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A craggy, forested peninsula on Croatia's northern Adriatic Coast, Istria is dotted with attractive beach resorts, quaint Mediterranean fishing villages and medieval hilltop towns. While many visitors come for the white-pebble beaches and warm, aquamarine waters, Istria is also popular with the culture set thanks to an abundance of ancient Roman and Venetian history.
Istria boasts a variety of historic hotels, guesthouses and B&Bs dotted along the coast, many with rustic regional restaurants and swimming pools. You can use Expedia’s search filters to help find the perfect historic hotel for you.
Novigrad, a peaceful fishing town on the western coast is famous for its charming and colourful waterfront and burgeoning dining scene. The town has a rich heritage and well-preserved city walls that date back to the 13th Century. Visit the Gallerion Austro-Hungarian Navy Museum or the Lapidarium Museum on the waterfront, which displays ancient stone sculptures and historic artefacts.
The Rigo Gallery, an art collection located on the ground floor of the ornate Rigo Palace is well worth an hour of your time, if only to peek behind the palace's distinctive terracotta-red facade.
Head further south to Pula, widely regarded as Istria's main city, where you'll find an old town stacked with ancient Roman history. It's the perfect location for a historic hotel stay – highlights include the Roman Forum, a huge flagstoned piazza lined with cafe-bars and restaurants, and the Temple of Augustus, a grand stuccoed edifice dedicated to Emperor Augustus.
However, Pula’s biggest attraction is the Pula Arena, one of the best-preserved Roman amphitheatre in the world. It's host to a variety of summer concerts, plays and gladiatorial re-enactments, as well as an acclaimed film festival.
Pula also has two marinas and a host of excellent seafood restaurants, while the Brijuni National Park, a clutch of protected islands, is just a short boat ride away making the perfect city escape.