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Unlocking the secrets of Croatia

By Lauren Kirton on 8th July 2018

In the last decade Croatia has gone from being a secret luxury escape that only those in the know were aware of, to an international must see destination. With a stunning mountainous backdrop and a bright turquoise coastline, this destination is becoming more popular and more accessible every year.

One of the things people can find quite overwhelming when deciding to go to Croatia is the abundance of choice. Look at any travel forum or chatroom and you’ll find no definitive answer for the best place to go. So, to help you navigate this stunning Adriatic landscape, we’ve worked with Sun-hat Villas & Resorts to put together a list of the best village retreats and historical escapes on the Croatian map.

Svetvincenat

Located in central Istria, this quaint region is best known for the Istra Etno Jazz festival. The event began in 1999, and has become much more popular within the last few years. Held at the medieval Grimani Castle, this is a spectacle not to be missed – especially for history buffs and jazz-lovers.

For those interested in history Morisini-Grimani Castle is not to be missed.

Take a stroll to the main square, where you’ll find heritage buildings, charming shops and regular demonstrations of traditional dances. For the foodies this is an ideal spot to grab a lunch, with a view of stunning Renaissance architecture. Known for its annual cheese festival every August and a festival of new wine from Croatian winemakers, where else would you pick to have an afternoon of relaxation?

Umag

Just a hop skip and a jump from Slovenia, the city of Umag dates back to the Roman Empire. The city is rich with heritage, and this plays a strong role in its character today – preserved town walls and a 10th-century drawbridge remain and there are regular heritage tours. Grab your sun glasses and some comfy shoes, as you could find yourself endlessly wandering around this city.

Beaches at Umag vary between sand, stone and paved.

With its sunny climate and Blue Flag award-winning Marina, array of sensational restaurants and abundant offer of retail therapy, this area has a distinct Italian atmosphere. The Old Town of Umag is a must see – it juts out into the scenic Adriatic, offering exceptional views and great seafood, fresh out of the water.

If you’re a golf-fanatic, Umag is also home to the ATP Croatia Open, taking place this year from 16-22 July 2018. Why not work your visit around the competition and spend a day on the green.

Poreč

By now, you’ll have noticed that Croatia is high on every history-lovers list – but one spot is particularly revered. Poreč features beautiful churches, and is recognised for its fine, intact examples of Byzantine art.

The Basilica allows access to stunning views of the town.

This ancient Roman town is the perfect summer holiday destination, with turquoise coastlines and towering redbrick basilicas, this is the Croatian’s Venice. The famous 6th-century Euphrasian Basilica is a tourist hotspot; climb to the top and enjoy the 360-degree views of the water-lined town, gothic structures and clay-tiled rooftops.

Labin

If you’re looking to fill a week’s holiday with unique attractions, then Labin is for you. Located in the south-eastern region of Istria, this town boasts a varied calendar of events – from classical music festivals, open air cinemas, eco-friendly markets and vibrant street entertainment.

Old Town in Labin is full of culture, having existed since the Middle Ages.

Like Croatia’s other cities and towns, Labin has a fascinating history, with its Old Town area dating from the Middles Ages and a selection of exquisite palaces decorated with renaissance details and baroque facades.

Walk to the top of the Old Town for landscape views and a glimpse of its hidden natural green cove. Not many tourists know of this green oasis; filled with flowers and acres of land, this offers you the chance to get those perfect holiday photos.

If you fancy an excursion out of the city, venture to the rural villages such as Vrecari and the nearby resort of Rabac.

Pula

Known for its fine seafood, this destination offers some of the freshest oysters around and is typically accompanied by a small glass of sweet white wine. If you’re on a romantic holiday, escape to the Limski Kanal for a selection of secluded restaurants flanked by the emerald green waters of Lim Bay, serving very delicious malvasia wine and rakija.

Visit the brilliantly preserved Roman amphitheatre in Pula.

Offering flamboyant festivals such as Outlook Festival, a soulful electronic music event located in an abandoned 19th Century Fort, top notch Italian cuisine and Roman ruins (arguably the best outside of Italy, especially the imposing amphitheatre), Pula is a destination for those seeking adventure.

Take a look at Sun-hat’s selection of villas in Croatia.