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Istria is situated on a heart-shaped peninsula, the largest in the Adriatic which is shared by Croatia, Slovenia and Italy. Here you will find rolling hills and fertile plains, olive groves and vineyards, an indented coastline of rocky coves and secluded beaches and some of the most beautiful towns and villages in Croatia. Istria isn't crowded with tourists; it manages to retain its old-world charm and many flock here for the region's gastronomic delights.

Things to do in Istria

There are so many fascinating places to visit whilst on your villa holiday in Istria. Rovinj is an incredibly picturesque fishing port in the west of the region with distinct red roofs, brightly painted buildings, narrow cobbled streets and an historic cathedral, the largest Baroque building in Istria.

Discover Porec, a popular summer resort known for its quaint historic old town, elegant buildings and two beautiful bays. Visit the wonderfully preserved 6th-century Euphrasian Basilica and see the gleaming gold mosaics. 

Located near historic Pula, Vodnjan is another beautiful and quaint town with winding narrow cobbled streets, colourful street art, Italianate buildings, historic churches and Gothic, Venetian Renaissance and Baroque streets. This is a sleepy town, half Croatian and half Italian, with a pleasant atmosphere that has not changed for centuries that has friendly cafes and restaurants that serve traditional Istrian dishes.

There is also the hilltop town of Labin which enjoys wonderful panoramic views of rocky Cres Island and the lush countryside below. Explore the quaint old town on the hill, with its maze of cobbled lanes and houses huddled together, and the new town at the bottom of the hill complete with interesting shops and boutiques for those must-have souvenirs. Our villas in Istria are perfectly positioned to explore all that this beautiful peninsula has to offer

Rovinj coast in Croatia
Ampitheatre in Pula Croatia

History and culture in Istria

The lovely region of Istria was originally populated by the Roman Histri tribe. Like all of Croatia it has a long and turbulent history. It has been in the hands of the Venetian Republic, the Habsburg Monarchy, part of the Napoleonic Kingdom of Italy, the Austria Empire and Yugoslavia before Croatia declared its independence in 1991.

Family holidays in Istria

Children will be delighted by a visit to Postojna Cave, the best-known cave in the world, and The Predjama Castle, the only preserved cave castle in Europe. This is the only place in the world where the underground caves system can be navigated by an electric train. 

Visit the Baredine Caves to see the amazing stalactites, stalagmites and underground lakes, and enjoy a day at the incredible Aqua Colors Porec, the largest waterpark in Croatia which has 13 waterslides, two large pools and playgrounds. 

Children may be fascinated by the imposing Baroque 18th Century Church of St Blaise in Vodnjan, not because of its 62-metre tall bell tower, but the mummified bodies of the saints inside. There is also fun to be had following the trail of the city's colourful street murals. There is also the excellent water park, Istralandia, which is fun for all the family and children of all ages. We have villas that are perfect for families, which complement the fun filled family days out, just waiting for you to discover.

Boat tours are available from Pula to Brijuni National Park, which are great for seeking out the local wildlife. Plus, the Roman amphitheatre and fortress in Pula town itself is a fascinating place to run around, explore and let little imaginations run wild. Our villas with private pools are the perfect base for exploring everything that Istria has to offer

Rovinj views of coastline Croatia
Sunrise in Pula Croatia

Adventurous activities in Istria

Cycling is a big thing in this part of Croatia, and especially in Rovinj, and it has attracted cyclists from all around the world for many years. There are hundreds of trails of various length and difficulty levels, so whether you are a novice or an old hand at cycling you will find something to suit your ability. 

More adventurous activities are available throughout this region, including kayaking tours of Cape Kamenjak, and snorkelling and diving in the clear azure waters of Adriatic. You can also spend the day dolphin-watching off the coast. 

Romance in Istria

Istria is a very romantic region and there are so many opportunities to watch the sunset with a cocktail from your villa with private pool. All of our villas for couples come equipped with everything you could possibly need. Board a boat in Rovinj and sail to the romantic city of Venice for the day, a memorable experience that is sure to spark romance. Take an evening stroll down The Decumanus, the main street in Porec and enjoy a delicious meal in one of the many restaurants. Afterwards why not explore the old streets of Porec in a carriage pulled by working donkeys? You can also visit Stancija Bursic and enjoy traditional prosciutto and olive oil tastings. 

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