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Discovering Enchanting Istria: a Gem of Croatia

Category: Insiders Guide | 07.21.2023

Welcome back to Hosted Villas! Our Operations Coordinator, Sanja, has just returned from an awe-inspiring 3-month adventure in Croatia, immersing herself in the captivating region of Istria. Join us as we discover the enchanting Istria, a gem of Croatia.



Istria – A Haven in the Adriatic

Nestled in the north-westernmost part of Croatia, bordered by the azure Adriatic Sea, Istria is a breathtaking green oasis draped in lush pine woods. This region boasts the largest peninsula in the Adriatic, making it a true treasure awaiting exploration!

Getting There

To embark on your Istrian journey, consider flying into Pula Airport, located in the heart of Istria’s largest city, Pula. This coastal hub serves as an excellent starting point for your adventure. Alternatively, you could opt for Zagreb, the capital city of Croatia, and take a scenic 2 ½ hour drive to reach the captivating Istria.

What Awaits You?

Prepare to be enchanted by the diversity of activities Istria offers! Immerse yourself in its unique history, explore medieval hilltop towns, indulge in truffle hunts, visit national parks, savor local wines and exquisite cuisine, sample award-winning olive oil, and bask in the beauty of the Adriatic Sea on its pristine, diverse beaches. There’s something for everyone, making Istria an unrivaled destination.

Must-See Favorites

Istria, a land of enchanting contrasts, can be divided into two distinct parts: Blue Istria, the coastal region, and Green Istria, the hilltop towns. With each visit, you’ll uncover fresh experiences. Let’s explore some of the favorites from Sanja’s recent trip:


Pula, Istria’s largest city, dazzles visitors with its Roman-inspired architecture, impressive fortifications, and coastal charms. Not to be missed is the Pula Arena, a well-preserved Roman amphitheatre boasting a fully intact circular wall. Nature enthusiasts will adore the Brijuni Islands National Park, a captivating archipelago of 14 islands, best explored on a rented bike. Roam among Roman villa ruins, dinosaur fossils, diverse flora and fauna, and exotic wildlife and birds.


The picturesque Old Town of Rovinj beckons travelers with its winding cobblestone streets, vibrant houses, and delightful seafood restaurants. A visit to St. Euphemia’s Church, perched atop a hill overlooking the sea, provides stunning vistas. End your day by the water, savoring the magical hues of an Istrian sunset, and revel in the town’s charming Venetian influence.


Porec holds a special place in Sanja’s heart, as it’s where she cherished many childhood summers snorkeling and picking sun-warmed figs. Stroll through the enchanting Old Town, graced with countless restaurants, quirky artist shops, and captivating Roman architecture. Don’t miss the Euphrasian Basilica, a UNESCO site showcasing exquisite early Byzantine art. For a heavenly treat, indulge in the finest gelato at Il gelato di Salvatore, made from local ingredients.


Perched atop a hill in central Istria, Motovun offers breathtaking views of the Mirna River Valley. This well-preserved medieval town is surrounded by truffle-rich forests, making it a haven for food enthusiasts. Be sure to try the delectable truffle-infused dishes in one of its top-notch local restaurants. In the autumn, join the Zigante Truffle Days festival in nearby Livade for truffle-hunting demonstrations and culinary delights.

The Perfect Time to Go

For an unforgettable Istrian experience, consider visiting during the ‘off-shoulder months,’ from May to June and September to October. These periods offer pleasant weather and fewer crowds, allowing you to savor the region’s beauty without the summer heat. May’s warm ocean waters are perfect for a refreshing swim, while September marks the beginning of the white truffle season – a culinary delight not to be missed. A rental car is highly recommended for convenient exploration.

Sanja’s favourite villa in Blue Istria

Villa Tiran

Contemporary design, understated luxury and sweeping views of the Adriatic, perfectly describe this villa. A well appointed kitchen, generous living and dining room plus spacious bedroom suites provide airy interior spaces. The outdoor terraces and inviting pool combine to create a dream retreat. Located in a central and quiet town on the western coast of Istria, shops, restaurants and the rich cultural and natural beauty of local heritage sites are within easy walking distance. The surrounding ancient city walls add to the historic rarity of this property.

Sanja’s favourite villa in Green Istria

Baracija Estate

Originally built in the 19th century, this estate gives a new meaning to the word magic. Located in the heart of Istria, surrounded by organic vineyards and olive groves, this 8-bedroom home offers absolute privacy and seclusion amongst untouched nature.


We hope you are inspired to explore the wonders of Istria, Croatia’s captivating gem: let us host you there on your next vacation

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