During long, dark winter afternoons it is easy to daydream about holidays, warm, sun-bathed days, and carefree moments. When you look back at the places you visited last year, which one did you like the most? For me, without a doubt, it was Istria in Croatia.
The largest peninsula on the Adriatic Sea, Istria, has changed ownership many times throughout the ages. Nowadays, the region is shared between three countries: Croatia, Slovenia, and Italy. The largest part of Istria lies within Croatian borders.
Istria's cultural diversity and historical richness can still be admired in ancient and medieval buildings that have survived till this day. Add to this the warm Mediterranean climate, crystal-blue waters, and delicious cuisine. Istria seems like a perfect combination of all you need for a leisure holiday with a possibility to experience some history.
Let's begin in Pula
. Here, you will arrive by plane and can pick up a car from the airport so that you can be independent on your travels. In the city centre, the Romans erected the Pula Arena between 27 BC - 68 AD. It is one of the best preserved Roman amphitheatres where gladiator fights took place. The image of 23,000 spectators cheering the gladiators comes alive when you stand in the middle of the Pula Arena. The Forum, the city's main square, can be reached by foot in 15 minutes. This is where you can admire the Temple of August with Corinthian columns built in the first century. The city hall, cafés and restaurants rest on the square-shaped main market place; here you can sip your coffee or enjoy a meal.
In just a little less than an hour, you can reach Rovinj, a port city with a picturesque old town seated on a peninsula. Colourful homes nestled at the port shore and tiny cobbled streets invite you to a world where time passes slower. There are no cars here, people simply walk or drive mopeds. Here you are left to explore at your own pace.
Another pearl of the Adriatic, Poreč
, is only an hour drive away from Rovinj. It is also a port city where you are supplied with fresh seafood every day. Here again, the old town is free of traffic. This allows you to stroll leisurely and enjoy the historic city. While there, do not miss the opportunity to visit the city's UNESCO World Heritage Site - the beautiful Euphrasian Basilica from the sixth century - to admire Byzantine mosaics and have a look over the city's red roofs and the blue sea...
Explore Istria on your own and discover your favourite places!