Istria is the biggest peninsula on the Adriatic Sea and is currently a part of the territory of Italy, Croatia, and Slovenia. Its historical heritage is quite rich as it has been a part of the Habsburg Monarchy, Napoleon’s France, The Austrian Empire and Italy throughout the last 300 hundred years alone, not to mention to Roman outposts in ancient times. There are plenty of places to visit in Istria.
The area consists of mountain ridges, rivers and valleys, of course excluding the large seaside which has the perfect cities to spend your vacation at, experiencing different cultures. So we come down to the questions what are the absolute MUST things to do in Istria?
The Roman Amphitheatre
Romans simply loved public events, thus they needed a stage on which the performers would present their acts. The Roman Amphitheatre is located in Pula and was built during the first century; it’s overlooking the harbour in the old part of the city. The whole building is truly fascinating and quite enormous for something which is almost two thousand years old. It was originally meant to host gladiator battles, however, it still serves as a public event host up to this day, as there’s plenty of concerts there.
The Euphrasian Basilica
Among the other places to visit in Istria is the Euphrasian Basilica. It was built during the sixth century by the Byzantines and is currently under the protection of UNESCO as it is one of the best examples of Byzantine art left to this day. The masterpieces painted on the walls are simply breath taking. As long as you go to the basilica make sure to also visit the Bishop’s Palace which is located right next to it. It will also give you a glimpse of ancient sculptures from the 4th century.
Restaurant Zigante in Motovun
What to do in Istria, where would you eat you might ask? The whole area might be a part of three countries, but the population generally shares the same culinary preferences. Zigante is a restaurant owned by the largest truffle company in Istria, thus you shouldn’t be surprised if truffles come as the highlight of each meal.
The group of islands is located just on the southwest coast of the peninsula near the city of Pula. It’s the only natural park in the peninsula; however, it covers around 750 hectares of land spread throughout fourteen different islands. The rich flora, unique nature and environment bring exotic animals at a single place. It’s the perfect place to enjoy a day at and have a quality time with your family. The islands also have ruins left by the Roman Empire from centuries ago. Brijuni is one of the largest and loveliest archipelagos in the Mediterranean, and you should definitely put it on your list of places to visit in Istria.
Naturally, these are only some of the things to do in Istria. You should obviously take full advantage of the beaches in the area.