Croatia's cultural hotspots - captivating Istria
When you think of Croatia, clear glistening waters and relaxing days spent lazing in the sun is what springs to mind, which is certainly an option with over 40 Blue Flag beaches on Istria’s 333-mile coast. However, many don’t realize there is a wealth of culture and arts programmes on offer, as well as wonderful architectural sights waiting to be explored inland.
The perfect base from which to visit all this culture, is Hotel Monte Mulini in picturesque Rovinj, Istria’s first five-star hotel. Rovinj is an authentic and picturesque little fishing town showcasing Croatia’s old, rustic, way of life before tourism discovered this stunning and unique skeletal coast. The town is known as one of the most romantic places in the Mediterranean making it the perfect place to visit with a loved one, and its rich culture ensures you will never be at a loss.
Roviji summer festival (July to September)
Various classical music concerts take place in Rovinj’s churches, with guest artists from Croatia, Austria, Germany, Italy and Russia. This town is the perfect, dramatic backdrop to suite these powerful concerts.
Croatian summer salsa festival (end of June)
Special workshops with top instructors are provided to teach the dance to all levels of learners. Open-air parties, live bands, and shows fill the towns’ cobbled streets. The festival caters for absolute beginners as well as the more advanced, providing a fun and unique experience for all dancing enthusiasts.
Concerts in Pula’s Amphitheatre
This spectacular venue holds 22,000, and fills almost to full capacity during July, when it puts on a number of plays, concerts and festivities for the Histria festival. This has hosted the likes of Sting as well as other classical legends; it also provides the venue for Istria’s Film Festival in late July. Set in this extraordinarily romantic amphitheatre these events are sure to be a truly unforgettable experience.
Pazin celebrates the Days of Jules Verne (late June)
This town, in the heart of Istria, is unpretentious and quiet as opposed to the tourist glitz that has subsumed many areas of this coast. During the Days of Jules Verne, the streets are filled with tributes to the writer who made Pazin famous. There are re-enactments of the adventures of Mathias Sandorf's, the main character of Verne’s novel. Otherwise, try to come to Pazin the first Tuesday of the month for the Town Fair. It's a good opportunity to shop for food and artisanal items that come from the four corners of Istria.
The stunning sparkling mosaics of the Byzantine Euphrasian Basilica in Porec, make this a world heritage site.
It is an outstanding example of preserved religious architecture making up an integral part of the historic centre, which has preserved its Roman street pattern to a considerable extent.
Rijeka Carnival (February)
Centuries ago Rijeka lived its carnival life more intensively than any other town in this part of Europe; parades were organized as well as carnival balls inviting the Austrian and Hungarian aristocrats, Russian princesses, German barons, earls and countesses from all over Europe. This famed carnival lives on to this day and is the most extravagant in all Croatia, providing a unique cultural insight into Istria’s heritage and history.