The Istria Peninsula—shared by Croatia, Slovenia, and Italy—juts out into the northern Adriatic Sea, inviting you to explore its gorgeous coastal towns and countryside havens. This wonderful destination is a little more off the beaten path than Dubrovnik, Split, and other popular places for travelers, but it has a lot to offer if you’re intrigued by history, architecture, and culture.

Let’s have a look at just a few destinations you may love here!


The largest city in Istria, Pula is known for its Roman ruins, including the famous Arena—a first-century amphitheater that’s one of the best preserved in the world, and that currently hosts events like film festivals, concerts, sports competitions, and much more. A bit more bustling than other cities we’ll share in this article, Pula is a great place to visit with plenty of museums and art galleries, and beautiful Venetian architecture.


One of the more beloved tourist destinations in Istria, Rovinj enchants with its historic old town, quaint harbor, winding cobblestone streets, and colorful buildings. If you have a chance to come here, don’t forget to enjoy the architecture of the Church of St. Euphemia, a baroque church located in the city center—be sure to climb to the top of the bell tower and enjoy the views of the sea. Spend a day wandering through the downtown pedestrian streets, where you can enjoy art galleries and shops.


Poreč offers an unforgettable experience for travelers—this 2,000-year-old town is home to the Euphrasian Basilica, which has been designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site. You can also see Venetian influence throughout the city in its design and architectural elements as you stroll the old town’s charming streets.


Novigrad’s coastal location and proximity to lush countryside give it a thriving culinary scene that can’t be missed—if you’re a seafood lover, try out the fresh catches, with specialties like grilled fish and squid ink risotto. Explore the town’s historic center, which is surrounded by well-preserved walls and towers dating back to the Medieval period.


Located in central Istria, Motovun is a serene town atop a hill, known for its historic old town and lovely views of the surrounding countryside. The centerpiece here is its 13th-century Venetian fortress, surrounded by narrow streets with beautifully preserved houses, small shops, and traditional taverns. Its annual film festival is a fantastic event each summer, attracting cinephiles from around the world, with outdoor screenings, panel discussions, and other events.


Grožnjan, a town celebrated for its picturesque streets, art galleries, and rich cultural heritage, is an artistic oasis in the Istrian countryside. To make the most of your visit to Grožnjan, be sure to check out the different art galleries and studios, and stop in at local craft shops to pick up a souvenir from your visit.


Located in central Istria, Pazin is home to a beautiful Medieval castle on a hill overlooking the entire town. You can visit the castle, which is quite close to the Pazin Abyss, which is said to have inspired writers like Jules Verne and Dante.

Embark on Your Istrian Adventure

If you’re ready to plan a wonderful vacation filled with history and wonder, Istria should be at the top of your list—from the captivating coastline to the enchanting countryside, Istria’s cultural wonders, delicious food, and architectural splendor are an absolute delight.

And if you’re ready to take the plunge into staying in Croatia longer-term…check out our article on the Croatian digital nomad visa!

Have you had the chance to visit this wonderful peninsula—or other areas of the Adriatic? Share your stories and advice with the Frayed Passport community!

Featured image by Vlado Sestan on Unsplash

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