Fun things to do in Istria

  • Mosaics above church roofline
    Mosaics above church roofline
    by BruceDunning
  • Grisa is a street inthe middle
    Grisa is a street inthe middle
    by BruceDunning
  • Euphrasian Basilica (Porec, Croatia)
    Euphrasian Basilica (Porec, Croatia)
    by Redang

Most Viewed Things to Do in Istria

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    Visit the Roman Amphitheatre in Pula

    by MikeBird Updated Sep 27, 2013

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    Possibly the most interesting feature of Pula is the impressive amphitheatre near to the harbour in Pula at the southern tip of the Istrian peninsula.

    Built by Emporer Vespasian it was enlarged later in the 1st century to entertain around 20,000 spectators on the demise of a few gladiators and wild beasts.

    You can wander round freely and imagine the events that took place there back in first century AD. Included in the entrance fee ( In 2012, 40Kuna Adults, 20Kuna students) is access to some underground passages that feature displays about the site.

    Visit the website below for some photos of the amphitheatre and other Roman/historical features of the city.

    Overlooking Pula and Amphitheatre
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    • Archeology

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    Motovun: the truffle centre of Istria

    by MikeBird Updated Nov 8, 2012

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    In the middle of the Istrian peninsula is the small hill top town of Motovun. It was very quiet, being the end of December but there were a couple of shops open including one that specialised in Truffles. Apparently the woodland around Motovun is particularly good for hunting this precious fungus. We didn't try any truffle hunting nor could we afford to buy any of them but the friendly shop keeper gave us a little free gift - a box of chocolate coated prunes. I guess they look a bit a like truffles? It was a very unexpected gesture because all we had bought were a few postcards.

    You can walk around the edge of the hill top town and get a 360 degree view over the countryside. I think all it lacked was a castle though the church on top was second best.
    We enjoyed our hot chocolate drinks in the cavern-like coffee bar by the ancient gate.

    Continuing inland we moved onto a spa located at the foot of limestone cliffs at Istarske Toplice. Here there was a hotel that had a pervading smell of sulphur about it. I knew my kids wouldn't like it so instead we went to the smart, new but small, health and fitness centre next door. Luckily we didn't have to be members and we all enjoyed the swim in the clean modern pool.

    If you get a chance it's worth a visit especially to help counter some of the excesses of the Christmas period.

    Cliffs at Istarske Toplice
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    obvious choice - Rovinj

    by picek Written Oct 28, 2011

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    Rovinj is glamourous. Some say it's the jewel in crown of Istria. You can visit it at any time of year, even on gloomy misty cold day in winter and it will keep shining. One can easily get lost in side streets of the old part which was island in past, separated from continent with a canal. Plenty of well preserved historic architecture to see, many bars, trendy cafes and restaurants to try local food and wines, pleasant tiny squares adorned with ancient and contemporary works.
    Iconic is the image of settlement clustered above the sea, below the church of Saint Eufemia, whose bell tower dominates panorama.
    As you approach towards the town's heart from the side, it will reflect within thousands lights on the surface of the sea - the views are enchanting.
    If you need more history and interesting stories, take a book or ten of them, hundreds were written on Rovinj. Or briefly glance in the Tourist union site below, they will guide you better than my biased tip here.
    If you wanna avoid crowds, avoid holidays and summer, of course.

    late april reflects Rovinj
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    • Romantic Travel and Honeymoons

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    Dvigrad

    by Nykaenen Updated Apr 4, 2011

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    Dvigrad is nowadays just a little bit more than a pile of stones. Hardly anything remained intact. Would you believe that five centuries ago it was actually two towns and hence name Dvigrad = Two Towns? The two towns used to stand on opposite sides of the valley, but the other one has completely collapsed and is now nothing more than a plateau with a few stones.

    Typically, ruined old castles and towns interest us because they were destroyed either in battles or devoured by fire. Dvigrad was simply abandoned by its inhabitants and left to decay. But don't expect great mystery surrounding its abandonment. The reason is very plain -the town which successfully fought enemies was helpless before plague and malaria. It was abandoned it in the 17th century.

    The little that has remained of Dvigrad seems to be under preservation project. Hopefully it will be preserved from further deterioration and all parts made accessible. As it is now, the ruins are home to weed, underbrush, snakes. Tourists discover it more by chance than planned. I too would have not known about it had I not been on a team building trip.

    Dvigrad
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    Day trip to the Interior---Draguc

    by dustmon Written Jun 5, 2010

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    Draguc (drag-ooch) was one of the towns we visited on our excursion into the middle of Istria and one of the best of the day! Our guide told us that there were only about 5 families still living here, and it was mainly used for movie production! He thought that parts of "Red Cliffs"
    was filmed here just the previous year. There is a small church with some incredible 14th century frescoes on the wall, just open to the air. A real find for photographers, because we normally cannot take pictures of these fragile paintings. Try to get here if at all possible--it is really worth it! There is a small bar if you get thirsty....

    14th century frescoes in Draguc Draguc
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    • Architecture

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  • MikeBird's Profile Photo

    Climb the Campanile in Rovinj

    by MikeBird Updated May 8, 2010

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    In the old town of Rovinj you can't miss the splendid Cathedral of St Euphemia perched on the highest point overlooking the narrow, cobbled streets and harbour of the town. It's well worth the small fee to climb up the rather old and battered wooden steps to get to the top where the view makes the effort all worth while. Apparently the bell tower is 60m tall so you might need a short break to get your breath back on the way up. But as you stand still try not to look down - the gaps in the stairs and the drop below might make you wish you'd never started!

    The Rovinj tourist office website have a terrific photo on their homepage that gives you an aerial view of the town.

    On the top of the tower is a statue of St Euphemia, loaded on bearings, she spins in the wind!
    Our trip to Rovinj was certainly one of the highlights of our Croatian winter holiday.

    St Euphemia from Rovinj harbour
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  • mediterrane0's Profile Photo

    THINGS TO DO IN ISTRIA IN A WEEK

    by mediterrane0 Written Mar 21, 2009

    Day 4
    go to exlore the Baredine cave close to Porec, visit the wine producers (Poletti in San Marco village), visit the town of Motovun and buy the truffles from the Motovun forest in many local stores. close to Motovun is Livade where the biggest truffle of the world was found. try to organize with Zigante restaurant truffle hunting demonstration.
    Go to Groznjan/Grisignana (italian name) and discover the most beautiful town in Istria and it's modern art galleries!
    Do a hike from Groznjan to Monticello/Montizel or go by bike (10km) on the former Parenzana train track.

    Day5
    Go to Pazin and visit the castle from the 11cent with its Ethnographic museum. Do a cave tour in the area under the castle.
    do the tour of the little towns with gothic frescos (Beram, Draguc are the most beautiful).
    Go to Labin, visit the museum and the old town. Swimm in Rabac, 5km south.

    Day 6
    Go to Opatija on the east coast. The first climatic resort of the Austro Hungarian Monarchy. Have a walk on the Kaiser Franz Joseph Seaside promenade. Enjoy the villas and hotels from the 19cent. Visit the Villa Angiolina and the museum of the tourism.
    From Opatija go to the 3rd largest town in Croatia Rijeka...Trsat castle, baroque churches, pedestrian zone Korzo, Guverner's palace.
    Moscenice,about 20min away from Opatija, a typical Istrian town on the rock about the see is another gr8 place to visit.
    Day 7
    take a ferry to Cres island and visit Beli,Lubenice, Cres, Marinscica.
    OF COURSE- OLIVE OIL FACTORIES(VODNJAN), WINE (ALL OVER), NATURE PARK KAMENJAK AND GR8 AGRITURISMO RESTAURANTS ALL OVER THE PENINSULA,PREROMAN SITES IN VALTURA, MONDOKONJA,ISTRIAN STONEHENGE...ENJOY AND WELCOME. WWW.ISTRA.COM

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  • mediterrane0's Profile Photo

    Istria in 7 days

    by mediterrane0 Written Mar 21, 2009

    hi there and welcome to our region Istria.
    Day 1 you can visit the town of Porec starting to walk from some of the bays where normaly are the hotels and reach the downtown. Visit the Basilica Euphrasiana (UNESCO) with the Museum of the sacral art. The old town is little so u will do that in 2 hours.
    The afternoon u can go south of the town and visit the town of Vrsar (Orsera in italian), and if u have more time go and to Lim fjord (about 30min south, close to Vrsar).
    From there try to catch the boat to bring u back to Porec.
    Day 2
    Visit the national park Brioni islands. Call day before to see what time they have tours (included in the entrance fee) in your language (English,Italian, German, French or Croatian). you need to come to Fazana and from there there is 15min ride by boat. This is also included in the price of the entrance fee.
    The visit is 4h but u can stay longer. You will visit the roman sites, byzantine castrum, early christian churches, 2000 y old olive tree, museum of glagolitic script, Tito's photo museum, see the safari park...check their web site.
    The same day u can visit the Mummies in the St Blaise church in Vodnjan/Dignano.
    Something incredible! There is also inside that church the Sacral art museum.
    Close to Fazana is Barbariga where u can see some old roman olive oil factories, almost on the rocky beach where u can swimm , normaly with not so many ppl.
    Great is to see in Mednjan St Foska church, in the middle of nothing with some miracolous stories. about 20min walking from the little church from the 6 cent. try to find the 3 biggest Istrian KAZUNs. Kazun was a shelter for the farmers from the heat or rain, a place where to leave the tools...looks like Trullo in southern italy...

    Day 3
    in the morning go to Pula and exlore the sites of 3000 y old town (6th largest roman amphitheatre of the world, entrance 40 HRK, almost 6 Eur, very interesting Archeological Museum 20 Hrk (3 EUR), Hercules gate, Twin gate, Sergi triumph gate, Roman theatre,Augustus Temple, Cathedral, venetian Castle...
    Take the local bus and go to Veruda and see some of the forts from the austrian times (19 cent), in one of them is the aquarium.

    Afternoon - Rovinj and its Franciscan monastery, Euphemia church and first of all fish restarants (Puntolina, Al Gastaldo,Monte...)and the beautiful Grisia street inside the old town with its art galleries.
    have a coctail sitting on the rocks at Valentino's.
    Very good night life in Monvi .

    Night - don't forget to go to out clubbing in , damm, ex International ,now is called ?..hmm. cannot rember now. but everybody knows. LOL.

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  • smirnofforiginal's Profile Photo

    Limski Kanal

    by smirnofforiginal Updated Sep 13, 2007

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    The Lim Valley, also known as Limska draga or dolina, is 35km along the river Pazincica, which turns into the estuary - the Limski Kanal (also called Limski Fjord or just Lim Fjord) which cuts the west coast of Istria in two. It is a 10km (6 mile) fiord between limestone cliffs and wooded slopes. Whilst it is called a fjord, technically it is not because it was not carved by a glacier.

    The Lim bay is a geographic feature found near Rovinj, south of Porec.

    Boat trips along the kanal are readily available from Rovinj

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    Villages & Towns

    by smirnofforiginal Written Sep 9, 2007

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    There are big towns in Istria, mainly Pula, Rovinj & Porec. Pula most notably for it's Roman amphitheatre, Rovinj which is the Venice of Croatia & Pula which houses the most amazing and UNESCO World Heritage mosaics in Basilica of Euphrasius.

    But, as well as the big towns there are some much smaller (and some tiny) villages which are real gems not to be missed - Beram with it's "Dance of the Dead" fresco being my personal favourite.

    It is not so easy to travel internally around Istria without your own set of wheels but it is very worth it (if only to get away from the tourists who all tend to hang out in the larger towns).

    The village of Svetvincenat Dance of The Dead in Beram Basilica of Euphrasius in Porec
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    Day trip to Slovenia

    by smirnofforiginal Updated Sep 9, 2007

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    Because they are so close it is quite possible to do day trips from Istria into Slovenia. The roads on the Istrian side are the most painful because they go ALL around the houses.

    However, Slovenia is a very beautiful country and if you have the means to and the time, a day trip into it should not be passed up.

    Ljubljana (Slovenia's capital) is small, clean, safe and beautiful. A day here is certainly enjoyable and calm.

    It is also possible to do a day trip to Lipica to see the famous white horses. Istrian school children all make this day trip at some point. It's a lovely place to visit but I would recommend it in conjunction with another stop/sight, due to the lengthy drive.

    Ljubljana
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    Daytrips to Slovenian caves

    by smirnofforiginal Updated Sep 9, 2007

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    There are two amazig caves in Slovenia : Postojonska Jama & Skocjanske Jame. Both are spectacular. Postojonska are more easily available to get to without your own transport and are firmly on the tourists map. Skocjanske have UNESCO World Heritgae status and it is not hard to see why - they are absolutely astonishing and if you only go to one Skocjanske Jama would be the one I would recommend.

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    • National/State Park

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    Day trip to Italy

    by smirnofforiginal Written Sep 9, 2007

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    Due to Istria's position it is very easy to do a day trip to Italy. Either catch a ferry from Rovinj across to Venice or go in a more northerly direction to Trieste.

    Both very different cities and both worthy of a trip. If you have a car, Trieste is not so far (in fact, a lot of people use the airport in Trieste to visit Istria) and a cheaper option for a day trip.

    If you are in or around Rovinj the ferry to Venice is a viable option and a beautiful city to see.

    Venice
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  • smirnofforiginal's Profile Photo

    Svetvincenat

    by smirnofforiginal Updated Jun 20, 2007

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    This is such a pretty little place.

    Svetvincenat is based, archetecturally, on a quadrilateral Renaissance square in the centre of the town. The building that dominates the sqaure is the Morosini Grimani citadel.

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    • Historical Travel
    • Architecture

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    Zminj - village

    by smirnofforiginal Updated Jun 20, 2007

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    Zminj was built on a height with fortified walls which are still preserved.

    During the Middle Ages Zminj was part of the Pazin dukedom.

    The houses and church are Baroque in style. Apparently the church has many frescos inside. We didnt get to see them - they are allegedly of high quality but damaged.

    On August 24th each year Zminj celebrates St Bartholomew's Day with massive festivities and people come here from all over Istria.

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