Istria is a region in Croatia, a small peninsula just a couple of hours boat ride from Venice.
Don’t get scared by the amount of towns in this post about Istria – they are all tiny (including the smallest one in the world!) and are located close to each other.
In the past century, after WW1, Istria was an Italian region, but then, at the end of WW2 it was part of Yugoslavia. Now it is part of Croatia, and the local people are part Italian, part Croatian.
Istria is a charming region, in fact, one of my favorite destinations in Europe!
Here are the towns that are must visit and my recommendation for the things to do there:
Did you know that Rovinj is THE most popular Croatian destination by the amount of nights?
No wonder, Rovinj is a pure seaside bliss!
Even if I usually try to escape touristic places, Rovinj is just too pretty and I was enchanted by it!
Shiny stones of the cobblestone streets, local market with delicious treats, little boats everywhere and a bell tower with the postcard-like view…
It does not matter how many days you decide to stay – 1 day or 1 week, it won’t disappoint!
Even though it is extremely romantic, it is not only for lovebirds! Both families and a large group of friends will find what to do in Rovinj.
All hotels have amazing reviews and are located in the heart of the Old Town
This town has all what all of the istrian towns have – natural wonders, stunning beaches, cultural heritage. I really recommend walking around the promenade and if you can, have a flight over the sea shore!
But Vrsar also has something else – a small airport where you can fly over the area and see from above how the marvelous region looks like.
This was by far the best things I have done in Istria!
Motovun is located on the very top of the mountain, if you have ever been to Tuscany, you will find the landscape to be similar.
Except being a beautiful medieval town which still keeps its walls, Motovun is also a Mecca for Paragliders.
I flew over the hilltop town and the green terrain! It was a marvelous experience, even if I did paragliding before, the view made me feel like I am in the opening scene of a movie!
As Motovun is also not a large town, the choice of hotels is not that broad.
Porec is the city which history stretches back a long time, it is one of the biggest towns out of the 8 in this post.
It is one of the most touristic destinations in Croatia for good reason – it has a great balance of night life, family and extreme activities, beautiful beaches and good hotels.
If interested, I recommend exploring the historical sites of the city with a tour guide. The Euphrasian Basilica, for instance, dates back to 4th century and it is a UNESCO World Heritage site! The Basilica is free of charge on Sundays.
Also, if you have never done rappelling before, check out the Baredine cave (detailed description below), it is a lot of fun!
All of the hotels are handpicked by me, they have both great location and reviews.
One more charming town better known as a “village of artists”.
If you visit it in July or August you will be able to enjoy seeing plenty of musicians playing in the streets. In that time, the town starts to be filled with people, and you will hear anything from jazz to classic music.
Except being artistic, Groznjan is great for outdoor activities!
How about a 3 hours descend by bike through the picturesque landscape and its bridges?
It is not difficult at all, just enjoy the fantastic views!
Most of the accommodation choices in Groznjan lay in the medium category, all are hand picked by me. The main criteria is, as always, good location and great reviews.
Pula is the capital of the Istria region, it was not possible to skip it from my Top 8 cities in Istria!
When in Pula (or “Pola” in Italian ) don’t miss the Colosseum (Arena). The Arena of Pula is the 6th largest coliseum in the world. It is also the only remaining Roman amphitheater to have a four sided tower.
All the hotels I recommend are centrally located and have great reviews.
Umag is, probably, the first city you will arrive to in Istria if you are coming from the west.
If you are into history, you will love Umag for its greatly preserved town walls and towers which date back to Roman times.
The town of Umag has a busy touristic center thanks to its stunning beaches and the natural beauty around the town.
All the accommodation suggestion were carefully selected by me with 2 main criteria in mind: great location and fabulous reviews from travelers.
The smallest city in the world!!
I think we met all 27 of the inhabitants of the town.
The medieval streets are so atmospheric and inviting to discover them. It is great for a couple of hours visit!
The choices are not that many, as you understand, but they all have exceptional reviews.