Istria: A Family Experience
Istria is a large peninsula on the east coast of the Adriatic Sea. Since Roman times, the peninsula played an important part in history. Conquerors left their mark on Istria. After the Iron Curtain lifted, the land lay destitute. Croatia, born from the ashes of Yugoslavia, developed both the beaches and the hills to become a vacation paradise.
The beaches on the eastern side of the Adriatic Sea are rock with some pebbly and a few sandy. The National Park Brioni is a group of 14 islands just off the coast of Istria that hosts bird and animal species existing amongst Roman ruins. Families can spend days in the park and not see it all.
Elsewhere along the coast are many swimming opportunities. Some are shallow; others are deep allowing for snorkel and scuba diving adventures. The beaches offer magnificent views of the peaceful Adriatic on bright days and majestic waves pounding the rocks of the coast on stormy days. Sunrises and sunsets are mutually dramatic and lend an awesome feeling that brings families together in a moment of appreciation.
Towns and cities crowd against the seas. Some cities entice you to explore a series of protections, like the 46 forts built by the many cultures that have inhabited Istria to guard the flatlands of Pula. Pula also offers a Roman Amphitheater with all four architectural orders still intact, the only entire wall structure of an Amphitheater still standing. The restaurants only provide fresh vegetables, herbs, and the catch of the day.
Marching past the coastal cities and towns are the high hills. Green in summer, many colored in fall, and white in winter, the ridges run ever higher to mountain tops peaking over the horizon, mammoth gray and white edifices that hold court over the subservient hills. Here and there towns crown the roofs of hills or lie hidden in the deep folds of valleys; memories of times past rich with Roman, Muslim, and Medieval.
Cycling is a renewed passion for Istria. There are different levels of cycle trails. Some are for families on an adventure observing the contours of a foreign land. Others are more challenging with a few dedicated to world-class competitors who come to Istria to train.
Professional level rock climbers and spelunkers also find unique adventures in Istria. Elementary climbs and descents are offered in many places throughout the hills of Istria for families who want to experience a climb together or to delve into a cave where they can see wonders reflected in each other’s eyes.
In Glavani, in the Council of Barban is a unique park where the whole family can learn to walk suspended ropes—the first step toward mountain climbing. The lines are suspended in various elevations with the elementary rope excursion only two meters up and the most challenging being 30-meters high. A zip-line challenge is also available.
The opportunities to build life memories for families are endless in Istria. It is no wonder that visitors seek to rent a holiday home in Istria from which they can venture every day to another exhilarating experience.