Istria: a peninsula for everyone
Tourists looking for blue sea and deep green pinewood forests arrive here, many on our fast ferry from Venice to Croatia, and return home with their eyes filled with beauty. They are never let down. In this article, we will reveal some of the most interesting things about this peninsula and introduce you to Istria’s unexpected wonders so that you can choose the best activities for your perfect holiday.
Istria’s clear blue sea
Most people know Istria for its clear blue waters and dramatic rocks and cliffs. Premantura, the southernmost point in Istria, is an ancient town built on a narrow peninsula and it’s where you’ll find the Kamenjak Park. If you love vivid blue sea, this 30km stretch of coastline with its bays, beaches and remote coves will not disappoint.
Something special that you mustn’t miss is the Safari Bar, where you can refuel in the middle of the jungle, right next to the cliff. Perfect for families with children.
The wildest region of Istria
In Istria you can visit the Brijuni Islands National Park, the most beautiful marine park in Europe. This archipelago is a group of fourteen islands. Only Veliki Brijuni, the largest one, is inhabited and boasts a millennium of history following Roman and Byzantine colonisation.
An interesting fact: in the 19th century the island underwent dramatic deforestation, until a rich industrialist turned it into a natural oasis populated by non-native animals such as zebras, llamas and antelopes, which still live in the zoo to this day.
President Marshal Tito had a summer residence here, and now open to the public, it’s only one of the many reasons why celebrities are infatuated with this part of Istria.
Besides the seaside and other natural attractions, the picturesque Istrian villages are a unique alternative for visitors looking for local wonders.
Just one example is Vodnjan-Dignano, which has so many wonderful pieces of street art that you’ll come away with a sore neck from looking up so much.
What is it that makes Vodnjan-Dignano such a destination for street art? It’s because in 2013, a famous artist from Paris created a project to pay homage to his mother’s native village. The residents liked it so much that they wanted the murals to be painted onto their houses too.
Keep looking up and you’ll notice the bell tower, similar in appearance to St. Mark’s in Venice and the highest in Istria at around 60 metres.
But don’t leave yet! Every year around 16 thousand worshippers visit the parish church of St. Blaise, where the mummies of various saints and other important people are well-preserved. Surely that’s worth a visit!
Another fascinating and beautiful thing about Istria is its hiking, trekking and cycling trails through nature.
You could get as high as 1400m above sea level on a trekking trail overlooking the sea, or have a day trip cycling through vineyards and olive groves in the Poreč-Parenzo area.
photo credit http://www.istra.hr/
Have you ever experienced flying through the sky over a forest? If you want to get the adrenaline pumping, try the Pazinska Jama Zip Line and keep your eyes wide open to enjoy the view!
After so many adventures it’s time to refuel. If you love good food and wine, you should definitely indulge in a traditional local dinner.
Ever heard of vijulin?
No, we’re not talking about the musical instrument but rather about the famous sweet and unique Istrian-style ham that must be sliced gently, as if you were playing a violin.
For even more delight for your taste buds, enjoy a proper wine trail.
Some suggestions on Istrian culinary routes
Would you like to have everything you need to know about Istrian cuisine at your fingertips? Get an Istria Gourmet guide at any tourist information office or download the app: search for Istria Gourmet Guide – exciting Istrian gourmet routes.
In it, you’ll find the best restaurants and the famous konobe (taverns), and you’ll learn about local gourmet products such as extra virgin olive oil, wine, ham, cheese, truffle, honey and much more.
We are curious… which Istrian wonder are you most excited about? Leave a comment to let us know.