If you are headed to Istria, the largest Croatian peninsula, by a car you may turn off the GPS device after you cross the Slovenian border. Once you get off the highway in any randomly selected exit and drive along the coast, you may see some of the towns that you previously believed to exist only on postcards. One after the other, Umag, Novigrad, Porec, Vrsar, Rovinj, Pula... History in its original form is preserved on the walls of these cities, churches, and houses. Pula forum arena or Basilica of Eupharasius are just some of the sights that you will still talk about long after you see them.
Do not turn on the GPS and take a look around – the beautiful coastal landscapes with vineyards and olive groves behind which you may see the clear blue see, landscaped urban complexes with attractive villas, distinctive Istrian houses and numerous hotels, camps and other accommodation facilities. Get out of the car, get some rest…get some color and refresh in the clean sea on some of the hundreds of well-known beaches. Take the time to visit some of the world famous sporting and cultural events such as the Pula Film Festival or the ATP tournament in Umag. You can sail to the Brijuni islands where you have the opportunity to discover the amazing fascinating National Park, or enjoy the outdoor theatre.
If, out of curiosity, you decide to go the other way, and turn towards the interior of the peninsula, you will immediately realize that the sea is not the only natural beauty of Istria. Near the traditional stone houses you will notice vineyards on three different types of clay that will make you want to taste the local wine in one of the famous Istrian “konoba.” To avoid drinking on an empty stomach, under palate will suddenly create the world’s famous ham. Travel and fascination with indigenous houses will have to briefly be interrupted in Groznjan, where you will take a break and listen to a jazz concert while wondering which fairy tale did this pearl of Istrian inland come out of. You will continue through Oprtalj and Livade truffle roads until the river Mirna valley. In Motovun you will experience the unique atmosphere of the local film festival, then go through Buzet to Roc, where through the glagolitic Alley you will arrive to the smallest town in the world – Hum.
Just when you think that you cannot be fascinated anymore, you will reach the other shore of Istria and the gazebo in the middle of the unique landscape where you can see the unique Adriatic Sea from a completely different perspective. Labin, Rabac, Icici, Opatija…You will want to stay there forever.