Holidays to the Istrian Riviera throw together city-topped peninsulas and old world villages, and finish everything off with a massive beach-speckled coastline.
The Istrian Riviera
The Istrian Riviera marks the most northerly point of the Croatian coast. It’s a wedge-shaped peninsula, so there are loads of pine-backed beaches and rugged coves to go around. History-wise, everyone from the Romans to the Venetians marched through this neck of the woods, loading towns with amphitheatres and terracotta-topped old towns along the way. And if you peer across the Adriatic Sea, you’ll see where they came from – Italy is just across the water.
Beaches and coves
A 250-kilometre-long coastline hems the Istrian Riviera. The beaches around here are typically Croatian, so expect a mash-up of tiny pebble coves and rugged bathing platforms. One of the star cities, Porec, has around 20 petite beaches under its belt. All of them are crowned with a Blue Flag and some inch up right to the city’s historical treasures. It’s the same story in places like Rovinj and Pula, where UNESCO-listed icons sit alongside postcard-pretty beaches.
To see the Istrian Riviera in a nutshell, make tracks for Porec. The old town has got it all – a working harbour, Roman relics and hole-in-the-wall wine bars. As for the houses, they’ve got Venetian good looks and tumble down the streets in a jumble of terracotta roofs and keyhole windows. But it’s not all about the history books. The marina has a smart collection of super yachts, and the coastline south of Porec serves up luxury beach resorts.
The islands – Krk, Cres and Rab
Ferries kick off from the eastern side of the Istrian Riviera, which overlooks Kvarna Bay. They have a trio of islands in their viewfinders – Krk is the biggest one, Cres is the wild one, and Rab has a main town stuffed with Medieval buildings. Porec, meanwhile, has a daily service to Italy that gets you to Venice in 3 hours.
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