Memorable Holidays in Istria

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

Istria is located on the 45th parallel, halfway between the Equator and North Pole. Thanks to its favourable geographical location in the north of the Adriatic and its mild Mediterranean climate, this peninsula is the closest seaside destination for many Central European countries.

Important towns and municipalities in Istria:

  • Pula
  • Pazin
  • Poreč
  • Rovinj
  • Opatija
  • Umag
  • Novigrad
  • Labin
  • Buzet
  • Motovun

Istria is a peninsula with fascinating contrasts: green forest and red soil in the interior, and white rocks and blue sea on the coast. The ancient hilltop towns in the interior gently blend with the vistas of tourist resorts on the coast.

Istria has always been a land of good cuisine and even better wine. Home to the Malvazija, Teran, Refošk and Muškat wines, the legendary maneštra thick bean soup and a number of tasty dishes that reflect its history and traditions, Istria is today a destination where one can feel a touch of history and at the same time benefit from a wide range of modern tourist services and amenities.

Another symbol of Istria is the olive, which has been grown here since Greek and Roman times. Istrian olive oil ranks among the best in the world, and you can sample it in local taverns and olive mills.

The climate in Istria is a mild, Mediterranean one with warm and dry summers and mild and pleasant winters. On average, there are 2,339 hours of sunshine every year, and summer days can have more than 10 hours of sun. The average air temperature in winter is approximately 6°C, and in summer can reach up to 30°C.

Beaches in Istria are mostly rocky or pebbly, with sand in some spots, and lush Mediterranean vegetation stretching right down to the sea.

General information

Population: 206,400
Area: 2820 km2
Density: 73 people per km2
Administrative centre: Pazin
Coastline: 445 km (a well-indented coast, twice as long as the road)
Sea temperature: Lowest in March (from 9.3°C to 11.1°C), highest in August (from 23.3°C to 24.1°C)
Salinity: On average 36 to 38‰
Rivers: Mirna, Dragonja and Raša
Vegetation: Istrian woods cover 35% of the area (pine and shrub)
Climate: Mediterranean (January 5°C to 9°C, August 22°C to 25°C)

Top 10 things to do in Istria

More information about things to do is available on our website

Istria Experience

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.

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