Mention holidays in Istria and most people will have the image of sun, sea and rolling hills in the Istrian hinterland. But if you follow our suggestion, you may discover a side of Istria lesser known and enrich your holiday with more unusual experiences.
Watch the stars from Visnjan Planetarium
Move away from the beach during your Istrian holidays and spend an unusual night gazing at stars! Visnjan Observatory (Observatory Tičan) is located 3 km from the town of Visnjan, some half an hour drive from nort-western Istria region. The observatory is located in part of Istria with the clearest sky and more than 1400 minor planets have been discovered using observatory's telescope with its 1m lens.
Every Thursday from 21:00 the observatory is organising Astro Nights during which the visitors can watch the sky via telescopes, attend interesting lectures and acquint themselves with the star formations of the northen hemisphere. Entrance fee is 30 Kn (EUR 4) for adults and 15Kn (EUR 2) for children over 12. To find the observatory, drive to Visnjan and then follow the signposts for the observatory or check the driving instructions here.
Cool down during your holidays by visiting Istrian caves
If you wish for some coolness during the hot summer day, why not take a trip to hinterland of Istria and visit Istrian caves? We recommend morning visit to Cave Mramornica followed by afternoon visit to either Baredine Cave or Cave Feštinsko kraljevstvo. Make sure you bring jumper with you as the temparature in caves will be between 12-16 C.
One of the largest underground chambers in Istria can be found in Mramornica Cave - a beautifully decorated cave located near Brtonigla. The cave has well maintained trails and hosts large stalagmites, some of which are 13 metres tall. The very rare and unusual formation, helictites, are found in Mramornica cave. The visit to the cave can be combined with wine tasting and a visit to a domestic animal park nearby.
Baredine Cave is located near Nova Vas, aproximately half way between Višnjan and Poreč and can be reached in aproximately 30 minutes from Brtonigla. The visits to Baredine Cave are excorted by a guide and the visitor will see five rich chambers as well as underground lake. Outside the cave there is a coffee bar, souvenir shops, buffet, children's playground and tractor exhibition.
If you have enough time, then why not continue further south, to Cave Feštinsko kraljevstvo, located near town of Žminj, close to village Feštini. This cave has a walkaway of around 100 metres and the tour lasts approximately 20 minutes. The guides speak Croatian, Italian, English and German.
Take a full day cruise along the western coast of Istria
Istria holidays during the summer don't have to be just about the beach! Why not take a day-off from the beach and explore the panoramic coast of western Istria by boat. Starting just after 8am from Umag, and returning back to Umag just in time for dinner, enjoy a full day cruise with a panoramic views of Istrian west coast.
See the Lim fjord (Lim channel) from a different perspective as you will be entering the channel by a boat. Explore historic towns of Poreč and Rovinj where the boat will stop and where the boat passengers can disembark.