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Seafront charm and rural bliss

Istria´s natural beauty, the stunning shoreline and continental climate are perfect for a sophisticated holiday. Emerald-blue waters and secluded pebble shores sit effortlessly beside historic cities and natural wonders. Further inland, romantic hill top towns rich in culture and hospitality warmly embrace visitors with home-cooked cuisine – offering rustic retreats ideal for rest and relaxation.

Villas in Istria

Baderna

Baderna is a small, agricultural village in the heart of Istria, just 12 kilometres from the larger town of Sveti Lovrec where you will find a choice of shops and restaurants. The picturesque seaside resort of Porec is also just a short drive away.

  • 1hr fromPula

Barban

Barban is a small medieval town located some 25kms northeast of Pula and around 10kms from the sea. Features include a 15th century church and two 15th century gates, one of which opens onto the main square where regular markets and music festivals are held. There is a lovely cafe/bar straight on from these gates, where the locals go to drink and there are also some particulary good fish restaurants in the region.

  • 25mins fromPula

Buje

Buje is a beautiful hilltop town commanding excellent panorama views. Rich in history, the town developed from a Roman and Venetian settlement into a charming medieval town. It has retained many features typical of this region with its narrow streets and a central square, the old town is a fine example of a combination of medieval and venetian architecture. Visit the old town and the city walls, plus the15th century tower. Great for those that enjoy truffles, many restaurants will have something flavoured with this delicacy on their menus. The area is also well known for excellent wines, try the Malvasia, Teran, Refošk and especially Momjan’s Muscat, which is unique in the world.

  • 1hr fromPula

Fazana

Situated on the south-western coast of Istria is this idyllic fishing village, filled with picturesque squares, narrow stone streets and a beautiful harbour. Fazana is located across the Brijuni Islands, one of the eight National Parks in Croatia and from the seaside promenade you can enjoy its stunning views. Enjoy a delicious fish or meat dish at one of the many seafront restaurants and make sure you try the wine and olive oil, which Fazana is well-known for! With beautiful beaches, crystal clear seas and a gorgeous Mediterranean climate, this village is perfect for a relaxing break away.

  • 20mins fromPula

Groznjan

The enchanting town of Groznjan is set high on a terraced hill of vineyards and olive gardens, overlooking villages and surrounding countryside. Classical concerts, art exhibitions and jazz festivals are hosted here, bringing this peaceful little town to life. It is also famous for local wines, home-made cheeses, prosciutto, barbecued meats, and of course truffles, all of which can be sampled in restaurants within the many villages and towns of the area. The town of Buje, approximately 8km away, has a wider choice of bars and restaurants, historical landmarks, and local attractions, and the main coastal resorts of Umag, Pula and Porec offer good nightlife, bars and restaurants.

  • 1hr 10mins fromPula

Kanfanar

This tranquil Istrian village is located amid attractive countryside within the peninsula’s hinterland. The perfect location if you are looking for a traditional and authentic holiday, you may even be lucky enough to catch the “Jakovljevo” – a local county show held each year. This is the perfect opportunity to meet the locals and absorb some of the rich culture of the area. The pretty harbour town of Rovinj is just 20 kilometres away where you can enjoy a relaxing stroll, or a meal and one of the great restaurants, or even take a boat trip across the Adriatic Sea to visit the historic Italian city of Venice for the day.

  • 30mins fromPula

Labin

This typical Istrian town is set on a hill above the fishing village of Rabac on the south east of the peninsula. The area is a haven for history and art lovers with its rich cultural and architectural heritage. During the summer, various jazz and classical music festivals take place in the town. Take a stroll through the streets of the old town and you will find palaces decorated in a rennaissence style, as well as baroque facades. Labin has many coffee shops dotted throughout the winding streets where locals and visitors alike spend hours chatting and soaking up the atmosphere. The town is also home to several great seafood restaurants, with much local produce on offer, freshly caught from the blue waters of the Adriatic Sea.

  • 40mins fromPula

Medulin

This stunning tourist hotspot was once a small fishing village. Set along a richly indented coastline, Medulin is known for its variety of sandy, rocky and pebbly beaches, the most famous of all being Bijeca, which is a favourite destination for a wide variety of sporting activities, such as volleyball, sailing and diving. Specialities of the area are cuttlefish, crab salad and risotto and there are many restaurants around Medulin serving delicious dishes for you to try. Evenings can be relaxing and romantic, spent in a café or summer terrace listening to live music; or if you prefer something more upbeat take a visit to one of the nightclubs and dance the night away!

  • 17mins fromPula

Opatija

Known as the pearl of the Adriatic Sea, with its rich history, elegance and unrivalled beauty, Opatija has become one the most popular holiday seaside towns in Croatia. Located in the Kvarner Bay, at the foot of the Mount Ucka and some 15 km from Rijeka, it’s Croatia's third largest city. The centre of the Riviera, Opatija is surrounded by numerous small towns and villages, from Volosko to Lovran, connected by a seafront promenade. Explore the many boutique shops, gourmet restaurants, cafes and gelato kiosks of this charming resort.

  • 1hr 15mins fromPula

Porec

Porec is considered to be the pearl of Croatian tourism and is located at the heart of the western coast of Istria. The charming coastal town has managed to preserve most of its original architecture and is bursting with history, boasting Byzantine churches and many other historical monuments such as the Euphrasian Basilica with its beautiful mosaics and The 3 Towers which were built in the 15th Century. Porec has been recognised for its beauty and cleanliness on numerous occasions and along with history and culture, you can also find stunning beaches, an array of wonderful restaurants and cafes and some great nightlife.

  • 50mins fromPula

Premantura

Premantura is a picturesque village situated at the south of the Istrian peninsula. This area is the perfect destination for those seeking natural beauty and cultural heritage with its breath-taking landscapes and typical Mediterranean architecture. A short distance from the village you will find Cape Kamenjak, a protected landscape known for its stunning 30km long coastline with its crystal blue sea and remarkable beaches. Partially designated as a nature reserve it is not only one of the most beautiful but also one of the most popular resorts in Istria.

  • 25mins fromPula

Pula

Pula is situated right at the southern tip of the peninsula and is the fine capital of Istria. With views of the Adriatic, Pula's unspoiled natural surroundings are magical. Known for its mild climate and tame, beautiful sea, Pula also has a long tradition of winemaking, fishing and shipbuilding. While strolling through the old town of Pula or Pola as the locals say, you will come across numerous monuments of Roman architecture: the Triumphal Arch of the Sergi from the 1st century B.C., Hercules’ Gate and Twin Gates, the Temple of Augustus, and one of its spectacles is the magnificent Amphitheatre in the town centre, great for lovers of culture.

  • 15mins fromPula

Rovinj

Situated on the south-west of the peninsula and surrounded by 22 islands, the historic port of Rovinj is a popular resort. The rocky coast is dotted with pebble and gravel beaches, gently sloping into the sea, and there are regular boats from the harbour to the beaches on nearby islands. There is a good selection of shops, cafes and restaurants, and a real sense of history embodied in the architecture all around. Explore the meandering lanes and cobbled squares of the old town and climb the bell-tower of the church of St. Euphemia for wonderful views over the town and bay.

  • 40mins fromPula

Sveti Lovrec

Sveti Lovrec (Saint Laurence) is a small village located near the heart of Istria and close to Porec and Rovinj. Inhabited since prehistoric times the current layout of the town dates back to the construction of the church of Sveti Martin in the 8th century. There are a few shops and restaurants in the vicinity and the village makes a great base from where to explore this fascinating area of Istria.

  • 45mins fromPula

Svetvincenat

In the heart of rural Istria, the small, charming town of Svetvincenat is surrounded by gentle slopes dotted with olive groves and vineyards. The symbol of the town is the massive, well-preserved Grimani Castle, which dominates the main square. A wander around the streets will soon put you in touch with the long history of this town – look out for the beautiful churches, complete with intricate frescoes and marble alters. The land around the town is ideal for biking and walking, with forest trails leading out into the scenic countryside.

  • 30mins fromPula

Umag

Umag dates back to the Roman occupation of Istria and the scenic old town is built on a small peninsula jutting into the adriatic, delivering wonderful sunsets. Its cobbled streets offer bars, cafes and restaurants as well as a little port. Each July, the ATP Croatian open takes place at the Stella Maris tennis centre with many of the games biggest names taking part in the men only event.

  • 1hr 10mins fromPula

Visnjan

Visnjan is small village located in northwestern Croatia. The area forms a part of the major wine route where tourists stop to taste one of the best homemade wines and traditional cuisine. A few bars, cafes and restaurants can be found here, although Just a short drive from the village is the picturesque harbour town of Porec and the Limski canal.

  • 20mins fromPula

Vodnjan

On the road from Pula to Rovinj, Vodnjan is a busy little market town rightly known for its selection of renowned restaurants, including reputably the best pizzeria in Istria! There are several shops, bars and restaurants as well as a large supermarket and a chemist. In august the town holds its annual fete and there is a large and lively procession of colourfully dressed music bands through the narrow streets!

  • 30mins fromPula

Vrsar

An award winning and one of the most beautiful towns in Istria, Vrsar is situated on a hill overlooking the mouth of the Lim bay. The view from the hill is truly magnificent - 18 beautiful islands resting on the wide blue sea. It’s a picturesque fishing town with more than 2,000 years of rich historical heritage. Take a stroll around the old town’s narrow streets overlooking the marina where you can go for a coffee or meal in one of the quayside restaurants or cafes. If you’re in the area exploring this wonderful region, you must also visit the Lim Bay and then Rovinj

  • 45mins fromPula

Zminj

This lovely village in central Istria is surrounded by beautiful vineyards and olive groves and is steeped in history. Located on a hill amid lush farmland, this is the perfect location to enjoy soaking up the authentic local atmosphere and enjoying traditional cuisine. Try venison with gnocchi, or “Manestra” – sausage with cabbage, two delicious local specialities. The town of Zminj offers several excellent restaurants and a choice of shops, as well as a beautiful church in the square. In August and you may encounter the popular folk festival of “Bartulja”, held in honour of Saint Bartholomew. The beautiful surrounding countryside is best explored by walking or cycling at a leisurely pace, and you will find many tranquil medieval villages scattered amongst the hills and valleys. If you wish to enjoy some sightseeing, the historic coastal town of Rovinj is just half an hour away by car, offering a great choice of shops, and restaurants beside the glittering Adriatic Sea.

  • 1hr fromPula

Your Istria Villa holiday

Outdoor pursuits in Istria Image

Outdoor pursuits in Istria

The combination of coast and mountains in the Istrian region provide extremely varied leisure facilities. Hiking, cycling and pony trekking are popular activities through winding country lanes, rolling hills and coastal pathways. Beautiful rocky beaches line the rugged shores while underwater ancient wrecks, coral reefs and caves are inhabited by schools of colourful fish.

Waterskiing, windsurfing and tennis are all available to try, or visit the scattering of neighbouring islands and national parks to breathe in the fresh, clean country air.

Hints of history in Istria Image

Hints of history in Istria

Built in old stone, Istria’s main bustling summer holiday resorts on the Istrian coast are a delightful mix of narrow cobbled streets and Venetian-style houses. Picturesque squares reveal a medieval urban structure, alongside old town walls, Baroque churches and fortresses. Explore ancient Roman influences and medieval settlings - found in equal measures in Istria’s main resorts and in tiny historic hamlets scattered amongst the rolling hills. Byzantine mosaics and sculptures are widely celebrated and on display, while local pastimes are regularly practised across the region.

Atmospheric evenings in Istria Image

Atmospheric evenings in Istria

Plenty of small restaurants, pizzerias, café-bars and galleries line the waterfront resorts. Its calm, relaxing atmosphere is perfect for casual dining and late-night coffee drinking. Known as a region for concerts, film and culture, you’ll find evening entertainment varies between the main coastal areas - from musical events to art, sculpture and dance.

A sprinkling of cocktail bars and busier nightspots are on offer, but the discreet, social atmosphere lends itself more readily to the traditional Croatian way of life.

Local cuisine in Istria Image

Local cuisine in Istria

Local dishes are depicted by Croatia’s history, with strong Italian and Austrian influences. Expect to find freshly grilled fish, soups and stews on the coast, and pastas, wild boar and truffles further inland. Istrian hospitality has evolved into a tradition that is widely shared with visitors enjoying a villa holiday. Rural estates offer dishes prepared in the traditional style of ancient recipes - washed down with locally brewed beer and wonderful wines that you can either enjoy there or in the comfort of your own private villa. A simple sign ‘vino’ means you are passing an area rich in farms and tasting houses.

Weather Guide

For the Istria holiday season.

Average monthly temperature and rainfall for the Istria holiday season

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Not to be missed...

  • Sample truffles, or ‘black gold’, in one of the charming restaurants in the fortified, medieval town of Motuvan.
  • Feast at a local farm restaurant where you’ll be welcomed in for a home-cooked meal.
  • Explore the narrow cobbled streets of the old Roman and medieval town of Porec and climb the bell tower of the 6th century basilica for panoramic views.
  • Visit the lovely coastal towns of Porec, Pula or Rovinj and Take a day trip on a fast ferry to Venice.
  • Step back in time in the magnificent Roman amphitheatre at Pula – a complete contrast to the busy working town that surrounds it.
  • Take a boat tour around the Brijuni Islands.
  • Sample some Istrian wines at one of the vineyards cellars.

Villas with Heated Pools

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Villas with Jacuzzis

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Villas Good for Couples

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Villas Great for Privacy and Seclusion

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Villas with Great Views

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Villas for Large Groups

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Villas Great for Barbecues

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Villas with Tennis Courts

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Istria reviews verified by reevooReevoo

Sights / Places to go
8.8
Night life
7.1
Overall rating
8.8
Scores 8.8 out of 10 based on 36 reviews
Reviews and scores from the last 12 months.
Views and opinions in these reviews are solely of the authors and do not necessarily represent those of James Villa Holidays (JVH). JVH provides no assurances regarding the accuracy of the information and cannot accept liability for complaints, loss or damage resulting from the article. It does not form part of the contract made when a holiday is booked with JVH and the information provided is not intended to be a rider or replacement to the booking conditions. Reference to the service or product of a third party, is not an endorsement or recommendation and JVH accepts no liability as a result of complaints, loss or damage arising from their use.

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