As the westernmost county of the Republic of Croatia – on the largest peninsula in the Adriatic – Istria is a somewhat unknown destination. Yet, with rolling hills overlooking fields and valleys with little towns perched on precious peaks, it’s a place reminiscent of old landscape paintings worth escaping to.
Deep valleys and meandering streams on their way to the ocean add colour to local myths of giants, and dramatic outcrops create spectacular Mediterranean coves best seen by boat as you sail the deep blue Azure coastline.
The heart-shaped Istria peninsula offers an eclectic mix of activities such as truffle hunting, olive oil tasting, stunning hilltop village walks, and more adventurous feats such as paragliding, rock climbing and diving.
Sights to behold include the cultural gem of Novigrad – with beautiful bell towers, historic town walls and upmarket marina – the medieval town of Motovun with striking views over vineyards and forestland, and Grožnjan-Grisignana, a former 14th-century Venetian fortress which is now the beating heart of Istria’s art and music scene.
Considering, too, the pristine pebble beaches, medieval architecture, gourmet food and quality wine, and there aren’t many better places to relax by the magnificent Med.
GMT +1 hour
Most of the inhabitants of the Croatian part of the Istria peninsula speak the Chakavian dialect of the Croatian language.
The official currency used in the Republic of Croatia as of January 2023 is the Euro (EUR).
Credit cards can be used where indicated. You can withdraw cash from ATMs in all larger cities and important tourist offices.
It is always fair to round up your bill at a restaurant or bar and tipping an average of 10-20 per cent is appropriate. A general tip for a boat crew is between 5-15 percent of the total sum if you are happy with the experience and the service provided. Unfortunately tipping with credit cards is near impossible in Croatia, so we recommend having cash available.
Arrival & Departure Formalities
As of 1 January 2023, Croatia is part of the Schengen area.
Your passport must be issued less than 10 years before the date you enter the country, and valid for at least three months after the day you plan to leave.
You can travel to countries in the Schengen area for up to 90 days in any 180-day period without a visa. If you are travelling to Croatia and other Schengen countries without a visa, make sure your whole visit is within the 90-day limit.
Driving in Croatia
You will need your home country’s driver’s licence with you to drive and hire a car in the Republic of Croatia. Croatians drive on the right-hand side of the road in left-hand drive vehicles.
The speed limit on Croatian motorways is 130 km/h, 90 km/h on open roads, and the inner-city speed limit is 50 km/h.
The minimum driving age in Croatia is 18. However, the minimum age for renting a car in Croatia is 21. However, if you are below 21 years of age you can choose to pay a young driver's surcharge. This surcharge usually amounts to EUR 25 per rental.
There are parking zones in most Croatian cities. Higher zone numbers are generally not too close to city centres and have cheaper parking spots. It’s worth checking out the parking zones before you drive into cities. A lot of people choose to park in shopping mall garages, since it’s usually cheaper than parking in Zones 0 and 1.