According to Cached Health, the Istrian peninsula is located on the Adriatic Sea between the Gulf of Trieste and the Kvarner. Istria once belonged to Italy, but today it falls under Croatian territory. The most famous places are Pula, Porec and Rovinj. The kilometre-long coastline provides beautiful beaches and cozy bays, where you can sunbathe and/or snorkel. Istria is also a wonderful destination to visit in terms of natural beauty. You can visit the caves of Beredine, but also the underground river ‘Pazincica’ near Pazin is a valuable tip. You can then shop in attractive cities such as Pula. You will not find really large shopping centers in Istria. But there are plenty of nice shops. Croatian wines from this region are worth recommending. The conditions are therefore excellent for the grapes to grow. The better restaurants are happy to pour a suitable wine for you. Because eating and drinking is clearly an important matter in Istria.
Top 10 sights of Istria
#1. Amphitheater of Pula
The Roman amphitheater of the city of Pula, built in the first century BC, is a beautiful sight to see. Blood-curdling but also blood-shedding tournaments were once held here, with room for more than twenty thousand spectators. Because the amphitheater ‘Pulski Amfiteatar’ is built against a hill, the front has three floors and the side against the slope only two. Today, the Pula amphitheater is used for a different kind of entertainment, namely music concerts and festivals such as the Pula Film Festival.
#2. Brioni Islands
Just off the west coast of the Istrian peninsula are a number of islands. The Brioni Islands have become known thanks to the former Yugoslav president Josip Broz, aka Tito. This leader lived on the island of Veli Brioni or Veli Brijuni. His close ties with various movie stars and influential people from around the world brought him fame as he invited them to his home. In addition to an animal park, you will also find ruins of a Roman villa, an archaeological museum and various sports options such as golf in the Bijuni Islands National Park. Other well-known Brioni islands include Mali Brijun, Krasnica, Kozada, Sveti Jerolim, Galija, Gaz, Pusti Otok and Grunj. From Fažana, the islands can be reached within fifteen minutes. But there are many more islands to discover in the Adriatic Sea off the coast of Croatia.
#3. Temple of Augustus
There are valuable sights to visit in the historic city of Pula. The Temple of Augustus is one of them. The six-columned temple was commissioned by Emperor Augustus. And he himself also decided to name the shrine after himself. At the time, temples were seen as an important place for citizens to gather. Today it is used as an exhibition space.
#4. Euphrasius Basilica in Porec
In the coastal town of Prorc you can admire a basilica built in Byzantine style. The Basilica of Saint Euphrasius was built in the sixth century by order of Bishop Euprasius. The many mosaics in particular are a feast for the eyes. The basilica stands next to the bishop’s palace, which now houses a museum. From the bell tower you have a spectacular view of the city and the harbor. Since 1997, the Euphrasian Basilica has been a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
The mountain village of Monkodonja is not very much in principle. Most visitors come here to admire the archaeological sites. In the archaeological park of Monkodonja you can admire the remains that belonged to a settlement from the Bronze Age. Several artifacts found here indicate close connections with the Mycenaean civilization from Greece. This civilization is considered by many to be the first civilization in Europe.
The Croatian city of Rovinj in Istria is known for the Summer Salsa Festival, the delicious wines from the region, the wooded area of Zlatni Rt and monumental sights in the city center. A walk through the streets of Rovinj will soon reveal similarities with the Italian city of Venice. The typical Venetian style is a heritage from history and you see it often. The atmospheric narrow streets immediately give you a pleasant feeling. The residents are also very hospitable. Interesting sights are the St. Euphemia’s Church, the museum ‘Zavicajni muzej grada Rovinja’ and the daily local market.
#7. Veliki Brijun
The large island of Veliki Brijun is part of the Brioni Islands in the Adriatic Sea. Veliki Brijun was the home of the president of the former Yugoslavia after World War II, Josip Broz, also known as Tito. More than once he had influential and famous people over who enjoyed all the beauty that the island has to offer. They often brought an exotic animal for the president as a present. This collection was the beginning of what we now call the Veliki safari park. In the National Park Brijuni you can also walk a dinosaur trail, play golf, walk through the Brijuni Gardens and visit old churches like St. Germaine.
#8. The Red Island
About fifteen minutes by boat from Rovinj you reach the Red Island ‘Crveni otok’. It is one of the best beaches in the region. Although the beaches consist mainly of pebble and rocky beaches, they are also very popular with the locals. The Red Island is actually a composite of the two islands Sveti Andrija and Maskin. The Maskin part is mainly used by naturists. Although the island bears the name red, it is actually a predominantly green island. The many pine trees are very pleasant on the sometimes very hot summer days.
The fishing village of Vrsar is also located on the coast of Istria. Adventurers will have a great time in Vrsar, as you can practice all kinds of water sports or other sporting activities. Vrsar itself has a number of beautiful viewpoints, including those from the clock tower, a lovely beach, a promenade along the sea and a more than ten hectare sculpture park ‘Dušan Džamonja’. For many visitors, the historic buildings such as the Basilica of St. Mary, the gate ‘Stara romanicka vrata’ and the church ‘Crkca Sv. Foske’.
#10. The Cave of Baredine
During the sometimes very hot summer days in Istria, it is recommended to take a walk in the thousands of years old Baredine cave. The cave is located a few kilometers from the town of Porec and has been open to the public since 1995. With a descent of about sixty to eighty meters you pass a number of rooms that are richly decorated with stalagmites and stalactites.