12 places to visit in ISTRIA

 Hello World!
If you are our Instagram follower, you already know we visited Istria, Croatia. If you are not, you can follow our adventures here-> @dianomaya.

Istria is another region in Croatia, full of beauty. We were there in November (Croatian winter) and had only 2 days to explore around, so keep in mind there is so much more out there. If you are in Istria with a car, these are 12 places you must visit.

    1. GROŽNJAN

We had to put this city no.1 because it is just incredible! First, before you enter the city, there is a old tunnel (part of Parenzana, old railway road between Trieste and Poreč). The green vegetation made a coat around it, so it looks like from the fairytale, just like the rest of the city.

Parenzana, Grožnjan

Grožnjan has 64 art galleries (almost 90% closed in winter), street names and numbers in light blue, picturesque streets and cute cats all around. It is easier if we show you with pictures :).

Town Loggia, Grožnjan
Grožnjan streets
Grožnjan, Church of St. Vitus
One of the galleries of Grožnjan
Grožnjan from the air
Beautiful cats of Grožnjan

   2. ZAVRŠJE and Parenzana road   

We tried to look for all Parenzana locations, but just didn’t have enough time to explore. Thankfully, we found some in Završje village. 

We followed the road from Grožnjan to Završje, passed the village Završje and on the left side of the road saw the sign for Parenzana.  You cannot miss it because, right at the beginning of the road is an old railway station.

On this path from Završje to Antonci you can find 2 tunnels and incredible viaduct in the middle of the forest. Road is about 5-6 km long, so pack some snacks to have picnic in the woods.

Tunnel no1.

Tunnel no2.
Viaduct, Završje

    3. ROVINJ

Rovinj is city on Adriatic sea and very much alive from May-September. Unfortunately for us, we were there in November, so most of the cute galleries and shops in the old town were closed. Including our friends Marija Gallery Brek. We walked around empty streets and enjoyed the quiet. However, during summer everything comes alive, shops open their colorful doors and streets get crowded with happy people. 

Rovinj old town, from air
“Photo spot”
The best view of the city

    4. LIM FJORD (CANAL/CANYON)

Not sure how to call it, because we saw all mentioned above. Is it a fjord, a gulf, a canal or a canyon, we don’t care! It is beautiful, whatever it is geologically. The location we took pictures is between Poreč and Rovinj, near city of Kloštar. You can find directions -> HERE.

    5. PULA

Pula was the busiest city we saw on this trip, that must be because it is the largest city in Istria region. However, most of its historical attractions were under renovation. We applaud to this! Cities need to keep their most valuable treasures nice and neat for next season, as most of Croatian cities make money from tourism noways. 

Pula is mostly know for Arena Pula, but there are also many other things to see around: Temple of August, Triumphal Arch, Pula Castle, Roman theater, Twin Gates and city walls, numerous churches and museums & galleries (Maritime, Oil, Contemporary Museum and many others).

We definitely plan to come back in this region once in summer, because they have so many natural beauties too. If you are planing Pula for your holiday, don’t miss Brijuni National Park, Premantura and Rt Kamenjak.

Arena Pula
Temple of August
Triumphal Arch

    6. ZAREČKI KROV in PAZIN

First, let me tell you that Pazin is amazing!!! It is, with Pula, on top of our list to come back in summer. Entire city is located on huge pit. Local agencies offer Zip Line adventure over that pit and also Speleoadventure under the city where they have underground lake! How insane is that!!!
We want to do it both!!!

Next to those amazing things they also have incredible cave and waterfall called Zarečki Krov. You can find directions -> HERE
I think this would be incredible place to have picnic in spring, refresh in summer and go under the cave/waterfall. Now, tell me you don’t want to go there?

Zarečki krov, Pazin

    7. DIVGRAD CASTLE 

This is an abandoned medieval town near Kanfanar city. There is a big map in the city which shows you location of the Castle. But if you are driving from Kanfanar to Poreč, it is right on the side of the road, you cannot miss it. We got there in golden hour, so we went crazy with photoshoot.

    8. OPRTALJ

Oprtalj is another picturesque city, situated on the top of the hill right across Motovun (another amazing city we didn’t have time to visit this time, due to roads constructions). It is so easy to get lost, creatively, in it’s colorful streets.

Oprtalj from the air

    9. HUM and GLAGOLJAŠKA CESTA (Glagolitic Alley)

Glagolitic Alley is a 7 km long memorial road from Roč to Hum. There are 11 stone monuments on the road which celebrate Glagolitic script, the oldest known Slavic alphabet.  
“Rise of the Istrian Code” was the most interesting to us, but maybe you can find something else interesting for you. Full list is HERE.

Rise of the Istrian Code, Glagolitc Alley

At the end of Glagolitc Alley is Hum city, the smallest city in the world! It has only 23 inhabitants and you can easily walk around it in 20 minutes. The legend says it was built by giants, if that is true, those must’ve been some softy giants, because this city is the cutest ever!

Hum streets
Assumption of Mary, church in Hum
Brandy distillery entrance

    10. NOVIGRAD

First impression is this city is soooo colorful! We think Novigrad has so much more to offer than we saw and it is totally worth of visiting in summer. Most of the historical attractions were closed or under construction. They also have umbrella covered street sky, which wasn’t there in November. However, we had the best time doing a little photoshoot near Novigrad Lighthouse, which (we heard) offers the best sunsets!

Novigrad Lighthouse
Novigrad city walls

    11. SVETVINČENAT

Svetvinčenat is a village in central Istria with Morosini-Grimani Castle in the center of it. The Castle was under construction, but lovely workers allowed us to enter and have a little fun with medieval installations. 

     12. VIŠNJAN 

Last, but not least is city of Višnjan. Another beautiful central Istria city, also known for its Observatory and Istrian Stonehenge on Tičan hill.

Višnjan Observatory
Istrian Stonehenge 
Maya posting stories on Instagram
Lavender fields on Tičan hill

That’s all folks. I mean, that is not all that Istria offers, but all we managed to see in 2 days, cruising around Istrian peninsula with our car. Hope it inspires you to do the same. If it does, TAG us on your stories and posts!
#dianomayaWAY

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