Istria: The Romance of Croatia’s Riviera

Istria is a beautiful area of Croatia
Croatia has fast become one of our most popular holiday destinations – and it’s not hard to see why. With crystal-clear waters and charming Venetian towns, there’s plenty to see, do and enjoy in Croatia.If you’re new to Croatia, we recommend checking out Istria, a heart-shaped peninsula just south of Italy. Vast coastlines, world-acclaimed cuisine and historical charm combined with the stunning landscape of rolling hills and farmhouse cottages – what’s not to love?

The beautiful town of Rovinj
The beautiful town of Rovinj is one of Istria’s star attractions.

Istria is a region of amazing natural beauty that has long attracted travellers seeking a combination of sun, sea and culture from their holiday. The region has been part of both Italy and Croatia over the years, and the Italian influence is still strongly felt – most notably in the architecture and the cuisine.

Scores of restaurants serve up authentic stone-baked pizzas and delicious pasta dishes, while fresh seafood also features highly on many menus alongside local specialities such as truffles.

Stone beach scenery in Istria
Hiring a car is the best way to discover Istria’s bounty of beaches.

Istria is the perfect destination to explore along the coastline. The landscape is green and lush, dotted with vineyards and pretty, cobbled-street villages, and is home to hundreds of spectacular beaches.

The sparkling azure waters of the Adriatic are irresistible during the summer, while the pebbled beaches and petite hidden coves provide plenty of opportunities for exploring throughout your holiday.

Narrow cobbled streets in Istria
Narrow, cobbled streets are typical of Istrian towns.

The region’s highlights include the island of Krk, accessed by bridge from the mainland, which is well worth a few days to explore its beaches and towns. Areas such as Medulin are full of lively bars and restaurants – and as nowhere is too far away on the peninsula, you can party here into the early hours if you’re after a buzzing nightlife.

The historic town of Rovinj is beautiful – the cobbled streets are lined with patisseries, coffee shops and some wonderfully authentic eateries. An early morning visit will be quieter – we recommend enjoying an Italian breakfast coffee and some locally produced sweet pastries on a charming side street.

Pula, the region’s largest city and home to Istria’s main airport, is a busy working port town that has still managed to preserve its charm and is home to some remarkable Roman architecture, most notably the 1st century amphitheatre that dominates the harbour.

All in all, Istria is beautiful, sophisticated and still relatively undiscovered.

Published 19th August 2016

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