Earlier this month I had the opportunity to travel to the beautiful Istria, Croatia with Jet2.com. I wasn’t very familiar with the area before the trip, but I quickly fell in love with all of the islands and cities, and I’m already plotting a return visit! Today I’m sharing everything you need to know in my Istria, Croatia travel guide.
The Istria region is located in the northern part of Croatia, and is known for many different things such as wine, olive oil, and truffles. It’s much less touristy than the more commonly traveled to destinations like Dubrovnik or Hvar (Istria is about a 12 hour drive from Dubrovnik, so quite far!). With influences from the surrounding countries of Italy, Slovenia, Bosnia, and Serbia, Croatia is a wonderful mix of different cultures. If it wasn’t already, you need to add Croatia to your travel bucket list! Below you will find my complete Istria, Croatia travel guide.
ISTRIA, CROATIA TRAVEL GUIDE
HOW TO GET THERE
There are many different ways to get to Istria from London, and it’s just a short 2 hour plane journey. We flew with Jet2 out of Stansted Airport – you can find flights to Pula on Jet2 for as low as £45! This was my first time flying with Jet2 (note that they only operate out of Stansted), and I had an amazing experience. The planes were clean, the staff was friendly, and everything ran on time. Jet2 offers loads of great flights from Stansted to many other destinations as well, and I highly recommend them for your next holiday!
WHERE TO STAY
You can find some lovely hotels in Pula on Jet2Holidays – with over 100 options to choose from in the Istria region, you’re sure to find one that suits your needs. I personally recommend staying in the city of Pula. Mainly because it was a great central location to get to all of the other cities in the region. We booked our stay at the Park Plaza Histria Pula through Jet2Holdiays and had a wonderful experience. The rooms were clean and comfy, the breakfast buffet was incredible, and they offered not one but three beautiful pools overlooking the sea. I even had time to check out their fitness center during my trip, which featured all of the amenities you could hope for to get your workout in. The Park Plaza Histria Pula was the perfect home base for our week in Croatia!
WHERE TO EAT
- Hotel Amfiteatar Restaurant: Conveniently located right next to the Pula Arena, this restaurant is known as one of the best in Pula! I highly recommend ordering the truffle pasta.
- Alla Beccaccia: Located in Valbandon, this was one of my favorite meals of the trip. The location feels like you’re at an Italian vineyard, and the food was amazing. They slow cook the meat over a wood barbecue!
- Lanterna: Situated on St. Andrews Island overlooking the sea, Lanterna offered some seriously yummy seafood! The highlight for me was the dessert, which was a chocolate bomb with caramel sauce. SO GOOD.
- Sv. Nikola: A Michelin restaurant located in the city of Porec, you won’t be disappointed with the food or the stunning views. Be sure to go at sunset!
WHAT TO DO
- Go olive oil tasting. We had an absolutely amazing evening tasting olive oil at Chiavalon. I learned how to properly taste oil, and enjoyed a lovely meat and cheese board during the tasting. I loved the oil so much that I brought a bottle home!
- Tour the Roman Amphitheater in Pula. The Pula Arena is the only remaining Roman Amphitheater to have all four side towers still in tact. And is also one of the 6 largest surviving amphitheaters in the world.
- Take the ferry over to Brijuni National Park. We spent the morning riding around in electric golf carts; touring all of the sights that this beautiful island has to offer. From a Mediterranean garden, to St. Mary’s Basilica, to preserved dinosaur footprints, there is something for everyone here!
- Visit the cities of Rovijn, Motovun, and Porec. These colorful towns are bursting with history and culture. Each city is as picturesque as the next, and Motovun also features a really lovely viewpoint from the top!
- Go truffle hunting. If you watched my Instagram stories during the trip, then you know that is hands down my favorite thing I did in Croatia. Something that was honestly one of the best activities I’ve EVER had the opportunity to experience. We spent the morning learning about (and eating!!) truffles at Karlic Tartufi, and then we got to hunt for them ourselves with the cutest little pups you’ve ever seen. It was truly so much fun to watch the dogs hunt – they loved it!
- Take a boat to St. Andrew’s Island. Known as the Red Island, we spent the afternoon here enjoying a seaside lunch at Lanterna (see above), and enjoying the sunshine at the Island Hotel Istra – bring some cash so you can jump on the inflatable obstacle course right in the sea!
- Enjoy the beautiful weather. One of the best parts of Croatia is it’s beautiful beaches (while a bit rocky, you won’t mind at all with that crystal clear turquoise water!). Take a dip in the Adriatic Sea, followed by a glass of Istrian white wine in the sun for a perfect afternoon.
- Before you book, browse the Croatia packages on Jet2Holidays – you can find some amazing all inclusive deals. I love that they show you the price per person, including flights and hotel. It makes budgeting really simple!
- The official languages are Croatian and Italian, but most people we encountered spoke English. I didn’t have any difficulty with communication!
- The national currency is NOT the Euro – they are the newest member of the EU (they only joined in July 2013), and they have not yet transitioned over to the Euro. Their local currency is called the Kuna, and I do recommend having some cash on hand during your travels.
- Pack bug spray! There were a few times throughout the trip that I was happy to have it, so definitely keep this in your day bag.
Have you ever been to Croatia? I urge you to consider the Istria region for your next trip – and I hope you enjoyed learning about it in my Istria, Croatia travel guide!
*** Thank you to Jet2 for such an amazing experience. While this travel guide is not sponsored, the trip was a gifted opportunity and this post contains affiliate links. ***