Istrian peninsula, also known as a Tuscany of Croatia is one of its most beautiful parts. It is a great mixture of a beautiful Mediterranean coastline and the inland full of vineyards, olive trees and a small hills with a Medieval towns on them.
The best way to explore it is by car because this will gave you the opportunity to wonder from town to town and explore its great cuisine and history.
#1 – Pula
Istra’s biggest city has rich history that goes back to Prehistory times. Well preserved amphitheater (Arena), triumphal arch, forum and theater originates from Roman times. The city itself has a great Mediterranean architecture, but also a lot of bars and restaurants where you can try local food.
A nice beaches can be found in a part of a city called Verudela.
# – An insider tip: Every day during the summer season there is a boat that can transfer you to the small nearby islands called Fratarski otoci. There you can enjoy clear almost turquoise sea far from the city crowd.
#2 – Poreč
With a rich heritage from Roman times, a town of Poreč is definitely worth visiting. Be sure to visit Eufrazijeva bazilika, a complex made in late Antiquity with the influences of Byzantine art.
#3 – Rovinj
Definitely a gem of Istria! The old town is situated in a small peninsula on a top of which the church of St. Eufemia is placed. It is full of narrow streets that becomes an open-air art galleries through the summer. With a rich fishermen tradition, paying a visit to one of its restaurants is a must!
#4 – Motovun
The Medieval town Motovun is situated on a top of one of the hills in the inland of Istria. You should definitely take a walk through its walls and enjoy the view. During the July a movie festival is organized there so you can watch the movies on open air at the main town square.
#5 – Grožnjan
The legend says that the small towns placed on the top of the hills in Istria were built by giants. One of the most beautiful of them is Grožnjan. The town that was almost abandon at the middle of the 20th century, was inhabited with artist later on, whom opened their shops here.
A town of the artists should definitly found a place at your list!
# – Where is it? Google maps link
# – Tips: One of the best Croatian restaurants – Konoba Batelina is situated in a small Istrian town Banjole. Its chef David Skoko is preparing only fresh fish catch at this day.