A visit to the coastal town of Poreč, in Istria, Croatia

If you’re staying in Istria, the northern-most province of Croatia, then one of my travel tips is to visit the coastal town of Poreč. This part of Croatia is very close to the Italian border and you can really feel the influence in the look of the town and the relaxed lifestyle. The flat buildings fronting the harbour and the mellow stone streets have a Venetian feel to them and the town was one of the first in this area to come under Venetian rule in the 13th century.

Marina at Porec in Istria, Croatia

There’s a busy marina here where you can gaze at all the yachts big and small, as the whole of Croatia’s coastline is a mecca for sailors who explore the rocky coves and inlets. The harbour is also a good place to take a boat trip to many other places up and down the coast, such as the town of Rovinj and the gorgeous unspoilt Limski Channel, where the water’s so clear that it is used to farm mussels and oysters.

The old town is on a narrow peninsula, surrounded on three sides by the sparkling water with views of the pine clad shores nearby. This old area is free of cars and so you can wander around the network of lanes, spotting the older palaces and the odd medieval wall or archway, with plenty of cafes and restaurants and ice cream stops at every turn. I enjoyed the contrast of one side of the peninsula where you can take in a tranquil scene of the locals swimming and snorkling off the rocks, and then turn a corner to find the mooring place of a row of luxury yachts, parked conveniently close to the best hotel in town.

Porec in Istria, Croatia

The highlight of Poreč is the Basilica of Euphasius, a Byzantine church and complex of courtyards and belltower, which you can climb up for a view over the town. The basilica is known for the glowing golden mosaics which decorate the Apse at the back of the church with scenes of Christ and his apostles. I also loved the carved stone arches inside the church, each one with a different motif. Classical concerts are held here in the summer months and when we visited, we were lucky enough to hear a pianist rehearsing for the concert that evening. The musical effect in such a beautiful setting was magical.

Basilica of Euphrasius in Porec, Istria

You can easily pass a day wandering, eating and sightseeing in Poreč, if you’re staying locally or doing a tour of the area. If you want to base yourself in this part of Istria, I can recommend the Plava Laguna Resort, which has a range of different hotels, apartments and campsites, including a naturist resort, so there’s something for every taste and budget. The coastline here is just wonderful with great care to preserve the natural beauty of the rocky coastline and pine clad shore.

Photos by Heatheronhertravels

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