Meintje and Camiel’s top 5 sights in Istria
Meintje and Camiel are real campers. Together they have holidayed in many countries with a tent or trailer tent, and nowadays they travel with a motorhome. They visit all the best spots and share their photos on Instagram. One of their favourite holiday destinations is Croatia, especially the province of Istria. Read their tips about the most beautiful sights in this region.
Croatia is a wonderful holiday destination. We have visited the province of Istria many times and it has stolen our hearts. In Istria you will find beautiful countryside, a long coastline, picturesque villages and delicious food. There are also plenty of sights to visit. This is our absolute top 5!
The Euphrasius Basilica in Poreč is on the Unesco World Heritage List. And we can understand why! It is a very impressive church. It was built in the sixth century in Byzantine style. This style is reflected in the colourful mosaics that immediately caught our attention when we walked into the basilica. The complex consists of an atrium, a baptistery, an antechamber and a memorial chapel. Take the time to see all the mosaics, paintings and architecture. From the top of the tower you have a beautiful view over the city and the harbour of Poreč.
Extra info: entrance fee 40 kuna (± € 5.50). The basilica is closed on Sundays and during church holidays.
2. Lim fjord
In Istria You will also find the Lim fjord in Istria. Actually it should not be called a fjord, because it was not formed by a glacier. But with the many steep, green hills, the ten-kilometre-long Limski Canal is very much like a fjord. Hence the name: Lim fjord.
There are several vantage points along the fjord which look out over the canal and offer lovely views. Or you can take a boat trip on the canal. Various boat trips are offered from Poreč, Rovinj and Vrsar.
Tip: there are several restaurants on the waterfront where you can try super-fresh oysters and mussels!
3. Baredine Cave
Just six kilometres from Poreč is the grot Baredine. This was the first cave in Istria to be opened to the public. It is really beautiful! Together with a guide you descend about 60 meters via an illuminated path. In the cave you will find an underground lake, crystals, stalagmites, stalactites and other beautiful underground sculptures, made by the water. The cave houses several rooms where you can discover various natural works of art. The tower of Pisa, a torch-bearing snowman … At least, the guides will tell you that that is what the dripstone formations resemble. But you really have to see them with your own eyes.
You can also spot a special animal in these caves: the olm. This is a salamander that only lives in caves. The olm has an elongated body, a yellowish white to pink colour and it is blind.
Extra info: guided tours start every 30 minutes, the guide is included, and the visit lasts 40 minutes. The cave has a constant temperature of 14 degrees, so it is recommended to bring a jacket. The entrance fee for adults is 75 kuna (± € 10). Children can enter for 45 kuna (± € 6).
4. The Pula Amphitheatre
This structure, also known as the Pula Arena, is one of the largest surviving amphitheatres in the world. This Roman theatre was built in the first century AD and could hold 23,000 spectators to watch the bloody gladiatorial fights. Just imagine how that would have been!
This Roman amphitheatre in Pula distinguishes itself from other amphitheatres by its four towers. On top of each tower stood tanks with scented water. This was sprinkled over the audience during the battles, to provide the necessary refreshment. Cool fact, right?
In the former gladiator rooms under the amphitheatre you now find a museum about the production of olive oil and wine in Istria in Roman times. You can see olive mills and presses, among other things.
Extra info: the entrance fee is 50 kuna (€ ± € 7). In the summer months (June to September) gladiator fights are re-enacted weekly and there are concerts in the evenings.
5. Nationaal park Cape Kamenjak
Cape Kamenjak is a peninsula in the southernmost tip of Istria. Here you will find rugged coastline stretching for miles, romantic bays and beautiful sandy beaches. The crystal clear water makes it a perfect place for swimming, diving or snorkelling.
The best way to visit Cape Kamenjak is by bike, there is a marked cycle route. And by bike you can reach all kinds of beautiful places. Don’t forget to bring your swimming gear, because the sandy beaches here are beautiful.
The peninsula is home to 530 plant species, twenty of which belong to the orchid family. And that’s not all you can spot. If you are lucky, you may even encounter a seal!
Extra info: the national park is free for cyclists and hikers. If you come by car, you can go to the town of Premantura to buy entry tickets. These cost 80 kuna (± € 11). Keep in mind that in high season it is difficult to find a parking space on the island.