It was around Easter when we decided this summer we would have liked to discover Croatia. Even if we have been living in its neighbourhood for many years we have never travelled there. There are so many lovely spots in that beautiful country that the decision was pretty tough. Finally we booked in a great aparthotel in Banjole, Istria.
Croatia is an absolutely beautiful country not just in terms of its landscape and climate, but in culinary pleasure, too. We ate so many delicious local dishes mainly made of seafood. They were freshly caught in all case and made in a perfect way.
Our first visit after the beach led to Pula. It is on the south part of Istria peninsula with mild climate, smooth sea and unspoiled nature. The city has a long tradition of wine-making, fishing, and shipbuilding. There’s a beautiful Colosseum in the town centre which was part of roman heritage when Pula was part of Roman Empire. It was built between 27 BC-68 AD. It’s among the six largest surviving Roman arenas in the world and still stands in a pretty nice condition, and in use as a great location for concerts and festivals due to its perfect acoustic. The sunset just added a special magical outlook of this ancient heritage.
Moving to to the western part of Istrian peninsula the biggest harbour town is Rovinj. It’s not just a popular tourist resort and a fishing port, but quite famous of its colourful architecture which reminds us of its Roman root. The town is still officially bilingual, both Italian and Croatian are widely spoken. In the 6th century it was part of Byzantine Empire and late between 1283-1797 was one of the most important towns governed by Republic of Venice. Following the fall of Venice it became part of Austrian Empire which lasted until WW I. In 1911 more than 90 % of population was Italian speaking, so between 1918-1947 it belonged to Italy. After the Yugoslawian War it was ceded and up until now part of Croatia. Due to the significant Italian influence the town itself reminds us Venice with its colourful buildings, narrow streets, and mediterranean climate. Around this area there are several olive farms and vineyards.
Not far from the town centre opposite the seaside there’s a great market with dozen of gourmand stuff. Herb infused olive oil, locally produced honey, jams. But the very best among them was the truffle, just in salt or preserved in olive oil. Actually I bought some of these stuff and really looking forward to giving them a try!