You simply cannot remain indifferent once you have seen Istria. Its fascinating landscapes, medieval towns which surge in the foggy mornings as if by magic, views on the dormant valleys, intertwined with white footpaths, tales, fables, legends, a rich history and irresistalbe delicacies are all a guarantee of intense pleasure for all senses. Istria offers a wide range of activities which provide you with many possibilities and combinations for your holidays. The countryside with its history and the green areas gives an opportunity for many sports, adrenaline and other nature activities, while the coastline and its romantic cities, with its scent of the sea and rich gastronomy offer a real summer holiday experience.
We suggest the following tours: Istrian coastline – Opatija – Pula – Brijuni – Porec – Rovinj – Limski kanal (Lim canal)
Opatija- Town situated in the Bay of Kvarner, on the edge of the Mediterranean Sea. To say that this destination has a 160-year-long tradition will suffice. It is very often called the Croatian Monte Carlo, and is characteristic for its old Austro-Hungarian villas, parks, the promenade Lungo Mare, and its exquisite patisseries and cafés. It was built at the turn of the 20th century, and it has kept its harmony with nature to date. In 1889 it becomes an acclaimed health resort. In Opatija you can feel the spirit of the past reflected in its hotels with high ceilings, cafés which offer an experience that cannot leave you indifferent, and the walk along the promenade Lungo Mare which recalls memories of the past and creates a sense of connection with the people you encounter along the way.
Lungo mare in Opatija is a renowned 12km long promenade by the sea which links various towns of the Opatija Riviera: Volosko, Opatija, Icici, Ika and Lovran. The construction of the promenade started in 1885, and it coincided with the opening of the first hotels. It was finished in 1889 – the year in which Opatija became an acclaimed health resort. Many monuments are to be found along the path dedicated to distinguished persons who resided in Opatija. The central park in Opatija is a horticultural monument covering an area of 3.64 ha. It is divided into 60 different sectors, in which around 150 plant species were planted. A large number of plants come from far away places and are not typical for this climate.
Pula – The biggest Istrian town, which is best known for its antique building – the Roman amphitheatre. Pula’s rich history, which is present in every street corner, made it one of Croatian jewels, and its ancient buildings that are cared for throughout the year attract many visitors. Pula is, as is the rest of the region; well known for its mild climate, calm sea, and untouched nature. The town has a long tradition in viticulture, fishing, shipbuilding and tourism. Apart from that Pula is a transit port and has been the administrative centre of Istra from the Roman times.
The amphitheatre is the best known and the most important monument, a building where all the city tours start and end. It is very often called the Arena of Pula – the building which used to host gladiator fights. It was built in 1st century A.D. during the reign of the Emperor Vespasian, at the same time as the magnificent Colosseum in Rome.
The ground plan is elliptical, the longer axis measuring approx. 130 m and the shorter one 100 m. Gladiator fights took place in the central flat area called the arena, while the spectators could sit on the stone tiers, or stand in the gallery. It is believed that the Amphitheatre could seat about 20,000 spectators. Local limestone was used for its construction. In the Middle Ages it was the site of knight tournaments and fairs. Today it is the venue for summer festivals and can seat about 5,000 spectators. The underground passages, once used by the gladiators, hold a permanent exhibition titled Viticulture and olive growing in Istria in ancient times. The exhibits include reconstructions of machines which were once used for the production of olive oil and wine (mills, presses, sedimentation recipients) and amphoras used for olive oil and wine storage and transport.
- Amphitheatre visit:
- Ticket price:
Walk through the forest park Sijana
The park forest Sijana is situated only two kilometres from Pula’s city centre. The narrow winding paths are ideal for walking and trekking enthusiasts. The Sijana park forest covers an area of 152 square metres and it is characteristic for its examples of deciduous trees and conifers. There is a legend that is connected with the Sijana park. On Good Friday of 1271, members of the wealthy Castropola family of Pula were killed by the conspirators. The loyal servant only managed to save the son of the family and hide him in the Franciscan monastery where he was brought up. Later, to show his gratitude, the grown up son gave the park Sijana to the monastery. At the beginning of 20th century it was named Kaiserwald (The Imperial Forest), and used as leisure and recreation grounds of the Austro-Hungarian gentry and army.
- Expert guide (minimum 25 pax)
- Price per person: KN 30 kn (children up to 15 years of age KN 20)
The National park Brijuni The National park Brijuni consists of 14 islands and islets. It was called paradise on earth due to its well-developed coastline, an abundant flora and fauna and rich history. In 1983 Brijuni was proclaimed as a national park. The beauty of Brijuni lies in its many islands and endemic plants. Besides nature, there is a rich archeological site and other historic treasures – from dinosaur remains to the cultural and historic ancestry of the people who used to inhabit this area. Main transport on these islands consists of an electric train and an electric car, which were previously used exclusively by golfers but now they can be used by all visitors, and bikes. Brijuni are renowed for its long golfing tradition. Other popular sports activities are tennis, biking and walking. The uniqueness of these islands lies in that you can perform these activities and be surrounded by fallow deer, moufflons, rabbits, peacocks and other animals that pass in the distance.
The boat to Brijuni leaves from a small village Fazana. The archaeological and other sites located away from the island’s centre can be visited by train: the Veriga Bay with the remnants of a Roman villa rustica from the 1st century A.D., as well as the safari park that is home to many animals, such as zebras, Somali sheep, humped zebu cattle, dromedary camels, llamas and elephants. The archaeological museum, located in a Venetian castle dating back to 16th century, and the small Gothic Church of St. German from 15th century which holds a permanent display of fresco replicas, and Glagolitic monuments of Istria, a natural science collection and a photographic collection are all included in the toured guide in Croatian, Italian, German, Russian and English.
- the duration is approximately 3.5 hours
- price: KN 210
- children up to 14 years of age, KN 105
Golf is played on the unique golf course from 1922 which carried the title of one of the biggest and most beautiful golf courts of the time. The court has 18 holes (PAR 71, SSS 71), length 5,486 m (length for ladies – 4,977m). The teeing ground is not too demanding, and it is accessible to all players (both recreational and professional). The fairways are wide and can allow mistakes during the game. Among the hazards, there are bunkers, woods and single trees, bushes and water hazards. The golf course is open all year round.
- Price: from KN 220/1 day
Porec -The town is situated on the west coast of the Istrian peninsula. As many other Istrian towns, Porec has a rich antique history. It belongs to towns that are lead contributors to the tourist industry of Istria. The grounds of the Euphrasian Basilica from 5th century A.D. got an extension on the site of the old church in 6th century under the Bizantine rule, and it represents the most important and valuable cultural monument of Porec. In 1997 it received the status of UNESCO protected world heritage site. Porec is a town, ideal for a holiday, in which you can feel the all the blessings of Istria. With its rich variety of activities, it is one of the most desired tourist destinations. Porec offers excellent tourist packs and even more than that – a holiday experience which still hasn’t been written on the pages of your tourist guidebooks. An experience of Croatia which will leave you with indelible memories.
Baredine cave is a protected geomorphic natural site. It is situated near the village Nova Vas, on the outskirts of Porec. The visit to the cave brings you an experience of the mysterious play of nature which has lasted for thousands of years and is far away from the light and the human eye. This cave holds an abundant exemplary of stalagmites and stalactites, underground sculptures made by the patient, centuries long labour of the underground water. You can find stunning speleothem formations, from which the most prominent are ten metre long curtains, a very realistic “sculpture” of the Virgin Mary, the body of the shepherdess Milka, the tower of Pisa, and a snowman which has become the trademark of this cave. The cave’s depth below the surface is at 132 metres, together with the underground lakes, whose depth reaches up to 30 metres. The air temperature in the cave is of 14 degrees Celsius. In one of the halls you pass by a 4 metre large and 66 metres deep crater that leads to the lakes. Such a site is present in 5 halls, and is then followed by the next 5 halls with abstract and realistic sculptures. The tour through the cave takes approximately 40 minutes of leisurely walk along the 300-metre- long footpath. The special treat of this adventure is the encounter with the underground animal world – the olm, an endemic animal which lives in these karst areas.
- Duration: 40 minutes
- Price: KN 60
Rovinj – Romantic – is the best word that can be used to describe this town. It has a rich historic tradition and a Mediterranean feel, and the moments experienced there will be engraved in your memory. You can experience romantic sunsets and walks by the sea, and taste first class fish delicacies. The old town-centre is situated on a peninsula. The Rovinj archipelago includes 22 islets of which St Andrew and St Catherine are the biggest and the most beautiful ones. The protected natural sites are especially valuable and around the Rovinj area these encompass the islands and the coastline from the islet of St John to the Two Sisters, the sea and the underwater world of the Lim canal and bay, the Punta Corrente forest, the marshland Palud, Romualdo cave on the eastern side of the Lim canal and others.
In the area of Rovinj there are three marked biking trails adapted for amateur bikers, and they draw attention because of the numerous cultural and natural attractions which can be encountered along the way.
- 1. Vistrum trail – all paths are circular and marked with different colours. The starting point of each trail is marked in red and is 23 kilometers long. The start is at the entrance to the Zlatni Rt, Golden Cape forest park.
- 2. Limes trail – a trail marked in blue, 26 km long. It starts at the tourist village Amarin.
- 3. Rubinum trail – yellow trail, 24 km long, starts in the autocamp Polari.
Birdwatching in a special ornithological sanctuary Palud – Palu’ is an all year round activity. Spring migration covers the period from February to April. From May until the middle of July is the season of nesting, then followed by the migration of small marsh birds, which is the most attractive period for birdwatching. Autumn migration lasts from September till the end of December, while January provides a good period for observation of wintering birds. Over the years, 219 bird specias have been registered there. There is an observation post along the footpath which provides undisturbed birdwatching in their natural habitat and behaviour: during feeding time, nesting, rest and socialization. There is also an info centre with a small permanent photographic bird exhibition from Palud. Rallus aquaticus is the trademark of this ornithological sanctuary.
- Birdwatch expert guide
- Price: KN 50
- Duration: 2 hours
- The Price includes birdwatching equipment
Lim canal Situated on the north coast of Istria, it is one of the most beautiful natural heritage sites of the Istrian peninsula. Lim canal is a sunken canyon valley. It stretches out on more than 10 km of valley area with the depth of 30 metres and the width of the bay of 600m in the widest part. It is famous for local mussel growing. It has the status of a protected site, so fishing, either in motorized boats or by diving, is forbidden. On the northern side of the valley there is a rock suitable for freeclimbing lovers, and visited daily in the summer months. On the southern side, not far from the port and the restaurant, at an altitude of 100 metres there is Romuald’s cave, in which various church rituals were held from 11th century onwards. According to the legend, Romualdo was a priest who lived a life of a hermit. The founding of the nearby Benedictine abbey of St Michael is also attributed to him. The Lim canal is yet another Croatian jewel, and a unique natural phenomenon, and thus needs to be included in the holiday programme for those who stay in Istria.
Romuald’s cave – is situated in the Lim canal on the southern slope of the hill of St. Martin. Named after St Romuald a hermit who, according to the legend, lived there. When Romuald of Ravenna came to our region, at the turn of the millennium, he had already been known for his miracles and clairvoyance. From 1001 till 1002 Romuald, the former member of the Benedictine order and later founder of the Camaldolese order, built an abbey in the Monastery above the Lim canal. After its completion, he decided to dedicate himself to the life of a recluse and thus left in 1002 for the nearby cave above the seashore of the Lim canal. The uniqueness of Romuald’s cave is the decoration inside the cave which can be found only on the left side, while the right side is bare. The temperature inside the cave is between 14 and 17 degrees Celsius. There were also found bones from the Pleistocene Age, and evidence that humans lived there in the late Stone Age. Now, there lives a large colony of bats.
- Ticket price: KN 30 for adults; KN 15 – children up to 15 years of age.