Looking to spend 7 Days in Istria? Then this Croatia itinerary will be the perfect guide for your trip.
When most people think of Croatia, their mind naturally dreams up images of Dubrovnik. However, the northwest corner of the country offers a fairytale-like region giving you an equally magnificent Croatia experience.
A beautiful hidden gem, Istria is studded with ancient Roman ruins, tiny fishing villages, endless vineyards, olive groves, and crystal clear bays.
Still relatively unknown, this enchanting region is the ideal destination for those craving a relaxing holiday full of delicious food, world-class wine, and gorgeous pebbled beaches.
How to get to Istria
If you’re not travelling to Istria as part of a longer Croatia itinerary, then the best way to reach this region is by flying into the Pula Airport.
The Pula Airport may seem small at first, however, it serves a relatively large number of airlines including Ryanair, EasyJet, SAS, Norwegian, Eurowings, and Lufthansa.
If you are exploring other areas of Croatia, Istria can be easily be reached by car and is about a 3-hour drive from Zagreb, and 5 hours from Split.
When is the best time to visit Istria?
The best time to visit Istria is during the shoulder season in the months of June and September. During these times, the weather is still warm and enjoyable, but there are slightly less tourists.
How to get around Istria
The best way to get around Istria is by renting a car. Picking up a rental vehicle at the airport is the most convenient.
The Pula Airport is only about 7 kilometres away from the city centre, and the drive is pretty much a straight shot.
Budgeting for 7 Days in Istria
When travelling to Istria, Croatia, you can expect to spend an average of $20 per meal per person. Depending on your preferences, you can easily spend less or more.
Excursions and local tours start at around $50 and up, while gas will run you about $1.60 per litre.
7 Days in Istria Itinerary
Days 1 -3 Based Pula
During the first three days of your 7 days in Istria, you’ll be based in the historic town of Pula – the perfect starting point for exploring the region.
Located right at the southern tip of the peninsula, Pula is the largest town in Istria. This ancient city is mostly known for its Roman heritage, with its most famous landmark being the best-preserved amphitheatre outside of Rome – the Pula Arena.
Dating back to the 1st Century AD, the Pula Arena is exceptionally well-preserved and an absolute must-see when visiting Istria.
Day 1 – Explore the Town
On day one of your 7 days in Istria, you’ll spend the day getting lost in the old town streets. In addition to the Pula Arena, other sites worth visiting include the Arch of the Sergii and the Temple of Augustus.
For a taste of true local life, pay a visit to the central market, or Merkat, as the locals call it.
Situated in a stunning Austro-Hungarian building, the central market offers an abundance of fresh produce including homemade cheeses, locally produced honey, freshly harvested lavender, wild mushrooms, olive oil, and more. You might even get the chance to snag some free samples from some of the vendors!
The market is also a great place to pick up some unique souvenirs or non-perishable treats to take back home.
Day 2 – Cape Kamenjak
Day two is a beach day! Pack your towel and your sunscreen because day 2 is all about soaking up that Adriatic sunshine. Just a 30-minute drive south of Pula will take you to Cape Kamenjak, a stunning nature park bursting with hiking trails and spectacular rocky beaches.
Spend the day sunbathing, cliff jumping or chilling at the Safari Bar.
Day 3: Fažana and Brijuni National Park
Fažana is a darling little town located just 15 minutes away from Pula. It also serves as the port from which ships take visitors to the nearby Brijuni National Park.
This incredible archipelago is known for its untouched natural beauty, exotic animals, and residence of the former president of Yugoslavia, Josip Broz Tito.
Start your morning with a coffee in Fažana before setting off on an adventure to Brijuni National Park.
Days 4 – 7 Based in Rovinj
Day 4 – Explore Rovinj
Rovinj is one of the most beautiful destinations on the Istrian peninsula. This charming town is romantic, historic, artistic, and incredibly easy to fall in love with. One of the best ways to explore Rovinj is by letting your curiosity lead the way through the town’s cobblestone streets.
If you need additional inspiration on how to spend your time in Rovinj, check out this list of 20 awesome things to do in Rovinj, Croatia.
Day 5 – Momjan and Grožnjan
Day 5 of your 7 days in Istria consists of a mini road trip to the peninsula’s green interior. On this day, you’ll visit Grožnjan, a fairytale town situated on a hilltop overlooking rolling green vineyards.
This tiny town is known for its summer music school, so if you visit during the months of July and August, you’ll likely see plenty of musicians playing in the streets.
After visiting Grožnjan, continue your way up north to the town of Momjan, the kingdom of Moscato wine!
Here you can stop at Kozlovic Winery to sample a wide selection of exquisite wines while admiring the breathtaking landscape surrounding the property.
Finish off the day with a late lunch at Stari Podrum for a taste of Istria’s traditional gourmet delicacies.
Day 6: Porec
On day 6, you’ll visit the popular summer resort of Porec. This seaside town is famous for its historic centre that is on the UNESCO World Heritage List for its impressively preserved Byzantine architecture and mosaics.
Take some time admiring the history of the town before heading to the pristine Blue Flag beaches, or hopping on a boat to visit the nearby St. Nicholas Island.
Day 7: Punta Corrente Forest Park and Bale
Finish off your 7 days in Istria by spending the day in nature. Located just outside of the Old Town of Rovinj, the Punta Corrente (Golden Cape) Forest Park is one of the most beautiful natural attractions in the area.
This green oasis offers a large number of activities such as biking, hiking, swimming, and even rock climbing. For those who are looking to relax, the rocky capes and pebbled beaches are perfect for sunbathing and floating in the azure waters.
End the day with a stroll through the magical village of Bale, just a short drive away from Rovinj.
Enjoy a drink at the charming Kamene Price Jazz Bar or grab dinner at the picturesque La Grisa restaurant while watching the sun go down.
Top places to eat in Istria
Istria is home to a series of delightful dishes including prosciutto, quality olive oil and fresh seafood. This particular region of Croatia is also very famous for its truffles, which are used to season pasta, steaks, and even chocolate cake.
Here are the top five places to eat in Istria:
- Konoba Stari Podrum (Momjan)
- Konoba Mondo (Motovun)
- Monte (Rovinj)
- Alla Beccaccia (Fažana)
- Bistro Alighieri (Pula)
Top places to drink in Istria
- Kozlovic Winery (Momjan)
- Safari Bar (Kamenjak)
- Mediterraneo Cocktail Bar (Rovinj)
- Kamene Price Jazz Bar (Bale)
- Caffe Uliks (Pula)
Where to stay in Pula
There is a wide variety of accommodation options in and around Pula. Most hotels are located just outside of the city centre on the beautiful Verudela Peninsula. Here, visitors can enjoy excellent beach access and plenty of outdoor activities.
- Hotel: For a double room, the price is typically around $100 a night and up
- Airbnb: The average cost for 2 people per night is around $50 and up
- Hostel: Stay at Hostel Pula for $20 a night in a mixed dorm bed.
Where to stay in Rovinj
Rovinj is home to a number of luxury resorts, namely the Maistra Collection hotels. These high-end hotels are worth splurging on if you want a week of carefree relaxation and indulgence. For those looking for a more local experience, you can’t go wrong with a charming Airbnb in the Old Town.
- Hotel: For a double room, the price is typically around $100 a night and up
- Airbnb: The average cost for 2 people per night is around $65 and up
- Hostel: Stay at Roundabout Hostel for $25 a night in a mixed dorm bed.
Extend your trip
Your 7 days in Istria itinerary can be extended by simply heading east! With a rental car, you can easily make your way to the popular Plitvice Lakes National Park, or explore the gorgeous Kvarner Gulf.
Author Bio: Olivia is a 29-year-old who left her home in the USA and moved to Croatia in 2014. While she was originally only supposed to stay temporarily, it’s been six years and she’s still loving life in Croatia. Olivia started Inspired by Croatia to help you plan an unforgettable trip to this gorgeous Mediterranean destination. Inspired by Croatia is your #1 resource for discovering Croatia off the beaten path. On her blog, you’ll find detailed itineraries, destination guides, and exclusive local insights you can’t get anywhere else. Find Olivia on Instagram too.
My Travel Tips and Recommendations
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For accommodation, I usually book most of my hotels or hostels through Booking.com. I love using this platform as it provides me with some amazing deals for accommodation all around the world. Or if you prefer, I also recommend using Airbnb. If you haven’t signed up with Airbnb already, you can use this link to get £25 off your first visit!
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