Why you should visit Istria

Istria in the north west is a green peninsula with a close cultural tie to northern Italy. The region is best known for its Venetian era port towns of Porec and Rovinj. The hills of the interior are planted with vineyards.

Ideal for a low key gastronomy holiday with some hiking and culture included, Istria attracts discerning visitors from Austria and Italy. Some say Istria is the best kept secret in Croatia and remains relatively undiscovered. Come and find out for yourself. 

A little more about Istria

Istria is a land of great tradition. Ancient Romans among their territories selected the best areas for each product: wheat, fish, wine, oil, fruits and vegetables ... Istria was selected as one of the most important areas for wine and oil. Today wine and creative cookery is having a resurgence and a handful of innovative vineyards and olive groves have opened their doors to tourism. They offer well executed sommelier classes and creative cookery lessons.

Istria is also renowned for truffles, holding the world record for the largest truffle found near Buje. Truffle tours give a brief introduction to the history of truffles as well as learning how to prepare truffles accompanied by the famous local wines, Malvazija (white) or Teran (red). Go out with the specially trained dogs in the woods.

Time your visit to attend the truffle festival in Buzet during November or the Open Wine Cellar Day, held in the last week of May to mark World Wine Day when there are flowing wines at free public tastings.

 Our Specialists Must Do

• Join a truffle hunt with a family in the forests around Motovun
• Absorb the three-thousand-year old history of Pula and Rovinj
• Take a tour of Istria’s century old wineries on authentic Istrian estates
• Spend time at Plitvice National Park – a site of natural beauty
• Don’t be scared to go off piste and visit smaller villages such as Bale

Our Travel Experts Top Tips

Most visitors never think of visiting Istria. We love Villa Meneghetti, a secluded and tiny family-run hotel with a fabulous restaurant, in the middle of olive groves and vineyards. Think Tuscany without the crowds or the high prices!

At the family-run konoba, Astarea Brtonigla, close to Porec, the fresh seafood is cooked over an open fire. The owner can usually be found in the dining room, greeting guests and talking to regulars—many of whom are Italians who’ve driven across the border just for the delicious food.

Istria or Dalmatia? We have found  Istria to be better value than the Dalmatian Coast — and far cheaper than what you’d pay for a similar environment in Italy or France. Croatia may have been discovered by the masses, but it’s still very competitive compared to much of Western Europe.

When to go

Visit in May when the temperatures are warm but the tourist numbers are low but keep in mind that the Adriatic Sea doesn’t heat up until July or August. If you’re not looking to swim too much, or if you don’t mind cold water, you’ll be very happy visiting in late May.

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