The province of Istria, known locally as Istarska Zupanija is in the west of Croatia on the Adriatic, on a peninsula shaped very much like India. The flavour of Istria is a mixture of Italian with the particular charm of the Croatian Adriatic. A green countryside of vine groves, with mediaeval fortified towns and villages, and along the coast a multitude of charming little ports. A land of truffles, wine and song.
Oprtalj, a typical Tuscan style village
Among the many interesting places to visit in the area is Porec, a pretty town with a 6th century Byzantine Basilica built by the Emperor Euphrasius. At agencies in the area you can take an excursion to the amazing Baredine grotto, 8 km from Porec. It is 132 m deep and has five caves with an abundance of stalagmites and stalactites.
Pula is an extraordinary port set right on the end of the Istria Peninsular. Full of delicious little streets, Roman monuments at every cross road and sumptuous arenas. You will also find some of the most seductive and beautiful beaches of Istria here. In the north another major historical town is Motovun, which hides behind magnificent mediaeval ramparts. It started out as a Roman town but today it has a predominantly Venetian flavour.
The magnificent Pula Amphitheatre
The little jewel of Istria, a fortified town and one of the most visited sites in Croatia.
The Brijuni Islands National Park
The Brijuni Isles, a group of two large islands and twelve small islets off the west coast of Istria, are a National Park due to their spectacular beauty and abundance of nature, which was appreciated even in antiquity. This is also the home of the famous Brijuni safari park. You can take a ride around the park on a little train (actually a tractor disguised as a train). Finally, don't forget to take your swimsuit as there are some lovely bays just perfect for a quiet swim.
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