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.