Things to do in Istria: large guide for attractions, tours, experiences and towns you should visit

For the past ten years, Istria has been well on its way to becoming one of the most recognizable tourist regions.

The most visited Croatian tourist destination attracts visitors from all over the world, mostly from Germany, Austria, Italy, Slovenia, Great Britain, Poland, America, the Czech Republic…

What Istria has already achieved is that it offers tourists more than just sun and sea, so all those who visit this beautiful region can enjoy a multitude of contents.

What you should keep in mind is that all Istrian attractions and places are accessible within an hour’s drive.

In this blog you can find how to spend quality time in Istria, regardless of whether you are a fan of attractions, culture, history, sports or gastronomy.

How much time to spend in Istria?

You can cover most of the cities in Istria in one day. Still, as the whole of Istria has a lot to offer, the question is whether a week is enough for you to visit the most famous tourist attractions.

What is the best time to visit?

You can cover most of the cities in Istria in one day. Still, as the whole of Istria has a lot to offer, the question is whether a week is enough for you to visit the most famous tourist attractions.

Istria lives with tourism all year round. A small exception is the period from November to March, when events quiet down a bit, and many facilities do not work. If you decide to come to Istria in any period from April to October, you won’t go wrong, but keep in mind that the peak season is in July and August.

Best place to stay: perfect accommodation

Little Tuscany has a rich selection of quality content. The campsites are among the best in Europe, there are many 4- and 5-star hotels, holiday homes are a hit, and the largest selection is among apartments.

Our recommendation is Hotel Amfiteatar, which is located near the Roman Coliseum, surrounded by the sea and greenery. In addition to 18 hotel rooms, the hotel also has about 10 apartments in its portfolio, for those who prefer this type of accommodation.

Best places to visit in Istria

Amphitheatar Pula: the most famous monument in Croatia

If you are in Istria, one thing you will never miss is the roman amphitheatre in Pula. It was built by Emperor Vespasian in the first century at around the same time as the famous Colosseum in Rome. Capable of seating more than 20,000 spectators, the amphitheater’s arena was used for gladiator fights.

Now it is being used as a venue for popular events, which hosted Foo Fighters, Sting, Luciano Pavarotti, Tom Jones, Michael Bolton…

Cape Kamenjak nature park

Cape Kamenjak is a nature park located at the southernmost point of Istria. It is about 10 kilometers from Pula. It’s a touch of wilderness, popular with adrenaline junkies.

30 kilometers of coastline abounds with beautiful beaches surrounded by the open sea. It is suitable for hiking, cycling and jumping from rocks. Entrance to the park is charged for all motor vehicles.

Brijuni island

Brijuni, also known as Brioni, is a small archipelago, laying just off the coast of Istria, near a small fishing village Fažana. It consists of 14 islands and it got National Park status in 1983.

Afterwars the WW2 it became the private residence of President Tito, and after his death, the archipelago was opened to visitors.

People visit national park because of nature beauty, a beautiful safari park, dinosaur footprints and the old olive trees.

One day trips

You should take advantage of the fact that everything is within reach in Istria. From south to north, from east to west, every popular destination is about 1 hour away.

The most famous tourist centers are Rovinj, Pula, Umag and Poreč. All of them are located on the sea, on the west coast of Istria. However, this popular region is full of hidden inland spots.

Grožnjan is well known as an artistic center, Svetvinčenat for the Grimani stone castle, the most preserved in Istria, Buje and its surroundings for gastronomy, Vodnjan for olive oil, and Motovun is the most attractive Istrian medieval town.

Beaches in Istria

Beaches throughout Croatia are fantastic, and Istria is no exception. Everyone can find something for themselves, regardless of their preferences. In our opinion, Pula and its surroundings has the most beautiful beaches in Istria.

If you are aiming for beaches suitable for children (Lijon Banjole or Bijaca Medulin), beaches with sand (Bijaca Medulin, Stoja Pula), beaches with small stones (Lijon Banjole, Verudela Pula, Gortanova uvala, Pula) wheelchair friendly (Valkane, Pula) or beaches with large rocks (Galebove stijene Pula, Cape Kamenjak, Zlatne stijene Pula).

Galebove stijene, Pula

Best places to eat in Istria

Pula is full of places where you can eat well. Locals prefer taverns and pizzerias, but there are also places where you can eat a great burger, vegan food or fine dining food.

Zembie’s street food, Pula

Street food that has a classic offer such as chicken and beef burgers, tortillas and salads. They stand out from the rest for their octopus and squids, which are presented in the spirit of street food. Also, the chicken box is one of the most popular dishes they offer. Explore more on their website.

Zembie’s street food, Pula

Monte, Rovinj

Monte was the first Croatian restaurant to receive the Michelin star. Chef Danijel Đekić bring the best out of the local ingredients and make food that looks amazing.

Vegan House, Pula

First specialized vegan restaurant in Pula and Istria. It offers various types of meals such us “vegan meat”, risotto, dumplings, local dish polenta and many more.

They are serving special menus for guests with diabetes or other intolerances and allergies, e.g. gluten-free. Check it out on this link.

Vegan House, Pula

Pizzeria Jupiter, Pula

One of the most famous and longest-standing places to eat in Pula. They started as a pizzeria, and today they offer almost everything: meat, fish, squid, desserts… The food is unpretentious, but good and relatively cheap.

Restaurant Amfiteatar, Pula

A place where the chef is one of the most famous Croatian chefs, Deniz Zembo. In this casual restaurant you can eat steak, fish, octopus or homemade pashto.

If you want something different, similar to a fine dining experience with multiple meal courses, reserve your place a few days in advance. Feel free to ask for whatever you want from the menu and beyond and the head chef will fulfill all your wishes.

Did we mention they are one of the few places in Istria that can prepare meals for people who have various food allergies and intolerances or eat gluten free food. Reserve your spot via this link.

Pizzeria Rumore, Labin

A place that in a short time became synonymous with good pizza. Pizzas are made from quality ingredients. Still, the emphasis is on making the dough, which must rest for 24 to 30 hours. Rumore is located on Labin’s San Marco promenade, which offers a beautiful view of the Kvarner Bay. Among other things, it gained great popularity because they make the original Napoletana pizza, the same as in Naples.

Konoba Vorichi, Barban

Konoba Vorichi is a small family restaurant in the village of Orihi, which is located between Barban and Svetvinčenat. They serve local Istrian food, which you can have eat in the greenery while looking out over a small vineyard. They have excellent cheeses, and the wine list is also attractive.

Istrian gastronomy: from food tours, wine tasting to cooking classes

Being in Istria without tasting the local food is a great sin! This region produces the best olive oil in the world, has great local wine varieties like Malvasia, and its land hides some of the most fantastic pieces of truffle.

Apart from restaurants and taverns (locals called it konoba), Istrian gastronomy is best experienced through a thematic excursion. You won’t go wrong whether you choose wine tasting, private dinners, cooking classes or something else.

Our recommendation is the programs offered by the leading gastronomic platform Istria Cooking. They offer wine tasting, food tours, cooking classes, catering service, rent a chef. Find out more on website.

Istria Wonders: your Istrian guide

Istria Wonders provides a guide for your vacation with recommendation for accomodation, art and history, restaurants, outdoor activities, travel and business services and things to do in Istria and Croatia. It is first specialized tourism portal for Istria on English.


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