My First Croatian Experience - Istria

Istria was my first adventure with Croatia, and it turns out to be absolutely remarkable place! Istria is a peninsula in the northern part of the Adriatic Sea of which the vast majority belongs to Croatia. In all Istria, there is a lot of Italian influences, especially visible in cuisine, architecture, and language (eg. all road signs are written in both languages).
- Sep 2017 -

DURATION:

12 DAYS

TYPE:

FRIENDS HOLIDAY

MAIN ACTIVITY:

EXPLORATION

BUDGET:

€850

Pula

Pula

Pula is located on the southern edge of the Istrian peninsula. From 43 the city became a Roman colony, making it an important administrative and commercial center. At that time, the city was experiencing a period of splendor as evidenced by the numerous preserved buildings from that period. In the 14th century, the city was occupied by the Venetian Republic, and later it was inhabited by refugees from Bosnia and Dalmatia. I think thanks to its turbulent history the city is now so interesting.


Got there by:

Arch of the Sergii

Arch of the Sergii

I am a bit Roman history freak, so what I love about Pula is that Roman influences are still visible there. For example to get to the oldest part of the city you need to pass under the Triumphal Arch, built in the 3rd decade of the 1st century.


Got there by:

Forum Pula

Forum Pula

The buildings of the old town are a mix of Italian, Venetian and Austro-Hungarian styles. The main square of the city is an old roman forum with the Temple of Augustus, where we often stoped in its various restaurants with delicious regional cuisine.

A really nice place to visit in the city center is also the market, where you can find a lot of local products (like honey, rakija, olive oil, dried lavender), fresh seafood and fruit.


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Arena Pula

The touristic central point of Pula and my favourite as well is The Pula Arena, constructed in the 1st century and a rare example of surviving Roman amphitheaters. It is so well preserved, that it is still used for entertainment. 2000 years old arena still hosts concerts, festivals, and what is the most interesting - gladiator’s fights. Yes, in Pula it is still possible to see gladiators fighting and it's really worth doing so!


Got there by:

Kamenjak Peninsula

Kamenjak Peninsula

Around Pula, you will find dozens of amazing beaches, especially in the Kamenjak Peninsula, where you can also hike and bike, but I would also recommend Medulin, Fazana, Brijuni Islands, and something with a walking distance from the city center Verudela, from where we were often admiring sunsets.


Got there by:

Bale

Bale

In Istria, we found many charming, small towns like Bale/Vale, which we espacially loved. Bale is located just 20min by car from Pula and we visited this place by accident on our way to Rovinj. This historical stone town was built on a hill surrounded with endless olive groves and vineyards, so we had a chance to taste local wines from small stores and privat peope selling their own homemade ones. The narrow and cobbled streets that surround the medieval, 15th-century castle gave us a nice relief from the sun and heat.


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Rovinj

Rovinj

Just 20min and 15 kilometers up north from Bale, it is located the city of Rovinj. The history of this magical, originally built on the island town dates back to the 7th century. Rovinj seemed to us very romantic, colourfull and cheerful.


Got there by:

Ulica Ante Starčevića, Rovinj

Ulica Ante Starčevića, Rovinj

Rovinj has a lot to offer for wine and cuisine lovers like me (in its narrow streets we found the best tastes of Adriatic Sea). For history freaks Rovinj has such beautiful points like The Balbi Arch - a remembrance of the former entrance to the city, The Church of St. Euphemia from Venetian times on the top of the hill (from which bell tower you can see the whole Rovinj, and Islands surrounding it), and Old Town itself. 

Small tip! The cobbled streets of Rovinj are very slippery, so it is good to take trainers, otherwise you will end up barefoot like me. 


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