Istria could arguably be the most amazing region located in Croatia. Croatia is a country located in Eastern Europe. This culturally diverse region is home to over a thousand unique islands. Istria is the most western region of Croatia. This area of land is the largest peninsula in the Adriatic Sea. Istria is home to more than 208,000 ethnically diverse inhabitants. We are happy to share with you some of the best places to stop on your journey to Istria, the best local cuisine, and the most effective route to take!
To get into Istria, you have a few options. Unless you are flying, to get to Istria you can take a bus or ferry. Assuming, you aren’t driving your own car. Train services are also available to Istria, but not once you get inside the region. A key feature that is important to remember is that the main highways in Istria form a “Y”: the Istrian Y. These main highways connect the coastal towns to the more populated inner towns. This motorway is the fastest to get around, but it is not always the most scenic. If you want something with more of a coastal feel, try venturing off the best path and take a side road. These roads will still get you to your destination, but it will take more time. We think it might be worth it though!
Our Recommended Spots
Rovinj: This beautiful historical fishing town is on the western coast of Istria. This small town of around 14,000 was originally an island off the coast of Croatia captured by the Romans from the Venetians. The tiny channel that separated the banks of Croatia from Rovinj was then filled in. The narrow and bustling streets make traveling by scooter a preferred option when in Rovinj.The winding cobblestone streets lead to a hilltop church: St. Euphemia. There are spectacular views off the shore and even a town museum to stop into.
Novigrad: This quaint little town is nestled on the western coast of Istria. It is even smaller than Rovinj, with a population of around 3,000. Novigrad preserves it’s medieval history with tangled streets and tiny shops to peek your head into. Some of the architecture that can be found resembles Venetian Gothic styles. Pinesta Beach is a short walk from town and has food joints nearby. It is a lovely spot to get your feet wet and even go for a swim. This coastal town also has a marinemuseum you can visit.
Hum: If you thought Novigrad was small, let us introduce you to the town of Hum: population 21. It is located in the central part of Istria. Guinness World Records has listed this mysterious place as the smallest town in the world. On the west, the town is completely surrounded by large walls. Houses were then built into these walls. A copper door is what you pass through to enter this charming town, of which there are only two streets to walk down. In it’s glory days, Hum had a train station and a bell tower. Hum has quaint little shops, a few small eateries, and a winery.
Where to eat
Meneghetti: Enjoy luxury and a rustic, idyllic background when you dine at the Meneghetti Wine Estate, also a hotel. The restaurant features an elevated version of traditional Croatian cuisine featuring the best of local ingredients and featuring olive oil grown on the property and wine produced at the estate. This award winning restaurant is run by chefs Danijela Pifar and Bojan Vuković.
HERITAGE | Croatian Street Food & Shop: If you want amazing local food that won’t break the bank, HERITAGE is the place to stop. They pride themselves on giving visitors a true Croatian food experience. This cute little shop and diner is located in Zagreb, which is on the eastern side of Istria. They have a diverse menu, but also feature Croatian comfort foods and simple sandwiches that taste delicious. Grab a sub and a glass of their amazing blackberry wine.
La Puntalina: This extravagant restaurant, which by the way has amazing views of the Adriatic Sea, makes it home in Rovinj. La Puntalina is a relatively new restaurant, having opened it’s doors in 2004. But, it has a unique story. The owners of this restaurant didn’t want to sell their home, so they instead converted it into La Puntalina. The food on their menu changes seasonally, ensuring fresh and local food is used during preparation. If you are looking for a fine dining coastal experience, book a reservation!
Where to stay
Hotel Lone: The Hotel Lone is located in Rovinj and is a modernist and minimalist marvel tucked away into the hills of the gorgeous natural surroundings. Its conveniently located in walking distance from the heart of the city. The hotel also offers an elegant buffet spread for all its guests.
Hotel Istria: This hotel is located in Rovinj. It is specifically located on Sveti Andrija, a tiny island with a gorgeous view of the Adriatic Sea. It has modern bedrooms, which feature private balconies. This beachfront hotel comes equipped with tennis courts and a spa.
Hotel Village Eugenia: You will fall in love with this boutique hotel not from just the luxurious outside, but the attention to detail on the inside as well. This historic building is located in Lovran. It is only 50 meters from the beach and has a beautiful garden that guests can relax in. The rooms at Hotel Village Eugenia are modern, but charming.