Istrian Riviera Holidays

A magical setting in the Adriatic

Istrian Riviera holidays promise mist-shrouded hilltops, rugged beaches and extraordinary gastronomy. It’s easy to see why the Romans called this peninsula ‘Terra Magica’ – the magical land. Wedged between Italy, Croatia and Slovenia, the Istrian Riviera offers an enchanting mix of Italian and Balkan influences and represents the Croatian coast at its most bohemian. Inland, artists’ colonies are found in the hilltop towns of Groznjan and Motovun, the latter of which is also the site of a major film festival.

Meanwhile, Pula offers urban bustle and Roman relics – including a perfectly preserved amphitheatre that makes for an otherworldly setting for summer music festivals and concerts. Sun-seekers should make a beeline for the coastal resorts of Rovinj – where a parade of pastel townhouses juts out to sea – and Porec, which has a wealth of architectural treasures, including an 18th-century Roman Basilica.

Unassuming seaside towns like Labin and Rabac, meanwhile, are perfect for those seeking a quieter break. Dining out here is a real treat, as the Istrian Riviera is famed for its olive oil, wine and truffles. The foodie experience wouldn’t be complete without touring its wine routes – a series of sun-dappled vineyards where you can sample fantastic wine at its source. Holidays to the Istrian Riviera promise huge diversity – from sunny seclusion on its dramatic coastline to rural getaways on the billowing plains of its green interior.

Three tips for a top trip

Hire a car
Unless you’re staying in one of the seaside resorts, you’ll definitely want to hire a car to explore the bucolic landscapes and hilltop towns of inland Istria.
Go truffling
Autumn is the time for truffle hunting in Istria. A staple of Istrian cuisine, the magical fungus is celebrated at a series of food festivals near Motovun.
Visit a winery
The Istrian peninsula offers plenty of fabulous wineries along a trail known as the ‘wine roads’. Farms will be delighted to let you sample a vintage or two as you develop your Istrian palate.

Best attractions to see in Istrian Riviera

Pula Amphitheatre

One of the finest surviving examples of Roman architecture in Europe, Pula’s amphitheatre is an impressive sight. In summer, it’s brought to life with a series of music festivals.


An Italianate town of sun-bleached piazzas, meandering cobbled streets and seafood restaurants, a visit to Rovinj tops any list of things to do in the Istrian Riviera.


Motovun is one of Istria’s most stunning and best-preserved hilltop settlements. It’s also the site of a major cult film festival, which transforms this quiet town into a party hub for a week every summer.

Your Istrian Riviera questions, answered

The Istrian Riviera is one of the sunniest parts of Croatia, with more than 2,400 hours of sunshine a year and mild winters. Further inland, temperatures tend to drop off.

Olive oil, wine and truffles are all excellent souvenirs of this gastronomically rich country – just make sure to avoid imitations, and buy direct from local producers.

The big hitters are the Pula Film Festival, the Motovun Film Festival and Outlook Festival – but check ahead for local events celebrating everything from folk music to the asparagus harvest.