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The Med’s Hidden Capital of Culture, Gastronomy and Romance
A true hidden gem of the Adriatic, Istria blends incredible landscapes and world-class gastronomy with a melting pot of culture, drawing influence from Croatia, Italy and Slovenia. Travellers can explore the gastronomic haven – renowned for organic wines, olive oil and truffle – and uncover a fascinating three-thousand-year history all within a weekend. Best of all, the region is free from the crowds and high prices of fellow European hotspots.
From a cosy romantic getaway to educational city break, here are the top reasons Istria should be on every traveller’s list for 2024.
Rovinj: The Most Romantic Destination in the Mediterranean
Positioned on Istria’s picturesque west coast and surrounded by the Adriatic’s glistening turquoise waters, Rovinj is one of the Mediterranean’s top destinations for couples. Rolling hills of idyllic vineyards and olive groves surround the region and rows of white-washed stone architecture line the narrow-cobbled streets. Visitors can enjoy a casual stroll around the old town or romantic bike ride through the sweeping landscapes and quaint fishing villages, where local wine makers, olive growers and craft artisans offer insight into authentic Istrian culture. For a romantic evening, couples can take a traditional boat ride to nearby islets and cliffs and experience mesmerising views as the sun sets over Rovinj.
Stay at the Grand Park Rovinj, ideal for couples seeking a romantic escape. The Maistra Collection flagship property blends Rovinj’s authentic culture and local communities with breath-taking landscape views. Rooms start from €204 (£176) per night based on two sharing, including breakfast. Visit www.maistra.com
Pula: Croatia’s Capital of Culture
Pula is the largest town on the Istrian peninsula, home to an array of cultural attractions where history aficionados can immerse themselves in ancient architecture such as the Pula Fortress, Twin Gates and 1st Century Roman amphitheatre. One of the best-preserved amphitheatres in the Roman world, the Arena remains integral to the region’s cultural landscape and often plays host to the annual film festival, live concerts and vibrant electronic music festivals, Outlook and Dimensions. The best way to explore Pula is a walking tour of the Old Town, where an experienced local guide can delve deep into regional folktales and showcase the region’s lesser-known haunts. Visitors can also drop by the Temple of Augustus to discover sculptures, mosaics and inscriptions dating back to the Roman period.
Stay at the Grand Hotel Brioni, A Radisson Collection Hotel with cascading terraces and panoramic views of the Adriatic. The hotel is modern in design and nods to Istria’s rich history through culinary offerings and art speckled across the property. Rooms starts from €189 (£163) a night based on two sharing, including breakfast.Visit www.radissonhotels.com
Motovun: Hunting for Black and White Truffles
Renowned as one of the only places in the world where black and white truffles can be foraged at a premium quality, truffle hunting is a must when visiting Istria. Travellers can join the Karlić family on a hunt for luxurious black and white truffles, following expertly trained hounds into the depths of the Motovun forest. Once the delicacy is secured, guests will be led back to the family kitchen to learn about the tradition of truffle hunting and indulge in a feast of truffle-infused dishes, paired with local organic wines. The best time to visit the Motovun region is September to January, when the highly prized white truffle appears in season.
Stay at Roxanich Winery & Design Hotel, an eclectic and contemporary hotel in the heart of Istria. Experience exquisitely designed lodging, cuisine and wine tasting alongside unique truffle hunting experiences. Rooms start from €267 (£230) a night based on two sharing, including breakfast. Visit www.roxanich.com
Bale: Wine-lover’s Paradise
Istria is at the forefront of wine production in Croatia, home to 100 quality wine producers and a phenomenal variety of native grapes, owing to its fertile soil and varied climate. To experience the nation’s wine culture amid entrancing Mediterranean surroundings, travellers can head to the region of Bale to stay at the Meneghetti Wine Hotel & Winery. A true wine-lover’s paradise, guests can spend their days surrounded by rows of vineyards and ripening grapes, learning about the history of wine making and enjoying tastings of the property’s own produce. Whilst best known for its cultivation of red wine grapes due to the hard and iron rich quality of local soil, the Meneghetti vineyard produces 12 distinct varieties of bold, robust reds and citrusy whites. Guests can enjoy tasting sessions alongside delicious farm-to-table Mediterranean dining at the Meneghetti restaurant.
Stay at Meneghetti Hotel, an elegant country escape 15 minutes’ drive from Rovinj and one of only four Relais & Chateaux properties in Croatia. With three pools, a spa, onsite olive oil production and fine dining restaurant, this is an escape for food and nature lovers alike. Rooms start from€561 (£485) per night, based on two sharing, including breakfast. Visit www.meneghetti.com
For more information, visit www.istra.hr.
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Luxury Travel Lifestyle PR
Luxury Travel Lifestyle PR