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.