Istria is the biggest peninsula on the east coast of the Adriatic Sea. The strongest advantage of this beautiful region is its strategic position. Situated in the northermost part of the Adriatic Sea, a gulf of the Mediterranean Sea, Istria is in the proximity of the most developed and highly populated areas of Central Europe. The peninsula is a meeting point of Croatia, Slovenia and Italy.
There are three distinct parts of Istria. The northernmost one, with the Učka and Ćićarija mountains is called White Istria, because of the sparse vegetation and its light-coloured surface tones. Following in the direction of South-West, a lot of river valleys are found, with two biggest rivers, Mirna and Raša. Because of the clay strata found in this area, it is called Grey Istria. The biggest, most populated and most developed part of the peninsula is called Red Istria because of its rich, red fertile land. It spans the region's west and south coasts, and is interspersed with vineyards and olive trees.
Istria is the most important tourist region of Croatia, not only because of its geographical and natural characteristics, rich cultural heritage and strategic location, but also its mild climate. The winters are mild, while summers are warm but not too hot. The sea isn't too deep around Istria, so it gets warm fairly quickly and thus the bathing season starts early. The tourist season usually starts around April and May and ends in late September.
The Istrian peninsula has a long history and cultural heritage, dating back to Roman and Byzantine times. Built in the 1st century AD, the colosseum in Pula is the sixth biggest in the world, and one of the best preserved monuments of its kind! The Euphrasian Basilica in Poreč is one of the best examples of early Byzantine architecture in the Mediterranean, and an UNESCO World Heritage site. Beautiful coastal towns like Rovinj have their different, but equally appealing counterparts in inland places like Motovun and Oprtalj.
Coastal towns and the adjoining beaches offer a wide variety of sea sports: windsurfing, kite surfing, kayaking, parasailing and more. For adrenaline enthusiasts there is paragliding, bungee jumping. Inland leisure time offers horseback riding, beautiful bicycle routes, hiking. Istria currently has 14 marinas. During summer, a host of festivals are being held - musical, dance and local fiestas.