Istria, a Mediterranean peninsula located on the far northwest of Croatia, is a treasury of diversity, where green ploughland and fields harmoniously alternate with hilly areas and a long picturesque coastline with numerous islets and coves.
It is located almost in the heart of Europe, halfway between the equator and the North Pole, and it has always represented a bridge between the Central European mainland and the Mediterranean, on which different European cultures collided throughout history. It has wisely reconciled the century-old impacts of opposed cultures, developing tolerance and cultivating an exceptional hospitality.
Owing to its geographical position in the vicinity of the main land and sea routes, this area is easily accessible from all European directions, and the mild Mediterranean climate, the vicinity of the warm sea and the opulence of pristine natural beauty attracts visitors throughout the year. Istria could be presented in one sentence with the words from the prestigious travel guide Lonely Planet: “Tone Tuscany down a notch or two – thin the tourist hordes, lower the prices, sprinkle a little mystique – and you get Istria.”
Introducing the destination
Climate and Temperature
Istria is characterised by a mild Mediterranean climate, with warm and dry summers and pleasant mild winters, which allows for a enjoyable stay on the peninsula 365 days per year.
Period in which the daily mean temperature is higher than 10°C is approximately 260 days per year, while the hot period, with daily a maximum above 30° C, lasts only around twenty days.
Due to the impact of the Mediterranean climate, there are no extremely low temperatures. The coldest month on the peninsula is January, with a mean temperature of 6°C, whereas July and August are the warmest, with a mean temperature of about 24°C.
The sea temperature is lowest in March and amounts to between 9.3 and 11.1° C, and the highest in August, when it amounts up to 24.1° C. The first swimmers open the season as early as in May. You will rarely experience a cloudy day on the Istrian coastline, as the sun shines some 2400 hours per year, and during the summer insolation amounts to 10 hours per day on average.
The Brijuni National Park, located in the immediate vicinity of Pula on the southwestern Istrian coast, with its 14 islands on 736 hectares of land is regarded as one of the most beautiful archipelagos in the Mediterranean. The Brijuni Islands have been a synonym for elite tourism for a very long time, in more recent history mostly thanks to Austrian industrialist Paul Kupelwieser, who 'cured' it from malaria in the 19th century and converted it into a fashionable summer resort and sanatorium, and after that thanks to the Yugoslavian President Josip Broz Tito, who chose it for his summer presidential residence. On Brioni he entertained more than hundred international statesmen and numerous members of the international jet-set. The famous actors Elizabeth Taylor, Richard Burton and Sophia Loren visited the islands - to only name a few.
Brijuni shows evidence of inhabitants from the prehistoric, Roman and medieval periods, and the traces of this history are apparent within the present national park. The most important monuments, whose remains are visible to this day, are the settlement from the Bronze Age north of the Verige bay, the luxurious Roman rural villa from the 1st century B.C. along the Verige bay and the Byzantine castrum complex in the Dobrika bay.
Celebrities visit the Brijuni islands nowadays as well, enchanted not only by their natural beauty, but also by its multitude of cultural events. Every year, during the summer months, the theatre company Ulysses, together with its founder, the actor Rade Šerbedžija, performs on the island of Mali Brijun, in the fortress Minor and on many other locations. Thanks to the work of the theatre company, Angelina Jolie, Vanessa Redgrave and many other well known artists came for a visit. For more than a decade, its ensemble of artists of diverse backgrounds turns the island of Mali Brijun into an international arts centre.
Besides the exciting performances of the Ulysses theatre company, you can also enjoy in numerous other interesting details – paleontological findings with dinosaur prints on rocks, numerous traces of five thousand years of human activity, g a safari park with exotic animals, golf course and, of course, the fascinating nature. Brijuni comprises a unique accord of flora and fauna, which can make a visitor believe the legend of its origins. According to this legend, the Creator intended to form a part of the Earth to make it look like Paradise and so He created Istria. However, the jealous devil destroyed His work by cutting the bag in which an angel was carrying the remaining unused stones, and thousands of rocks scattered across the Istrian soil. The saddened angels collected the fractions of Paradise remaining among the scattered stones and protected them with sea waves. This is how Brijuni were created...