"Istria Istria Istria" Top 5 Page for this destination Istria by smirnofforiginal

Istria Travel Guide: 1,946 reviews and 4,901 photos

Istrian Pennisula

Most people arrive in Istria from Trieste in Italy or at Pula, Porec & Rovinj on the coast. Thus much said Pula, Porec & Rovinj are the most visited and therefore the most set up for tourism.

The rest of Istria is rural, less explored and less set up for tourism. We found this refreshing & allowed us the chance to get back to the basics of what is really important in life.

A really good road map of Istria is essential because many villages are so small they do not appear on most general maps... and miss some of the smaller places and you'll miss some treats.

We drove to Istria and didn't see another UK reg plate. In fact the cars we saw (and there's not that many really) were from Trieste, a few Slovenian's and then Croatians. In all our time in Istria we only encountered other tourists in Pula, Porec & Rovinj and they all seemed to be remaining static to those areas.

Istrian's are lovely, friendly, generous & welcoming. The pace of life is slow and most people appear to be happy getting on with their daily business.

Food and drink is cheap but supermarkets sell at prices not far off of UK thus why the locals all grow and rear their own food. When we left we gave the family we had stayed with a hamper of fruit and treats from the supermarket - all the things they couldn't grow or which weren't in season and this was clearly a VERY good gift for them to receive.

I cannot imagine being able to explore the more remote and rural areas without a car and I cannot imagine needing to stay in one place for very long. We were in Istria with our children and so whilst we slept in one place for a week we were constantly on the move and even resorted to day trips into Slovenia & Trieste in order to "do"! The day the heavens opened and tried to flood Istria was the day we struggled to find things to do... and because it is not really set up for tourists on many occassions we would arrive at our chosen destination and it wouldn't be open or there would be no access etc...

For driving the roads in Istria are painfully slow - not in terms of speed limits, but in terms of having to drive all around the world just to get the distance of 30 minutes as the crow flies. It was very frustrating some days and because of this we found that because we were staying quite far south it made any trips out of Istria into other parts of Croatia too long to justify going in a day.

The beaches off of Istria are not ideal for children. It's a very rough and rocky coastline and in mainy places you cannot get down to access the water. We went to one harbour / beach that we had been recommended by the locals and the ground was neither stone or sand - it was covered with tiles; thousand of sharp, broken tiles. Not a very child friendly place!

We drove to Slovenia in search of a beach!

Archeological findings show that the Istrian peninsula has been settled on, by man, since as early as the Old Stone Age. There are still remains of prehistoric building to be found, from the Bronze Age.

During the 1st millennium BC, Istria was apparently densely populated by Illyrian tribes and it was The Histri (one of these tribes) who gave the peninsula its name.

Along came the Romans who waged war against the Illyrians 178 BC and 177 BC - The Histri were defeated and the commencement of a long Roman domination began.

Istria came under Odoakar jurisdiction, after the breakup of the Western Roman empire, and after his defeat fell into the hands of the Eatern Goths (from 489 AD).

During the 6th & 7th century there were raids by the Slavs & Avars.
Then came an era of Frankish feudal rule and this was followed by Venetian rule. At the same time as the Venetians came into power, the Pazin duchy was ingerited by the Hapsburgs - and so it came to be that Istria was divided between the Austrian-Germans & Venetians.

In 16th century the plague occured leaving Istria desolate and empty. At the same the region saw a lot of people who were fleeing the oncoming Turks who were conqueroring southeastern Europe. These included Croats, but also Montenegrins, Albanians, Rumanians, Vlachs & Greeks and mainly into Hapsburgian Istria.

By 1615 the tensions between the two seperate states of Istria (Venetian & Austrian) errupted into out and out war which totally devastated Istria.

Napoleon's conquest saw the Venetian republic abolished & Istria was given to Austria (1797). Not for long though, in 1805 Istria fell into the hands of the French and annexed to the Kingdom of Italy. In 1813 Napoleon was defeated and Austria occupied Istria.

The fall of the Austro-Hungarian monachy in WW1 signalled the end of Austrian rule over Istria. According to the London agreement and the Allied forces, the Kingdom of Italy occupied the whole of Istria. According to the Rapallo treaty the Kingdom of Yugoslvia was forced to surrender Istria to Italy!

When the Fascist movement took power in Italy it tried to Italianise Istria - anything Croatian, such as names and school, were abolished!

In September 1943, in WWII, Istria was occupied by the German troops. Resistance movements were numerous but the fierce battles and the Germans took many lives and left behind destruction and ultimately desolation. Allied planes heavily bombed Pula, Pazin & Porec.

Liberation came in 1945 & in 1947 Italy signed a peace treaty. Istria was rejoined with Croatia which was within the framework of Yugoslavia.

The 1990's saw the breakup of Yugoslavia and Croatia became independent and free.... not really all that long ago if you think about it...

  • Last visit to Istria: May 2006
  • Intro Updated Jun 19, 2007
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Reviews (11)

Comments (6)

  • BruceDunning's Profile Photo
    Oct 16, 2010 at 3:01 PM

    We were only able to see Pazin and the area, but wish there was more time to also see those villages you visited. You did a nice job of presenting the sites and the pictures well done.

  • MikeBird's Profile Photo
    Nov 2, 2008 at 12:47 PM

    I'd loved to have seen one of these proteus. What time of year were you in Istria?We went in December. Thanks for all your tips, Mike

  • nicolaitan's Profile Photo
    Dec 3, 2007 at 11:20 AM

    Croatia must be where I really REALLY want to go, but not easy from the US ( or cheap airfare ). Beautiful pictures.

  • leecouk12324's Profile Photo
    Nov 16, 2007 at 10:43 AM

    Istria was nice - your tips helped. Ps - Have a nice Birthday next week

  • JessH's Profile Photo
    Nov 14, 2007 at 2:03 AM

    Family members of mine have been to Croatia, and they also loved the scenery, historic sites, etc. I really need to travel around Europe some more in the future! Lovely page, which I enjoyed reading here :-)

  • nickandchris's Profile Photo
    May 10, 2007 at 9:30 AM

    Takes me back to when we went overland to Greece in the motorhome with a 2 year old and 11 year old.....

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