Camping routes through Croatia - west coast of Istria and its hinterland
As exploring a country by camper is getting more popular than ever, we decided to further expand our existing camper routes through Croatia and bring you even more local tips and suggestions for a perfect adventure in Croatia. Starting from this blog post we will bring you the best the country has to offer, and we will do that by beginning our trip from the northernmost coastal region of Istria, also one of the most popular camping destinations in Croatia.
Day 1 to Day 3 – Umag, Motovun and the hinterland of Istria
After descending by camper from the Slovenian coast to the Croatian border, you will be greeted by one of the northernmost towns on the west coast of Istria, Umag, a fashionable destination discovered in ancient times, when the Roman aristocracy used it as their summer residence. The city has preserved parts of its defensive walls, towers, and Renaissance and Baroque houses and churches. Visit the parish of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary or the church of St. Pelegrina, the remains of the Roman Villa Tiola on the Katoro Peninsula or simply relax at one of the many sports and entertainment events.
Before you continue southwards from Umag, we definitely recommend a visit to the interior of Istria. The roads will take you through the beautiful greenery of the peninsula, through the valley of the river Mirna, whose cultivated areas with vineyards and olives speak about the diligent hands of the locals. Take a break on one of the many hills on which the medieval fortress towns are located, with many restaurants offering local specialties such as the Istrian prosciutto and white truffles.
You will not make a mistake if you stop in any of them, but we absolutely recommend a visit to Grožnjan and Motovun - Grožnjan is a town of artists where concerts and artistic events are regularly held. You will be delighted by its 20 galleries and studios where you can witness the creation of works of art. You will fall in love with the neighbouring town of Motovun too, which is known not only for the legend of the giant Veli Joža, truffles and its film festival, but also for its double ring of medieval walls.
Day 4 to Day 5 – Novigrad and Tar
Head from Umag to the once small fishing village of Novigrad, which is today a popular tourist destination where it is definitely worth visiting the Parish Church of St. Pelagius and St. Maksima, and its early Romanesque crypt, the only one of its kind in Istria. If you are interested in fairly recent history, you can also visit the Museum of the Austro-Hungarian Navy, while a leisurely walk under the old city walls will make you relax, and the local restaurants will attract you with the scent of seafood specialties. The ones who love active holidays can enjoy the many bike routes, wine trails and olive oil trails in the interior, while refreshments can be found in local agritourisms and wineries. The youngest members of your family will be delighted with the Istralandia aquapark located between Novigrad and Brtonigla.
Only a few kilometres from Novigrad, on a hill with a beautiful sea view, lies Tar, a small town that was known in antiquity for its high-quality olive oil. Olive oil form Tar is of such high quality that it was also confirmed by scientists from the UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), which determined that due to the specific microclimate, Tar olive oil is the best in Europe. Today, this town is a holiday destination for many campers who, in addition to vacationing in popular campsites near Tar, have the opportunity to enjoy shellfish grown in local bays which are specific thanks to the local brackish water.
Day 6 to Day 8 – Poreč and Vrsar
A short drive from Tar in a southerly direction takes you to Poreč, one of the most popular tourist and camping destinations in Croatia. Before arriving in the city, you will pass near the Baredine Cave, a local speleological phenomenon that is open to visitors and where you can descend up to 60m into the depths of the earth. Continuing on, you will reach the city of Poreč itself. Visit the old town and have a morning coffee on the Poreč waterfront, walk its streets and indulge in the experience of ancient times, with an unavoidable visit to the Euphrasian Basilica which is under the protection of UNESCO. The Basilica is unique in that it has preserved all its main elements and has stood in the same place for seventeen centuries.
During the summer months, Poreč hosts many sports, cultural, musical and entertainment events and if you want to explore its surroundings, you can walk or bike along the indented shores to find your perfect bay and swim in the crystal clear sea. Not far from Poreč you will find the picturesque fishing towns of Funtana and Vrsar with their famous restaurants that prepare traditional fish specialties and where the tourist offer includes panoramic flights over this part of Istria.
A well-known fact about Vrsar is that in the middle of the 18th century the famous lover Giacomo Casanova stayed here on two occasions, and today in the summer months various events are held in his honour. This charming town is also known for its sculptural school that takes place in the old quarries of Vrsar, which were active from ancient Roman times to the modern days. Interesting sculptures created during previous workshops are spread throughout Vrsar.
Take a look at all suggested routes that we have prepared for you! The camping routes cover the entire territory of Croatia and it's only up to you to choose which area you want to explore!