Smaller Historical Towns on the Istrian Coast

Date 4. October 2023.

Istria, the largest Croatian peninsula, is bordered by Italy to the west, Slovenia to the north, and the rest of Croatia to the east and south. This transitional location has made it a crossroads for various civilizations throughout history, resulting in a rich cultural heritage that is still visible in this region, especially in its towns.
Istrian towns are characterized by well-preserved historical cores that provide residents and visitors with insight into the millennia-long history of this region. In this text, we will introduce smaller towns on the Istrian coast that, in addition to their rich history, attract tourists with their crystal-clear sea.

One of the most famous smaller towns in Istria is Poreč, known for its well-preserved Roman architecture, especially the Euphrasian Basilica. Included on the UNESCO World Heritage List, the Euphrasian Basilica is an outstanding example of early Christian art and architecture, dating back to the 6th century. The basilica contains stunning mosaics depicting religious scenes and is considered one of the most valuable in the world.
The historical town center of Poreč tells the story of a history spanning over two millennia. It is a labyrinth of narrow streets and charming squares, perfect for leisurely strolls.

Rovinj is another jewel of Istria, often described as one of the most romantic towns on the Adriatic coast and a common postcard image of Istria. This town is characterized by colorful buildings, narrow streets, and a stunning bell tower that offers panoramic views of the surroundings.
The heart of Rovinj is the Old Town located on a small peninsula. Here, you can explore old, narrow, cobblestone streets lined with centuries-old houses of all colors. Rovinj is also known for the Church of St. Euphemia, which dominates the city’s skyline with its bell tower. The church houses the relics of St. Euphemia and is an important religious site. Around the church, you’ll find the only spacious open area on the peninsula, filled with Mediterranean vegetation, bearing witness to the church’s historical significance.

Novigrad is a charming coastal town in Istria that boasts a rich history and a picturesque harbor. It used to be a bustling trading port, which, like the rest of the region, made it a target for various conquerors.
As with other Istrian towns, the historical core of Novigrad speaks of its rich history, primarily preserved in its architecture. The entire core was once surrounded by walls, which still exist today, albeit in ruins. Within the walls, you can find numerous other historical buildings.
One of Novigrad’s landmarks is the Lapidarium, a museum that houses a precious collection of stone monuments dating from the 1st to the 18th century.

Although in recent times it is best known for its marina and, even more so, a tennis tournament, Umag also has a rich history evident at every step you take in the town.
The historical center of the town features narrow winding streets and picturesque squares, surrounded by remnants of walls dating back to the 10th century. Within the walls, you can find traces of Roman and Venetian influences on architecture, spanning from medieval to Renaissance, Baroque, and up to the present day.
Notable historical buildings in Umag include the Church of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary and St. Peregrine, located on the main town square, which dominates the center of the old town. There is also the Church of St. Roch, a small church with a painted vault dating from the early 16th century, built in the hope that St. Roch would protect the town from the plague.

These are just some of the smaller towns located on the Istrian coast that offer visitors a unique insight into the history of this part of Europe – wherever you go, the Istrian coast will not disappoint history enthusiasts. Take a break from your exploration and find accommodation on the Molo Longo agency’s website.