Croatia's beautiful heart-shaped Istrian peninsular is split into two regions, Green Istria and Blue Istria. For pretty seaside villages, pebbled beaches and magical, hidden coves, head to the coast (Blue Istria), while inland (Green Istria) will treat you to glorious, rolling hills, exquisite wineries and charming hilltop towns.
Whether you’re planning a family beach holiday, a gastranomic adventure, a romantic retreat in the countryside or an affordable group getaway, Istria holidays are a slice of Mediterranean paradise.
Style and character are everything at Oliver’s Travels, and our collection of handpicked villas in the Istria have this in spades.
We have destination experts who know the ins and outs of all our regions, picking villas and holiday homes in Istria that aren’t only unique, but also in the best locations. What's more, our villas are 100% family-friendly, and have the ‘wow’ factor.
Our helpful concierge team are on-hand to make your stay extra special. Whether you want a fully-stocked fridge, a local in-house chef to cook your meals, housekeeping or any other extra service – consider them your holiday genie, who will happily grant your wishes.
Istria is one of those holiday havens that has everything on offer, making it the perfect base for all types of holidays. From charming coastal towns and golden, sandy beaches to rural landscapes and scenic cycle routes, you'll be immersed in nature from the moment you step off the plane. Its rich history will grab your attention, particularly in the Pula region, with Roman temples, arches and even a 1st-century amphitheatre to explore! But if history isn't your thing, then maybe you'll be intrigued by the festival scene. The locals celebrate everything from food and wine to art, film and dance so you can immerse yourself in the culture and experience what Istria is really about.
Whatever you're visiting for, we've got a collection of stunning villas in Istria that will make your stay even more special.
Check out our Istria Travel Guidefor a closer look at what this incredible region has to offer.
Food and Drink
Famed for producing some of the world's finest food and wines, you're in for an unrivalled gastronomic experience. If you're a wine lover, you've come to the right place - you can even explore the award-winning vineyards on one of the many available wine tours and indulge in some tastings!
Dependent on where you are in Istria, you'll be treated to a variety of delicious dishes - head to the coast for fresh fish, octopus and oysters or venture inland for some meatier delicacies. Some of the ultimate gems of Istrian cuisine are the prestigious white truffles found in the forests to make their iconic truffle pasta and the insanely tasty olive oils (they're basically liquid gold). And for those with a sweet tooth, get stuck into a traditional fritule, a small, sugary donut filled with lemon zest and raisins - yum!
If lounging on the beach and meandering through idyllic seaside villages is your idea of heaven, then a trip to the Istrian coast will tick all the boxes. This Adriatic beauty is peppered with a variety of beaches, from shallow, family-friendly waters to hidden coves and water-sports hotspots. If a day trip to the beach isn't enough, many of our villas in Istria are withinclose proximity to the beachesso you can sunbathe to your heart's content.
Although the sizzling sun and stunning scenery makes it easy to sit back and take it all in, there's also a plethora of activities to get involved in. Whether you're looking for some active days out visiting national parks, dolphin-spotting or exploring ancient caves, there's an abundance of things to do when staying in one of our villas in Istria.
Summer events: Many towns on the coast run an extensive summer programme of events from 1st July until the end of August. We would advise checking the upcoming programme before leaving for your holiday so you can book them or plan around them.
Toll roads: Always keep some cash in the car for toll roads on the highway. You don't want to get caught out.
Summer months: The best time to visit is between June and September for optimal weather. The weather starts to drop in September but you'll have fewer crowds to deal with.
What Oliver loves
Labelled by locals as the new Tuscany, Istria has all the incredible views, cuisine and hospitality with a very reasonable price tag! If you want to compare the two countries, you can even hop on a 2.5 hour boat trip to Venice and explore the floating city before heading back to Istria in time for dinner.
Towns and villages
Rich in history and overflowing with culture, the abundant towns and villages in the unique heart-shaped Istrian peninsula are just waiting to be explored. From towns off the beaten track to larger, livelier destinations, you'll be surrounded by amazing architecture, interesting shops and stunning views. Seriously, some of these towns are just too cute to be true.
Istrian towns and villages are scattered inland and along the coast so you can choose from a day relaxing by the sea or exploring the charming countryside. Head to the coast for pretty fishing villages, pebbled beaches and fresh fish or traverse inland to medieval towns and wineries.
Duga Uvala: If you're looking for a relaxing, beauty spot, look no further. This rugged and beautiful cove is defined by its crystal clear waters and remarkable scenery. Stroll along the beach and swim in the bay or have a bite to eat at one of the local eateries.
Probably best known for being the largest city in Istria, Pula is home to the sensational, Roman amphitheatre, Pula Arena, dating back to the 1st century. The historic centre also has a rich history, including three temples that are definitely worth the visit. The old town is basically a treasure trove for ancient history and you'll easily spend a day or two exploring.
Located on Istria's west coast, Rovinj occupies a central location that has made it easily one of the most popular towns to visit in Istria. Think cobbled streets, multi-coloured houses, a glistening harbour and gorgeous views which are likely to steal your heart. It's Croatian-Italian charm at its finest.
This tiny fisherman's village will transport you into the traditional, Istrian way of life. Get ready for beautiful beaches, picturesque houses and a leisurely promenade. For an ultimate holiday experience, book a plane from the small airport and take a trip over the region for a bird's-eye view of this cultural wonder.
Porec is another historic town with so much culture to indulge in. Wander through the historic old town to find Romanesque and Gothic architecture, Baroque palaces and beautiful squares. It even has a UNESCO World Heritage site, the Euphrasian Basilica, which will stun any art or history fanatic.
Idyllically perched on top of a hill, Motovun overlooks the spectacular vineyards and olive groves that are used to create delightful Istrian wines. Walk through the town to discover attributes from ancient times or delve into a winery tour with some delicious wine tastings. You can even try your hand at truffle hunting in the Motovun forest.
Lim Fjord is known for its 10km estuary which you'll want to experience by boat. If you're planning to go to Rovinj too, you can hop on a boat from Rovinj to Lim Fjord and take the scenic route all the way. Be sure to stop off at the little beach and try some oysters from the oyster shack, straight from the bay.
Getting there and around
The only airport in Istria is Pula Airport which can be reached by most of the major airlines, including British Airways, Ryanair, Easyjet and Jet2.
Get here by boat
If you're planning to explore neighbouring areas first, there are direct ferries from Venice and Zadar.
The easiest way to travel around Istria is definitely by car, especially when visiting more remote towns and villages.
If you don't drive, a great way to travel around Istria is by bus. The Istrian bus system is highly efficeint in linking seaside towns to major inland towns but you may have difficulty finding a route to smaller villages.
You can take a train to Istria but unfortunately there are no trains around Istria so you will need to take a bus or drive.
Wandering though Istrian towns and villages by foot allows you to soak up what Istrian life is all about. Immerse yourself in the culture one step at a time!
If you’re hiring a car, make sure you book well in advance, especially during the peak season.
You'll need cash for the toll roads on the highway.
There are shuttle buses from Pula Airport to take you to the major cities in Istria.
Frequently Asked Questions
What is Istria Known for?
Istria is known for its wineries, olive oil tastings and hilltop towns. Must-visits include the beautiful Basilica of Euprasius, historic Rovinij, and the archipelago of islands that make up the beautiful Brijuni National Park
What activities can you do?
An abundance of activities are available in Istria, including paragliding, rock climbing and diving. You can also explore beautiful historic towns such as Motovun, Groznjan-Grisignana and Hum, which is the smallest town in the world.
What Languages are spoken in Istria?
Croatian and Italian are spoken in Istria.
What is the best way to get to Istria?
The main airport in Istria is in Pula, and most flights from Europe fly direct to Pula. You can also catch a train or bus from Venice, Italy.