The heartbeat of Croatia
The Croatian peninsula of Istria lies in the north of the Adriatic Sea between the Gulf of Trieste and Kvarner Bay. Many people in the past already recognised Istria’s high strategic and commercial value. The Romans, Greeks, Venetians, Habsburgs and Croats all ruled Istria at some time in the course of many centuries and left their mark on the politics and on life on the peninsula. To this day, the diverse historical cultural influences have not lost their meaning and they give this region its particular charm.
Istria is indeed a feast for the eyes. Its streams flow to the sea through deep valleys and gullies which bring to mind the ancient local myths about giants. Rolling hills overlook the fields and valleys with little towns perched on the peaks, recalling some old paintings. The view is splendid: white-topped mountains, lush wheat fields, plateaux, valleys, vineyards and olive groves on hillsides, and, finally the sea.
Blue and green
as far as the eye can see
Istria has laid out its wonders in the garden of the Mediterranean, at the foot of the Alps. The blue Adriatic Sea washes its shores, and the towns strung like pearls along the coast: Umag, Novigrad, Poreč, Vrsar, Rovinj, Pula, Rabac – the towns that have made Istria a famous destination. But there is also another Istria, a hidden Istria, whose treasures are also worth exploring – the inland heart of Istria, green Istria, a land between dreams and reality, a land of beauty and peace of history and clean, unspoiled nature. Its towns and its people will bid you welcome and let you share in their spirit and the times long gone. Welcome to the land of history, beauty and vitality!
Life along the coasts of Istria has always been closely linked to the sea. Seafarers found shelter in the coves’ embrace, fishermen respected such mysterious wide open spaces throughout their entire life, travellers discovered new loves in its harbours. And they will all agree on one thing – the beauty of the Istrian landscape has enchanted many a traveller convincing him to stay and have a new start… Sail with us along Istria’s azure coast, set out with the rays of sunlight from the east slowly towards the west, plunging into picturesque Mediterranean motifs – coves and beaches, small boats floating peacefully, awaiting in the beauty of solitude.
It’s no wonder Istria has been dubbed the “blue and green region”. It boasts a blue, crystal-clear sea, wild rivers and fjords, a blue sky, a green, hilly landscape, succulent vegetation and vast forests. It is the largest green oasis in the northern Adriatic Sea. And there is so much for visitors to discover: The diverse fauna of the national nature reserves in Brijuni and Učka, historical landmarks in the cities of Umag, Novigrad, Vrsar, Pula, Poreč and Rovinj or in the many villages you can find along the way, the karst caves of Jama Baredine and Špilja Mramornica, the hot springs of Sveti Stjepan, the aquarium in Pula and Aquapark Istralandia, Motovun Film Festival, the many restaurants and wineries – the range of interesting destinations is enormous and visitors receive a friendly welcome wherever they go. The population’s hospitality is all around and many friendships have been born in this amiable atmosphere. Istria has something for everyone, both big and small. And the good thing is, whatever the season, you can relax and enjoy the peace and quiet, or have fun and engage in a variety of sports. Or all of the above.
all year round
Istria’s climate ensures the perfect conditions for sports enthusiasts to get active in the picturesque landscape and pristine nature all year round. Relaxation, sport and fun are a matter of course here. From a cycling or hiking tour on the former “Parenzana” railway roadbed or along the Limski fjords, to climbing in the karst mountains or exploring caves. You could fly through the air with a paraglider or practise countless water sport activities.
The possibilities for adventure are virtually limitless here. You could also just take a break from everyday life in the healing hot springs of Istarske Toplice or with a yoga class overlooking the hills of Istria. And the little ones also have plenty to do.From splashing around in Aquapark Istralandia to adventures in Dinopark Funtana, there is no end to the activities for the entire family in Istria.
of the Mediterranean cuisine
Discover the enchantments of flavour and scent of this wonderful country in which, as Cassiodorus wrote in 537, “patricians lead the lives of Gods”.
Istria, a marvellous Mediterranean peninsula surrounded by the crystal-clear sea, is well known for its tourist amenities along the coast and its lush green hinterland, with countless cultural-historic sights and unforgettable natural panoramas from hilltop towns. It is also a treasure chest of gastronomic delights…A table filled with seafood brought to the surface from the turquoise depths of Poseidon, here is as cultivated as the humble asparagus and legendary truffle, the underground treasure taken right from the plates of Hades. Crust of home-made bread is dipped into the golden liquid of the best olive oil in the world, while the palates are ennobled by the finest of wines.
As you string up delicious bites on the necklace of pleasure, you will be overwhelmed by the polyphony of flavour and scent. Food taken from the sea and soil simmer in the cauldron of happiness over the fire of passion made of olives and grapevine. Rosemary, laurel, basil and thyme that sprout up on the footpath, crown the bites that you bring to your mouth. Do not hesitate, if you pick a sprig, it will carry the memory of the warm Mediterranean scent for a long time to come.
Whether you chose delicacies of the sea or a delicious truffle, the golden drops of the autochthonous Istarska Malvazija, the fragrant Momjan Muscat or ruby-coloured Teran that Casanova used to refresh himself with, these superb pleasures will stay in your memory forever.
Lovers of good food will also be on cloud nine here. Istria’s culinary offerings reveal themselves as hearty, fiery and intense. Traditionally, only regional ingredients such as meat, fish, aromatic spices, fresh herbs and seasonal vegetables are used in the typical dishes of the region. Two particular specialities are the domestic Boškarin beef with its unique flavour and the famous prawns from Kvarner Bay.
But the true culinary star is the Istrian truffle: aromatic and rich in micronutrients, it is said to have aphrodisiac qualities. In addition, the bountiful olive groves rightly suggest that the olive oil from this region counts among the best. Istria’s various quality wines are the perfect companion for all of these specialities. A visit to the many nearby wineries or regional farmers is a special experience. There is a lot to learn about the wine culture, hospitality and cuisine of Istria and about the combination of traditional rural life with the modern age.