Holiday

Thinking of coming here on holiday? Then read on for lots of general information and practical advice.

Misal – sparkling delight

May 28, 2015
Misal bottles, Istria

Sparkling wine – the taste of summer! But, when you think of sparkling wines, Croatia doesn’t come naturally to mind, so I was surprised – and delighted – to be offered both white and rosé at Sv. Nikola, one of Porec’s top restaurants, both from Misal. They were delicious so, when I found they...
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Avoiding the Slovenian motorway toll

March 19, 2015
local-map

Coming on holiday to Istria by car? A few years ago, the Slovenians introduced toll stickers (‘vignettes’) for their motorways, similar to the system in Austria. If you are only driving across Slovenia to Istria, this makes the short (10 km) motorway journey, from the Italian border at Trieste to Koper/Capodistria, very expensive. Obviously...
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Pazin: a castle, gorge and giant’s cave

August 1, 2014
Pazin Castle, seen from cafe across gorge, Istria

Pazin doesn’t feature highly in Croatian guidebooks, but hidden behind this apparently non-descript administrative town is a magnificent castle, perched on the edge of a dramatic gorge, with an enormous cave beneath. How this came to be depends on the tale you’re told. My favourite is that of the giant, Ban Dragonja.   The...
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Novigrad – the perfect seaside-holiday town

March 31, 2014
Novigrad, Istria

Imagine, for a moment, an ideal seaside-holiday town. First, it needs to be the right size: big enough to have things to see and do; yet small enough to be easily explored on foot. Obviously, it should be centred around a picturesque harbour, with fishermen working from small boats. Attractive old streets with colourful...
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Franc Arman – one of the best

March 20, 2014
Franc Arman vineyard, Istria

Teran is the red wine of Istria and they don’t come much better than Franc Arman. A pioneer of high-quality Istrian wine, you’ll find bottles of Franc Arman in many of Istria’s leading restaurants. I loved their Teran when I tasted it and so I set off to the winery to discover more, only...
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Visiting Istria – do you need a car?

March 15, 2014
Porec bus station, Istria

‘Do I need a car?’ It’s a question I’ve been asked many times by guests looking to visit Istria. Of course it depends on where you’re staying and how much you want to explore: for my places, which are in villages, the answer is probably ‘yes’. But is this always the case? Does every...
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Vrsar – romantic perfection

January 28, 2014

Of all the towns along the Istrian coast, Vrsar is probably my favourite. Set on a steep hillside, over-looking its harbour, it is a beautiful sight. With its old buildings and narrow streets, this small town is a wonderful place for an afternoon stroll, soaking up the atmosphere and admiring the glorious views. I’ve...
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Aquarium Pula – an introduction to Istria’s undersea world

December 15, 2013
Adriatic tank at Aquarium Pula, Istria

As a small peninsula, the sea’s a vital part of Istria. We come on holiday to sit by it, swim in it and take boat trips across it: but how much do we know about the watery world, hidden beneath?  Opened in 2002, Aquarium Pula is a fascinating place, where education is as important...
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Damjanic – award-winning wines

December 11, 2013
Ivan Damjanic and his vines in Istria

Looking for good wine in the Porec area? Why not follow my footsteps and visit the Damjanic winery in Fuškulin, where Ivan Damjanic is producing six award-winning wines: four white and two red. Professionally-trained and with a passion for wine, Ivan is a classic example of why Istria is beginning to make a name...
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Discover the stars at Višnjan Observatory

December 5, 2013
Višnjan Observatory, Istria

One of the more unusual things you can do in Istria is visit Višnjan Observatory, near Porec. For the scientifically-minded, it’s a chance to look behind the scenes in some hot topics in astronomy, while for the rest of us, it is an unusual and entertainingly educational experience – even the building itself is...
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Discovering Istria’s inland gems

December 1, 2013
Draguc in Autumn - just one of Istria's inland gems

Top of my list of things to do in Istria is explore its beautiful inland villages, with their old stone houses. Most are still unspoilt by tourism: you’ll often have them almost to yourselves, and visiting is like stepping back in time to a sleepier world and a slower pace of life. There are...
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Sveti Nikola – slow-dining at its best?

November 6, 2013
Sv Nikola, Porec, Istria

Situated on the seafront in Porec, facing its island namesake, Sv. Nikola is a wonderful restaurant, my favourite place for a treat. It’s where we go to celebrate birthdays and anniversaries (and when we need a touch of luxury), so it was one of the restaurants I was most looking forward to reviewing for...
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Grabbing an adventure at Glavani Park

November 5, 2013
Nicky crossing a wobbly walk way at Glavani Park, Istria

Trip Adviser’s top Istrian attraction is Glavani Park. Opened in 2011, it is listed ahead of standard tourist attractions like Rovinj old town and Pula amphitheatre. We wanted to see what all the excitement was about and if it lived up to its billing, so went for a day of high-wires and zip-lines.  ...
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Snapshots of history

August 30, 2013
Narrator at Mare the Witch, Svetvincenat, Istria

Far more than just an attractive seaside destination, Istria is full of gorgeous old towns and villages. These atmospheric places come with local tales and legends, brought to life each summer through a series of outdoor performances. Held in nine different locations across the whole of Istria, the stories are all different and specific...
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Dinopark – a fun-packed day out!

August 16, 2013
dinosaur at Dinopark, Istria

Here’s an idea for the ‘little ‘uns’: Dinopark, a theme park aimed squarely at the junior market, based around dinosaurs. While obviously not intended for me, I thought it sounded rather horrendous (plastic dinosaurs in what looks like a concrete jungle?). So I was stunned when mother-of-two, Petra, said it was the best day...
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