Claiming three of Croatia's most fascinating coastal towns of Pula, Rovinj and Porec, the Istrian peninsula delivers charm and culture in equal measure. No matter whether you're a history buff, sun worshipper, food fanatic, or combination of the three, luxury holidays in Istria will live long in the memory.
While many visit this heart-shaped peninsula for its attractive coastal towns, the rolling hills and fertile plains of inland Istria are just as alluring. When combined with the region's fascinating history and intriguing cultural legacy, it's easy to see why Istria has become one of Croatia's most admired destinations among the sun-and-sea set.
Rovinj is arguably the feather in Istria's cap. Much like Dalmatia's Dubrovnik, this town boasts a meticulously maintained old quarter with an impressive Baroque cathedral, cobbled streets, and a famous archway called Balbi's Arch which leads you to harbour-side restaurants. The 1,900-year-old Roman amphitheatre of southern Pula is similarly beguiling, as it is a Venetian Fortress, whilst in the north, the town of Poreč oozes Mediterranean charm thanks to Venetian-style campanili and loggias.
Boutique hotels and high-end resorts line much of Istria's verdant indented coastline, providing a range of luxury accommodation to suit your fancy. The region's acclaimed gastronomy, which makes use of fresh seafood, prime white truffles, top-rated olive oils, and award-winning wines, only adds to the enticing attributes of continental Croatia.
Like the rest of the Croatian coast, Istria is characterised by warm summers and mild winters. From mid-June to the end of August, you can enjoy temperatures in the 30s. High summer is synonymous with festivals, often revolving around arts, culture, food, and drink.
However, if you want to avoid the peak-season for a quieter pace, consider visiting in late spring or early autumn, as the weather will still be more than pleasant, and ideal for hiking.
You'll be spoilt with culinary riches in Istria, which has established itself as a gourmet destination. On the coast, fresh seafood takes centre stage, with delicacies including oysters (oštrige) from the Limski kanal. Move inland for a greater emphasis on cured meats and seasonal vegetables.
Keep an eye out for wild asparagus, black truffles, and the richly flavoured beef of the traditional Boskarin cattle. While elegant restaurants and fine dining can be found in Rovinj and Pula, even modest konobas (tavernas) serve exceptional dishes full of local flair.
British passport holders do not need a visa to visit Croatia and should be issued a stay of up to 90 days in any six-month period. For more information, visit GOV.UK.