We like to spend our summer vacations exploring the Mediterranean, and we did travel to Greece, Turkey, Tunisia, Italy and elsewhere, but every so often we end up going to Istria, a north Adriatic peninsula, because it is a beautiful and truly magical place. This year, we have spent three weeks near Poreč, a town situated in Croatia, on the Western part of the Istrian coast, in a Croatian-Italian bilingual area. The Italian name for Poreč is Parenzo.
Poreč is almost two thousand years old, with a city centre and Euphrasian Basilica, a church built in the 6th century, being protected as a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
Let me take you for a walk… This is Decumanus, the main street of the old town. It is a nice place for spending the hottest hours of a day, just taking a stroll or having a cappuccino with ice cream. In the evenings and during the night, the centre is packed with people.
If you want a quieter place, there many cafes and confectioneries on the waterfront, so you can enjoy your drinks while resting your eyes on the beautiful blue sea.
There has been a summer jazz concert series, Jazz in Lap (or Jazz u Lapidariju) for years now; every week during the summer, another fine jazz musician gives a performance at an atrium in the old town. The tickets are very moderately priced, the place looks great and during the concert you can enjoy some great locally produced wine. We managed to catch Jasna Bilušić, a jazz singer and actress from Zagreb with her band. Both my hubby and me as well as the girls (who are, mind you, six and eight years old) loved it.
There is no point writing a summer piece without taking a look at the sea; in Istria, it is really clean and lovely, as well as quite warm, which – for me – is very important. So, here are some pics from our beach.
My personal hint would be to go to the beach either early in the day (like eight o’clock) or late in the afternoon (about five o’clock). The sea in that part of the Adriatic is very warm until mid-October, so you don’t have to worry that it would get cold in the evening. The midday (between 11 am and 4 pm) is not only too hot to be spent on the beach, but the midday sun can also cause a great deal of damage to your skin.
There are some really nice beaches where you can go and explore that part of the coast; however, if you have children, I would definitely recommend Bijela, Plava or Zelena Laguna.
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Another Istrian town that I’m in love with is Rovinj (Rovigno in Italian). The oldest part of the town, together with the St Euphemia’s Basilica, was originally built on an island which was connected to the mainland in the 1760s. It is a place that I know well and I’m always happy when I have a chance to re-visit it.
This is a view from the coast towards the open sea.
The St Euphemia’s Basilica is on the top of the hill, in the very centre of the old town. Just below the church, there is a plateau with a very romantic, candlelit cafe, where you can sip your drinks all night and until the early morning, with one of the most amazing views. This is where we go every time we’re in Rovinj.
Rovinj is a city of artists; there are numerous small galleries that offer everything from paintings and sculptures to jewellery. The girls fell in love with this display of earrings.
And, until the next post, I will leave you with a charming scene from the Rovinj old and narrow alleys.