The picturesque National nature park is located on the 14 islands of the Brijuni archipelago. Nature here is virgin and primordial with fresh air and crystal clean sea, blooming meadows and parks, and oak and laurel groves. Many subtropical plants have taken root here: bamboo, eucalyptus, sequoia, and palm tree. Especially amazing is the long-lived olive tree, which has been growing on the island for more than 16 centuries. There is a safari park in the northern part of Veli (Big) Brijun, where elephants from Asia, South-American camels, zebras, antelopes and even Indian holy cows walk freely. All of them arrived in the park thanks to the President of Yugoslavia, Josip Broz Tito, who was given exotic presents by high-ranking guests. The residence of this former leader still stands on the archipelago, today it’s a museum and worth a visit.
The archipelago of 22 islands, the most beautiful of which are the islands of St. Andrew and St. Catherine, surrounds picturesque Rovinj. Traditional tiled roofs, narrow paved streets, galleries and artists’ studios make this a fairytale place in Istria-- an original Croatian Venice. Here you should see the Cathedral of St. Euphemia and its 62-meter bell tower, which is clearly visible from any point in the city. After that you should try local ice cream on the embankment, and go to the Mexican restaurant for dinner, where the level of light-heartedness and relaxation will reach an all-time high as guests eat there while lying in hammocks. Keeping the weather forecast in mind, do not forget an interesting city saying: “while clouds are gathering above the neighbouring cities, sun is sure to shine in Rovinj.”
Cozy Rabac has become a popular Mediterranean resort thanks to its beaches; they have the Blue Flag award, they are safe, pollution-free and preserve the natural environment. The streets of the town are full of flowers and greenery, and the embankment of the Virgin Mary Bay is especially beautiful. There is a well-equipped, state-of-the-art pier as well. A walking path starts in Rabac and leads to Labin – another medieval Croatian town. Architectural monuments have been well-preserved here: Baroque-style palaces, Renaissance houses, and fortress walls. In summer, Labin squares turn into concert grounds and stages for performances. You can go back on foot as well; the most amazing of all walking routes here is the Sentonina path. There are many brooks and streams, high waterfalls, rapids, and a turquoise-coloured lake along the route.
Though Fažana got its name from the large population of pheasants that lived here in the past, it’s actually famous for sardines. Local residents go to sea every day to catch this fish, and it’s the main dish on local restaurant menus, there is even a festival in July in its honour. The view of the Brijuni islands opens from the city embankment and as such, there are always many visitors in the evening.
Pula is nearly always the starting point of trips over the Istria peninsular. Here you can start familiarizing yourself with natural, cultural, and gastronomic sights of Croatia. The beauty of this city lies in its contrasts. Today’s buildings alternate with Ancient Roman monuments; Venetian architecture is added to the industrial port landscape. There are no high mountains here, but there is a quiet bay; no long sandy beaches, but a resort city status. Pula gives tourists a unique opportunity to be transferred several centuries back “here and now.” The best route by which to familiarize yourself with all Pula sights starts from the Triumphal Arch of Sergius. It then sprawls along Sergijevaca Street and leads to the Forum – the main square of the Old Town. The Roman Temple of August, the City Hall, and the Cvajner Gallery, a very popular place where the cultural life of the city is concentrated, are located here. Now we turn to the right and practically in one hundred meters find ourselves by the Pula Cathedral built in place of the Temple of Jupiter. After that, you can go to the top of the hill and see the Venetian Fortress. A fine view of the city and bay opens from there, and you’ll also see the main gem of Pula, which we left for the “dessert” – the wonderfully preserved Ancient Roman amphitheater. The Arena built in the 1st century A.D. saw gladiator combats and knight tournaments; today it’s a concert and festival venue. After the extensive walk over the city, leave some strength for the gastronomic part of the route. They serve well-known Croatian specialties in local restaurants: truffles, wine, and rakija. If you want fresh seafood, it’s better to turn back to the port in order to accompany dinner with a wonderful view of the sea and yacht harbour.
Medulin city-archipelago is located on the southern end of the Istria peninsular. The irregular coast with numerous bays of various kinds and grottoes attract a lot of tourists and yacht owners. The city itself is small and there are just a few medieval architectural ensembles. Medulin is appreciated for its beaches – pebble, rocky, sandy, well-equipped, wild and always in shade of pine trees. There is the Vižula archeological monument on a small peninsular within the limits of the city. Its main sight is the Roman villa of the 1-2 centuries A.D. Many years ago the view of the sea opened from the veranda of the villa, floors were decorated with bright-coloured mosaics, and there was a swimming pool and a pier. Now, research is being carried out, and once finished, a proper archeological park will appear.