Istria is the westernmost county of the Republic of Croatia and the largest peninsula of the Adriatic. If you are wondering when the ideal time to visit Istria is, the answer is – anytime. The mild climate allows a pleasant stay in Istria during the whole year.
Istria is becoming increasingly recognized as a top touristic destination. In order to get you acquainted with the charms of this beautiful Adriatic peninsula, we will try to introduce you to its world and its peculiarities and we will surely intrigue you to visit this beautiful part of Croatia.
The Istrian cuisine is varied, rich in flavour, and everyone will certainly find something to their taste. Symbols of the Istrian cuisine are certainly the Istrian “pršut” (dried ham), protected as authentic product, the Istrian olive oil, known for its quality, which can be tried and bought directly from olive growers, then there are three autochthonous Istrian wines: malvazija, teran and muškat, and of course, the ultimate delicacy of the Istrian cuisine: the black and the white truffle. The Istrian white truffle is one of the most prized in the world.
In many restaurants on the coast you can taste excellent seafood delicacies: white or oily fish, scampi, “buzara” of various shellfish, squid and cuttlefish, oysters, fish stew (a dish made from several types of fish and crabs), crabs, octopus and other seafood specialities.
If you find yourself in central Istria, go to a traditional tavern (“konoba”). There the dishes are based on meat and Istrian pasta: we recommend “pršut” and cheese, “ombolo” (pork loin) and sausages with sauerkraut, meat under the “peka” (baking bell), Istrian pasta such as “fuži”, “njoki”, “pljukanci”, “posutice” and ravioli in game or chicken sauce, dishes with truffles, asparagus, and traditional Istrian sweets. Try also the Istrian “supa” (red wine with olive oil, pepper, sugar, and white toasted bread).
- CULTURAL SIGHTS
In Istria you can visit many monuments; the most famous is certainly the Amphitheatre of Pula from the first century. Once there were held gladiator fights, whereas today are organized various concerts and festivals. In Pula there are many other attractions to see, built during the Roman Empire.
Besides the Arena, one of the most important monuments in Istria is the Euphrasian basilica in Poreč from the 6th century, which is under the protection of UNESCO since 1997.
In Istria you can visit churches from different times; each of them is special in their own way. Let us mention just some of them: the Church of St. Euphemia in Rovinj, the church of the city’s patron saint, where the sarcophagus with her body is kept, then the Church of St. Blaise in Vodnjan with the mummified bodies of three saints, the Church of St. Barbara in Raša shaped like an upturned mine cart, the Church St. Mary of the Rocks in Beram with the famous fresco “Dance of the Dead” and many others.
The Glagolitic Alley between Hum and Roč is a very interesting monument to the Glagolitic (a Croatian script which was used in Istria from the 9th until the 19th century).
The most famous event in Istria is the Pula Film Festival, which has a tradition of over 60 years. The festival takes place in July and the films are shown in various locations in Pula; one of them is the Amphitheatre. For all film buffs there is also the Motovun Film Festival in Motovun, which is held in July, too. For jazz fans we recommend the festival “Jazz is back!” in the magical little town of Grožnjan. The younger population might find interesting the Dimensions and Outlook Festival in late August / early September in Štinjan (in the vicinity of Pula).
- NATURAL ATTRACTIONS
The Brijuni National Park is the only national park in Istria. It consists of 14 islands, which are located on the southwest coast of Istria, in the vicinity of Pula. The islands can be reached by boat which departs from the nearby town of Fažana. Visit the Brijuni Islands and enjoy the beautiful untouched nature and crystal clear sea.
Učka – the highest mountain in Istria, protected as Nature Park, dominates the whole Istria and the Bay of Kvarner. Climb to the highest peak Vojak and enjoy the beautiful view on the Kvarner islands and the Istrian peninsula.
Cape Kamenjak, the southernmost cape of the Istrian peninsula, is a protected area. Here you have the opportunity to enjoy the beauty of Kamenjak in a variety of ways.
The Pazin Cave is located under the largest medieval castle in Istria. The cave is open to visitors and is known for the fact that it left a strong impression also on Jules Verne, who described the Pazin Cave and the castle in his novel “Mathias Sandorf”.
The Lim Bay is situated between Rovinj and Poreč. This area is a significant shellfish farm. Here is also located the Romuald’s cave, where the remains of the prehistoric man were found.
Palud is the first ornithological park in Istria, in the vicinity of Rovinj. This is the perfect place for all birdwatching lovers, because here you can observe many species of birds.
The cave Baredine, in the vicinity of Poreč, is a cave with underground lakes and wonderful shapes. The encounter with the human fish, an endemic animal, will surely be particularly interesting.
- THE ISTRIAN „KAŽUN“ AND DRY STONE WALLS
If you find yourself driving on the Istrian roads, you will notice many dry stone walls and small huts (“kažun”) in the fields. Dry stone walls are walls made of stones, which farmers took from the soil and stacked them, to create boundaries between fields. The Istrian “kažun” is a small stone hut usually round, where shepherds used to leave their tools and that served them as a shelter in case of bad weather.
- CLEAR SEA AND BEAUTIFUL BEACHES
If are planning to visit Istria during the summer, then you will definitely enjoy its blue, crystal clear sea and its beautiful beaches and bays. The Istrian coastline is very diverse, so you’ll be able to find pebbly, sandy and rocky beaches, large or small bays. In Istria will find many hidden coves, which are ideal for those who want to enjoy the sea and the peace.
If you have never visited Istria, now is the right time!
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