Getting to Istria

Coming on holiday to Istria? There’s plenty of basic information already available on-line about how to get here. I don’t intend to repeat it here. But having travelled back and forth many times to visit family and friends in other countries, by air and road, I’ll instead be trying to pass on ‘insider’ tips to make the journey easier and quicker. But first a quick overview …


So where is Istria?istria-map

Just in case you weren’t sure, Istria’s part of Croatia, in the north-west of the country. It’s basically the triangle pointing into the top of the Adriatic next to Italy, opposite Venice. It’s bounded by Slovenia to the north and the rest of Croatia to the east. If you’re still not sure where that is, click here.


Getting here by air

plane-webWithin a 3-hour radius of Istria, your options for flying here are Pula, Trieste, Rijeka, Ljubljana, Venice, Treviso, and Zagreb. We’ve used or visited all of these airports at some time in the past seven years and each has its pros and cons.

For flight information, click the airline links. To give an idea of the distances involved, there’s a travel time indicator for driving to Porec, Istria’s main tourist centre in the middle of the West Coast. This doesn’t include possible border crossing delays.



One of the benefits of flying into a Croatian airport is you can avoid any potential border crossing delays. This is particularly important in the summer when queues can be very long.

Pula airport – Istria has one airport, at the southern tip of the peninsular, just outside Pula. It’s very close to the new Ypsilon motorway (A9) that runs from north to south and it takes about fifty minutes to drive to Porec. Airlines flying into Pula are:

Rijeka airport is on the island of Krk, just south of Rijeka itself, at the far east of the Istrian peninsula. It’s about a 90-120 minute drive to Porec. Airlines flying into Rijeka are:

Zagreb airport is about a three hour drive from Porec. You can fly in from such a large number of countries in Europe that I have just listed the airlines: AeroflotAir France, Austrian, Croatia, CSA, easyJet, El Al, Germanwings, Iberia, Lufthansa, Malev, Norwegian, Spanair, TAP Portugal, Turkish



Trieste airport in Italy is the second closest to Porec, about a-90 minute drive away.

Venice’s Marco Polo airport is a good option for a two-centre holiday. You can either take the high-speed ferry across to Porec (around 4-5 hours) or drive (about three hours). Obviously there are numerous flights from all around the world into this major hub. The list is too huge to mention, but here are a few key ones:

Treviso airport, about 30 minutes north of Venice, is another small, useful Italian airport, around a three hour drive from Porec. It is currently closed for enlargement, but should reopen again in October 2011. Flights are currently being diverted to Venice Marco Polo (see above). The main airline flying to Treviso is Ryanair, with flights from the UK, France, Belgium, Germany, Spain and Italy. Germanwings flies in from Germany, the UK and Eastern Europe. Transavia flies from the Netherlands and Wizzair from various East European countries.



Ljubljana airport is about 20 minutes north of the city and about a two-and-a-half-hour drive to Porec. It too is a good option for a two-centre holiday.

Adria (the Slovenian airline) flies to Albania, Austria, Belgium, Bosnia & Herzegovina, Croatia, Denmark, France, Germany, Greece, Ireland, Israel, Macedonia, Montenegro, The Netherlands, Russia, Serbia, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Turkey, Ukraine, and UK.

Other airlines are:


Getting here by road

driving.webMost people these days seem to own a sat-nav, so the easiest way to get here is to follow the route provided!

If you are coming from the north, via Italy or Austria, all routes involve you driving through Slovenia and going across one of three border crossings. Going from west to east, these are near Portorož, at Kaštel and in the hills above Buzet. There are also two crossings in the hills above Rijeka. The main border crossing is at Kaštel and be warned, there can be long delays in the high season, especially at the weekend.

If you’re driving  from elsewhere in Croatia, you know you’ve reached Istria when you come out of the Ucka tunnel above Rijeka.

Make sure you have some change in your pockets as all the main routes in are tolled. In Istria the tolls are charged in Kuna, but can also be paid in Euros. There is also a vignette system on the Slovenian motorways.

For a route into Istria avoiding the Slovenian motorway and vignette click here.

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