Ah, Istria. In this heart-shaped peninsula, where continental Croatia meets the Adriatic, visitors will find some of the world’s best pieces of Roman architecture, wonderful fortified towns, all atop the red earth that harvests some of the finest olives and white truffles in the world.
There’s no need to hire a car for this trip. With great bus and coach connections around the region, a week in Istria can easily be done by bus; just make sure you pick up a timetable from the main bus station in Pula. With that said, hiring a car is easy and will give you flexibility if you want to stay somewhere longer than you first intended.
We start in the Istrian capital Pula filled with ancient Roman ruins and some great beaches. I recommend at least two days in this wonderful city.
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Spend time at one of the many Pula beaches or take short trip over to Vodnjan to view its creepy church contents. If the macabre isn’t your thing, try Tito’s former playground – The Brijuni National Park.
In the evening stop by the Lighting Giants, a wonderful light display at the city’s Uljanik shipyard. Light designer Dean Skira created the display that lights up the Uljanik cranes with some 16,000 lights. It starts at 9 p.m. (and on the hour four times per night) with each session lasting 15 minutes.
If you spent Day Two in Pula, then stop at Vodnjan today while on your way to the wonderful UNESCO protected Rovinj. This little gem is the perfect combination of charming narrow streets that yield secrets like artist studios, wonderful delis stacked with Istrian treats and atmospheric bars.
From Rovinj you’re heading north up the coast to Porec and the Euphrasius Basilica masterpiece.
On the way, take a break at the Limska Draga Fjord for one of the most dramatic sights in Istria. Stop at Viking restaurant on the fjord for a delicious seafood lunch and take the one hour excursion boat around the 10km long fjord.
If you spent the night in Motovun, today stop in Buzet or head straight over to the town of Roc and start on the Glagolitic Alley. This walk will take you straight into the village of Hum. If you have a car best to leave it in Hum and do the walk backward, this will take you double the time.
This morning, let your inner adventurer loose at the Pazin Chasm and Castle and head back to Pula.