You decided to spend your well-deserved holiday in Istria, but you want to explore places that are not so mainstream and are more known among the locals. Well, good that you are here, at our ‘My Istria Guide’, as we have what you are looking for! We do our best to find the most amazing places for you to explore, while staying in our breathtaking country.
If you like discovering places that are not too busy with tourists, then make sure to visit the Vrsar and Funtana
municipalities. They are located on the western coast of Istria, between the towns of Porec and Rovinj. Vrsar is a small town and Funtana is a small village and they are just 10 min from each other by car.
We’ll start with the bigger municipality and town - Vrsar.
The name “Vrsar” originates from the word “ur”, which means “source”
. Among the locals, it is known as the “town of sculptures”
and here is why. Every year the International summer school of sculpture
takes place in Vrsar and it's called the “Montraker”.
It is held at the mesmerising sight, the abandoned cliffs of Montraker
- which are nature’s work of art and have been exploited since prehistoric times. An interesting fact is, that the most significant buildings in Venice, but also across Europe and the world, were built from the stones of Montraker quarry.
Art-lovers will fall in love with what Vrsar has to offer. The world-renowned artist Dusan Dzamonja built a sculpture park of 30 000 square meters.
All the sculptures are huge in size and are made of different metals
(bronze, iron, steel and aluminium). The complex includes an art workshop, a gallery and a space for ambient exhibitions.
Besides the sculptures, different kinds of paintings decorate the rich historical heritage of Vrsar.
If that is of interest to you, make sure you visit the art galleries in the Church of St Anthony of Padua, Church of St Fosca and the town museum of Vrsar. There you can find medieval frescoes and floor mosaics dating from the Late Antiquity period.
Vrsar is almost like a labyrinth of medieval streets
and one of them takes you to the most beautiful viewpoint of Vrsar
. It is the view from the Vrsar bell tower
- a spectacular sight, to take great pictures of. Vrsar also has its own palace that is worth checking out.
The Vrsar Castle is a former palace and residence of the bishop of Porec, who ruled Vrsar. The castle is the tallest and largest historic building
in that area. One of the cool facts is, that the most famous romantic and lover Giacomo Casanova,
spent some time in Vrsar. In his memoirs he mentioned visiting it twice.
The coast around Vrsar includes 18 islands and islets
. Magical Lim Bay
will be something every Istrian local will recommend you to explore. Lim Bay is a submerged karst river bed that is 12.8 km long. It is ideal if you love adventures,
as there are plenty of sports you can do - recreationally and professionally.
You can explore bike routes, walk the trekking trails, do kayaking, climbing or go scuba diving.
An interesting sight is the Cave of St. Romualdo
, above the Lim Channel, that was inhabited in the Early Stone Age. The name comes from a saint who lived in the cave for 3 years, in prayer and meditation. Make sure to take a swim in the Adriatic too and visit these beautiful beaches in Vrsar: Montraker, Belvedere, Petalon, Porto Sole, Valkanela and Koversada.
Now, let us introduce you to the lovely municipality of Funtana
. The name “Funtana” comes from fresh water springs
and that is maybe the best way to describe this magical destination. A place with clean, clear sea, blessed with a mild climate
. It is the perfect sailing spot with plenty of islets and virgin bays. Make sure to take advantage of the beautiful nature because Funtana has many options to explore the beautiful country - and sea-side.
If you’re an adrenaline junkie, Funtana is the place to be
. Very popular are the Adrenaline Park
, free climbing sights, skydiving and paragliding.
If you like exploring under water, make sure to go scuba-diving
as there are numerous caves, shipwrecks and reefs
Istria is very popular for its caves, both underwater and above sea-level, so a site worth visiting is surely the Beredine cave
- a treasure chest of stalagmites and stalactites. Nearby there is also the Kingdom of Festini cave. It is special for its wonderful drip-stone forms and the most famous are ‘The magician’s hat’, ‘Tower of Babylon’ and ‘Bat wings’. The cave also has a children’s park, a mini farm and a bar where you can freshen up after exploring.
The village of Funtana only has 2 monuments worth paying a visit, the Borisi palace and Church of St. Bernard.
Since the Middle Ages, the village was also famous for salt production, fishing and limestone quarries
. Did you know that Istria is famous for Dinosaur fossils? If you wish to know more, visit the amazing Dinopark Funtana
. It is the first and the largest theme park in Croatia! The park has plenty of day shows, a Kids Zoo, and offers both pony and dinosaur rides.
All these amazing sights are super accessible by car, so all you need is to book a lovely accommodation where you can relax after your exploring adventures. If you need help with finding the perfect villa to spend your vacation in, do not hesitate to contact us. We are more than happy to help! :)