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Istria, Croatia’s northwestern peninsula, is by far the most visited part of the country, trumping even Dubrovnik. What’s remarkable, then, is that it’s managed to keep tourist development away from the pretty Venetian old towns along the west coast, or the medieval villages of the hilly, wooded interior. Roman ruins and Byzantine mosaics are complemented by clear unpolluted waters and a gentle climate, helping to explain why millions of people keep coming back here, year after year. Take in the fabulous Byzantine mosaics in Poreć, the wonderful Venetian town of Rovinj, and commercial capital, Pula, with its stunning Roman amphitheater. The ...

Istria, Croatia’s northwestern peninsula, is by far the most visited part of the country, trumping even Dubrovnik. What’s remarkable, then, is that it’s managed to keep tourist development away from the pretty Venetian old towns along the west coast, or the medieval villages of the hilly, wooded interior. Roman ruins and Byzantine mosaics are complemented by clear unpolluted waters and a gentle climate, helping to explain why millions of people keep coming back here, year after year. Take in the fabulous Byzantine mosaics in Poreć, the wonderful Venetian town of Rovinj, and commercial capital, Pula, with its stunning Roman amphitheater. The Učka Mountains in the northeast of the region rise above Opatija (Vienna-by-sea), providing a welcome relief from the crowds even at the season’s peak. Istria had five sets of rulers during the 20th century, going from Austro-Hungarian to Italian to German to Yugoslav to Croatian in the space of 70-odd years – making it an unusually tolerant part of the country, and particularly on the west coast you’ll still find many people bilingual in Croatian and Italian.

Piers Letcher
About the Expert

Piers Letcher is the author of Croatia: the Bradt Travel Guide, Dubrovnik: the Bradt City Guide, and coauthor of Zagreb: the Bradt City Guide.

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Piers Letcher for Triporati

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Facts at a Glance

  • Location: The peninsula is located at the head of the Adriatic between the Gulf of Trieste and the Bay of Kvarner.
  • Language: Croatian
  • Currency: Croatian Kuna
  • Research: Wikitravel
  • Current Time:

Climate

  • Best Time to Visit:

    April-October, early and late season are best; coastal resorts pretty much close down in winter. Autumn is truffle season.