The peninsula of Istria is tucked in the North Adriatic Sea and is Croatia's westernmost region. This is also the most visited region in Croatia thanks to its scenic coastline, medieval hilltop villages, and rolling hills covered in vineyards and olive groves. Istria borders on Slovenia and is easily accessible from nearby Italy. Many travelers to Istria arrive by road via Italy or Austria and Slovenia.
Public transportation is limited in Istria, so having your own transportation is necessary to get around. A limited train service links Buzet to Pula, with several stops in smaller towns along the way. There are no direct train connections between Istria and the rest of Croatia.
The only international airport in Istria is located in Pula with seasonal flights operating generally from April to October to and from many European destinations. There are daily flights from Zagreb and Zadar to Pula year-round, while other domestic flights to Split, Osijek, and Mali Lošinj are seasonal. Other nearby airports are in Rijeka and Trieste in Italy.
Ferries operated by Venezia Lines run between April and October from Venice, Italy to the Istrian port towns of Poreč, Rovinj, Umag, and Pula. There are also bus connections from Venice and Trieste to Buzet, Pazin, Poreč, Rovinj, Novigrad, Umag, Žminj, Vodnjan, Medulin, and Pula run by the following bus companies: Črnja Tours, Fils, and Brioni.
This seven-day cycling tour explores some of Istria's highlights, including the artist's village of Grožnjan, Roman ruins and dinosaur prints in Brijuni Islands National Park, the seaside town of Rovinj.
Duration: 2 - 3 hours depending on your destination in Istria
If you're traveling to Istria from another part of Croatia, you'll have to pass through the city of Rijeka. 15 miles (24 km) south-west of Rijeka is the Učka tunnel, a 5.4-km-long tunnel through the Učka mountain that connects the rest of Croatia with Istria. Istria can also be reached along Road 66 that follows the coastline from Rijeka westwards and then south along Istria's eastern coast.
There are no direct train connections between Istria and Rijeka but there are many regular bus services departing from Rijeka's main bus station to destinations in Istria, including Pazin, Poreč, Rovinj, Labin, and Pula. These services are run by the following bus companies: Arriva, Brioni, Črnja Tours, Flix Bus, and Croatia Bus.
Duration: 1 - 5 hours depending on your destination in Istria
There are daily flights operated year-round by Croatia Airlines from Zagreb to Pula, with a flight time of one hour.
If you're traveling with a rental car or private transfer service, the drive from Zagreb to Istria should take 2.5 - 3.5 hours depending on your final destination in Istria.
There are regular bus services from Zagreb to several cities in Istria, including Pazin, Poreč, Rovinj, Labin, and Pula. The bus trip can take three to five hours, depending on your final destination. A bus to Pula on Istria's southern tip will take four to five hours depending on the route and number of stops along the way. Some of the bus companies offering these routes include Arriva, Brioni, Črnja Tours, Flix Bus, and Croatia Bus.
Duration: 35 minutes - 6.5 hours depending on your destination in Istria
The quickest way to travel to Istria from Zadar is to take a flight to Pula. Croatia Airlines operates daily flights with a flight time of 35 minutes.
A drive from Zadar to Istria will take a minimum of 3.5 hours by car and up to 7 hours by bus (depending on your destination in Istria). There's also a Catamaran Line ferry operating year round from Zadar to Pula, a journey that takes 6.5 hours, with stops at several Adriatic islands along the way.