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Holidays in Croatia on the Istria Peninsula

Guide to the Istrian Peninsula: when to go, where to stay, tourist map, roads, car rental prices, where to buy food. Our week-long vacation in Istria turned out to be very successful and budget-friendly.


The Istrian Peninsula Of Croatia

Visa, flights, weather, language in Croatia

Prior to the 2013 season, citizens could enter Croatia visa-free from may to October. Starting from March 31, 2013, you must have a Croatian or valid Schengen visa to stay in Croatia. It is not difficult to apply for a visa, but people immediately switched to neighboring visa-free Montenegro, which can still be visited without a visa.

: How to get a Schengen visa yourself in 2020


Regular flights fly to the capital of Croatia, Zagreb. This option is of little interest to tourists, since Zagreb is located far from the resort areas. Charter flights arrive in Pula, Split and Dubrovnik. According to the price level, Dubrovnik is considered the most expensive, and the Istrian Peninsula is more budget-friendly.


I found several offers with cheap air tickets for the beginning of September. We had Schengen visas, so we quickly made a decision and bought tickets for 90 euros for a round trip with a departure on August 31. See all flight options to Croatia via the low price calendar.

The high season in Croatia ends in September. The weather at this time may change, there is a chance of rain, but warm and Sunny days are still more. At the end of August, clouds gathered and it got colder, which caused many tourists to leave Europe.


We were lucky with the weather – the first 2 days when we visited the sights of Central Istria, it was cloudy, but as soon as we moved to the coast, the sun was shining all the time and it was very warm.


Tourists from Italy, Germany, and Austria come to Istria every year as their southern resort, so they understand German and Italian well. We had no problems communicating — many words in Croatian are very similar to Russian. I spoke English to the apartment owners.

Where to stay in Istria

The issue of housing at least for the first days of rest should be resolved before departure. Our plane arrived in Pula at 17: 20, and we didn't have time to travel to find a place to stay for the night. I opened the map of Istria, booking sites, forums and tried to understand where it is better to stay and what are the options with prices. After the trip, I learned a lot more about the regions, cities and beaches of Istria.


Official tourist portal of Istria istra.hr is available in 7 languages, there is Russian, but most of the pages are only in English. It is most convenient to have a tourist map of Istria in front of your eyes to navigate through the names and distances.



Ancient Roman Amphitheatre Of Pula

Pula airport is located in the very South of the Peninsula. According to reviews, many people like both the city and the beach. If you do not plan to rent a car, you can stay in Poole for the entire time. From the sea port of Pula, ships sail to Venice – this is the most popular route for a one-day tour. We walked in Poole before the return flight — a beautiful city.


Hotels In Pula

The main question is which coast of the Istrian Peninsula to choose: Western (Adriatic sea) or Eastern (Kvarner Bay)? According to reviews on tripadvisor, it is clear that the most popular is the West coast: Rovinj, Vrsar, Porec, Novigrad, Umag. Our compatriots prefer to rest in another part of Croatia — Dubrovnik and split. The main thing is to understand what you want – resort life or quiet, and this can be found both there and there.


Apartments in Miami Playa

I didn't find any good options by the sea through the booking sites the day before departure, but I liked the apartments in Roch and booked them for the first 3 nights. With the weather it turned out that these days there was nothing to do on the coast, and our trip to Central Istria left a great impression. We lived in one of the oldest cities in Croatia, where writing originated, among hills and valleys.


Apartments in Saint Helena

We spent the remaining 5 days in the village of SV. Elena on the beach Moscenicka Draga (Moscenicka Draga). It took us half a day to find a place to stay, and we went through all the apartments in the area we were interested in, and as a result we found our ideal option — House Nadija (now you can book it online). This option is suitable for those who rent a car, who like silence and privacy. Life is in full swing on the part of the Kvarner Bay in the resort of Rabac and from Lovran to Opatija. We have not been to the Adriatic side of Istria, but most of all they write about Rovinj and Porec, where German nudists live.

Car rental in Istria


If you arrive in Pula, it is logical to take a car directly at the airport. The day before our arrival, the choice was small, we booked a Suzuki SX4. Car rental for 7 days cost 1951 Kn (260 euros). Since we did not pay for full insurance, 500 euros was blocked on the credit card, but this amount was unblocked on the day of car delivery. Book in advance at the best prices: find a car in Istria.


Transfer (taxi) from the airport of Pula to the resort can also be ordered online. The driver will meet you with a sign, help you with your belongings, and drive you at a fixed rate.

Roads, petrol, Parking



The most convenient road map of Istria is a tourist map, which is given free of charge in information offices, hotels and other places of residence. From Pooling up in the center of the island offer a paid high-speed highway. The speed is 130 km / h.


We drove the Vodnjan-Lupoglav segment on the day of arrival, paying 15 Kn (2 euros). This was the most optimal route by kilometer. Travel on the autobahn is paid in cash in Kuna, money can be withdrawn from an ATM right at the airport, there is also an exchange office. There is also a toll through the tunnels, but we have never used them.


Gas stations are located on the main roads, the cost of 1 liter of 95 Eurosuper is 10.78 Kn (September 2013 at the ina gas station). Parking is almost everywhere paid, the more popular the place, the more expensive. On average 4-6 Kn / hour, in the center of Opatija 10 Kn/hour. Blue markings indicate paid Parking spaces, yellow-places for the disabled. In case of an accident — the police phone number 192.

Supermarkets and products



Beach restaurant on the Istrian coast

Restaurants in Croatia are not cheap. We rented apartments and cooked our own meals. Products in supermarkets are inexpensive and the choice is good. There are several large supermarkets in Poole at the entrance to the city: Mercator, Lidl, Carrefour, Plodine. We liked Croatian Plodine the most — these supermarkets are available in all major cities of Istria.




In resort areas near the beaches, products can be purchased at Konzum markets, where prices are more expensive. Food supermarkets are nice to walk through: there are no queues, everything is fresh, and there is a large selection for barbecue. We bought sausage with paprika, prshutu, various pates, dairy products (yoghurts, kaymak, feta), liked Croatian coffee, local beer.



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