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Why visit Istria?

Istra is close. If Croatia is the heart of Europe, for heart-like Istra it can be said that it opens the gates of the Mediterranean to Europeans. Trst and Ljubljana are practically at its doorstep, even Graz isn’t far away, it’s only about 500 or so kilometres from Milan or Vienna and about 600 kilometres away from Munich. The airport in Pula connects Istra with the whole of Europe.

Istra is endowed with natural beauties. Counted among Istra’s special qualities without a doubt are its inviolable natural balance and diverse plant and animal world. The environment is well preserved, the forests extend down to the sea, the sea is clean, the majority of beaches are untouched and the plant life is autochthonous Mediterranean, sometimes rare and sometimes unique. Aside from the fact that it is reputed as being one of the most beautiful archipelagos of the Mediterranean, the Brijuni archipelago also represents a curious game of nature with exotic fauna and rich flora in one place.

Istra has a rich historical and cultural heritage. Owing to its attractiveness by which it drew attention even in times long past, Istra today abounds in numerous archaeological and cultural-historical monuments. The remains of dinosaur footprints and bones, ancient catacombs, a magnificent Roman amphitheatre, Euphrasian Basilica which has even been recognised by UNESCO, rising bell-towers, numerous little churches with preserved frescos, the remains of fortified towns, old city walls, towers, forts… are only some of the “ordinary places” in Istra’s heritage.

Istra offers healthy and good food. Along with fresh seafood delicacies on the coast, Istra offers a range of “continental” gastro specialties, like various local pastas in sauces of wild game or meals made from top quality truffles, preceded by Istrian pr�ut (smoked ham) and sheep cheese in extra virgin olive oil of the highest quality. The production of wine is also on the increase in Istra: every year a greater number of wine makers prepare better and better wines, whether it is the white malvazija or red terana in barrique.

Istra offers modern and luxurious accommodation. A reduction in capacities along with an improvement in quality in the last few years is a real trend in Istra. The number of top class hotels, luxurious villas with pools built in the style of stone houses are exceptionally popular, rural tourism in the interior of Istra is improving in quality, even the camps and private accommodation are significantly raising the level of the their services. Wellness centres are all the trend – various therapies, baths, solariums, saunas and cosmetic programs have become a part of Istra’s tourist everyday life.

Istra has an ideal climate. A stay in Istra is pleasant all year round. The bathing season lasts five months, while and sun tanning season lasts even longer. Spring in Istra is ideal for recreation, like bike riding, walking, hiking, free climbing or paragliding, while the Istrian autumn literally invites you to go mushroom, chestnut or grape picking. Istra is hospitable. Istrians are reputed as being kind and hospitable hosts, so it is no surprise if some “local inhabitant” in one of the smaller places in central Istra invites a tourist into their home for a glass of homemade wine, a little cheese and pršut or a game of briškule (card game). One of the reasons guests keep returning again and again to Istra is precisely this hospitality.

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