The Istrian mild climate and alluring landscape offer an abundance of opportunities for sports and recreational activities throughout the whole year, both out in the fresh air but also in indoors in closed sports halls. Alongside hotels there are usually well equipped sports terrains, while on the beaches there are centres for water sports and the central Istrian wilderness is favourable for adventure and extreme sports.
Tennis was once the trademark sport of Istra and today is the favourite sport of many. As a result there are 430 clay courts on which you can play all year round. The well known tournament ATP Tour – Croatia Open (www.croatiaopen.hr) has for years now attracted the greatest names in tennis to Umag. The traditionally dominant role of tennis is slowly been taken over by cycling. On the entire peninsula there are about 60 biking trails which altogether measure nearly 2,600 kilometres in length, while the Tourist Board of the Istrian County also printed itineraries of circular trails. The majority of trails pass through picturesque and non-asphalted Istrian areas and it is a real shame not to set out on this adventure. Walking is also increasing popular. Numerous walking trails have been constructed throughout the whole of Istra and the majority of them pass along the sea or through wooded areas, so they are also favourable for rehabilitation.
Although Brijuni had one of the largest golf courses even back at the beginning of the 20th century, golf has not really taken off in Istra yet. However, according to the plan for development of Istrian tourism, the construction of about 20 or so new courses (two course already this year) are planned with which Istra would become a real golf region. A series of equestrian centres and ranches enable riding for horse lovers through untouched nature, while riding schools are available for those wanting to try it for the first time. Diving has also “always” been connected to Istra. Diving centres and clubs throughout Istra organise courses, while experienced divers are invited to visit attractive underwater locations. Istra has 11 hydro-archaeological localities of which the 85 metre long wreck “Baron Gautsch”, a passenger ship which was sunk after passing a mine in 1914, is one of the best known. Water skiing is a unique attraction for both beginners and more experienced skiers, while lovers of windsurfing are attracted by strong currents and winds of southern Istra. Adventure tourists may try their hand at caving given that Ćićarija, but also many other parts of Istra, abound in caves and pits. Here too, in recent years, free climbing has become popular. To date about nine attractive climbing sites have been constructed in Istra, most of them near the Lim channel and northern Istra. Due to good weather conditions, paragliding is a year round activity and five start areas have been set up. Although it isn’t a real sport, paintball is a great activity full of fun and adrenaline and is played in nearly all coastal localities.
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