Thanks to an unspoilt shoreline, national parks, and hilltop villages that have avoided the march of tourism, holidays to the Istrian Riviera are as organic as they get.
Throughout history, the Istrian Riviera has been passed between conquering empires like a ping pong ball. All sorts of ancient superpowers have staked a claim on this pie slice-shaped peninsula on Croatia’s Adriatic Sea. And it only takes one look at the place to see why.
For starters, the Istrian Riviera is surrounded by more than 250 kilometres of coastline. In Rovinj, the dinky coves are just the start of the story. The town is next to a seaside forest where you can climb cliffs and swim off the rocks. In Porec, the pebbly beaches sidle up to a town centre full of historical heirlooms. The Euphrasian Basilica, for instance, is a World Heritage Site. In Pula, meanwhile, the beaches fight an enormous Roman amphitheatre for tourists’ attention.
Island hopping in Krk, Cres and Rab
Then you’ve got Istria’s eastern edge, which is a springboard for Croatia’s islands. Head to Rijeka and you can catch a ferry to Krk, Cres and Rab. The yolks of these islands are national parks and rolling mountain ranges, while the whites are beaches and hideaway coves.