Istria

Largest Peninsula in Adriatic // Rovinj // 134 Days of Sunshine // Strong Italian Influence...

Croatia may be relatively new to the mega tourism scene – with Outlook Festival becoming a must-do for all avid festival goers, Yacht Week, Hvar island being labelled the new St Tropez, it is all happening here.

I say here as I am lucky enough to currently be writing this sitting along the rocky Istrian coastline in Rovinj aka. the blue pearl of the Adriatic. This less travelled northern part of Croatia, much like its sister country of Italy, is where the magic happens. Rovinj gets 134 days of sunshine per year making it one of the sunniest spots in Europe!

Istrian wine has made quite the name for itself over the past few years and has triumphed the area into an internationally renowned wine country. The olive oil has been labelled some of the best in the world. The crystal clear waters and conserved islands have been luring yachters to the rocky coastline for years and the first Design Hotel, Hotel Lone, now stands proud just outside the old town of Rovinj.

The beautiful coastline in Rovinj is shielded by forest with boutique eateries and espresso stops hidden along the cycle paths. Bicycle is the way to travel here, no mode of transport could be better suited to this relaxed lifestyle. The entire coastline leading all the way into the town has been made into a cycle path; although it hasn’t lost its rustic and rather bumpy charm so you might want to go for a mountain bike to explore the area.

Some of the finest restaurants in Croatia are up here in Istria making the area the culinary capital of Croatia. Along the coastal towns you’ll find seafood so fresh it may as well have jumped out of the sea and right on to your plate. Octopus, sardines, tuna steak and of course catch of the day as most restaurateurs head out to fish for their daily dishes first thing in the morning.

The Venetian influence in Istria is astounding; there is certainly no forgetting that you’re only a ferry ride away from Italy’s finest city. Rovinj old town has been built on the water and most homeowners have a locally made batana, that’s an Istrian boat, moored up on their ‘driveway’. Part of Istria sits along the Italian-Croatian border and the most widely spoken language is Italian, you can certainly get by with the odd Italian phrase here and unlike other Italian speaking areas it’s very appreciated if you try.

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Hannah Grace Lodge is a London based Freelance Lifestyle Writer

Photograph by Hannah Grace Lodge

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