If your pockets are nearly empty, you can take the bus to Trieste, then train or bus onwards. Leaving Croatia and arriving in Venice by boat, is really lovely and there is a clear schedule for 2011 at www.venezialines.com
Train system of Istria was built in times when Istria belonged to Italy and Austria. During the Yugoslav times trains were operated by Slovenian railways since the railroad is not connected to the rest of Croatian network. Now trains are operated by Croatian Railways while in fact the network is a dead end branch of Slovenian rail network with a new Schengen border on it.
Although there are still a number of local trains and few connections to Slovenia, the railway system shows years of neglect and lack of plans and investments so it is best to forget about it at all. If you need to use a public transport, rely on buses.
The easiest way to explore Istria, especially its towns in interior of peninsula, is of course by car.
The main fast road system is so-called "Istarski ipsilon", a Y-shaped fast road whose three points end in Cro/Slo border on the north, Ucka tunnel on the North-East and Pula on the south. The road is operated by Bina-Istra company. It is still only a 2-lane road, but the road design enables average speeds of 80-100 km/h. It is still free to use (though tolls are collected on Ucka tunnel and bridge over Mirna). There are plans to upgrade the road into a 4-lane motorway.
Other local roads are of the usual standard - national and county roads are 2-lane and can be quite windy, some local roads can be quite narrow and steep.
Parking in most cities is usually quite scarce, the best is to park on the outskirts and walk to the centre.
During the summer months west coast of Istria is well connected with Italy, particularly Venice. There are numerous private boats offering charter one-day excursions to/from Venice. Italian company Venezialines has regular catamaran services to a number of ports in Istria (Pula, Porec, Rovinj, Umag).
From all places in west coast of Istria local charter boats offer one-day boat services to nearby places of interest (Brioni national park, Limski kanal etc.). Local tourist offices usually offer leaflets with timetables and prices.
Buses are the best way of public transport in Croatia, and that applies to Istria as well. There are numerous bus companies which can be somewhat confusing, but the system is quite well organized, most places have well organized bus stations and buses are generally punctual, clean and comfortable.
A website listed below shows timetables for most regular bus lines in Croatia.
For international bus lines, useful websites are www.saf.ud.it (for lines to/from Italy) and www.ap-ljubljana.si (for lines to/from Ljubljana in Slovenia).
The only airport on Istrian peninsula is Pula airport. It is served by Croatia airlines as well as a number of charter companies. Ryanair is also present with connections to the UK airports. For more information about companies and destinations please visit the Pula Airport website listed below.
It is also worth noting that destinations in Istria can be more-or-less easily reached if you use airports in Rijeka, Trieste or Ljubljana.
When you drive into Pula it can appear a bit overwhelming. Pula is much larger and more industrialised than anywhere else in Istria. We followed signs for the colloseum and parked up close by on a visit a few years back. Able to walk everywhere else from there.
We spent a week driving to Istria. You can drive there much more quickly but we wanted a more leisurely journey and there were many places that deserved a stop en route. Also with two young children in the car - a week was probably quickly enough.
Driving there in a week, sharing the driving between the 2 of us, we tried to do 2 hour stints at a time. So, after breakfast, an early start with 2 -3hrs driving to get to somewhere good, spend some time, sometimes the day there and then a good 3 hours to get to our accommodation for the night - usually opting to sleep in places that had towns to explore or something interesting to do. The longest driving days were from Patsch in Austria to Venice which was non-stop because we wanted to maximise our Venice time and then from Venice to Glavani, (Barban) Istria with a couple of stops. Our route from UK to Croatia (and back) was planned and executed with precision and as a result it was an awesome journey, even for the 4 and 6 year olds! And in fact the level of organisation was the only way it could have been done successfully in a week with young children.
Getting about - not really a problem in the areas of Istria that enjoy tourists but the rest of Istria.... we just couldn't have done it without our car. Thus much said - you don't need to take your own car and follow us across Europe you could fly in or to Trieste and hire a car there. I don't remember seeing any trains or buses or cabs or any means of transport other than private cars so if you intend to explore I would thoroughly recommend investigating how you are going to do it.
The same regulations as elsewhere in Europe are valid on the roads of Istria. Speed limitations are marked on individual roads.
- in towns 50
- out of towms 80
- on highways 130
How to get in Istra
- Ba road - From western and central Europe across international border-crossing between the Republic of Slovenia and the Republic of Croatia.
- By Railroad - from Slovenia, across the international border-crossing Rakitovac-Buzet.
- Ba Airplane - Arriving at the international airport of Pula.
- By Sea - Ferry lines; "Marconi" from Trieste, or from Zadar in the middle Dalmatia
Cover the distance on the peninsula (e.g. from Rijeka to Porec) you can go along the seaside or cross Istrian interior. It the latter case you have much shorter route, but must to pay for passing Ucka Tunel (Tunnel), which is long for more than 6 kms. Charge (in the summer of 2003): 22 kuna (~ 3 euro).
57-71 euros per person in a double room, half board -most expensive in Pula -very big (if you like...more
This excellent hotel is situated on a separate island - Red Island or St. Andrew Island.... The...more
Can I tell you that there CENTRAL BOOKING telephone number is:: 451 430 ?? Do use it and you will...more