers a unique gourmet experience that combines French cuisine with an extensive wine list including more than 550 selected wines from Croatia and all over the world.

8. Dive to the Baron Gautsch shipwreck

The Baron Gautsch, a passenger steamship of the Austrian Lloyd company, built in 1908 in a shipyard in Great Britain, operated on a regular route between Trieste in Italy and Kotor in Montenegro. She sank in 1914, and her wreck still lies at a depth of 40 metres. Today this is an attractive diving site.

9. Sport fishing

Being home to a wide range of fish species, the waters off Rovinj's coast, dotted with coves, islets and rocks, are very popular among sport fishing enthusiasts.

10. Swimming and sunbathing on Red Island beach

Red Island (Crveni Otok) is made up of two islets – St. Andrew (Sveti Andrija) and Maškin – connected by a narrow strip of land with one of the most beautiful beaches in Istria. Take a walk in the park, which has more than 120 plant species, and boost your energy levels at special points across the island. Do not forget to visit Count Hütterot Castle and the mausoleum on Maškin.

Istria

1. Visit the Roman Amphitheater in Pula

The famous Pula Arena is built entirely from local limestone. During the Roman period, it was the venue for gladiator fights, and today its unique ambience provides the perfect setting for concerts, film festivals and other events under the starry sky. In the past, the Arena could host up to 20,000 spectators.

The outer wall is 30 metres high and consists of two perfectly preserved rows with 72 arches.

2. Visit the Euphrasian Basilica in Poreč

The Euphrasian Basilica, one of the finest examples of 6th-century Byzantine art, is a UNESCO World Heritage site. It includes a complex of buildings built on the foundations of previous basilicas that includes a church, atrium and baptistery with particularly valuable mosaics.

3. Dive to the Baron Gautsch shipwreck

The Baron Gautsch, a passenger steamship of the Austrian Lloyd company, built in 1908 in a shipyard in Great Britain, operated on a regular route between Trieste in Italy and Kotor in Montenegro. She sank in 1914, and her wreck still lies at a depth of 40 metres. Today this is an attractive diving site.

4. Climb the Tower of St. Euphemia in Rovinj

A central part of the panorama of the old town of Rovinj, the 62-metre-high bell tower of the Church of St. Euphemia, the highest of its kind in Istria, offers a magnificent view of the town and the surrounding archipelago. It was built in the 17th century based on the model of St. Mark's Campanile in Venice. At the top, there is a 4.7-metre bronze statue of St. Euphemia, patron saint of Rovinj, which replaced the former wooden one.

5. Visit the cathedral in Pula

The Cathedral of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary in Pula was built in the 6th century on a spot which is believed to have been Jupiter's Temple during Roman times and later a secret meeting place for Christians. The cathedral was completely rebuilt in the 15th century and obtained its present form in the 16th century when its late Renaissance façade was added. The church still has some Romanesque and Byzantine features, and also fragments of a floor mosaic from the 5th and 6th centuries. The belfry in front of the church was built between 1671 and 1707 using stones from the amphitheatre.

6. Explore the Lim Channel near Rovinj

The protected natural landscape of the Lim Channel is part of the valley of the River Pazinčica, which was flooded by the sea to create a 10-kilometre-long bay whose appearance resembles that of a fjord.

7. Walk the ancient town walls of Motovun

Best known in recent years for its film festival, Motovun is a quaint hilltop town and the best preserved medieval fortress in Istria. As you walk along its ancient walls, you might have the feeling that you have gone back in time, and the view of the valley of the River Mirna and Motovun Forest – the home of delicious truffles – will certainly remain in your memory for a long time.

8. Hum – the smallest town in the world

Hum, a delightful little place near Buzet in the northern part of Istria, is sometimes referred to as "the smallest town in the world". Hum is associated with churches, frescoes and inscriptions in Glagolitic letters, an Old Slavic alphabet. A series of sculptures known as the "Glagolitic Alley" is set along the road that leads to Hum from the direction of Roč.

9. Cape Kamenjak

Cape Kamenjak is the most southern tip of the Istrian peninsula, a long narrow strip of land about 9.5 km long and 1.5 km wide. It is an area of unspoiled beauty, rich with wildlife and fish and thus rightfully proclaimed a nature park under special protection. It is open to visitors, divers, sports fishermen and other nature loving adventurers willing to look after it's beauty as well as enjoy it.

10. The Brijuni islands

The Brijuni archipelago and national park, just off Pula on the south-western coast of Istria, is a unique combination of extraordinarily beautiful natural scenery and stunning historical sites. Here, you will find remnants of a Roman villa and Byzantine castrum, and also a safari park with exotic animals that you can explore on foot or take a tour round in a tourist train. On Veli Brijun, the largest of the 14 islands of the archipelago, animals such as fallow deer live freely in the open air. A visit to Brijuni is always a memorable experience and a beautiful encounter with its fantastic nature and rich history.

Croatia

1. Visit Pula

Pula is the largest town and most important port in Istria, with a history dating back one million years. Its most famous landmark, the Roman arena, attests to a period that gave birth to other sights well worth visiting during your trip to the town. These include the Roman Forum, the Arch of the Segii, and the Gate of Hercules. Nestled in a spacious, well-protected bay, Pula is surrounded by tourist resorts that offer plenty of opportunities to enjoy the sea, sun and recreational activities.

2. Visit Opatija

Opatija, a town on the north-eastern coast of Istria, at the top of Kvarner Bay, became famous at the end of the 19th century as a fashionable resort for the Austro-Hungarian elite. The town's magnificent villas, hotels and well-tended parks bear witness to this period, making Opatija a truly unique tourist destination. Thanks to a tradition that stretches back more than 170 years, Opatija is today regarded as the cradle of Croatian tourism.

3. Visit Zagreb

Having emerged around the hills of Kaptol and Gradec, between the slopes of Mount Medvednica and the River Sava, in a geographically favourable position and on an important traffic route, Zagreb is today the largest city and capital of Croatia and an excellent choice for a daytrip from Istria for those who want to become acquainted with its heritage and feel its urban lifestyle.

4. Visit Dubrovnik

Dubrovnik is undoubtedly the best known Croatian destination in the world and a town steeped in history that can be felt while walking along its ancient walls. Due to its distance from Istria, for a short trip we recommend flying to Dubrovnik from Pula Airport.

5. Rafting on the River Mrežnica

Lush greenery, travertine barriers, lakes and waterfalls – the Mrežnica is a wonderful karst river and one of the most beautiful and interesting water courses in the Croatian karst. Ideal for canoeing and kayaking, this river is one of the most popular rafting destinations in Croatia.

6. Explore Risnjak National Park

"Among the precipitous rocks of Risnjak and its deep ravines, in wonderful coniferous and deciduous woods, may the plant and animal life live undisturbed, and may man climb its paths full of respect for the great natural scenery which he has entered." This quote by Dr. Ivo Horvat perfectly describes the stunning beauty of Risnjak. We will only add that this protected area is well worth visiting.

7. Explore Plitvice Lakes National Park

Proclaimed a national park in 1949, Plitvice Lakes is Croatia's largest, oldest and most visited national park, and has been a UNESCO World Heritage site since 1979. Here, you will encounter 16 blue-green lakes connected by waterfalls and separated by travertine barriers, which are the most interesting feature of this park.

8. Watch the flight of griffon vultures on the island of Cres

Of all the Kvarner islands, Cres is probably the one with the best preserved natural landscape. In the northern part of the island, there are bird reserves inhabited by griffon vultures, protected birds that nest here on rocks right above the sea. Watching them fly over the sea is a truly wonderful experience.

9. Spend a day in Fužine

Located approximately two hours' drive from Rovinj and Vrsar, in the hinterland of Rijeka and Kvarner, Fužine is a picturesque small town surrounded by three mountains (Tuhobić, Viševica and Bitoraj) and three lakes (Bajer, Lepenica and Potkoš). In recent years, Fužine has become a popular destination for daytrips and offers excellent cuisine.

10. Visit Susak, Croatia's only sandy island

Susak is a wondrous island formed by the sedimentation of fine sand on a limestone rock base, and is completely different from any other Croatian island. Due to the absence of traffic and tourist resorts, Susak is a perfect oasis of peace with wonderful natural scenery.

Vrsar

1. Panoramic flight

Since Vrsar is one of the few places in Istria with its own airfield for sport aircraft, its guests have the unique opportunity to enjoy a panoramic view of the town and its surroundings, including the Lim Channel.

2. Visit Casanova Street

The famous Italian lover, adventurer and writer twice visited Vrsar: in 1743 and 1744. In his memoirs, he wrote that during each visit several local beauties succumbed to his charms.

3. Visit Kaštel, the summer residence of the Bishop of Poreč, and its church

Alongside the parish church, there is a large but ruined palace known locally as Kaštel. This is the former summer residence of the Bishop of Poreč. It includes a fortified building with a cistern and four towers that are a continuation of the 15th-century town walls.

4. Visit the Dušan Džamonja Sculpture Park

Vrsar is known as a "town of sculptures". The Sculpture Park displays works by Dušan Džamonja, one of Croatia and Europe’s most prominent contemporary sculptors, while the abandoned Montraker quarry hosts an international sculpture school every summer. Artworks made during these workshops are displayed on the beaches, in campsites, on the waterfront in Vrsar, and in the town parks.

5. Enjoy the view from three romantic vantage points

Thanks to its favourable position on top of a hill, Vrsar has excellent vantage points which offer magnificent views of the nearby archipelago. The vantage point beneath Mala Vrata (Small Gate) in Vrsar also features sculptures from the Montraker workshop: a stylish stone table and benches to rest on.

6. Cycling along the Vrsar-Lim-Vrsar eco trails

The eco bike trails near Vrsar include three routes that will reveal to you all the beauty of the area and its interesting history: an easy short trail, a medium-long trail for more advanced cyclists, and a long trail that leads alongside the Lim Channel through Kontija Forest and beyond. While riding, you will encounter local places of interest such as a Bronze Age ceramic site and the Dušan Džamonja Sculpture Park.

7. Take a walk in Kontija Forest

In the hinterland of Vrsar, there is a well-preserved hornbeam forest that stretches over 64 hectares: Kontija. The forest is more than 140 years old and has the status of a special forest reserve. Kontija is regarded as an important symbol of the area.

8. Visit Romualdo Cave and the Lim Channel

The Lim Channel protected landscape is part of the sunken valley of the River Pazinčica. The valley was flooded by the sea, which created a 10-kilometre-long bay whose appearance resembles that of a fjord. Further south, there is Romuald Cave, named after Saint Romuald, who spent three years there praying and meditating (from 1001 to 1004). In addition, the cave is interesting for the fact that calcite formations are only found on its left side, while the right is completely empty. In the cave, remains have been found that attest to the lives of the Palaeolithic hunters that lived here.

9. Fish festivals

Every year, from spring until autumn, Vrsar hosts traditional fish festivals where guests and locals can experience the typical atmosphere of a fishing village, try traditional food and have fun dancing to live music.

10. Visit the Dinopark Funtana

The Dinopark Funtana is the first entertainment park with life-size dinosaurs in Croatia. Since the remains of dinosaurs were found at various locations in Istria, these extinct creatures have become part of the story of the peninsula. Visit the Dinopark Funtana and travel back in time to an age when the planet was dominated by these astonishing creatures.

Upcoming local events

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7th HTI Health Tourism Industry conference 28.02. - 02.03.2017

7th HTI Health Tourism Industry conference

Istrian Riviera 04.03. - 12.03.2017

Istrian Riviera

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