The Top Things to Do in Istria, Croatia’s Tuscany

Istria is a hidden jewel that is frequently disregarded by travelers, nestled in the center of the Adriatic Sea. Yet, this picturesque area of Croatia has a lot to offer, including magnificent beaches, quaint hilltop towns, and some of the nation’s greatest cuisine and wine. Istria, often known as Croatia’s Tuscany, is a must-visit location for people looking for a distinctive and genuine vacation experience.

To help you get the most out of your trip, we’ll examine in greater detail the top things to do in Istria, Croatia’s Tuscany.

Explore Charming Hilltop Towns

Istria is known for its charming hilltop towns, which provide spectacular vistas and a window into the area’s vibrant history and culture. Some of the top cities to visit are listed below:

  • Motovun: A defensive wall encloses this medieval settlement, which is positioned atop a hill. Istria is well-known for its truffles, which you must try while there.
  • Grožnjan: Known as the “town of artists,” this quaint village is home to a large number of galleries and studios. It’s a fantastic location to find unusual presents and souvenirs.
  • Bale: Some of Istria’s top producers are located in this little town, which is well-known for its olive oil. Visit the facility and try some of the delectable oil.

Indulge in Delicious Food and Wine

Istria is a culinary haven with an abundance of mouthwatering foods to sample. Because of that one of the best things to do in Istria is going on a restaurant tour. In Istria, these are some dishes and beverages you must try:

  • Truffles: Istria is known for their truffles, which are used in everything from cheese plates to pasta dishes.
  • Istrian Ham: A mainstay of the local cuisine, this cured ham is frequently served with cheese and olives.
  • Istrians love the crisp white wine Malvazija, which goes great with fish dishes.

Relax on Stunning Beaches

Some of Croatia’s most stunning beaches may be found in Istria. Istria offers something for everyone, whether you’re seeking for a quiet cove or a busy beach with lots of activities. Some of the best beaches to visit are listed below:

  • Punta Križ Beach is a private beach with pristine waters and a pine forest canopy. You can go swimming and snorkeling there.
  • Poreč Beach: This lively beach is perfect for families, with plenty of activities and amenities, including water sports and beach bars.
  • Bijeca Beach: Istria’s southernmost sandy beach is a well-liked destination for swimming and sunbathing.

Discover Istria’s Rich History and Culture

Istria has a rich history and culture, with influences from Italy, Austria, and the Balkans. Here are some of the best ways to discover Istria’s heritage:

  • Visit Pula Arena: This well-preserved Roman amphitheater is one of the most impressive landmarks in Istria and is a must-visit for history buffs.
  • Explore Hilltop Castles: Istria is home to numerous hilltop castles, including the impressive Castle of Pazin, which was built in the 10th century and offers stunning views of the surrounding countryside.
  • Learn About Istrian Folklore: The Istrian Ethnographic Museum in Pazin offers a fascinating insight into the region’s traditional customs, costumes, and crafts.

Experience Istria’s Natural Beauty

In addition to having a rich cultural history, Istria has some of Croatia’s most magnificent natural landscapes. The top natural landmarks to visit are listed below:

  1. Brijuni National Park: This beautiful archipelago of 14 islands is home to diverse wildlife, including peacocks and deer. Take a boat tour and explore the pristine beaches and ancient ruins.
  2. Lim Bay: This scenic inlet is a popular spot for kayaking and boat tours, and is home to numerous seafood restaurants.
  3. Učka Nature Park: This stunning park offers hiking trails with panoramic views of the Adriatic Sea and the surrounding islands.

Where to Stay in Istria

There are plenty of accommodation options in Istria to suit all budgets and preferences. From luxury resorts to cozy bed and breakfasts, here are some of the top places to stay in the region:

  1. Rovinj: This charming coastal town is a popular destination for its beautiful beaches, cobblestone streets, and colorful houses. There are plenty of hotels and apartments to choose from, including the elegant Hotel Monte Mulini and the cozy Rooms La Casa di Loreto.
  2. Poreč: This lively town is known for its historic landmarks and lively nightlife. The Valamar Collection Isabella Island Resort offers luxurious accommodation in a stunning location, while the Boutique Hotel Mauro offers a more intimate and romantic setting.
  3. Motovun: This picturesque hilltop town is a great place to stay if you’re looking for a quieter, more rural experience. The Boutique Hotel Kastel offers stunning views of the surrounding countryside, while the Apartments and Rooms Dolce Vita provide a cozy and affordable option.
  4. Umag: This seaside resort town is a great choice for families and beach lovers. The Meliá Coral Hotel offers all-inclusive packages and plenty of activities for kids, while the Villa Rosetta is a charming bed and breakfast located just a short walk from the beach.

No matter where you choose to stay in Istria, you’re sure to find comfortable accommodation and warm hospitality.


Istria, Croatia’s Tuscany, is a hidden jewel that provides a distinctive fusion of scenic beauty, vibrant culture, and mouthwatering food and wine. Istria is one of the top region you should think about when planing vacation in Croatia. Istria offers something for everyone, whether you want to discover quaint hilltop towns, unwind on breathtaking beaches, or discover the region’s rich history and culture. You can create an amazing trip to this stunning area of Croatia by using this guide to the best things to do in Istria.

What is the best time to visit Istria?

The best time to visit Istria is from April to October, when the weather is warm and sunny.

Can I visit Istria on a day trip from Zagreb?

While it’s possible to visit some of the main attractions in Istria on a day trip from Zagreb, it’s recommended to spend at least 2-3 days in the region to fully appreciate its beauty and charm.

What is the currency used in Istria?

The currency used in Istria, as well as the rest of Croatia, is EURO. Croatia joined the euro area on 1 January 2023

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