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The most beautiful sights and places in Istria, Croatia

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Istria is a region in northern Croatia that many call the most beautiful part of the country. With its romantic towns, beautiful coastlines, many islands, delicious food, its location right on the Adriatic Sea and beautiful inland areas, Istria is an ideal vacation destination. The huge peninsula has a lot of beautiful sights. Actually, I can only say one thing: Istria in Croatia is beautiful. Here you can read all about the best things to do in Istria Croatia and the best Istrian sights.

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Start your trip through Istria in the harbor town of Umag

If you travel from Venice or Trieste to Istria I recommend you to check “avoid toll roads and highways” on your navigation. A toll vignette is required for Slovenia, but only if you actually drive on high ways. If you avoid them, then a vignette is not necessary. Umag is one of the first Istrian highlights you will encounter on your way and where you should definitely make a (short) stop.

Umag is a historic port town and is one of the least touristy destinations in Istria that we have been to. The town is only small and completely surrounded by a beautiful blue sea.

Hotel recommendation Umag: B&B Carmela

Umag Istria
Umag Istria
Umag Croatia

The romantic town of Istria: Rovinj

Rovinj is one of the most popular towns in Istria and I can be very brief about one thing: It’s beautiful! Although you certainly won’t have Rovinj to yourself, you can easily spend two days here wandering through the small alleys. One view is even more beautiful than the other. The city is not called the pearl of Istria for nothing. According to many Croatians we spoke to, Pula is the cultural city of Istria and Rovinj the romantic city.

Hotel recommendation Rovinj: Spirato Santo Palazzo Storico

Rovinj Istria
Rovinj Istria

Cultural capital Pula

Pula is the largest city in Istria and is also called the cultural capital. In particular, the huge amphitheater built by the Romans thousands of years ago is one of the most important Istrian sights. But not only the amphitheater (Pula Arena) is worth a visit. Culture lovers can also indulge themselves at the Temple of Augustus and the Forum of Pula. Furthermore, the city offers excellent shopping and you can enjoy beautiful views of the Adriatic Sea.

Purchase your Pula Arena Entrance Ticket online.

Pula

Visit the Limski Zaljev reserve

If you drive from Poreč to Rovinj and choose the option “avoid highways” you will automatically pass by this fantastic place in Istria. The Limski Zaljev Reserve, or Limski Fjord. You can enjoy beautiful views when you drive towards the town of Vrsar. The Limski Zaljev River flows into the sea 5 kilometers before Rovinj. But before the river reaches the sea it becomes a fjord 10 kilometers long and 500 meters wide. You can also drive down and enjoy a picnic by the water. This place is one of the most beautiful Istrian sights, as far as we are concerned.

Limski Zaljev Reserve
Limski Zaljev reserve

The artist town of Grožnjan

The coastline of Istria is spectacular, but the inland areas are just as beautiful. With green mountain peaks, fantastic views and picturesque villages. Grožnjan is located about 20 kilometers southeast of Umag and the road to it is beautiful. The village is especially overrun by artists and other creatives during the summer months. What you should definitely do in Istria is make a detour. Enjoy the green inlands.

Grožnjan

Poreč is one of the most famous seaside resorts in Istria and is especially in the summer flooded with tourists. But don’t let that scare you off. Poreč is definitely worth a visit. For example during a stop on the way from Grožnjan to Rovinj as we did. Here you will find the cutest alleys and one and all coziness. You can park your car just outside the historic center for 2 kuna per hour. Do you like to spend a few days in Poreč? Then compare all accommodations in Poreč here. From Poreč it is also possible to make a day trip to the Italian city of Venice.

Porec
Porec
Porec
Istria Croatia

How to get to Istria, Croatia

The region of Istria can be discovered in many ways. If you want to fly to Istria, you can choose for flights to the airports of Trieste or Venice (Italy) or Rijeka, Zadar or Zagreb (Croatia). From one of these airports you can rent a car to discover Istria. The distances in Istria are small, so you can admire many of the most beautiful places in Istria in a short period of time. The best way to discover Istria is by renting a car at the airport. For car rental in Croatia we recommend Alamo or RentalCars.com.

Find cheap flights to Croatia

From Croatia’s capital Zagreb it takes about three hours drive to Pula, the largest city in Istria. To the second city of the country, Split, it is about five hours by car.

What do you think are the most beautiful places in Istria, Croatia?