A Tour of Poreč, Istria – One of the Best Hidden Gems in Croatia

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If you love to visit small, intimate places with great food, historical sites and an amazing atmosphere, every road will lead you to Poreč. It may be one of the best hidden gems in Croatia.

Read on to find out what to do when you tour this historic waterfront community on the Istrian peninsula.

The sun glows over the water alongside the city skyline of Porec in Croatia
A view of Porec across the bay.

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CONTENTS: In this article, you will learn everything you need to know about visiting Porec, Istria in Croatia, including:

Where is Porec?

Aerial view of the peninsula, Istria in Croatia
Porec is located on a peninsula in Croatia called Istria.

Located on the biggest peninsula in Croatia called Istria, this fascinating town of Porec is a perfect destination for those who want to explore nature on foot, without having to think about cars and buses. 

You can get to Istria easily from any other Croatian city. So, it doesn’t matter if you’re in Split or Dubrovnik – Poreč is just a couple of hours away!

Come with us on an unforgettable Poreč tour. You’ll find out what to see, where to stay, what to eat, and many other useful tips for visiting this gem of Croatia!

Scenic Destinations

With so many sunny days, perfect for laying around on the beach, the best time to visit Poreč is during summer. 

Two main guides to this town are along it’s main streets: Cardo maximus and Decumanus. Just by walking through you will realize you’re about to witness something beautiful. 

The most iconic place to visit in Poreč is Euphrasius Basilica. It was built in the 6th century, and since 1997 it has been protected by UNESCO.

According to the old records, Poreč used to have 11 towers. Today, you can see three of them:

  • Pentagonal
  • Norther
  • Round Tower

They were all built in the 15th century. 

Walking further around the city you will see an incredible Baroque Palace. Today, the palace is used by Heritage Museum.

You’ll also see a magnificent Gothic Palace, a two-story stone building.

Don’t worry, that’s not all!

For real history-lovers, there’s plenty yet to explore. You’ll want to have a look at:

  • Marafor Square
  • Romanesque House
  • Vergotini Palace
  • Istrian Assembly Hall

If this seems like a lot of walking, you can always rent a car while you’re in Croatia to make the most of your experience.

Hidden Gems in Croatia

A white goat stands in the road at the Brijuni National Park, Porec Croatia
A goat is one of the many wild animal species you might see in the Brijuni National Park.

Believe it or not, Poreč is home to many caves and other natural wonders. If you’re looking for something new to experience, this may be a great way to do it!

Baredine Cave opens a door for an unexplored, mystical world of nature.

This is a treasure chest, which has been developing for thousands of years, It offers you a chance to visit the underground world. You’ll discover this place is often included in tourist tours and sightseeing.

A safe tourist path allows you to visit another cave, Mramornica. Well-known among the locals, it is becoming a must-see part of tourist tours. In fact, you’ll notice many of their names ar engraved on the walls.

Finally, the Kingdom of Festini Cave is located in the heart of Istria, near the Festini village. To make it accessible, they made safe paths in the interior. 

Caves are just one of the many natural beauties you’ll find in Poreč.  

Another one you shouldn’t skip is Brijuni National Park. These 14 islands and islets are famous for being home to many unusual animal species, such as zebras and llamas.

Related: Unveiling the Best Croatian Islands for Yachting Bliss!

Day Trips from Poreč

The Pula Arena in Pula Croatia
Pula is a popular tourist destinations on mainland Istria, and an easy day trip from Poreč.

Poreč is a perfect starting point wherever you decide to go, whether it’s continental or coastal Istria. 

Pula, Rovinj, Rabac, Umag and Pazin are among the most popular tourist destinations on the mainland in Istria. They are easy day trips from Porec. 

In Pula, you can explore ancient Roman buildings, including the Pula Arena (shown above), Temple of Augustus, and Triumphal Arch. The Pula Arena is one of the best preserved Roman amphitheaters outside of Italy.

The tourist destination of Pula, located on the southern tip of Istria, is the largest city in the area. It’s also known for:

  • Winemaking
  • Shipbuilding
  • Fishing

How to Get from Porec to Pula

One of the best ways to go from Porec to Pula is by booking the route directly on the Bookaway website.

This company, with extensive experience, offers the possibility of traveling between Porec and Pula in a comfortable, air-conditioned coach bus.

While on the bus ride, you can charge your devices, connect to Wi-Fi, and use the restrooms onboard. Buses leave Porec four times a day and take about an hour and a half. This is the most affordable option, too.

Click here to learn more about taking a bus to Pula.

If you’re traveling with your family or a group, you might decide to book a private minivan service here, instead. For about $100 US, 8 passengers travel comfortably in this air-conditioned ride with charging ports for your devices and an English-speaking driver.

Better yet, you’ll arrive in Pula in just 45 minutes.

Other Day Trips From Porec

Also, if you like rare and special scenes, you should pack your bags and drive to Lim Fjord. Don’t worry, it’s not really a fjord, but it was named after its shape which resembles a fjord. 

However, the real beauty of Istria can be witnessed from the islands, for example from Brijuni

If you want to explore even more of Croatia, sign up for a daily trip to Plitvice National Park.

Related: Best Split Croatia Boat Party: An Exciting Coastline Celebration!

Art & Culture in Porec

Sculpures of a small black fish and a big white fish on exhibit at the Zuccato Gallery, Porec
Exhibit at the Zuccato Gallery.

Thanks to hundreds of years behind the city, Poreč is a cultural and artistic centre.

Many visual artists today present their work through group exhibitions, such as Annale and Profutura

However, the main place to visit if you’re interested in art is the Zuccato Gallery. This offers you an opportunity to witness a unique combination of various styles.

Museums in Poreč

The oldest museum in Istria is located here, in Poreč. Poreč Heritage Museum was founded in 1883 and is hosted by the Baroque Palace

It contains collections of the culture and history of Poreč and the surrounding area. At the moment, it is a proud owner of more than 15,000 artifacts merged into 41 collections.

They are presented in five sections:

  • History
  • Cultural history
  • Gallery
  • Archaeology
  • Ethnography

Besides the Poreč Heritage Museum, you’ll find a Museum of Church Art near the Euphrasian basilica.

It is a part of a Bishop’s Palace, built in the 6th century. The museum showcases paintings, sculptures, monuments and mosaics.

Gastronomy – Where to Eat & Drink in Poreč

Cobblestone streets and buildings of Porec, Istria (Croatia)

Food, finally! A beautiful, creative and unique domestic dishes await you in the multitude of restaurants in and around Poreč. 

Fish, shellfish, prosciutto, truffles… sounds good?

They’re even better in combination with Istrian wines, which include Chardonnay, Pinot, Malvazija, Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon and Teran.

If you’re ready for the adventure, here are some excellent restuarants you might want to visit:

  • Hrast
  • Korta
  • Arlen
  • L’insolito

If you prefer taverns, try:

  • Monte Rosso
  • Agrolaguna
  • Rina
  • Kvartin. 

Real treats for wine lovers are wine roads in which you can escape from the crowd and take a day off in vineyards and wine cellars. 

Your journey starts in Višnjan, about 9 miles (15 km) from Poreč. From there, the vineyards gracefully descend towards the shore. 

If you turn from Višnjan to the other direction, you can end up in winegrowing hills and cellars!

Where to Stay | Poreč Accommodations

To deepen your experience, take some time to find perfect accommodation in Istria. 

Luckily, Istria offers you many beautiful villas near the beach, hotels and apartments. 

The most popular hotels are:

  • Valamar
  • Materada
  • Albatros
  • Mediteran

If you prefer instead a perfect getaway apartment that will make you feel like you’re home, try these:

  • Pical
  • Astra
  • Rona Volta
  • Bellevue

Final Thoughts on Porec, Hidden Gem of Croatia

To sum things up, visiting Poreč is well worth the trip.

In fact, visiting any place in Croatia is worthwhile. 

Whether you’re coming to Croatia for two hours, one day, one week, or you’re so in love with it that you’ve decided to find a new home in one of the cities, such as Zadar, Split or Dubrovnik, make sure you don’t skip a visit to Istria. 

Full of surprises and hidden gems, this peninsula offers something for everybody. 

There’s nothing left for you to do but to pack your bags and head out on an adventure. 

To see more of Croatia by boat, read this article next. You’ll learn about the best coastal destinations and islands to visit on a Croatia sailing holiday.

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Photo credits:  Sun over water – Josef Gadermaier (Pixabay); Poreč, Croatia street scene – Wolfgang Holzem, Goat – By David Lukšić (wiki CC)

This article is a collaborative post and may contain affiliate links. As always, all opinions expressed are my own. For more information, please see the following Disclosure.