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.
Istria’s charming, historic towns have seen much in their time. Today their unique culture and beautiful setting endears the region to holidaymakers who want to slow down, relax and really live their holiday destination. Our Istria villas offer just the place to do so.
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.
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.
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 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.
Istria Holidays - Points of Interest
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.
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 offers lovely beaches, a great selection of restaurants and fantastic nightlife.
The typical Istrian town of Labin is set on a hill above the fishing village of Rabac on the south east coast. The area is a haven for history and art lovers with its rich cultural and architectural heritage.
The enchanting town of Groznjan is set high on a hill of vineyards and olive gardens, overlooking nearby villages. Concerts, art and jazz festivals are hosted here, bringing this peaceful little town to life.
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.
One of the most beautiful towns in Istria, Vrsar is situated on a hill overlooking the mouth of the Lim bay. The view from above is truly magnificent - eighteen beautiful islands resting on the wide blue sea.
If you're having trouble finding the ideal villa, we're here to help. You'll need somewhere that really feels like your home from home. Where everything is taken care of, so your only worries are which beach or sun lounger you’ll choose today. We've put together some of our top picks, so the villa of your dreams could be just a few clicks away.
James Recommends - Istria villas
Need some inspiration to help choose your perfect villa? Looking for a pool with a view, a villa in the centre of the action, or a property that sleeps a large group? James can recommend villas to suit you. Browse through our villas that have that specific something you're looking for.
Let's face it, when it comes to reviews you want to hear from straight from the holidaymaker's mouth! They're the ones who've been there, done that and swam in their own private pool. That's why we use independent review service Reevoo – giving you the good and the bad from genuine James Villas' customers. Honesty is the best policy after all…
Istria reviews verified by reevoo
Sights / Places to go
Scores 9.0 out of 10based on 84 reviews
Reviews and scores from the last 12 months.
8 out of 10
Nottingham Family (the eldest child is at school)
Pula and the colosseum is well worth a visit. Fazana our local fishing village has the most amazing sun sets.
The cuisine is very much the same fare wherever you go. Difficult to find any stand out restaurants.
Confirmed stay: 17 August 2019 Published on: 18 August 2019 10 out of 10
Bristol Family (the eldest child is at school)
Views, pool, quality of the villa and fittings. Superb.
Not really. Power cuts stopped the pool filtering but that's Croatia not the villa. There's is not much to do after restaurants meal but that was fine for us.
Confirmed stay: 17 August 2019 Published on: 18 August 2019 9 out of 10
Lovely quiet area away from tourists.
No bad points.
Confirmed stay: 10 August 2019 Published on: 15 August 2019 8 out of 10
South Yorkshire Family with adult children
Labin old town was excellent fir restaurants and places to see. Rabac was busier but seemed to cater more for people in hotels that would have eaten before coming out.
Was a little bit off the beaten track but once we got use to the road it was fine. Would be useful to have a James guide in the villa explaining about the area and places to visit, local shops and supermarkets, also suggested restaurants to eat at .
Confirmed stay: 10 August 2019 Published on: 11 August 2019 8 out of 10
Corby Family (the eldest child is at school)
The pool and outdoor area great for relaxing local restaurants within a short walk
When you pull up to villa there are a few barking dogs and the initial area looks a bit run down but behind villa doors is a different world also quite expensive for one week
Confirmed stay: 03 August 2019 Published on: 04 August 2019 7 out of 10
Ramsgate Family (the eldest child is at school)
Sights and historical places are brilliant. Minimum driving to places is 25-45 mins.
No real bad point apart from a few neighbours dogs barking throughout the night
Confirmed stay: 03 August 2019 Published on: 04 August 2019 7 out of 10
Kent Family with adult children
Quiet, rural location. Able to experience the “real” Croatia. Good restaurants in the coastal towns like Rovinj.
Limited local supermarkets and restaurants - had to drive to bigger towns.
Confirmed stay: 27 July 2019 Published on: 04 August 2019 10 out of 10
HUDDERSFIELD Family (the eldest child is at school)
The privacy in the villa was great, the local small shop was perfect for a few bits each day.
The beach is very rocky and the sea very salty.
Confirmed stay: 27 July 2019 Published on: 01 August 2019 9 out of 10
Pula, Porec, Rovinj
Confirmed stay: 27 July 2019 Published on: 01 August 2019
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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