Rich culture, old towns and sparkling sea: The jewels of northern Istria

Istria, already in the north of Croatia is famous for small old towns, a beautiful coast and a rich Italian and Austrian-Hungarian past. Coming from Germany by car, it was the perfect destination to experience the rich Croatian culture while enjoying the beautiful Mediterranean sea.
This post will show you our favorite towns in the north of the peninsular, namely Porec, Groznjan, Motovun and Novigrad.
While all of these towns are reachable by bus, we used the car and would recommend you to either do the same or to use a scooter.

Porec

Porec, or Parenzo in Italian is a small town at the west coast of Istria and one of the many Roman cities in this area.

 The town is home to a 1500 year old euphrasian Basilica, right in the centre of the old town.

The town is home to a 1500 year old euphrasian Basilica, right in the centre of the old town.

From the top of the tower, you can have a good panorama of the surrounding town.
From the top of the tower, you can have a good panorama of the surrounding town.

As you can imagine, Porec has a beautiful old town. As in most Croatian towns, it is perfect to explore, get a restaurant or shop for souvenirs.

Groznjan

istria-groznjanpanorama

Groznjan is a small mountain village, between Novigrad and Motovun. If you come by car, we recommend not to drive the direct way but to take the road via Buje and park in the back of the village.

 The town is especially famous for its art, we recommend to walk around, enjoy the music coming from practicing musicians while admiring the art in the different ateliers.

The town is especially famous for its art, we recommend to walk around, enjoy the music coming from practicing musicians while admiring the art in the different ateliers.

To see more of the towns history, go to the central square. The architecture of the old buildings is a remain of the venetian founders of the town.
To see more of the towns history, go to the central square. The architecture of the old buildings is a remain of the venetian founders of the town.

Motovun

Motovun is located quite centrally in Istria. When coming here by car, please park at the foot of the mountain and take the bus to go to the top. Driving up is not only difficult, it’s also hard to find a decent parking spot.

We simply recommend to take a walk around the walls, from up there you can enjoy a great panorama. Do not do the mistake and climb up the church tower – it’s difficult to access and the parapets too high to see the town below.

istria-motovunchurchtower
istria-citywall

If you are interested in truffles, Motovun is the perfect destination for this as well. You can find several tours with guides to search for these expensive delicacies.

Novigrad

Novigrad was the closest town to our hotel in Lanterna. For us, it was the perfect destination to go every once in a while to get a dinner, walk around the marina, think about which yacht we want to steal or simply enjoy the beautiful old town which is accessible to everybody.

You don't need to walk around the city - why not swim?
You don’t need to walk around the city – why not swim?

Luckily, you usually don't really need these umbrellas here. Either way, it does look nice and you can find them in many places around Novigrad.
Luckily, you usually don’t really need these umbrellas here. Either way, it does look nice and you can find them in many places around Novigrad.

What else should we do in Istria?

As you can see from Novigrad, Porec and the following cities along the coast (following in up coming posts), Croatia is a country deeply connected to its beautiful sea. Of course, visiting old towns is interesting with their rich history and culture but the best thing, the beautiful sea, can be found almost everywhere.

While the water might not be as clear and the animals not as colorful as lets say in Egypt or the Philippines, there is always something to see which makes it one of the best destinations for divers in Europe.

Also, nobody can say no to drinking a Mischmasch (fanta mixed with red wine) while enjoying such sunsets!
Also, nobody can say no to drinking a Mischmasch (fanta mixed with red wine) while enjoying such sunsets!

Have you been to Croatia before? Or even to Istria? Tell us what you think about it, do you prefer to explore the towns or do you feel too hot and spend your whole time in the water?

What else can we do in Istria?
1.Do a boat tour!
2.Explore Pula!
3.Visit the safari park on Veli Brijun!

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