Throughout history, Istria has been passed between conquering empires like ping pong balls. All sorts of ancient superpowers have staked a claim on the region. And it only takes one look to see why.
In the northwest of Croatia, Istria is cupped inside a 430-kilometre, V-shaped shoreline, where the beaches are a mix of sand and pebble.
In Rovinj, the dinky coves are just the start of the story. The town is next to a seaside forest where you can climb cliffs and swim off the rocks. In Porec, the pebbly beaches sidle up to a town centre full of historical heirlooms. The Euphrasian Basilica, for instance, is a World Heritage Site. In Pula, meanwhile, the beaches fight an enormous Roman amphitheatre for tourists’ attention.
Just down the coast, the area becomes a springboard to Croatia’s islands. Head to Rijeka and you can catch a ferry to Krk, Cres and Rab. All of these islands are circled by white-sand beaches and hideaway coves. Plus, their interiors are a montage of rolling mountain ranges and national parks.
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