Do you think that Croatia is only sun, sea and landscape? Think again. Here are 5 great activities that you didn’t know you could do in Istria, the most popular region.
1. Rush through the canyon on a Zip Line
The Pazin Cave is a natural attraction that did not leave Dante Alighiero or Jules Verne indifferent. The biggest sinkhole – Pazničica – sinks about a hundred meters below the largest and best preserved medieval castle in Istria. In its course, it forms numerous larger or smaller cascades, the most interesting of which are the Pazinski and Zarečki krov. You can also explore Pazinska jama. For all adrenaline lovers, there is a Zip Line. With the zipline ride, you will see all the described attractions and nature.
Zip Line Pazin Cave – an adventure full of adrenaline that you won’t soon forget. After two short practice lines, you will fly down two long wires (220m and 280m) that stretch above the canyon at a height of about 100m.
While reaching dizzying speeds of up to 50 km/h, you will be treated to spectacular views of this beautiful chasm through which the Pazinčica flows.
2. Explore one of the best-preserved Roman amphitheaters in the world
Pula Arena is one of the most popular attractions in Croatia. This ancient Roman amphitheater is the sixth largest in the world, and also one of the best preserved. Built between 27 BC and 68 AD during the reign of Emperor Vespasian. Gladiator fights were held within its massive limestone walls, attracting nearly 20,000 people.
Today, the arena hosts various summer events, cultural and sports events such as the Film Festival, the Opera Season, the Equestrian Festival, concerts, and the “Spectacvla Antiqva” which recreates gladiatorial competitions. Throughout the year, you can enter the underground chambers of the Arena and enjoy museum exhibits about how olive oil and wine were produced in the past.
Read also the legend of “Divić-grad”. The legend of the creation of the Arena:
“In ancient times, Istria was inhabited by fairies. At night, they would dance in the meadows and forest glades, sometimes they would appear to ordinary people, but they never did anyone any harm.
Fairies from Istrian legends can bring happiness to man, and they are often builders. It is said that fairies built the Arena in Pula. All night long they carried stones from Učka, stacked them around, and that’s how their city, Divić-grad (the Old Slavic name for a miracle is divić) was created line by line. But, as fairies are creatures of the night, they could only build until the first rooster crowed. The fairies had to stop working and run away to avoid being seen by humans. Their Divić-grad remained unfinished and that is why the Arena is without a roof today.
All over Istria, from Učka to the sea, huge stones remained scattered that the fairies carried to install in the Arena, but the rooster’s voice disturbed them, and the fairies had to drop the stones in the place where they happened to be. This legend probably arose as a result of the awe that the amphitheater evoked in all newcomers to Istria, including the Croats who, like others, considered it a miracle.
That’s how the Arena got its popular name – Divić-grad – because ‘divić’ means miracle, and etymologically it has nothing to do with ‘diva’, i.e. fairies. It is interesting that the Roman builders did what the villas from the legend failed to do: devices were placed on the four towers to tighten the velarium, the cloth roof that protected the spectators from the strong sun.”
3. Games and fun in the best water park in Croatia
Aquapark Istralandia, the first water park in Croatia, was opened in 2014. Covering more than 80,000 m2, this water paradise has 23 slides (including a 27 m free fall). It also contains the largest pool with artificial waves in this part of Europe. It is intended for families with younger and older children who will find their dose of adrenaline and fun in the large children’s pool with a pirate lagoon.
How important it is for them to have a good time is shown by the activities that have been prepared for you, such as a foam party, sports tournaments, performances by a fun brass band, Zumba, game rooms, magic shows, and much more, for both young and old.
Those who like a little less excitement can relax and unwind in the two-level hot tub. If you’ve had enough of the swimming pool, you’ll find beach volleyball and badminton courts, as well as plenty of bars and cafes to keep you from getting hungry and thirsty.
4. Is this heaven on earth?
Located right next to the coast of Istria, Brijuni National Park is an extraordinary archipelago of two islands and 12 smaller islets. The beautiful nature of Brijuna is rich in holm oak and laurel. It’s cool at every step because of the large treetops that are twenty meters wide. Brijuni is proof of the beauty that man can create in tandem with nature. Thanks to this, today you can enjoy nature, various scents of plants and the sea.
Brijuni are not only beautiful but they have also been used for political purposes throughout their history. Josip Broz Tito hosted as many as 90 statesmen from 60 countries. The most famous are Winston Churchill, Saddam Hussein, Khrushchev, Fidel Castro, and many others. Also, many movie stars such as Richard Burton and Angelina Jolie visited Brijuna.
Visiting Brijuni will be one of the best decisions in life and on vacation in Istria.
5. Don’t miss the best olive oils in the world
Did you know that Istria is the world’s best olive-growing region? And for six years in a row. Flos Olei is the judge of olive growers and the quality of their oil, and this year, as many as 77 oils from Istria were on the list of the 500 best olive oils in the world. What does the Istrian peninsula have that other regions do not have or do not use in the best way? The answer is the special composition of the soil and the low temperatures that enable the olives to have a shortened growing season, while the accumulation of oil in the olive fruit begins later than in more southern areas where temperatures degrade their quality.
Take your vacation time in the best olive-growing region and visit olive groves and taste the best olive oils.