ISTRIA AND KVARNER RIVIERA
LOCAL AREA, BEACHES & THINGS TO DO
Vodnjan is a charming town with many medieval houses and narrow winding streets and sunny town squares which are full of shops and cafes, and outdoor life. You can eat spectacular ice creams sitting in an outside cafè all day, sip cool beers and crisp dry white Malvasia local wine, browse the town market, or visit restaurants and bars in the evening, when the whole town seems to be alive with strollers and diners. The focal point of the town is the Baroque church of St Blaise, well worth a visit as it contains great old master Italian paintings, antique items and relics. Visit Betika Palace to see and learn more about Vodnjan's history which is so intertwined with the history of Venice. If you are in Vodnjan in August, you will be entertained by the traditional summer festival with all kinds of food stalls to sample from, local arts and crafts and music performances in town squares. In the surrounding area it is worth visiting a little village of Peroj, with its own nice beach, 4km from Vodnjan. Also nearby is the small town of Fazana, which has its own lovely harbour from where you can hire boats and water taxis to take you to the fabulous national park islands of Brioni. You can swim on Fazana's lovely pebbly and very clean beach.
Vodnjan Town Square
On the day when you want to splash out, visit restaurant "Vodnjanka", one of the best in the area, where the owner Mrs Svjetlana Celija is also the chef (open 11am - 12 midnight, telephone 052-511435). This family restaurant has been providing delicious food for 40 years, and go there if you love gnocchi, home made pasta, truffles, wild asparagus, air dried prosciutto ham, grilled fish, venison and lots more. Local reds and whites are gorgeous - red tangy merlots and white malvazia and pinot, chardonnays and amazing rose wines. Or, you can sit in a town bistro with a plate of grilled calamari, home made chips and a mixed salad if you want to keep it simple.
Vodnjan Street Scene
Pula is the main regional town in Istria, with a good selection of restaurants and an attractive shopping area. Walk through Pula and experience old town streets and squares some of which were there even in Roman times. The stunning amphitheatre is from the first century AD and ranks the sixth largest in the world. The town centre is about 10 minutes drive from Pula airport.
There are excellent beaches on the many peninsulas and bays around Pula; notable are Stoja, Veruda , Verudela and Pjesana Uvala. A little further out of town the nature reserve of Rt Karmenjak on the very tip of the Istrian pensinsula provides kilometres of unspoint coastline and many bays or tockky headlands where you can swim in the crystal clear sea.
Bay in Premantura
Jumping at Rt Kamenjak
From the town of Fazana you can take a boat trip to the islands of Brioni, another national park area and formerly the summer residence of Yugolavia's President Tito.
Rovinj is unquestionably the most picturesque of the medieval Venetian towns on the Adriatic. Every guide book features the colourful facades of the tightly packed houses that encircle this tiny peninsula with the cathedral of St Euphemia and its dominating 60 metre bell tower standing over the town. The harbour is tightly packed with local fishing boats and the cafes on the harbour front are the perfect place to relax.
As you walk up the narrow cobbled roadways between the old stone houses every corner brings another scene that seems perfectly composed for a photograph; a glimpse into an ancient courtyard or the subtle fading paintwork on wooden shutters. Around one corner a lively konoba (bistro); around another a gallery with local craftwork.
Rovinj has classy cocktail bars and smart restaurants overlooking the bay as well as simple pizzerias and bistros down side streets. From the harbour there are excursions and taxi boats to nearby islands, notably Red Island, that are ideal for a day swimming and relaxing. There are also many beaches to choose from on the mainland shore. The "Blue Flag" beaches of Valalta and Villas Rubin and the beach in Lone Bay are amongst the most popular.
In the vicinity of Rovinj there are opportunities for tennis, paintball and rock climbing. Climbing is organised at Zlatni Rt on the caost and inland near the ruined fortified medieval town of Digrad in the Lim valley. The Lim estuary (Limski Kanal) is another place for a relaxing swim with excellent restaurants beside the beach.
Other coastal towns
Other coastal towns well documented in guide books are Porec, Vrsar and Umag. The charming town of Novigrad is worth visiting; it has an attractive harbour crowded with local fishing boats and an old town surrounded by fortifications and on the outer side (away from the harbour) a lungamare (promenade) providing a pleasant walk along the coast and an ideal place to sunbathe and swim.
On the east coast of Istria, Opatija provides a contrast with its grand villas built in the 19th century for the Austro Hungarian aristocracy, a delightful lungamare (promenade) and some fine restaurants.
The Istrian coastal towns
The west coast of Istria is within easy reach. Many of the towns on this coast are communities first established in the Roman era or earlier but the dominant influence that can be seen today is Venetian. Most of the major coastal towns were under the control of the Venetian Republic during the medieval period. At the northern end of the coast the charming town of Novigrad is worth visiting; it has an attractive harbour crowded with local fishing boats and an old town surrounded by fortifications and on the outer side (away from the harbour) a lungamare (promenade) providing a pleasant walk along the coast and an ideal place to sunbathe and swim.
Further down the coast Rovinj is unquestionably the most picturesque of the medieval Venetian towns on the Adriatic. Every guide book features the colourful facades of the tightly packed houses that encircle this tiny peninsula with the cathedral of St Euphemia and its dominating 60 metre bell tower standing over the town.
Other coastal towns well documented in guide books are Porec, Umag, Vrsar and Piran in Slovenia. On the east coast of Istria, Opatija provides a contrast with its grand villas built in the 19th century for the Austro Hungarian aristocracy, a delightful lungamare (promenade) and some fine restaurants.
Central Istria is often compared to Tuscany. The undulating landscape with vineyards, olive groves, woodlands and river valleys is studded with numerous hilltop towns and villages, many originating from the medieval period and earlier and almost all offering spectacular vantage points over the surrounding countryside. The guide books pick out the hilltop towns of Motovun and Groznjan but there are many others worth exploring and we will provide you with our own suggestions of places off the usual tourist routes that should not be missed. These medieval settlements have charming village houses, squares and alleyways and in towns like Oprtalj and Motuvun more imposing architecture and fortifications.
To the east side of Istria the old town of Labin and the hilltop village of Gracisce are worth visiting.
Excellent wines are produced in the area and well marked wine routes lead you through charming countryside to wineries where you can sample some of the best Croatian wines. Notable are the Kozlovic and Markezic wineries.
Our Villas in Vodnjan
|Beautifully renovated and tastefully furnished Mediterranean villa, 5 bedrooms, sleeps 10. Pool, garden and terraces.|
|Four bedroom, three bathroom new air conditioned luxury stone villa with garden and pool, sea views. 3km to the beach. Sleeps 8-10.|
|Four bedroom, four bathroom new air conditioned luxury stone villa with garden and pool, sea views. 3km to the beach. Sleeps 8-10.|
|A new luxury rustic family villa, four bedrooms, four en-suite bathrooms, air conditioned, indoor wellness rooms. In a small Istrian village near Pula, Istria. Outdoor summer kitchen, large pool and garden. Wi-Fi internet. Sleeps 8-10.|
|A three bedroom, three bathroom air conditioned luxury new villa in a small Istrian village near Pula in Istria. Outdoor summer kitchen, large garden and infinity pool. Free Wi-Fi internet. Sleeps 6-8.|
|A luxurious villa with a large pool, six bedrooms and three bathrooms. Newly restored with a beautiful interior and the lovely charm of a traditional Istrian house. Both villas are fully air-conditioned. Satellite/ cable TV. Sleeps 12 people.|
|A major part of a large new air-conditioned villa, consisting of four bedrooms, three bathrooms, exclusive use of a large mature garden and pool, many additional living and sleeping spaces, galleried rooms and kitchens. Wireless internet. Sleeps up to 18 people.|
|A luxury, air-conditioned modern villa with four bedrooms, three bathrooms, two kitchens, two sitting rooms, a gym, completely secluded among vineyards and olive groves. A large garden with pool, summer kitchen and BBQ. WiFi. Arranged as a three bedroom plus one bedroom apartment, rented as one unit. Pet friendly. Sleeps 8.|
|A four bedroom, four bathroom air-conditioned modern villa in a rural location between the lovely seaside towns of Rovinj and Vodnjan. Pool, walled garden, terraces, WiFi. Jacuzzi. BBQ. Pet friendly. Wheelchair accessible. Sleeps 8-12.|