Istria, Croatia

May - June 2017
May - June 2017
  • Day8

    Laidback Novigrad

    June 1, 2017 in Croatia ⋅ ☀️ 27 °C

    Novigrad (or New Town), like many of the Croatian towns along the coast, is centred on a peninsula surrounded by the sea on three sides. Or maybe it was an island just off shore originally which has since been joined seamlessly to the mainland.

    The old town is a warren of little streets within what would have been a walled town. Remnants of the wall still exist in parts, some subsumed into newer buildings like the Hotel Citar.

    Whilst it's smaller than the likes of Porec or Rovinj, it may be overlooked as a destination. However, it should not be: it has great restaurants, great seafood, cafes, an excellent wine bar or two and has great sunsets on the western side where you can sit having dinner or a drink to enjoy. Best of all, it's all very laid back, no urgency and there's a chance to engage with the friendly locals more.

    There are a number of hotels here but if you want something different and that little more space, I would highly recommend the Aminess Holiday Homes situated in the camping grounds. Each of the prestige options sit on a manicured green area separated from the generally camping and all have access to little swimming pools dotted around the houses.

    Along the 10 min walk into town, there are great swimming spots including walkways leading you into the sea.
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  • Day7

    Eat Rovinj!

    May 31, 2017 in Croatia ⋅ ⛅ 24 °C

    We have a philosophy - don't go to the same destination twice. Unfamiliarity breeds new experiences and that's served us well travelling. So how do we tackle Rovinj having broken our modus operandi and are now on visit number 3. So we have to avoid some great spots - best pizza around Istria (Pizzeria da Sergio), great seafood/sunset (Maestral), Snack Bar Rio (raw seafood speciality) or Kantinon (old fish merchant building with a successful focus on local produce).

    Well, the Snack Bar Rio was just that - a snack bar on a corner of Rovinj harbour until two years ago it changed its offering and, sadly, not its name to challenge the other dining options around Rovinj's harbour. We were there two years ago and I was very impressed with the raw seafood dish. It was only its first week as a restaurant as opposed to a snack bar, so I was impressed. So much so that I wanted to break with our tradition and try it again hoping that two years establishing itself would serve it well. As it happened, the bread was fantastic with Mate olive oil from northern Istria, great raw and cooked seafood and a great outlook over Rovinj's harbour full of local fisherman boats.

    Time now for it to drop its Snack Bar name and sell itself properly with a more apt name. And I believe it's supported by Rovinj's other sister restaurant, Puntalina adding to it's allure.
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  • Day5

    Espresso Travel

    May 29, 2017 in Croatia ⋅ ⛅ 24 °C

    No matter where in the world I am, the aroma and taste of great espresso transports me in my mind to my first and lasting memory of tasting it in Starigrad, Hvar. The espresso in Vecchio Mulino, Novigrad, was one of the best that I've had in a long time courtesy of Bristot

  • Day5

    Rovinj sunset

    May 29, 2017 in Croatia ⋅ ☀️ 25 °C

    Despite Rovinj having the sea to its east, its peninsula old town means you can have your meal overlooking the sea and still have a sunset. A established restaurant that fits the bill is Puntalina. Third time visiting Rovinj and finally got a table. The restaurant is a series of terraces right down the rock above the sea, serves great seafood and has great views overlooking the local swimming spot and passing boats.

    Favourite dishes tonight were carpaccios - one beef, the other gilthead fish.
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  • Day3

    Cherries, cherries everywhere..

    May 27, 2017 in Croatia ⋅ ☀️ 24 °C

    ..and even a drop to drink!

    For as long as I have been coming to Croatia, I always make my way to the local market for a half kilo of the cherries. I was brought up only knowing glazed cherries which are still known to top cocktails. The fresh cherries are a different experience, so sweet. And the Lone even made a fresh cherry juice available for breakfast. Ah!

    My next mission is get a bottle of cherry brandy from Makarska - my last bottle didn't last long at home.
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  • Day2

    Lone hotel - a design hotel

    May 26, 2017 in Croatia ⋅ ☀️ 24 °C

    The Lone (pronounced Lon-ee) is one of a worldwide club of "design" Hotels. It's designed to look like a cruise ship lodged in the lush forest in which it is situated overlooking a pebble-beach bay. Everything is lush in the hotel too from the rooms, the balconies, the wellness centre and the restaurants. Our second visit here and worth the price - even better when you get an unexpected upgrade to one of its suites overlooking the bay - sweet!

    A great alternative to this hotel is its sister hotel, the Eden, situated beside in the same forest. It's a 4 star slightly more dated on the outside but has great rooms, an underused spa area and best of all stairs the pool and beach facilities as the Lone.

    And only 10mjns walk to historic Rovinj.
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  • Day2

    The purpose of eat

    May 26, 2017 in Croatia ⋅ ⛅ 23 °C

    Croatia is such a big draw for me on account of its food and the glorious sunshine of course. As we have progressed up the coast from Dubrovnik over the years, one think that stood out was its great food and specifically seafood. On the Dalmatian coast where the country is at its narrowest bordering the sea, seafood dominates. Our last two visits introduced us to Istria, where seafood still dominates in the coastal towns but where menus are also influenced by inland istria (truffles, ox meat, cheeses, olives and of course wine).

    Our first overnight was in Fazana - a fishing town proud of its pilchards/sardines. Fittingly, my first lunch this trip was grilled sardines with the Croatian staple of Blitva (Croatian chard with potatoes).

    The pilchards are not the draw for tourists, nor is the fact that Fazana was a centre for amphorae production when its wine and olives were stored for transport to anywhere from the Danube to the Po in Italy.

    No, the main draw for droves of tourists (Croatian and others) is the Brijuni Islands, now a national park, but made famous as the playground of the Yugoslav leader, Tito. Tito spent around six months each year entertaining the many world leaders, film stars and all, some of whom visited bringing gifts of exotic animals which now roam the zoo on the island.

    We didn't venture out this time as we were only using Fazana as a stop over after a late flight in last night to Pula (18 mins away). Fazana is a nice little town and worth the stopover for itself.
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