Rustic hills roll down to the Adriatic coast of Croatia’s triangular peninsula, a resort-laden region full of Mediterranean charm seen in historic villas and cobbled piazzas.
Explore the notched coastline of Istria to reach sun-drenched Adriatic beaches, Italian-style villas and quiet coves. Medieval hilltop villages dot the region’s interior, overlooking sprawling rural plains and forests. With its striking Italian influence and historical appeal, Istria is one of Croatia’s most popular vacation destinations. Wake up to a view of cerulean-shored beaches and spend the day visiting Istria’s Roman ruins, disarmingly beautiful stone-built villages and rated restaurants.
The port city of Pula is Istria’s largest city and provides a great base for exploring some of the peninsula’s most popular sights. See the spectacular ruins of the Pula Arena (Roman Amphitheater), explore the Archaeological Museum and travel through a World War II-era system of underground tunnels in Zerostrasse. Take a daytrip to the Brijuni Islands offshore to experience a Croatian-style island retreat.
Check out Istria’s western coast to visit the resort town of Rovinj, which has plenty of old-world grandeur radiating from its tightly packed seafront houses and tall-spired St. Euphemia’s Church. Join the action at the popular vacation destination of Poreč or enjoy the slower pace of Novigrad, with its tangle of alleys and traditional shuttered houses. Stretch out on a sun lounge outside your beachfront resort or clamber over rocky outcrops to reach your own secluded cove. The nature reserve toward Istria’s southern tip, Cape Kamenjak, hides secluded beaches enclosed by jagged sea cliffs and cave-riddled headlands.
Istria’s undulating interior presents a drastic change of scene. Visit centuries-old hilltop villages and medieval relics in the rolling countryside, such as Motovun, Grožnjan, Hum and Oprtalj. These are also among the best places to experience Istria’s renowned culinary scene, with farmstead restaurants and rural hotels offering local produce such as white truffles, fine olive oil and prize-winning wines.
Reach Istria by flying into its major airport in Pula or cruising from the peninsula’s maritime neighbor, Italy. Stay in well-appointed hotel complexes and sprawling campsites along the coast or book a room in a rustic village. Enjoy the bustle of Istria’s extensive coastline and resort-style extravagance or indulge in the slow pace of the peninsula’s old-world splendor.