Everything you need to know about a weekend trip to Istria, Croatia, and what to see and do in Istria.
For us, the triangle-shaped Istria peninsula was the perfect location for a romantic getaway. A couple of times already. 🙂
With its beautiful scenery of medieval hilltop towns, blue crystal waters of the Adriatic sea, excellent local wine, and gourmet food. We enjoyed the amazing mixture of green forests and coastal landscapes. Admired the rich history, full of ancient architectural sites. And couldn’t get enough of the famous local truffle mushrooms.
What to see and do in Istria
Groznjan – What to see and do in Istria
Known also as the “Town of artists”, due to its many galleries, sculptors, and art projects. We had fun strolling around, admiring the artistic vibe of the place, through the picturesque allies, colorful houses, and gardens. The town is also located on a hilltop which provides a great view of the region.
Hum – What to see and do in Istria
This medieval town is famous for being the smallest town in the world. With a population of fewer than 30 tenants, this tiny place has everything a town needs. Including residential houses, churches, a cemetery, and a defensive wall. The town has only 2 small streets and we covered everything quite fast.
The capital of the famous truffle mushrooms. In Motovun, you will find many shops and restaurants that sell the famous gourmet ingredient. We went for lunch and tried the local fuzi pasta dish, an Istrian classic. The homemade pasta came with freshly grated truffles, the aromas were intoxicating and the flavors unforgettable. It was so good that we were forcing ourselves to eat it as slowly as we can so it will last longer. 🙂
Besides truffles Motovun is worth visiting also because of its history, architecture, and beautiful views. The city is situated on an almost 300 meters hill and it is one of the most beautiful hilltop towns we ever saw.
This romantic town is also famous for the Motovun film festival every summer. The film festival makes the city alive and there is something going on on every corner.
A classic romantic city, located along the crystal water of the Adriatic sea. The main attraction is the old town, with its medieval-style streets and alleys. A beautiful poetic port and many hidden rocky beaches. The area is full of restaurants, caffès, ice cream vendors, and shops and attracts many tourists.
Dvigrad, just a few kilometers from Rovinj, is an ancient settlement with fairly well-preserved ruins. Once a lively medieval town, it is abandoned today. The ruins offer insight into the region’s history, allowing visitors to explore the old town center and picturesque surroundings.
During a visit to Dvigrad, you can freely explore the surroundings, including remnants of the old town center, churches, walls, and tower. This is an opportunity to discover historical artifacts and experience unique architecture that speaks to life in the Middle Ages.
Pula – What to see and do in Istria
Visit the Pula arena and the temple of Augustus. Get lost in the old town, have a coffee, and walk under the Arch of Sergius.
The biggest city in Istria and the region’s historical and cultural center. The city is full of ancient Roman buildings and monuments, and the highlight of it is the Pula Arena. The arena is one of the most well-preserved Colosseums in the world and is also very impressive due to its size.
Kamenjak – What to see and do in Istria
Kamenjak peninsula is the southernmost part of Istria. This beautiful nature park is surrounded by cliffs, rocky beaches, and clear turquoise water. Very hot in the summer, and there is very little shade. Along the coastline, there are many water caves to dive in and explore, snorkel and admire the marine life and reefs or just chill in the sun on the rocks.
Another fun attraction in the park is the ‘Safari bar’. The bar is beautifully made from plants and bamboo canes and has some special ‘amusement park rides’ like huge swings or a running wheel. All are made from natural materials. Perfect place to relax and have a drink.
One of the most popular natural attractions in Istria. This beautiful sea bay, covered by green trees and flora, is a meeting point of the Pazincica river and the Adriatic sea. Due to the special mix conditions of sea and river, there are numerous fish and shellfish species living in the water. Along the bay, there are some shellfish farms, so trying some fresh catch of the day is a very good idea.
The only national park in Istria that consists of fourteen small islands. It is only 15 minutes boat drive away from Fažana (a small town 8 km North of Pula) and well worth a visit! The parks offer many activities and sites to see including a safari with exotic animals from South America, Africa, and India.
The exotic animals came to Brijuni after the second world war when the islands were a summer vacation home for Josip Broz Tito. He hosted a lot of world leaders there and some of them brought him exotic animals for presents. Indira Gandhi for example brought him an elephant Lanka that still lives on the island.
Brijuni are a national park since 1983, soon after Tito passed away. You will be impressed by the outstanding nature and animals, living there!
Ucka Nature Park
The Učka Nature Park, nestled in the heart of Istria, is a true paradise for nature lovers and hikers. With its picturesque trails, lush forests, and stunning views, it offers an unforgettable experience for visitors of all ages. As they ascend to the 1396-meter summit of Vojak, towering above the Adriatic Sea, visitors can immerse themselves in the breathtaking views of the Istrian coastline. On clear days, the vistas extend all the way to Slovenia and Italy.
In addition to unforgettable panoramic views, the park offers numerous other activities such as mountain biking, climbing, and exploring the wonderful flora and fauna. With marked trails and well-equipped rest areas, the Učka Nature Park is an ideal place for relaxation and escape from the everyday hustle and bustle.
Istria – a perfect weekend trip
For us, living in Slovenia, Istria is a perfect weekend trip. Especially off-season when it’s cold in Ljubljana and sunny in some Istrian coastal towns. Istria’s beautiful nature, romantic towns, sun, and delicious food make Istria so popular among people. We like it so much and there is so much to see and do in Istria that we made a decision to try to visit it at least once a year!