Croatian is the official language.
English, German and Italian are widely understood.
Passports & Visas
Croatia is part of the EU, therefore visas are not required for UK and EU citizens.
Characterful Rovinj has attracted the attention of celebrities, artists and aesthetes since the 1950’s – due to its elegant piazzas, antique old town and the enchanting harbour which is filled with small boats and yachts and backed by a curved Italian-like promenade that is full of vibrantly coloured houses. At the centre of the town is the Saint Euphemia Cathedral, whose spire pokes through the cluster of houses towards the blues of the sky – creating a visage that is not too dissimilar to that of Venice’s St. Mark’s when viewed from the water. Rovinj is perfect for a luxury Croatia holiday, as it’s filled with upmarket restaurants, elegant shopping destinations and the most enduringly charismatic of old world Croatian atmospheres. The old town is our favourite place to dine – though its streets offer much more than wonderful restaurants – they are filled with artists studios, chic cafes and shops – all of which, when combined with the cobbled pathways and antique charm of the town – are an absolute pleasure to explore.
Porec has been nestled on the west coast of Istria since Roman times, and the old town which still stands today has a typical roman street layout, though it’s the town’s Basilica, which is a Unesco World heritage site, which remains one of its biggest draws. Aside from the old town though, Porec has a number of beaches, several spas and a good amount of inland activities such as mountain biking, hunting and golfing, to take advantage of.
Rabac is perhaps best known as one of the largest of Istria’s beach resorts. Located only 5km southeast of Labin, Rabac lies on a sheltered cove with a pebble beach and is backed up by a vast hilly landscape of lush greenery that is dotted by cute townhouses and quaint villages. Try Rabac for the villages but be sure to take at least one walk into the hills to admire the views.
Pula is a stunning Riviera town that the Romans put firmly on the map when they arrived in 177 BC, and bequeathed the town an incredible amphitheatre whose beachside remains are the city’s most revered attraction. The city doesn’t boast much of a seafront, but there’s too much to see inland to justify to spending too much time on the beach anyway. Starting at the Arena, make your way to the Forum which acts as the city square and has architecture dating back to the 10th century, then see the 1st century Triumphal arch Zlatan Vrata and end by touring the city’s many churches.
Rab is home to some of the most diverse landscapes in the entire Kvarner region. The southwest coast has the pine forests and sun-kissed beaches that the region is known for (though we’d argue that the best sand beaches are on the northern tip’s Lopar peninsular) while the northeast coast is framed by high cliffs and an almost barren aesthetic. Rab Town supplies the cultural kick and is an utterly charming huddle of medieval stone buildings, which are grouped on a pretty peninsular that is lined with four Romanesque church bell-towers. If you’re not interested in a beach holiday – then Rab makes a perfect spring or autumn destination too – when the climate becomes mild and visitors scarce.
Opatija is the matriarch of Croatian tourism – famed for enticing celebrities from all over Europe during the belle époque, an era, incidentally that lives on in Opatija’s beautiful architecture and wonderfully well manicured parks and gardens. The town’s famous shoreline promenade may often be at full capacity but its the best stroll in town along with the main street, which is resplendent with examples of fin-de-siècle architecture. You’ll note that luxurious seafood restaurants are de rigueur both along the stunning seafront and in the fishing village of Volosko close by, and for the more active travellers – you can choose to spend your time sailing, walking Mount Ucka or swimming in the warm embrace of the Kvarner gulf that straddles the shoreline of the town. Opatija is the perfect destination if you are looking to explore the Kvarner peninsula on a Croatia island hopping cruise.
This quaint town is located on the eastern slopes of the Ucka mountain and offers a wonderful, if typically Mediterranean travel destination – which is home to a maze of narrow streets and numerous historical sites – including the 13th century parish church of St. Juraj and the gothic Holy Trinity church which sits rather snugly in the town’s harbour. Lovran is well located to explore some of Croatia’s most stunning national parks – including Plitvice, and Brijuni, as well as the islands of Krk, Cres and Rab.
Losinj is a tiny island that measures just 20 miles long and 2 miles at its widest. The island is lush with pine forests at its core and trimmed with white sanded rural coastline. Two of our favourite settlements on the island include Mali Losinj, whose watery sidewalks bookended with bright baroque houses are not dissimilar to those of Murano in Venice, and secondly the uniquely charming old town of Veli Lošinj whose odd scenic centrepiece is the pink St. Antun Opat Pustinjak church. Those interested with holistic medicine should visit the island’s aromatherapists, spas and cosmeticians who specialise in natural, derived-from-the-land produce. To take in the island from above hike to the viewing point at Mt. St. Ivan at Veli Lošinj.
Istria and Kvarner naturally have rocky beaches, which is why the sea is crystal clear and most beaches are awarded with the Blue Flag.
Each coastal town and resort also offers man-made, well maintained beaches made with sand, pebbles, gravel or concrete bathing platforms, often combined with sunbathing lawns and gardens.
Natural sandy beaches are rare, and can be found mostly in Medulin (Istria), on the islands Krk and Rab, and in Crikvenica (Kvarner).
Popular Sightseeing Attractions
The historic town of Rovinj
Istria’s star attraction. Rovinj is a picture postcard destination, untouched and romantic. Often called the ‘Croatian Venice’, its cobbled streets, piazzas, cliff side houses, countless monuments and charming little harbours are too good to miss.
Porec’s Euphrasian basilica
A 6th century World Heritage site with stunning mosaics.
The 1st century amphitheatre, also known as the Pula Arena, used to host gladiatorial contests.
Veli Brijun, the archipelago’s largest island (and the only one that can be visited) used to be Tito’s summer retreat. Visitors can find a safari park with tourist train, roman ruins, church and a museum about Tito on the island.
Medulin sandy beach
The place to be in Istria if you enjoy sandy beaches. Medulin has a 1km long sandy beach, called Bijeca, offering plenty of facilities. This beach is very suitable for young children.
Authentic hilltop villages are the hidden treasures of the Istrian hinterland. Be sure to visit Motovun, Groznjan, Vodnjan, Labin or Pican, just to name a few.
Some of the best Croatian wines are made in Istria. Visit a few of the many wine makers and listen to interesting stories about the history of Istrian wine, while tasting the finest wines that this region has to offer.
This 66m deep cave has five large halls filled with stalagmites and stalactites in unusual shapes.
Opatija’s Lungomare seaside promenade
This 12km long promenade is over 100 years old and without a doubt the most famous promenade in Istria. Besides beautiful sea views, it offers plenty of restaurants, cafes, beaches, 19th century villas and much more.
Rijeka’s Trsat Castle
This 13th century fortress lies on a hill and offers stunning views over the Kvarner Gulf. Besides a castle, the site also offers a church, a Franciscan monastery and an exhibition centre.
Northern Velebit National Park
Part of the Velebit mountain range, the national park is home to many different animals and plant species. Let one of the many hiking trails take you on an adventure through the mountains and the forests, visit caves and enjoy the breath taking sea views from its mountaintops.
Events & Festivals
Croatian Summer Salsa Festival
This festival brings fans of Latin music and dancing from around the world together in Rovinj.
International tennis tournament.
Motovun Film Festival
This charming hilltop town offers one of the best film festivals in Croatia, showing films from all over the world.
This music festival takes place in Pula each year, offering a mixture of acts and genres.
The Histria Festival (July & Aug)
Music and cultural events in the Pula Arena. Program and tickets usually available from May.
Taking place in Pula each year, it is described as Europe’s largest bass and dubstep festival.
Historic festival in Porec that takes you back to Baroque times.
Truffle Days (Sept – Nov)
The royal mushroom of Croatia, the truffle, takes centre stage during the Truffle Days. Visitors can go truffle hunting, visit fairs and of course they are presented with the most delicious truffle dishes.
Eating & Drinking
Try fresh sea food and fish dishes, truffles, prosciutto & cheese from Pag, meat dishes prepared under the ‘peka’ (a typical way of grilling) or one of Kvarner’s famous goulash dishes.
Tap water is safe to drink. Croatian mineral water is widely available and of good quality.
Istria offers excellent wines and homemade rakija (brandy).
Shops are open on Sunday in Croatia.
There is a wide choice of supermarkets and plenty of daily markets offering fresh food, clothing and souvenirs.
There are several large shopping centres in Istria and Kvarner.
Tips are usually included in the bill. If not included, a tip of 10% is appropriate.
- Pula Airport
- Rijeka Airport
- Losinj Airport
- Zagreb Airport
- Zadar Airport