One week in Istria/Croatia – top things to do in Istria
We love Istria! Each year we try to visit this amazing peninsula in Croatia. It’s not too far from our hometown, just a 5-hour drive, so we are lucky to have this jewel just around the corner. Istria is easy to navigate, you can rent a car or take your own car like we did – anyway you need a car to visit all the great places. We recommend Croatia in June – the weather is wonderful at this time – not too hot for visiting all the lovely places but warm enough to do some sunbathing and swimming at some of the most beautiful beaches.
We stayed in an apartment in Banjole, not far away from Pula – with a gorgeous view to the sea and it was a great starting point for all our excursions.
Let’s explore the best sights! Here is our list of the best things to do in Istria:
Top things to do in Istria
Walking around the sea front of the peninsula Porec is pretty nice. There is the cute old town on one side and the deep blue Mediterranean Sea on the other side. Perfect to wander around, have some delicious coffee and inhale the relaxed atmosphere.
Did you know that Pula has one of the most complete Roman Amphitheater in the world? And the best thing is, it’s not touristy at all there. You will easily get a parking spot in Pula, even in front of the arena. Pula is a student city – so there are plenty of young people around and the vibe is amazing. You will find lots of budget restaurants and bars, and additionally you get spoiled with the ancient roman culture, like a Forum, the Arch of Sergii and the Temple of August.
Although Pula is the largest city in Istria, the nature is not far away. Like the Kamenjak National Park, which is just 15 minutes from the city center by car.
Rovinj is one of the top highlights of Croatia. It has a really picturesque old town, with colorful houses and a photogenic seafront. It is for sure one of the most beautiful coastal towns in Istria and not without reason has it become a great tourist destination. Since it’s quite busy there, we recommend to go to Rovinj for a half day trip. The most stunning views you find at the top of the hill where the Cathedral of St.Euphernia is located and the view from the harbor is also breathtaking, especially when it becomes evening. We loved Rovinj because it’s perfect for wandering around. You will find cute shops, tasty restaurants and funky coffee shops in each tiny street.
Cap Kamenjak NP – Premantura
The Kamenjak National Park with its gorgeous nature is our number one place for Istria and we highly recommend a visit. You could just stay a week in this area with bathing on a different beach every day. The park is accessible by car, so for us it was perfect to explore all the nature jewels. We also found some great cliffs for cliff jumping!
Numerous bays and some of the best beaches of Croatia are waiting for you to explore.
The countryside of Istria
Istria is famous for its coast but there are lots of cute villages in the interior to visit. There are beautiful small hill towns like Motovun, with just 500 residents. It’s beautifully located at the top of a hill and it’s a really pretty photo motive too. Bale is also worth a visit – the lonely planet calls it “one of Istria’s best-kept secrets” – and we liked it too! If you are a fan of adrenalin you should visit Pazin – there is a spectacular zip-line which crosses an impressive canyon. Additionally there is a beautiful secret waterfall, located a bit outside of Pazin. In Labin you will find a typical Croatian old town – wonderful to take some nice shots and just a few minutes away from Rabac – which has a nice beach and various hotels to stay at.
Bale is also worth a visit – the lonely planet calls it “one of Istria’s best-kept secrets” – and we liked it too!
Limski Fjord – Lim FJord
Located north of Rovinj the Lim Fjord is one of the most beautiful nature spots of the Istrian peninsula. From the observation platform you will have a fantastic view!
There are beautiful small hill towns like Motovun, with just 500 residents. It’s beautifully located at the top of a hill and it’s a really pretty photo motive too. For more infos check out the complete Guide for things to do in Motovun.
Labin & Rabac
In Labin you will find a typical Croatian old town – wonderful to take some nice shots and just a few minutes away from Rabac – which has a nice beach and various hotels to stay at.
Zarecki Krov Waterfall & Pazin
If you are a fan of adrenalin you should visit Pazin – there is a spectacular zip-line which crosses an impressive canyon. The village is cute and there is also nice castle to visit.
Just near Pazin, there is a hidden nature juwel – the Zarecki Krov Waterfall.
PlacesOfJuma – Insider Tips Istria
- Where to eat: Pizzaria Nepton in Pula, serves some good pizza and their meat plates are delicious
- Best sunset: Visit Rovinj for sunset – there are a few seafront bars with great sunset view
- Where to stay: Apartment with view
- Markets: visit the local fish market in Pula
- Parking in Pula is easy, best you take one in front of the Colosseum
- Fun: visit the Safari bar inside the Premantura Parc!
- Car rental: for moderate prices check out here.
- Flights: You will find some great deals online at Skyscanner.
Read more about Croatia:
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