Where dreams come true.
The heart-shaped peninsula reaching deep into the clear blue waters of the Adriatic Sea is a hidden garden of beauty which opens the door to the sunny and warm Mediterranean.
Come and travel through it without hesitation, and the holiday of your dreams will become reality. Multicultural and hospitable, this is an area where wide-ranging diversities have come together to form a happy union. Istria’s crystal clear sea, clean shores and ports, its lively fishing boats and teeming narrow stone streets exude the true charm of the Mediterranean. Small, picturesque medieval towns perched on the peaks of its hills emanate the peace and gentleness of landscapes that irresistibly evoke the most beautiful parts of Tuscany or Provence.
Where to go
Routes following the smallest towns in the world
Many civilisations and cultures have come and gone in Istria, all of them leaving much more than mere episodes of history. In this small area you will come across prehistoric hillforts, and ancient and fortified medieval towns which occupy almost every little hill in the Istrian hinterland; with characteristic streets, squares, churches and town halls. Discover why Hum is called the smallest town in the world and what inspired the French writer Jules Verne to locate the plot of one of his novels in Pazin. Find out why Dvigrad simply disappeared from the face of the earth in the 17th century - and much moreThe gates of these tiny Istrian towns have been wide open for hundreds of years.Today, they are beckoning you... Welcome!
As a unique example of early Byzantine art in the Mediterranean dating back to the sixth century, the basilica was commissioned by Bishop Euphrasius and the entire complex (basilica, baptistery, atrium, bell tower, Bishop’s Palace) has been added to the UNESCO World Heritage List.
The Batana Ecomuseum is a unique project for the preservation of local maritime culture of Rovinj, founded on the respect of tradition, consideration of modern social needs and the synergy of man and the environment.
Not far from Poreč, in a natural area with an imposing rocky canyon and lush forests, there is an amusement park that stands out for its uniqueness and exceptional character.
The church of St. Euphemia is ranked among the most beautiful representations of the Baroque period in Istria and dominates the small coastal town of Rovinj. St. Euphemia is the town’s patron saint and her remains are housed in a marble sarcophagus in the church.
Standing proud on the peaks of hills rising from the fertile valley of River Mirna, the small towns of Grožnjan and Motovun are renowned for their architecture and numerous art galleries, in addition to a variety of music and film events.
Located around 14 kilometres south east of Buzet is the tiny medieval town of Hum, the centre of old Slavic Glagolitic script and home to precious twelfth-century frescoes. The town – a monument of medieval urban architecture – is the smallest in the world!
Situated on the top of a hill, Labin attracts its visitors with historical tales of miners, the character of Matija Vlačić Ilirik and its medieval streets which are transformed into a stage for a variety of artists in the summer months.
Pula amphitheatre is the largest monument dating from the first century AD and was originally designed for gladiatorial combat. Nowadays it is a world-famous concert and festival venue.
A walk through their narrow, stone-paved streets will become a magical journey through a history that is quite unique. Follow that special path, from the massive town gate to a bench on the town loggia, and then on to the church on the main square and the bell tower, a view from which Istria will, for a brief moment, shine forth from a different panorama.
Although they seem to be very similar, each of these tiny medieval towns is a quite individual entity. So, be curious! Peek into doorways, discover the coats of arms, enter churches and find rest in the cool and quietude of the chapels. Here, you will come to understand the popular legends about diligent fairies who spend the nights building and rebuilding the walls, and also about ‘štrigas’ - bad witches who are always stirring up trouble. If you should meet anybody in your wanderings, feel free to stop and ask them whatever you wish. The people here are kindly and hospitable, and they will gladly tell you the story of Istria, a land in which even the greatest diversities live in peace and harmony, taking pride in their openness.
So, rather than dreaming of the holiday of your life - wake up in Istria! Step into this vibrant hub of civilisations whose cultural arboretum has been jealously nurtured since the times of the Histri, the Celts and the Romans, through the Slavonic peoples and the Venetians, all the way to the Austro-Hungarian Empire, and you will soon learn why Istria is so special. To begin, remember the Legend of the Argonauts. In vain pursuit of Jason and the stolen Golden Fleece, having arrived to the shores of Istria, the people of Colchis decided not to return to their home. There is something in her magic, like in no other place in the Mediterranean.
Here you will find a town which, just like Rome, lies on seven hills and boasts a famous amphitheatre. On one of those hills, a weary Hungarian king felt the desire to exchange his resplendent robes for the modest robe of a monk, and die in a state of sanctity, while the immortal Dante, inspired by the view from a panoramic viewpoint, wrote the verses of his masterpiece, The Divine Comedy. The name of this town is Pula, Istria’s largest urban centre. It is the beating heart of the peninsula, with 3000 years of history behind it and a unique place in the Mediterranean. Pula boasts a diverse, impressive cultural heritage. Just like the peninsula upon which it rose, it is not without reason that it carries a feminine name. Modest but fascinating, Istria has long been known as enchantresses with a hundred faces that has been seducing visitors for thousands of years. Whoever strays once into its invisible web, and experiences but a morsel of the joy it can give, always wishes to return again, and again!