In this post, we compiled an extensive list of the best things to do in Istria. Read on and find out what to do in Istria on your next visit. Istria has a lot to offer to its visitors: from cycling, winery tours to zip line, water activities, best museums, and day tours.
This heart-shaped peninsula located in the northern Adriatic, is the most visited region in Croatia. Istria riviera is easily accessible by car from many European countries. Istrian peninsula is very popular among foodies, cyclists, and history aficionados.
In summer, like in the rest in Croatia, Istria riviera draws visitors in search of beach fun, water sports, and other fun-under-the-sun activities. But, as you will discover with our list of the top things to do in Istra, it has also so much more to offer than pure beach fun.
Best things to do in Istria
Visit a winery
Istria has a long tradition of viticulture, and the wine has always been an important part of everyday life here in Istria.
Istarska Malvasija, fresh and fruity white wine, is the most popular wine here, followed by strong and astringent, but smooth red wine Teran.
Visit to any (or many) of family-owned wineries is one of the best things to do in Istria. Some of them are traditional, others modern, but each of them is well worth a visit.
There are so many great winemakers and wineries in Istria that it is difficult to point out just couple of them.
When you drive around Istria riviera, you'll notice a small brown road signs with “Vinska cesta / la strada del vino” written on them, and usually followed by adjacent sign that reads the name of winemaker. If you follow those signs, you'll arrive to a particular winemaker.
Don’t forget that in Croatia there is a zero tolerance for the alcohol if you participate in any car accident.
To avoid drinking and driving (never drink and drive!), you can book a wine tour with a guide and a driver. Also, this way you’ll be able to visit many wineries in one day.
Tips before you visit a winery in Istria
- Wine producers here are still first and foremost wine producers, and not sales or marketing persons. This has been changing in the last few years, so experience of visiting a winery in Istria is getting better.
- Not all wine cellars have fixed working hours. Actually most of them don't. So before visiting any winery, make sure to call in advance to arrange a visit. This even goes for the wineries with fixed working hours. While you can taste wine in these wineries, you won't be able to tour the cellar, unless you arrange it in advance.
- At most wineries, tasting is free of charge if you buy some wine (even if only a bottle). Otherwise expect to pay approx. 15 kn per glass.
- You'll find some of wine makers to be quite a character, sometimes moody, sometimes funny, and sometimes just talking too much. Get ready for it. Wine can help.
Cycling is another of the best things to do in Istria. Here, cycling is extremely popular, especially road cycling followed by mountain biking. You'll find many marked cycling trails, passing through different landscapes: from flat coastal trails to hilly hinterland. Istria is equally popular among recreational cyclists and professionals.
Cycling season starts in March, and if you happen to be here, you'll notice many professional teams training on Istrian cycling trails. There are over twenty cycling events and races taking place in Istria from March to October. Some are professional races, while others are recreational.
Some cycling trails pass along the sea and connect neighbouring coastal villages, like Porec to Vrsar, and Novigrad to Umag. These costal trails are often flat and physically less challenging.
If you are experienced cyclist, and don't mind more demanding terrain, then you should perhaps consider cycling the most popular route in Istria: Parenzana Trail. This trail takes you inland, and you follow the trajectory of an ancient Parenzana railway, that connected Trieste with Porec. The total length of this cycling trail is 115 Km and it passes through Italy, Slovenia and Croatia. Sure you don't need to do the entire length.
The best part of cycling in Istria is the fact that most trails pass through villages with great restaurants or popular winemakers (OK, maybe it's the best for us, and you don't share the same passion). We always plan our day out cycling with a lunch stop, and sometimes a winery stop.
Bike rental in Istria
If you don’t have a bicycle, you can rent one in Istria. Here are few addresses where you can easily rent a bike for a day or just for couple of hours. They all offer road, mountain and e-bikes for adults and children. (cycle hire)
Expect to pay 70 kn for a daily bicycle rental, while an hour goes for 20 kn. Electric bikes rent for approx. 200 kn a day.
Rental Center serves entire Istria with their bicycles. They offer bike delivery service to your place of choice. Delivery fee depends on distance and total rental value.
Bike rental in Porec: Sportski centar Lotosi, Zelena Laguna, t: +385 98 367 479
Rovinj Bike Rental: RM Group, Rovinj (4 locations), t: +385 98 993 8253
Bike Rental Pula: Malupe, Scalierova 24, t: +385 98 980 1155
Porec is also served by Next Bike, a network of city bikes that are convenient and economic to use for short rides from point A to point B.
A detailed info on cycling in Istria can be found at Istria Bike Website. You can also check Fiore Tours agency, the most sought after agency in Istria for adventure tours, for self-guided multi-day cycling tours of Istria and Croatia.
Sun & sea are still the main reason to visit Istria.
Beaches in Istria are mostly rocky, although you’ll also find pebbly beaches, and even some sandy beaches (though rare).
Istria is very touristy, with large hotel complexes and resorts all along the coast.
At many places, within these tourist complexes, you’ll find breakwaters, built to protect beaches artificially replenished with the pebbles. You’ll also find many cemented sun decks, as well as grassy areas to relax.
However (or luckily!) a large part of the coast within resorts remains in its original form. These are in my opinion the best places to swim. The access to the sea can be a bit difficult, but these areas are less crowded, almost always surrounded by thick pine trees (plenty of shade! and a place to hang your hammock), and just more intimate.
You’ll find lots of bars, restaurants, small shops selling groceries and beach equipment, and many water activities on offer, like jet-skis, pedalo boats, water trampolines, kayaks, SUP, etc..
Beaches out of the tourist resorts are considered wild beaches, and are mostly frequented by locals. They are mostly rocky. Rt Kamenjak near Pula is such a place, as well as Porto Bussola and Cervar in Porec.
Generally speaking, the east coast of Istria has nicer beaches than the west coast. Nice natural pebbly beaches you’ll find in Rabac. There are few nice beaches along Lim Fjord, and also south of Rovinj between Vestar and Mon Perin, but they are difficult to access on foot.
Food, oh food in Istria! Istrian food is amazing. It is local, it is fresh, it changes with the seasons. Istria is a dream destination for any foodie, or just for anybody who enjoys good food.
Truffles, pork tenderloin, bean soup for the fall and winter, asparagus, wild mushrooms, crab meat, cheese curd, scrambled eggs for the spring, fresh vegetables, anchovies, sardines for the summer.
We've written a post on five must-try dishes in Istria to give you an idea what a typical Istrian cuisine is alike.
However you'll encounter slightly different cuisines along the coast and Istrian hinterland. Along the coast, restaurants' naturally offer more dishes based on fish and other seafood, while ones located inland offer hearty dishes like meat stews, steaks, etc. Few dishes are equally present: pasta dishes, fritaja (scrambled eggs) and manestra (a traditional bean soup).
The best seafood restaurants are located in Rovinj, Novigrad, and Pula, while the best restaurants serving hearty Istrian dishes are located in northwest Istria.
You can check our post on best restaurants in Istria. We absolutely love Batelina; Stari podrum near Momjan, a temple of Istrian home cooking; restaurant Marina in Novigrad, a perfect place to indulge in a slow food experience; Barba Danilo with their selection of cold appetisers; and Damir and Ornella, best sashimi in all Istria and beyond; nobody makes such a good hunter's soup as Morgan.
These are just some of our favourite places to eat in Istria.
Olive oil tasting
When we are already talking about food in Istria, we have to mention Istrian olive oil. You probably have never heard of Istrian olive oil.
Although Istria is the largest producer of olive oil in all Croatia, quantities that we produce here are pretty small compared with our counterparts.
The best Istrian olive oils are extra virgin, meaning that the olives are cold-pressed within 24h after harvesting.
You’ll find in Istria, not only extra virgin olive oils of a superior quality, but also many single sort extra virgin olive oils. Even in restaurants, you’ll e offered, one, two, three or more different olive oils. There are restaurants pairing food with olive oils, just like they do it with wine.
Basic olive oil tasting is usually free of charge, or costs around 50 Kn per person. Call in advance to arrange a visit. You can also arrange more complex olive oil tasting paired with food. This will be charged according to the ingredients and extent of tasting.
Olive oil producers in Istria: contacts
- Chiavalon Olive Farm: Ul. V. Nazora 16C, Vodnjan | t: +385 98 860 566 | Website
- Cuj Tasting Room: Farnazine bb, Umag | t: +385 98 219 277 | Website
- Ipsa Olive Oil Tasting Room: Ipsi 10, Livade | t: +385 98 219 538 | Website
- Agrolaguna: Mate Vlasica 34, Porec | t: +385 91 441 9998 | Website
Istria has always been at the crossroads of many different cultures, civilisations, and countries. History of this region has always been turbulent.
History aficionados will enjoy discovering Istrian past through many historical sites, monuments, remains, and documents. Many of them are very well preserved to this day.
The two most popular historic sites in Istria are the Episcopal Complex of the Euphrasian Basilica in Poreč from 6th century, an Unesco world heritage site (for more info on Things to do in Porec, check this post); and Pula's Amphitheater dating back to the 1st century AD, the sixth largest Colosseum in the world.
Unfortunately, the Archaeological Museum of Istria in Pula is closed for renovation, and will remain closed for couple of years, as well as the Heritage Museum of Poreč, However, both towns are open air museums, and all it takes to explore them is to walk their old towns. Besides, it's free. Entire Pula, although not as well preserved as Split, is filled with historical sites. You just need to walk the town, and explore its history: from Arch of the Sergii, or as locals popularly call it Zlatna Vrata, Augustus Temple, to Small Roman theater, and many floor mosaics.
Venetian architecture, medieval hilltop towns, churches and towers are testimony of the region's rich history.
Located on the hilly peninsula, its pastel-colored houses rise right out of the sea. The St. Euphemia church stands at the highest point. The bell tower is a smaller replica of St. Mark’s bell tower in Venice. Streets of old town are full of lively bars, restaurants and art galleries. Its harbour is busy with small pleasure and fishing boats.
We highly recommend visiting the house of Batana, a small museum dedicated to Rovinj’s traditional boat, called Batana. The museum also organises the gourmet evenings that start with a ride in this traditional boat, and proceed with a dinner and music in a typical Rovinj tavern, called spàcio.
You can also take a boat and visit nearby islands of St. Catherine, and St. Andrew. Both islands have wonderful parks dating back to late 19th century. On St. Andrew there is a nice restaurant with an outdoor seafront terrace.
Rovinj also has very good gastronomy, and you can plan a nice lunch or dinner in this beautiful town. We’ve written a post on the best restaurants in Rovinj, if you’d like to read further.
The best views of Rovinj, you’ll get from the terrace of the Grand hotel Park Rovinj. It’s also Rovinj’s best hotel. It’s well worth a walk. If you would like to find out what to do in Rovinj, check our post on top things to do in Rovinj.
Explore Istrian countryside
Istrian countryside is amazing. Its rolling hills, medieval hilltop towns, vineyards and olive groves, will make you dream. Take a day out to explore towns of Motovun, Groznjan, Zavrsje, Oprtalj. Visit sleepy watermill in Kotli and Hum, the smallest town in the world.
A mystical, abandoned village of Završje is one of our favorite hilltop towns, followed by Grožnjan, a village of artists. Motovun is the largest, and perhaps the most visited inland village in Istria. It also has a few nice places to have a coffee, or a glass of wine,.
Visit Brijuni Islands national park
An archipelago consisting of 14 small islands, Brijuni islands afe one of the Croatia’s seven national parks.
Islands are located just off the coast of Fazana. There are boats to the islands departing from Fazana. The best way to explore Brijuni islands is to book one of the boat excursions.
A visit to Brijuni Islands include a boat transfer from and to Fazana, a tourist train ride around the island of Veli Brijun, a visit to the remains of the ancient Roman villa dating back to the I century B.C, the archaeological museum and the Church of St. Germain.
The ticket costs 170 Kn (April, May, October), 200 Kn in June and September, and 210 Kn in July and August.
Hike Ucka Mountain
Ucka is the highest Istrian mountain separating the peninsula from the rest of Croatia. It is protected area and nature park. There are designated walking trails and paths. The highest peak is Vojak (1396 m). Hiking the mountain is more local than tourist activity, but it is a nice way you spend a day out, and you'll be awarded with nice views over the Istria, the sea, and islands.
There are three main hiking trails. The educational trail Plas starts only 300 m below the Vojak Mount. The trail passes through a thick forest, and it has marked stations next to points of natural interest regarding karst formation, and flora and fauna. This trail is steep and you should be prepared for long walk. It takes two hours to reach the top, and you'll cover around 1.5 km.
Vela Draga hiking trail passes along Vela Draga canyon. This canyon has been protected since 1963 as a natural reserve and a nature monument. This is the most interesting site within the Ucka Park. Trail is around 2 km long, the hike is 2 km, and there is a nice vantage point above the canyon.
Korita hiking trail is a 45-minute hike from the village of Brgudac to Korita, a fresh water spring. The trail passes through dens forest, and near the spring you'll be awarded with nice views over the mountain Učka.
Go truffle hunting
Did you know that the largest white truffle in the world was found in Istrian forests? It even made a Guinness World Record.
Forests around Motovun, in central Istria, abound in truffles. From late September to early November, there is a truffle festival taking place in a small village of Livade, but also in nearby Buzet. During the festival there are organised truffle hunting tours, and they are free of charge. You basically go on a bus to a nearby forest where truffle hunter shows you the process of truffle hunting. Sure, the truffles are planted there, and a dog always finds it. But this is for demonstration purpose only.
Few local agencies also organize truffle hunting tours throughout the year. If interested in such an activity, you can check Istriana Travel, a boutique travel agency based in Vrh near Buzet. They offer half-day truffle hunting tours including a truffle based light lunch.
Visit Glavani park
Glavani park is high ropes adventure park located in central Istria, near the village Barban. The park has adrenaline filled high ropes courses: 2 m high training course, 6 m high blue course and 10 m high black course, 11 m high swing and Europe's first suspension bridge across the valley.
If you aren't into adrenaline pumping activities, Glavani Park has also kiddie games and adventure tree house, as well as a small farm with animals. This is definitely a place for the whole family. It is one of top 10 things to do in Istria on Tripadvisor.
Spend a day in Istralandia or Aquacolors water parks
Istralandia water park open in June 2014. It's located 10 km northeast of Novigrad. Istralandia features twenty slides including a 27 m high free-fall slide, three large swimming pools, sand volleyball and badminton courses, food court, and a souvenir shop. Admission fee is 110 kn (half day), and 140 Kn (full day) for anybody taller than 1,40 m. For further reading, check our full post on Istralandia water park.
Aquacolors open in May 2015, and it's the first water park in Porec. You can find more details on Aquacolors Water Park here.
Paragliding, Tandem flying, and Hang gliding
You'll find eight take-off and landing sites for hang gliders, and ten sites for paragliding. They are all located in the area of Buzet, at the Cicarija, and Ucka Mountains. All flights are coordinated with local clubs.
Paragliding club Tići organizes tandem flights. The club currently has twenty paragliding pilots. More info you can find at their Facebook page.
Hang gliding is organised by flying club Homo Volans, based in Opatija. You can find more info on their website (Croatian only).
Paragliding Istra is another paragliding club with flight training facility located in Motovun. They also offer tandem flights. The prices start at 700 kn for a 15-20 min flight.
Panoramic flights and Skydiving
There are few companies offering scenic flights over Istrian peninsula. Both companies are located at the small sport airports, Delić Air in Medulin, and AeroVrsar in Vrsar.
Delić Air has flights scheduled daily from 9 am to 8 pm from June through August. All panoramic flights take off from an airport in Medulin. A 15 minute flight above Medulin, Premantura, Verudela and Pula costs 250 Kn per person; a 30 minute flight over Brijuni archipelago costs 450 Kn, and a 45 minute flight that takes you over Brijuni and Rovinj costs 700 Kn.
Contacts: +385 98 223 577
Aeropark Vrsar offers panoramic flights, tandem jump, and piloting programs. Panoramic flights take off from the airport in Vrsar daily from 9 am to 9 pm from April through October.
A 10 minute flight over Vrsar, Lim Fjord and Rovinj costs 140 Kn per person, a 15 minute flight over Vrsar, Rovinj and Porec costs 170 Kn per person, a 30 minute flight over Vrsar, Rovinj, Porec, Novigrad and Umag costs 300 Kn, a 30 minute flight over Vrsar, Rovinj and Brijuni Islands will set you back 340 Kn, while a 45 minute flight over Vrsar, Poreč, Motovun and Grožnjan costs 450 Kn per person.
Tandem jump is 1.500 kn, with additional 250 Kn for a GoPro video clip, or 600 Kn for a professional video clip.
All prices are from 2017.
In Istria you'll find a plenitude of water activities. Jet-ski rental, boat rental, diving, pedalo boat rental, banana boat ride, and parasailing are the most popular water activities found in every coastal town, and every resort in Istria. In the last few years SUP surfing and kayaking is gaining popularity too and they can be found at many beaches.
Cable Wakeboarding & Water skiing can be found in Poreč, at Zelena Laguna Resort.
Besides, you can embark on one of small group tours.
Nine rock climbing sites on 20-30 m high short-rocks have more than 270 equipped ascents.
These sites are: Zlatni Rt Forest in Rovinj, Lim Bay, Dvigrad, Vitnjan near Pula, Rabac, Istarske toplice, Raspadalica above Buzet, Vranjska Draga near the Ucka tunnel, and Pazin.
Istria has many underground caves, abysses and pits. Some are open to leisurely visitors, while others are aimed at experienced explorers with professional equipment.
Popular caves in Istria are: Baredine Cave near Poreč, Pazinska Jama near Pazin, Romualdova Spilja in Lim Bay, Feštinsko kraljevstvo near Žminj, a 361 m deep Rašpor pit on the Ćićarija Mountain, a 1036 m long Piskovica Cave in the central Istria, and Mramornica cave near Novigrad.
Visit Dinosaur Park in Funtana
Dinosaur Park in Funtana is a perfect place to visit with small children. Set in an ancient quarry and surrounded by thick woods, Dino Park is a nice place to visit even during hot summer days.
The park has over 1.5 km of paths, a life-size electric dinosaurs, amusement rides for small children, and a small farm where kids can ride ponies. The park also has regular shows throughout the day.
The entrance fee is a bit high (160 Kn for adults, and 140 kn for children). The park is open from April through October, while the show arena within the park works from June through August.
Zip line Pazinska jama
This adrenalin park is located in Pazin. The start is just below the hotel Lovac. There are four lines in total: two are just 80 m long, and serve as a warm up before the “real” adrenaline rush that awaits on the following two lines: 220 m and 280 m long.
On longer ropes you can develop speed of up to 50 km/h. The highest flying point is 100 m above the Pazin abyss.
The views are spectacular particularly from the last, and longest line as you see wonderful Pazin Castle in front and the Pazin canyon below.
The site is open from May to October, from 10 am to 7 pm (the rest of the year by appointment only).
The price is 160 kn (approx. 20€) per person. Kids below 16 need to have signed parent’s approval. Also kids belo 35 kg need to zip line with the instructor.
Rope jumping free fall
Another activity for adventurous kinds, rope jumping free fall is organized by the same guys who run Pazin Zip Line. And the site is at the same spot. As you jump into the abyss from the small bridge, you swing within 25 m radius. Definitely not for the faint-hearted folks!
It’s open on Thursday, Friday and Saturday, from 12 pm to 6 pm. The price is 150 kn (approx. 20 €) per person.
Contacts | Most Vrsic, Pazin | t: +385 91 1683 126 | e-mail: email@example.com
A day tip to Ljubljana
If you are staying in Istria at least 4 days, consider setting one day off to visit Ljubljana, Slovenian capital town. Ljubljana is only 170 km from Istria. And Ljubljana is really beautiful and if you have a day to spare, it makes a great day trip from Istria.
Ljubljana is a real little gem. Small, walkable (and cycable) city with only 600.000 inhabitants, downtown Ljubljana is set along the river, and it boasts great bars, restaurants, shops, and lovely architecture.
You can easily reach Ljubljana on your own by car (if you don’t have a car, rent one for a day). Once you pass the border, you should be in Ljubljan in no time. To avoid lines at main border crossing (Kastel), head for a small border crossing near Buzet.
A visit to Postojna Cave
Just 120 km from Istria, you cancisit the largest cave in this part of the world – Patojna Cave.
If there is only one cave you will visit in your life, it might as well be Postojna Cave.
It boasts in total 24 km of underground passages, halls, and galleries, although only 5 km are open to public to explore.
There is an underground train that takes visitors for a 3.5 km ride. The rest is explored on foot.
This cave is really impressive with some very interesting formations. The most popular are Brilliant and Skyscraper. Skyscraper is a 150.000-year old stalagmite, the oldest stalagmite along the tour route. Brilliant is a 5-meter high white stalagmite, a symbol of Postojna Cave.
The cave is open year around. From May through September, from 9 am to 5 pm (July and August until 6 pm). The guided tour takes place every full hour.
The ticket costs 27,90 € per person. Besides Postojna Cave you can also visit the Predjama Castle, a medieval castle built into 123 m high cliff side.
You can visit Postojna cave on your own. However, it might just be more convenient to book yourself on a group tour to Postojna Cave out of Porec, Rovinj or Pula.
Visit Lake Bled
Lake Bled is another natural marvel of Slovenia.
It’s located in Julian Alps, 475 m above sea level, and surrounded by lovely forests.
There is a plethora of activities you can do at the lake, like kayaking, swimming, cycling, hiking, etc.
Bled Castle, atop of a high cliff and a small island in the middle of the lake with Church of Assumption Mary are two main attractions. Vintgar gorge, just five km away from the lake, is another popular site worth visiting.
The lake is 220 km away from Istria. While you can visit it on your own for a day, it can be a bit of a stretch. It would perhaps be better if you either plan an overnight in Bled or you take a group tour.
Venice is wonderful! It’s one of those places everybody should try to visit in one’s lifetime.
And if you are already in Istria, don't miss a chance to easily visit Venice. Only 250 km away, it takes less then three hours to visit Venice. Or even better, you can visit Venice for a day aboard a hydrofoils that operate between Istria and Venice.
There are two companies serving this route: Kompas' Prince of Venice, and Venezialines.
Prince of Venice operates as a tour boat, where you need to purchase a return ticket for the same day, while Venezialines boat operates as a regular line between Istria and Venice. With Venezialines you can purchase one way ticket or return ticket, with arrival and departure from the same ports or different ports, and on the same day or different days.
Prince of Venice departs from Porec, Umag, Rovinj, and Pula at 7.30 am. It arrives to Venice at 10.30-11.00 am. Departure from Venice back to Istria is at 4.30 pm, and arrival to Istria at 8 pm. This gives you enough time to explore Venice without worrying about parking the car, queues at the borders, traffic jams on Italian highways, etc. All things you would need to worry should you decide to visit Venice by car.
However, if you decide to visit a Venice by car, you can rent a car for a day using Rentalcars.com. They always have better rates than rental car companies directly. I will never understand this, but it is what it is.
Book your trip to Venice in advance and save!
Explore Kamenjak National Park
Kamenjak National Park is a beautiful natural site located south of Pula. Cape Kamenjak is the southernmost point of Istria. Premantura is the closest village to the Cape Kamenjak.
This protected area is a great place for swimming, hiking, cycling, kayaking, surfing, cliff jumping, or just chilling by the sea. The visit is free for pedestrians and cyclists while car fee amounts to 80 kn per day.
Safari Bar is another attraction of the Kamenjak park. The place is really unique, surrounded by tall reeds, and hidden under canopy of branches. There are lots of interesting attractions for kids, and adults alike: swings, slide, table tennis, view point, etc. The bar also serves food.
You can easily visit Cape Kamenjak on your own by car, or by bicycle from a nearby Premantura. During the summer months, a little electric train runs from Prematura all the way to Safari Bar. One-way ticket costs 20 kn per adult (10 kn per kid).
Visit Aura Distillery
Aura is a small family-run company that makes perhaps the best brandies in Istria if not entire Croatia. Besides classical selection of brandies including traditional Istrian mistletoe, honey, or wine liquors, their selection also include less common choices like almonds and olive oil brandy, rose hip brandy, and sage brandy. Their brandies and liquors aren't cheap, but their quality is also superior.
They also produce jams, and other delicacies like chocolates, and wild apple vinegar.
The company has four shops in Istria: in Buzet, Hum, Groznjan and Novigrad, but their products can also be found at speciality wine shops across Croatia.
A visit to distillery is interesting as they show you entire brandy making process. The whole place is rustic, and very beautifully decorated. You can also taste their products there.
Working hours | May-Oct: daily 9 am-8 pm | Nov.-Apr.: daily 9 am-6 pm
Contacts | a: II. Istarske brigade 2/1, Buzet | t: +385 52 694 250 | e: firstname.lastname@example.org | Website
Take a boat tour
Boat tours in Istria are very popular. The most popular boat tours include a sunset cruise, a dolphin watching tour, and Lim Fjord tour with lunch.
All those tours are available from various boat companies in Rovinj, Poreč or Pula.
Other less common boat tours include: tuna-fishing and recreational tours abroad smaller motor yachts (check Tunaholic Fishing on Instagram or Tripadvisor), adrenaline-filled tours abroad very fast speed boats (check Arsnautica’s awesome 750 hp speedboat), submarine tours, glass boat tours, and sailing tours (check Spark sailing out of Rovinj).
Go kart and other high-octane activities
If you like cars, and other high-octane actions, you'll find a couple of interesting sites in Istria. Half-way between Porec and a village of Tar, you'll find Motodrom Porec. This is the longest, and the best kart track in entire Istria. At the same site you will also find cross karts, baby karts for kids, and quads.
Park Santarija is a motocross park located just outside Pazin, in central Istria. For more information check their website.
Moto Club from Zminj organises Enduro adventures in Istria. You can find more information on their website.
Taste Istrian craft beer
Craft beer is huge in Croatia, and Istria is no different. There are few local micro breweries producing awesome craft beer.
San Servolo Brewery is the largest and best known among them all. You can visit their property located near Buje, in northwestern Istria. You'll find there not only brewery, but also San Servolo Resort where you can stay overnight, have a craft beer bath (I know, seriously?!), and have a beer tasting and hearty lunch at their beer and steakhouse.
Bura Brew is located in Porec. You can find their beers in many bars and delicates shops all over Istria, but you can also taste and buy their beer directly from the brewery. More info here.
Kampanjola is the latest addition to already exciting Croatian craft beer scene. This is the first Istrian eco craft beer. Check their facebook page for more info.
If you happen to be in Istria in the first week of September, don't miss visiting Medulin Craft Beer Festival.
Mummies of Vodnjan
Vodnjan, a small town not far from Pula, is a home to one of the world's largest and unique collection of 370 Christian relics belonging to 250 saints. The relics include a piece of Virgine Mary's veil, a thorn from Jesus' crown, and bones of many apostles.
Besides these relics, in the church of St. Blaise, there are preserved bodies of three saints: St. Leo Bembo, St. Ivan Olini, and St. Nikoloza Bursa. Although these bodies are not embalmed, they are well-preserved, including interior organs, veins, and soft tissue. This makes them very unique.
Contacts | St. Blaise Church (Crkva sv. Blaža) | t+385 52 511420, m: +385 98 198 3231 | e: email@example.com | Website
Working hours | June-Sept., Mon-Sat: 9.30 am-1 pm, 2.30 pm-6.30 pm; Sun: 12 pm-6.30 pm | Oct.-Feb.: on request | March-May, Mon-Sat 9.30 am-5 pm; Sun: 12 pm-5 pm
Admission | Museum: 7 € | Holy bodies: 7 € | Church: 2 € | Combo (museum, holy bodies, and church): 10 €
Cook like a local
Traditional Istrian cuisine changes as you move from coast to the countryside. But few dishes remain the same: manestra (a bean soup typica for Istria), fuzi and pljukanci (differnt types of Istrian home made pasta), njoki (potato dumplings, identical to Italian gnocchi). Add to that an abundance of seafood, black and white truffles, wild asparagus, and various homemade cold cuts, and you have a winning formula for yummy dishes.
A couple of companies offer cooking classes where you learn to prepare some of typical istrian dishes, most often you'll learn to make at least one type of homemade pasta. We recommend Eat Istria cooking classes. You can find more information on their website.
Unlike Dalmatia, a southern region of Croatia, Istria doesn't abound in islands. There are handful of small islands, particularly off the coast of Vrsar, Rovinj, and Pula. But besides Brijuni Islands, the others are small, uninhabited, and mostly visited by locals, or tourists with boats who visit it for a day of swimming.
However, you can have a taste of Croatian islands on a day trip to Susak, a small car-free island with sandy beaches, lovely nature, and tranquility.
In July and August a catamaran boat operates between Pula and the island of Susak 5 times a week. It leaves Pula at 7 am, and arrives in Susak at 9.40 am. On a return trip the boat leaves Susak at 7.25 pm, and arrives to Pula at 10.10 pm.
This schedule gives you plenty time to explore the small island of Susak.
The same catamaran continues down to Zadar, and it also makes stops on the islands of Mali Losinj, Ilovik and Silba. You can also plan a visit to those islands, but keep in mind that the boat reaches these islands later in the morning, and it departs them on a return trip earlier. So, you'll have less time to spend there and enjoy.
The one-way ticket costs 90 kn (around 15 €) per person.
More info at Catamaran line website.
A day trip to Cres
The largest of all Croatian islands, Cres is easily reachable from Istria. You can do it on your own, simply by taking a car ferry from Brestova across to Porozina.
The ferry makes a minimum of 8 crossings a day in winter, and as many as 13 crossings a day in summer. The ride takes just 20 minutes. One-way ferry ticket costs 18 kn per person, and 115 kn per car.
Cres Town is only 25 km away from Porozina. However, the connecting road is is not in the best condition. It's narrow and winding, but also gets busy with campers and caravans during the summer.
Another, more relaxing way, to visit Cres is by tourist boat from Rabac. This way you get to see the most famed beach on the island (and one of the best Croatian beaches) – Beach Sv. Ivan below the village of Lubenice.
Camping is very popular in Istria. Over 1.200.000 guests stay in campsites in Istria every year. But if you are not ready to rough it in Istrian campings, consider glamping. Majority of campings in Istria offer accommodation in various luxurious rental unites: from 3-bedroom family mobile homes with shared swimming pools, to deluxe homes with private whirlpool, or mobile homes laid in front of the sea with their private beach.
We've stayed at Amber Sea Luxury Village at the campsite Mareda, Superior Mobile Homes at the camping Veštar, Marbello Premium Village at the camping Lanterna, and Deluxe Mobile Homes at the camping Valkanela.
We had a great time! You get the convivial atmosphere of a campsite, while enjoying a luxury of a small villa. These units are not cheap in high season, but you can get a pretty good deals in shoulder season.
We haven't stayed in One 99 Glamping in Pula, but you can check out that one too. Open in 2018, it is the first camping that offers exclusively glamping accommodation.
Rent a villa
Vacation in style with a villa rental in Istria! Villas are very popular accommodation option in Istria. Majority of them are located in a wonderful Istrian countryside, surrounded by lush gardens, and featuring private swimming pool.
And they don't necessary need to be expensive. If you are two families or a group of friends, you can share a cost and end up paying less than for an apartment rental.
Explore Istrian Waterfalls
I bet you haven't heard about Istran Waterfalls! We've lived here for a long time before we have found out about them. I think many people in Istria still don't know about these waterfalls.
Gologoricki dol is a small waterfall not far from Cerovlje. When the level of water is low (summer) the waterfall and the surrounding lake don't look very attractive, but you still have a chance to cool down by the water in the shadow of the trees. Besides, there is a really good agrotourism where you can enjoy in a typical istrian homemade food.
Sopot is the largest and perhaps best known waterfall in Istria. It's not far from Gologoricki dol. This place is beautiful, but to get down to the waterfall you need to pass by tiny and slippery downhill passage. There are ropes to help you descend, but in any case you should be very careful when walking down. However, you can have a good look over the waterfall from the bridge above. Check photos and reviews here.
Zarecki krov is favourite summer swimming spot for people of Pazin. The waterfall is big, and it comes down to the lake from a large rock that looks like a roof. Thus the name: krov means roof in Croatian. A great place to visit if you are in Istria. Check photos and reviews here.
Kotli is a small abandoned village not far from Hum. The river Mirna flows through the village, and it forms in its basin cauldron-shaped forms. These forms can get full of water depending on the total level of the water. Steep drops in water flow on some places creates smaller and bigger waterfalls. Watch video from Kotli here.
Sv. Foska Church
If you like sacral buildings, and other monuments, or if you just like to wander around along narrow winding and dreamy streets, you might consider visiting Sv. Foska Church.
The entire place is magical, and locals believe that it is a part of big energy field coming from Brijuni islands through the sea, all the way to the church. People come here to meditate, ask for help, and just absorb this energy. The church is built like a three-nave basilica, but the exact year when the church was built hasn't been determined yet. Another curiosity of this church is that it is built away from any village.
It's really interesting place to see. You can walk around, meditate, or just take a time to stop and think. When we were there, we saw a man selling cheeses and some other local produce, but also taking a fee for visiting the interiors of the church. We haven't visited inside, so I don't know exactly how much it costs, but my guess is that it can't be more than 15 kn per person.
Istria is a popular diving destination. Istria was a important route on the way from large ports of Trieste, and Venice down to the Mediterranean. And many ships sunk here. The most popular diving site is shipwreck Baron Gautsch near Rovinj.
Built in 1908, this Austrian passenger ship sank 9 nautical mines from Rovinj in 1914. The ship hit the minefield that was set by Austrian Navy in order to protect the port of Pula. Over 300 people died.
The wreck is today overgrown by algae and sponges. It lies at 28 m to 40 m depth, on a sandy and stone sea bed.
Other interesting diving sites in Istria include: caves and reefs of Banjol Island near Rovinj, walls and reefs of Sv. Marina, a wreck of cargo steamship Hans Schmidt, a minesweeper Coriolanus wreck, and many more.
Visit small islands
Although Istrian coast doesn't abounds in islands like Dalmatia does, there are still lots of small uninhabited islands around. This is particularly apparent around Vrsar, Rovinj, and Rt Kamenjak.
Red Island (St. Andrew Island) can be easily visited by regular Maistra line. The boat runs from 5.30 am to 1 am on every full hour (from the Red Island), or every hour on the half hour from Rovinj to St. Andrew Island. The return ticket coast 40 kn per adult.
Dvi sestrice and Figarola are small islands off the coast of Rovinj. Many locals and boaties from nearby campings come here for a swim.
Levan is an interesting island off the coast of Medulin. It's popular day trip because of a sandy beach. There is also a bar-cum-restaurant on the island.
Fratarski island (Veruda) is located south of Pula, and it's favourite summer spot for people fo Pula and beyond. Locals not only spend a day here, but instead they spend entire summer. There is a basic campsite on the island where many locals pitch their tents permanently for the summer.
Ceja is another island off the coast of Kamenjak. There is a beach bar, a small pier, and a beach. It's simple chill out place to spend a day.
Latus Diary Farm
A small-family run farm located in a small village of Orbanici, near Zminj, in central-east Istria, Latus Diary Farm produces cow cheeses (young, aged, and curd), as well as fresh milk, and yoghurt. Latus also offers onsite tastings in their stylish milk & cheese bar. The bar is open from June to mid-September, on Wednesdays & Fridays from 10 am to 4 pm.
Contacts | a: Gornji Orbanići 12/D, Žminj | t:+385 52 823 765 | e: firstname.lastname@example.org
Dekleva Lavender Farm
Visit a family-run lavender farm located half-way between Porec and Visnjan for lovely walks amidst lavender, rosemary, olives, figs, and grapes. Enjoy amazing fragrances, take a moment and relax in nature, under the trees in a swing or hammock. A visit to the farm is free. But if you like what you see, you can buy some natural products made onsite by lovely owners. This is where they make money.
Contacts | a: Deklevi 1, Visnjan | t: +385 98 932 1745
Aquarium in Pula
Pula's aquarium is the biggest aquarium in Istria, and in my opinion the only one here worth a visit. It's located on Verudela peninsula, south of the centre, and close to all big hotels. Located in an old military fortress from the time of Austria-Hungarian monarchy, the building itself is worth a visit. Pula aquarium features more than 250 species fish, reptiles and semiaquatic animals. The aquarium also features sea turtle rescue centre. You can read more here.
Sculpture Park Vrsar
If you like a nice and relaxing walk in a park with a bit of culture, then a visit to Sculpture park in Vrsar can just make your day. A visit to the park is free, and there is an easy parking next to it. Sculptures exhibited in the park belong to Dusan Džamonja, a famed Croatian artist whose work was featured in Tate Gallery in London and MoMA in New York, as well as in other museums of Modern Art, like those of Paris, Antwerpen, and Sao Paolo.
Where: Valkanela 5, Vrsar
Working hours | Nov.-Feb., 9 am-5 pm; Mar.-May, Sept.-Oct., 9 am-7 pm; June-Aug., 9 am-8 pm
Many visitors to istria, quickly learn that Porec is known as town of mosaics. This is due to mosaics found in Euphrasian Basilica, UNESCO World Heritage Site. However, only few visitors leave Istria knowing that the county is also very rich in frescoes. These frescoes can be found on the walls of may churches, particularly those in inland Istria.
Some frescoes date back as far as 8th century. However, majority of Istrian frescoes, were paintedin the period from 11th to 16th century.
The most popular frescoes are to be found in the Church of St. Martin and the Church of St. Mary in Beram near Pazin, and in the Church of St. Roc in Roc, in northeast Istria.
Quick Istria Travel Guide
Now you know what to do in Istria, but you would like to get information on other aspects of your stay in Istria. In this quick Istria Travel Guide we'll cover best places to visit in Istria, hotels in Istria, as well as apartments and campings in Istria. We'll also give you idea about best restaurants, bars, and events in Istria.
Best places to visit in Istria
Rovinj is without a doubt the nicest place in Istria. It's a must-visit during your holidays in Istria. Rovinj has the best choice of top-notch hotels (Monte Mulini, Lone, Grand Park Hotel Rovinj, Adriatic), charming vacation rentals (particularly ones in the old town), and campsites with a great atmosphere (particularly Vestar camping). It also has a great choice of restaurants (Barba Danilo, Monte, Maestral, Jure, Rio, Giannino), some with unbeatable waterfront terraces (Puntulina, Blue), crazily cute bars (Mediterraneo, Limbo) and shops (Atelier Charm, Break Time, Profumo di Rovinjo). However, as much as Rovinj is really nice place to visit, it has some down sides when it comes to actually staying there. Rovinj is the most crowded of all towns in Istria. Traffic, particularly on rainy days, is heavy, and parking places are scarce. It's also the most expensive place to stay (accommodation-wise).
Porec is second most popular place to stay in Istria, just after Rovinj. Restaurants here are more touristy, and also cheaper. Hotels offer a good value for money, but they aren’t spectacular. Private accommodation is getting better, but many apartment rentals still leave a lot to be desired. Shops we like are Per Bacco for local liquors, wines and other local delicatessen; Break Time, nautical-themed bracelets. Bars in Porec are many: Ski lift for a daytime chill out; Tequila, for a live music and a night out at the beach; Corner Le Mat for a variety of beers and cool vibes; Villa and Saint & Sinner for younger party crowd. Porec can be a good alternative to Rovinj for those who like a bit more unassuming atmosphere, cheaper accommodation (better value for money), and an overall great base to explore Istria.
Pula is the biggest town in Istria, and it feels more urban, and industrial than other coastal towns. Since it’s bigger, it’s also more spread around. Majority of hotels are located 4 km south of the downtown at the Verudela peninsula. Unless you fancy an hourly walk into the town, you’ll need to use public transport, your own car or taxi to reach the downtown Pula. Pula has the most history of all, and might fit history lovers more than other places. It’s also in the vicinity of Kamenjak, protected nature park where you can go swimming, enjoy vatious water sports, and chill out at Safari Bar, the coolest beach bar in Istria.
Novigrad is the smallest coastal town, with just a handful of hotels (only two are large), and two campings. Although small, it offers some of the best restaurants in all Istria (Damir & Ornella, Marina, Cok, then nearby Morgan, and Astarea), and the best waterfront bars to enjoy sunsets (Vitriol, and Amore).
Vrsar is similar to Novigrad in size. However, Vrsar lack a bit of atmosphere, good restaurants, and charming bars. Vrsar on the other hand offers lovely nature (Koversada, although a naturists resort, is well worth a stroll and a swim because it's beautiful, and it spreads all the way to Lim Bay); great snorkeling; wonderful vistas (there are lots of small islands in front of Vrsar, and views from the old town are really pretty); and resorts and campsites within a walking distance of the town.
Rabac is the only resort town located on the east coast of Istria. This small town is exclusively seaside resort, consisting of family houses and big hotels. It doesn't have any old town, but you can visit nearby Labin for a taste of history and charm. The town has lovely pebbly beaches, without a doubt the nicest in all Istria. Hotels, located at the far end of the town, have gone through extensive renovation since 2016. Besides hotels, there are really a ton of private accommodation to choose from. Restaurants are mostly touristy. Rabac is a good spot if you like swimming and snorkeling, and prefer a quiet holidays by the beach. If you intend to explore Istria, you might find Rabac a bit far from the rest.
Motovun is the most known hilltop town in Istria, and along with Labin, it's also the biggest hilltop town. With less than 1000 inhabitants, this still doesn't mean that Motovun is big, it just means that it is bigger than Groznjan, Oprtalj, or Boljun. Motovun is the capital of black and white truffles in Istria. A visit to Motovun is a popular day trip for all coastal towns in Istria. Motovun gets very crowded in summer, and can't be visited by car. Instead, you leave your car at the parking at the foot of the hill and take a small shuttle up to Motovun. You'll visit Motovun in half an hour, and then you can chill on a terrace of numerous bars and restaurants and enjoy the view over Mirna valley and nearby hills.
Groznjan is a small hilltop town full of art galleries, and unbeatable charm. It's our favourite hilltop town. During the summer, Groznjan is a home to music school, and as students practice their notes, you can enjoy music at every corner. It's much less crowded than Motovun, but it also has very limited accommodation offer (just few holiday homes and apartments). Besides beautiful galleries, there is also a beautiful Aura Distillery shop where you can taste and buy local brandies, artisanal chocolates, jams and other home made products.
Accommodation in Istria
Hotels in Istria
Hotel Monte Mulini
Monte Mulini is a member of Leading Hotels of the World, and definitely the best hotel in all Croatia. It features 113 rooms and suites, two restaurants, spa & wellness, indoor pool as well as heated outdoor pool, and its own beach. It’s pricey in sunmer, but in off season, it offers a great value for money. Our tip: better room types are worth the money for the views (they are on higher floors). If given a chance ask for corner Deluxe rooms.Check the latest prices and availability!
Wine Hotel Meneghetti
Wine Hotel Meneghetti is a small 25-unit boutique hotel, a member of Relais & Chateaux hotel collection. You can expect a hotel of this type in France or Italy, but it’s definitely one of its kind for Istria. A large estate, away from it all, yet only 20 km away from Rovinj and 3 km away from the sea, the hotel features 25 rooms, suites, and residences, top-notch fine dining restaurant, onsite winery, two outdoor swimming pools and spa center including indoor swimming pool, sauna, and different massage treatments. A private shuttle brings guests to the designated hotel beach.Check latest prices and availability!
Adoral is a small family-run hotel in Rabac. The hotel benefits from awaome location, right at the seafront, complimented with stylish and contemporary interiors and friendly service. The hotel features 15 rooms and suites, and a restaurant where buffet breakfast is served every morning from 7 am until 11 am.Check the latest prices and availability!
Valamar Riviera Hotel
Valamar Riviera Hotel is the perfect hotel to choose for your short break in Porec. Located in the center of hustle and bustle, in Porec old town, and right at seafront, this 105-room town hotel offers nautically-themed rooms and suites, a great buffet breakfast, as well as a very good a la carte restaurant Spinnaker. This hotel is adults-only. Guests are provided with a free boat transfer to the island sv. Nikola where free of charge they can use designated facilities of the sister resort – Valamar Isabella Resort.Check the latest prices and availability!
Aminess Hotel Maestral
Hotel Maestral is one of two large hotels in Novigrad (the other is a 3-star hotel Laguna). Both hotels are run by Aminess hotel group that also runa two large campings in Novigrad: Sirena and Mareda. Although it features 308 rooms, due to extremly friwndly service, the hotel actually feel more personal than many smaller properties. Other facilities include a gym, wellness and spa, both interior and outdoor swimming pool, buffet and a la carte restaurant, many bars, and a hotel beach.Check the latest prices and availability!
Apartments in Istria
Paulino Apartments are located in a quiet residential neighbourghood of Rovinj, a short walk from the beach, Zlatni Rt Park, and the town. This family-run villa consists of three one-bedroom apartments and one two-bedroom apartment. All apartments come with a fully-equipped kitchen, bathroom, living room and a terrace or balcony. You’ll also find a shared BBQ and a shared space behind the house where children can play.Click here for the latest prices and availability!
Casa M Apartments
Casa M is a beautiful family-run property in Rabac. Located at the top of the hill (one of the highest streets in Rabac), Casa M offers spectacular views over the sea and the coast. The house conisists of three fully-equipped one-bedroom apartments. Apartments are modern and very stylish. Parking is provided in the back of the house. If you look for a vacation rental in Rabac, Casa M is the place to be.Check the latest prices and availability!
Urban Premium Apartments
Urban Premium Apartments are a great choice if you are looking for a place to stay in Porec. These apartments are comfy, spacious and well-appointed. They all come with fully-equipped kitchen, living room with dining area, full bathroom, a bedroom, and a terrace. Apartment on the first floor with a balcony is a real gem.Check the latest prices and availability!
Villas in Istria
Villa Rupeni is our own property. Located in a small village of Rupeni, not far from Porec, our billa consists of 3 bedrooms and 3 bathrooms, open space loving room, kitchen and dining room, a covered terrace with a BBQ, front porch, 1000 m2 garden, and a 32 m2 swimming pool. The villa benefits from unique location, amidst greenery, a true spot to completely rest and unwind.More information, prices and availiability!
Villa Luka & Matija
Villa Luka & Matija are two sister villas, located one next to the other, in Fazana. Villas are beautifully decorated, but also they are within walking distance to Fazana and to the beach. This means you don’t need to use car during your entire stay (if you want). Each house features 4 bedrooms and 4 bathrooms, living and dining area, fully-equipped kitchen, outdoor swimming pool, and a sauna.Check the latest prices and availability!
Villa Santa Marina
Villa Santa Marina is a beautiful 3-bedroom, 3-bathroom villa. The villa Santa Marina has really wonderful contemporary architecture. It also features a large outdoor swimming pool as well as a whitlpool. The ground is completely enclosed whirlpool. The grounds are completely enclosed with gated parking. Villa Santa Marina is located in the vicinity of Novigrad.Check the latest prices and availability!
Villa Evita belongs to our good friends, and we heartly recommend staying at their home. The villa has a large indoor area of 200 m2, three bedrooms, two bathrooms, balcony, a living and dining room, and a lovely patio with a swimming pool. The house is semi-detached and located in a small village of Matulini, 12 km from Porec.Check the latest prices and availability!
Mobile homes Istria
Amber Sea Luxury Village
Amber Sea Luxury Village is located within camping Mareda, near Novigrad. It consists of 25 luxurious mobile homes. The mobile homes are brand new (2018), luxurious with large covered terrace and (the best!) right at the seafront. The location is quiet, but also the beach below isn’t arranged which assures maximum privacy, since not too many people come to swim at this beach. There is also a shared swimming pool and an outside shower. The mobile homes are 34 m2, and feature two bedrooms, two bathrooms with shower, kitchen and dining area. Kitchen is super modern with induction stove top, and also a dishwasher.Check the latest prices and availability!
Mobile Homes Superior Vestar
Superior Mobile Homes Vestar are located in a camping Vestar near Rovinj. These 54 mobile homes are laid on a small hill just above the sea, giving every mobile home at least a partial sea view. Surrounded by lush Mediterranean vegetation, mobile homes are enough apart one from the other that each offers almost full privacy. Decoration recalls a fisherman cottage. Nevertheless, a large covered terrace is perhaps where you will spend majority of your time here. The terrace comes with six lounge chairs, dining table and chairs for six. Inside you will find two bedrooms, two bathrooms, a kitchen, and a dining table with a corner bench. Each mobile home is 32 m2.Check the latest prices and availability!
Mobile Homes Deluxe Valkanela
Deluxe Mobile Homes Valkanela aren't as close to the sea as other mobile homes recommended here. However, they are located amidst thick holm oak forest. This mobile homes zone is car-free and extremely quiet. Deluxe mobile homes consists of two bedrooms, two bathrooms, a kitchen, and a dining area. The terrace is spacious, and it features a private whirlpool. Mobile homes are apart enough for a bit of privacy.Check the latest prices and availability!
Eating out in Istria
Istria is the best Croatian region for foodies. Black and white truffles, fresh seafood, wild asparagus, homemade charcuterie, extra virgin olive oil, … you name it, Istria has it! For the full list of the best restaurants in Istria, check this post.
Barba Danilo is still our favourite restaurant in Istria. We love their cold appetisers. And we often end up eating so many starters, that we never move onto the mains. They are that awesome!
Marina is a fine dining restaurant in Novigrad, run by wife-husband duo, Marina & Davor. The restaurant offers 6- and 8-course menu. The food is sublime, and service is very friendly.
Damir & Ornella is a family-run restaurant in Novigrad with only six tables, a owner with quite a personality, and basically not more than five ingredients. Still, this would perhaps be the tastiest sashimi you have ever had. At least it was for us.
Sole is a great seafood restaurant near Umag. Here you go for a fresh and tasty seafood, prepared in a simple way, but always to perfection. Pasta is homemade, and so are the cakes. As for us, we often order a red grouper baked with potatoes in the oven. And a chocolate cake with chili peppers and olive oil.
Maestral has an extensive menu, serving anything from pizza and pasta, to dishes like tuna tartar, or fish carpaccio. The large seafront terrace has awesome views over the old town Rovinj. Taste their fisherman's pie, and squid stew with creamy polenta.
Selo Mekisi is the best place for meat lovers, as well as for pasta aficionados. All their pastas and gnocchi are homemade, and so is all their charcuterie. Taste their homemade cheese ravioli with sage sauce, or gnocchi with Istrian ox.
Best bars in Istria
We aren't night birds, and we don't really do clubbing any longer. We like bars to chill out, have a glass of wine, or a good local beer, relax, have fun with friends, enjoy sunset, or just watch the world go by. And by our standards here are the best bars in Istria.
Vitriol has a perfect seafront location, and it is a great place to watch the sun goes down. The interior is actually extremely small, but the bar actually consists of a large covered, glassed terrace, and of an open outdoor terrace. The staff is friendly, prices are affordable, and you'll find a wide variety of drinks available. All alcoholic drinks come with a bowl of crisps and olives.
Safari Bar is located in Rt Kamenjak nature park, and it is perhaps the coolest beach bar to find in Istria. Tables and chairs are hidden inside tall reeds and bamboos, while roofs are made of dry leafy tree branches. Also the bar has some huge swings, table tennis, slides and other staff to keep kids entertained. The food menu is short, but all food served there is excellent.
Ski Lift is a nice day bar located in Zelena Laguna resort in Porec. As it names suggests, the bar has something to do with skiing – actually, with water skiing and wake-boarding. It is actually part of a cable ski and wake park. The park consists of a 650 m long cable and different ramps that you can jump off from. The vibe is always cool, and so is the music. Bar also serves some simple food like burgers, fries, salads, etc.
Mediterraneo is your must-go-to bar in Rovinj. Hidden away, relaxed, unusual, with a great choice of drinks and cocktails, friendly staff, and regular (not touristy) prices, Mediterraneo is so close to the sea that swell caused by passing boats can easily splash you. A great place in Rovinj to enjoy sundowner.
Events in Rovinj
Rovinj Summer Music Festival consists of a various musical concerts that happen throughout summer from June to September. Concerts take place at different venues, like the Porton Bioni Beach, St. Andrew Island, or Old Tobacco Factory. Previous artists included Sophie Ellis Bextor, and Mario Biondi.
Batana Boat Parade takes place every Tuesday and Thursday from June until September. This cultural and gastronimical event consists of a visit to the eco museum Batana, followed by a ride in a traditional Rovinj boat, and ends in a typical tavern called Spacio where you will have a chance to try some local dishes, and listen to Bitinade, a traditional songs of Rovinj's fishermen. In this one event you get to learn so much about history and tradition of people of Rovinj. More info …
St. Lawerence Night takes place in August, on the night of the Perseids meteor shower. This natural phenomenon is also known as “tears of St. Lawerence”. On this very night, all public lights, as well as lights in local bars and restaurants are off, and instead lanterns and candles light the streets and spaces. Various artists perform throughout old town creating a very romantic atmosphere.
Getting around Istria
- Bus: Buses aren't the best way to get around Istria. While you can in theory visit one coastal town from the other on a day trip by bus, buses are infrequent, and not always the most convenient way to travel around Istria. But also some destinations are impossible to visit using buses, like a visit from Rovinj to Motovun in a day, or a visit to Groznjan from Porec. These bus routes simply don't exist.
- Car: Car is the best way to travel around Istria. Istria is small, and heart-shaped meaning that you can visit almost anywhere within 1 hour drive. If you don't travel with your own car, at least rent one for a day or two, to explore beyond your base destination in Istria. Lovely countryside, olive oil farms, and wineries, hilltop villages, and waterfalls, they are all worth a visit. Check here for the best prices on car rental in Istria.
- Taxi: Unfortunately, taxis in Istria are still somewhat expensive. UberX is available in Porec, Rovinj, Pula and Umag since July 2018. However, Uber in Istria isn’t that cheap, but it's still cheaper than other taxis.
- Transfers: If you arrive by plane and you need an airport transfer, check Rideways website. They offer convenient instant booking with very flexible cancelation policy.
- 37 restaurants in Istria that locals love
- Reasons to visit Istria
- 5 experiences to have in just one day in Istria
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- Istrian hilltop towns to take your breath away
- Awesome things about living in Istria
Are you planning to visit Istria? What are your favourite things to do in Istria? Let us know in the comments below.