The Croatian National Tourist Board has divided Croatia into six distinct tourist regions, of which the Istrian peninsula is one. This peninsula is located at the head of the Adriatic Sea, between the Kvarner Gulf and the Gulf of Trieste. Almost 90% of the peninsula is a part of Croatia, while the rest is divided between Slovenia and Italy.
The largest city in this region is Pula, famous for having one of the world’s best preserved Ancient Roman amphitheaters. This amphitheater is still used for cultural events in Pula and is popular among both residents and visitors.
Pula recieves quite a lot of bicycle tourists each year, because this city is the end point of the EuroVelo 9 cycle route that starts in Gdańsk in Poland.
If you want to combine city life and nature experiences, you can stay in Pula and make visits to the neaby national park Brijuni, which consists of fourteen small islands in the Adriatic Sea. Over 200 dinosaur footprints have been discovered on one of these islands.
The beaches of Rovinj are popular among naturists. There are no designated naturist beaches here, but naturists flock here to relax in the many small bays where dense vegetation offers a degree of privacy.
Located on western coast of the Istra peninsula, Umag is the westernmost city in Croatia. Internationally, Umag is chiefly famous for wine and tennis. Each year, the Croatia Open ATP tennis tournament takes place on the clay courts of Umag.
Umag is surrounded by arable land that have been used for growing grapes and olives since ancient times. In recent years, a number of highly acclaimed Umaga wines have reached international fame.
This old city of Roman origin is where you find the Europhrasian Basilica; a site included in the UNESCO World Heritage List. This basilica is a great example of early Byzantine architecture and art, and you can for instance see marvelous mosaics from the 6th century AD here.
Motovun/Montona was a medieval town that grew up on the site of the ancient city Castellieri. Today, Motovun has less than a thousand inhabitants and is more like a village than a town.
The wine grapes grown on the slopes around Motovun are chiefly of the Teran and Malvazija types.
According to local folktales, Motovun is home to Veli Jože (“Big Joe”), a gentle giant who represents the Croatian people of Istria. These folktales formed the basis for the renowned Croatian writer Vladimit Nazor’s story about the giant.
Behind Motovun, on the other side of the river Mirna, is a protected forest region; approximately 10 square kilometers in size. The soil type, flora and fauna of this forest is very different from the forests of the surrounding karst region, and it is famous for its truffles.