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Istria, Croatia's lush peninsula on the northern Adriatic Coast is dotted with Mediterranean beach resorts, quaint fishing harbours and charming medieval hilltop towns. It attracts a discerning crowd who come for its luxury hotels, stylish spas and high-end boutique lodgings.
Istria is regarded as one of Croatia's most popular beach destinations, thanks to sweeping white-pebble beaches and rocky coves lapped by crystal-clear, turquoise waters. The region is great for diving and sailing, offers excellent designer shopping opportunities, as well as an acclaimed gourmet dining scene.
Interested in arts, history and culture? Then head to Pula, Istria's main city, where the old town features an amazing 2nd-century BC Pula Arena, one of the best-preserved Roman amphitheatres in the world. Or hop on a sailing boat to the Brijuni Islands, a cluster of 14 stunning islands set 6 km off the coast which has protected national park status.
Art fans must visit Umag, a quaint resort with a cobbled old town and unrivalled views over the Adriatic. Spend the afternoon in Gallery Marin, a contemporary art museum exhibiting celebrated Croatian and Slovenian artists. Or venture off-the-beaten track and explore the Istria's lush interior which is dotted with quaint medieval villages, many boasting some of the best examples of Byzantine churches in Europe.
Known as the jewel in Istria's crown, Rovinj is home to some of Itria’s best luxury hotels. It’s a quaint old fishing town criss-crossed with cobblestone piazzas lined with quirky bars and shops. Visit the baroque Church of Euphemia, whose 60-metre-high bell tower has magnificent views over the Rovinj archipelago.
Renowned throughout Croatia for its excellent restaurants, Novigrad is home to some of the finest cuisine in the country. Time it right and you could visit during Gnam Gnam Fest, Novigrad's legendary food festival, which runs between April and October. Although focused on the humble Novigrad scallop, it’s also a showcase for other famous Istrian delicacies, including truffles, wine and handmade cheeses.
Expedia has a wide range of luxury hotels in Istria, many with infinity pools, spas and fine dining restaurants. Use the search filters to find your ideal five-star base.