9 places in Istria to check out for first-time visitors
- by croatiaweek
- in Travel
Istria is a beautiful peninsula in Croatia that is renowned for its stunning coastline, charming towns, picturesque landscapes and delicious cuisine. It’s a popular destination for travellers seeking a mix of culture, history, and natural beauty.
We explore some of the best destinations to visit in Istria, especially for first-time visitors.
Rovinj is one of the most beautiful and charming towns in Istria, with a stunning old town that sits on a hill overlooking the sea. It’s a popular destination for tourists, but it still manages to maintain its authentic charm. Stroll through the narrow streets and alleyways, visit the picturesque harbor, and climb to the top of the bell tower of St. Euphemia’s Church for incredible views.
Pula is the largest city in Istria and home to some of the most impressive ancient Roman ruins in Croatia. The most famous landmark is the Pula Arena, an incredibly well-preserved amphitheater that dates back to the 1st century. Other notable sites include the Temple of Augustus and the Arch of the Sergii. The city also has a lively food and drink scene, with numerous restaurants and bars serving traditional Istrian cuisine.
Motovun is a small hilltop town that is renowned for its stunning views over the surrounding countryside. The town is surrounded by vineyards and is famous for its truffles, making it a popular destination for foodies. Take a walk along the town walls, visit the Gothic bell tower, and explore the winding streets and alleyways.
Poreč is another popular destination in Istria, with a beautiful old town and stunning coastline. The most famous site in the city is the Euphrasian Basilica, a UNESCO World Heritage Site that dates back to the 6th century. Other notable sites include the Romanesque House and the Istrian Council House. Poreč is also home to some of the best beaches in Istria, including the Blue Lagoon and Zelena Laguna.
Brijuni National Park
Brijuni National Park is a group of islands located off the west coast of Istria. The islands are famous for their natural beauty and wildlife, as well as their cultural heritage. Visitors can explore the park’s safari park, which is home to a variety of exotic animals.
Vodnjan is a charming town located in the southwestern part of Istria and is surrounded by lush greenery, vineyards, and olive groves.
The town is known for its rich cultural heritage, including its well-preserved medieval architecture, churches, and monuments. The town’s most famous landmark is the Church of St. Blaise, which is home to the mummified remains of several saints, including St. Nicolosa Bursa and St. Mary of Egypt. The church is also home to a valuable collection of relics, books, and artwork. Its narrow streets and old stone houses gives it charm.
Like Motovun, Grožnjan is another gorgeous hilltop town on the peninsula which is known for its rich cultural heritage and is often referred to as the “town of artists” due to its vibrant arts scene.
One of the most striking features of Grožnjan is its medieval architecture, with narrow streets, old stone houses, and Gothic-style buildings. The town’s main square is home to numerous art galleries, boutiques, and studios, showcasing the work of local artists and artisans. Grožnjan is also known for its music scene and hosts a well-known jazz festival every year, attracting musicians from all over the world. The town’s music school is highly regarded and has produced many talented musicians. It also has a beautiful panoramic view of the surrounding countryside, making it a popular destination for nature lovers and hikers.
Buzet is a small town located in the heart of Istria and is situated on a hilltop, surrounded by picturesque rolling hills, vineyards, and olive groves. Buzet is often referred to as the “town of truffles” due to the abundance of this highly prized fungus found in the surrounding forests.
One of the main attractions of Buzet is its rich cultural and historical heritage. Visitors can also explore the town’s many museums, such as the Museum of the Buzet Region, which showcases the area’s history and cultural heritage. Buzet is also famous for its food and wine and has many great spots which offer local specialties such as truffles, Istrian pršut, and homemade pasta dishes. Visitors can also enjoy tasting the excellent wines produced in the region, such as the Malvasia and Teran varieties.
Bale is located in the southwestern part of the Istrian peninsula and has a history dating back to the Roman era. The town’s main attraction is the Soardo-Bembo Palace, a well-preserved Renaissance-style building that now serves as a museum. Visitors can also explore the town’s many churches, such as the Church of St. Julian, which dates back to the 16th century. One of the main features of Bale is its traditional Istrian architecture, with narrow streets, old stone houses, and charming squares. The town has a relaxed and laid-back atmosphere and is a attractive for outdoor enthusiasts.