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Best of Istria: About This Book

My goal with this book is to make exploring the Istrian peninsula both easy and fun using Google Maps.

There are two major sections of the book:

Section 1 (Chapters 1 – 11) covers all major destinations in Istria and top recommendations for each destination. All recommendations are included in the Best of Istria Google Map (

Section 2 (Chapters 12 – 38) has 25 trips for each interest category, with each trip accompanied by its unique Google Map.

As a Google Local Guide, I see practical value in connecting the Best of Istria book with Google Maps so that you can learn more about the place, find its location, and use Google directions to get there, see pictures, get contact information, and read reviews. By tying Best of Istria book with Google Maps, I hope to provide you with a practical guide for exploring Istria that is truly unique.

Getting Started

The guide begins with a Need to Know chapter that contains practical information you will appreciate knowing when exploring Istria by car. It covers official documentation required, motoring advice, and much more. All topics are arranged alphabetically so you can easily find the topic of interest.

The Overview of Istria chapter contains a brief verbal picture of Istria and its history. Chapters 3 - 10 contain a review of all major destinations in Istria and top recommendations for what to see and do in those destinations. Chapter 11 lists major events in Istria organized by seasons.

25 Istria Trips

The 25 trips in chapters 12 – 37 capture the diversity of the Istrian peninsula, stretching from the beautiful coast of Blue Istria to the mesmerizing hillside towns of Green Istria. Istria is large enough to offer a variety of diverse experiences and yet small enough so that one can travel to any part of Istria in less than two hours. These trips can be traveled over a number of days, with a sleepover near each stop, or over a course of a day or two from a fixed destination. The flexible nature of Google Maps means that you can customize the Google Maps that I’ve provided so they best fit your plans.

Google Maps

Google Map links are provided for all places reviewed in the book so you can easily locate them on Google Maps, get driving directions, and read Google reviews of those places. All recommendations have also been compiled in the Best of Istria Google Map.

Over the course of writing this book I’ve added hundreds of places to Google Maps. These places didn’t exist in Google Maps until I added them. Now that they’re listed in Google Maps, it will be easier for everyone to discover Istria's most beautiful spots, and add their own photos and reviews of places. If you come across any new places that are not yet in Google Maps, please consider adding them with the Google Maps app on your mobile device.

Each trip also includes a Google Map of that trip, making it available for you to copy and modify in your Google Maps.  Your interests and time availability will help you to decide which trips to explore and how to modify the stops.

I hope you’ll find Google Maps a valuable tool for pre-trip planning and a handy guide when on the road.

Google Trips App

Google launched the new Google Trips app in September of 2016. Google Maps revolutionized how we travel and Google Trips will revolutionize how we vacation. The Google Trips app uses data from your Gmail account, Google Maps, and crowd sourced contributions from other travelers to create a personalized tour guide within the app. As a member of Google Local Guides, and owner of the Croatia Local Guides Community, I helped improve data about Croatia, including Istria, during the beta testing. See Google Trips for more information on how to make the best use of Google Trips.

One of the best features of Google Trips app is that it syncs with saved places in Google Maps. As you read through this book and discover places you’d like to visit during your trip to Istria, save them in Google Maps and they’ll automatically show up in the “saved places” section of the Google Trips app. Once in Istria, you can then use Google Maps or Google Trips to visit your saved places. If you don’t expect to have internet access while in Istria, you can download the maps and trips before travelling so that you can use them offline while in Istria.

Best of Istria: Preface


Croatia is a beautiful country. With 1,777 km of mainland coastline, 1,246 islands, and who knows how many bays and inlets, it offers the most indented coastline and most beautiful beaches on the Mediterranean. To learn more about Croatia and its most popular destinations and activities, please check out my other book on Amazon: Adriatic Road Trip.

My favorite region of Croatia is Istria, a hidden gem nestled in the NW corner that’s not as widely known and traveled as the southern coastline of Croatia. Istria is often referred to as "Terra Magica" (magical land) because it feels like a small, magical country in itself, and is known to charm and bewitch its visitors. Coastal Istria, also known as Blue Istria, offers beautiful beaches, seductive coastal villages, exciting water activities, and delicious seafood. Inland Istria, also known as Green Istria, boasts an abundance of fun destinations and activities, including mesmerizing hill towns with historic ruins, glorious nature parks, thrilling adrenaline parks, delicate wine and olive oil traditions, truffle hunting, and an array of gourmet delicacies. Although this abundance can be overwhelming, my hope is to organize places, attractions, and activities in Best of Istria by interests so that you can easily identify places and activities that most interest you.

I have enjoyed writing this book over the past year and hope this travel guide will help you explore the many offerings of Istria. Please know that the guide is not designed to be an exhaustive list of all things in Istria. Rather, the guide’s purpose is to serve as a collection of favorite places and activities recommended by locals and experienced travelers, reinforced by my own personal experiences.

The information in this book provides the most current information available at the time of publication, but as most frequent travelers know, changes are constantly afoot. Please check with any venue’s website or call ahead for confirmation of information before visiting. If you find any discrepancies or have suggestions to help me improve future editions, please e-mail me with your comments.

Visit Adriatic Road Trip website to connect via social media, for additional resources, and to stay informed of new developments in Istria and Croatia.

I hope you enjoy Best of Istria and make this a travel guide that you continue to use with each visit to Istria. I also hope you will recommend it to your friends as an insightful, authentic guide to one of Europe's most beautiful places.

I wish you many magical moments in this truly magical part of Croatia.

Always feel free to get in touch. I’d be delighted to help with any of your questions.

Toni Krasnic

Back to Best of Istria: Table of Contents

Ilovik Island Travel Guide


The protected channel between Ilovik and Sveti Petar has endeared the island of Ilovik to the hearts of sailors since ancient seafarers plied the waters. This island of flowers shows off its lush Mediterranean fauna, flaunting bougainvillea, oleander, and graceful palms as ships pass and visitors gaze. Just one town of the same name dots the map of the island, but it is a favorite half-way stop for many on their way from northern to southern cities along the Croatian coast. Stockists are well-prepared for visitors, offering the bounty of their labors in fishing, sheepherding, and farming, especially in vineyards and olive groves. Believed to have been populated by the Illyrian Liburni tribe, remnants of Roman culture, including a submerged archeological site, express its past. Music continues to be a prime historian and storyteller, so don't be surprised to hear native residents rise up in song, accompanied by accordions, to entertain anyone who cares to listen. Hop a passenger ferry from Mali Losinj, or hire your own watercraft, to enjoy an excursion to Ilovik.

Where is Ilovik Island?

Ilovik island is the most southern of the inhabited islands of Losinj's archipelago. The circumference of the island is 15.4 km (9.6 mi) and is accessible from all sides with many secluded bays. It occupies an area of 5.8 km2 (1,400 acres) and has around 170 inhabitants.

Ilovik Island Tourist Board

Riva Losinjskih Kapetana 29, Losinj
+385 (0)51 231 884;

Attractions and Activities on Ilovik Island

1. Church of St. Peter and St. Paul: Dates bask to 19th century and was recently restored
2. St. Paul Cemetery: Beautiful old cemetery with olive trees and wild flowers
3. Beaches: Various beaches and calm atmosphere are one of the main attractions of this little island
4. Benedictine Monastery: With gated draw bridge, dating from 10th century
5. Roman Remnants: Church from 16th century
6. St. Andrija Church: Early medieval church partially preserved in Sicadrija
7. Port Ilovik: Little picturesque natural harbor defending sailors from all winds, paticularly Jugo
8. Remnants of a Small Castle : Built in 1600 by the Republic of Venice to defend the area from pirates
9. Excursion to Losinj: Trip to nearby Losinj
10. Explore Ilovik: Ilovik is known as a ‘’island of flowers’’


Restaurants, Bars, and Cafes on Ilovik Island

1. Konoba Panino: Mediterranean cuisine; Ilovik 62, Ilovik;
2. Restaurant Porto: Mediterranean cuisine; Ilovik bb, Ilovik;
3. Restaurant Amico: Mediterranean cuisine; Ilovik luka, Ilovik;
4. Restaurant Dalmatinka: Croatian cuisine; Ilovik bb, Ilovik;
5. Restaurant Oliva: Istrian cuisine; Ilovik 23, Ilovik;

Hotels and Accommodations on Ilovik Island

1. Lindaric Mirna: Apartments; 3-star; $; Ilovik 2b, Ilovik
2. Jardas Zvjezdana: Apartments; 3-star; $; Il ovik 149, Ilovik
3. Baricevic Sandro: Apartments; 3-star; $; Ilovik 94, Ilovik
4. Brguljan Anamarija: Apartments; 3-star; $; Ilovik 2, Ilovik
5. Busanic Sara: Rooms; 2-star, $; Luka Ilovik bb, Ilovik

Google Map of Recommendations for Ilovik Island

See ART Google Map for additional recommendations of places to see and things to do on Ilovik Island.

Explore other destinations in Croatia.

Plan Your Trip to Croatia with Google Trips


Google Trip Overview

Google Maps revolutionized how we travel. Google Trips will revolutionize how we vacation.

The Google Trip app was released this week. It's free.

The app uses data from your Gmail account, Google Maps, and crowd sourced contributions from other travelers  to create a "personalized tour guide in your pocket."

Additional information is available in the Google blog post announcing Google Trips.

Beta Testing of Google Trips


Earlier this year, Google tested the Google Trips app with Google’s Local Guides community. Local Guides help to improve Google Maps by writing reviews, correcting listings, and adding photos.

As a member of Google Local Guides, and owner of the Croatia Local Guides Community, I helped improve the data about Croatia, and especially Istria.

Based on the beta testing feedback, Google improved quality of suggestions for 'Things to do,' added points of interest, accounted for opening hours and distances between attractions for route suggestions, added 'Day Plans,' and improved integration with Google Maps.

Features of Google Trips

The home screen starts with a search box with a prompt “where do you want to go?”


Type in the name of city/town, and you'll be taken to a new screen with the following colorful cards:

  • Things to Do: Cool places near and far.
  • Food & Drink: Restaurants, cafes, and bars/pubs.
  • Reservations: Reservations and details from your Gmail.
  • Saved Places: Places you've saved in Google Trips.
  • Day Plans: Most popular day plans and itineraries for the top 200 cities worldwide. 
  • Create Trip: All trip information in one place.
  • Getting Round: Transportation tips.
You can also download all the information about that destination for offline access.

Saved Places: Sync Google Maps with Google Trips

One of the best features of Google Trips app is that it syncs with saved places in Google Maps. As you discover places you'd like to visit, save them in Google Maps and they’ll automatically show up in the “saved places” section of the Google Trips app. How cool is that?!

The Google Trips app can do a lot but it's still just a start. The app will only get better with additional places that will be added and user data that will be generated, new features that are yet to come, and improved integrations and functionality based on user feedback.

With time, Google Trips will truly become a personal travel guide.

Susak Island Travel Guide


The most distant of any of Croatia's islands, Susak is also probably the most unique. With distinctive dress, language, and customs, even mainland Croatians feel they are in a different land when visiting Susak. With a history recorded mostly by storytelling, there are few print documents to relate the early development of the island, and with a population depleted by several mass exodus events, only about 200 inhabitants remain. The island's name is thought to have been derived from the Greek word for oregano, a prolific herb on Susak. Another distinctive feature are Susak's sandy beaches, the result of sediment from the Po River during the last Ice Age. With some history and artifacts retained by the Benedictine monks, the hilltop portion of the two-part town also gives a pretty view of the harbor and horizon line. Tourism is big on the island, and it is not surprising, considering the delightful results of the labors of its vintners, farmers, and fishermen. Take one of the "passenger only" ferries to Susak by driving to the dock at Mali Losinj, or hop on the fast catamaran from Rijeka to Susak.

Where is Susak Island?

Susak (also known as Sansego, a Greek word meaning oregano which grows on the island) is a small island near Losinj island on the northern Adriatic coast of Croatia. The island is very small, with an area of 3.8 km2 (1.5 sq mi). Less than 200 natives live on the island and they speak a unique dialect which is very different from standard Croatian.

Susak Island Tourist Board

Riva Losinjskih Kapetana 29, Losinj
+385 (0)51 231 884;

Another great resource is

Attractions and Activities on Susak Island

1. Geocaching: Search for hidden treasures.
2. Learn to swim: Beaches such as Spiaza or Bok are perfect for learning to swim.
3. Staircase: For many years, it was the only path which connected the two villages.
4. Snorkeling and Diving: The most interesting place to dive around Susak is the Obis cove.
5. Jogging: Covered by fine soft sandy material, Susak makes jogging perfectly safe and enjoyable.
6. Lighthouse on Garba: Built in 1876; lighthouse keeper and his family still live there.
7. Observation Outpost: Built by the Yugoslav army; served as early warning post for the military base.
8. Walking Trails: Interesting trails include trail to cape Darto and trail to Nasuzanski and Obis coves.
9. Veli Buoh: Romanesque crucifix from 12th century.
10. Margarina Cave: Explore two sunken cargo ships.


Restaurants, Bars, and Cafes on Susak Island

1. No 13: Mediterranean, Croatian cuisine; Susak bb, Susak.
2. Konoba Vera: Croatian cuisine; Susak bb, Susak.
3. Osmanova slasticarna: Cake shop; Donje selo bb, Susak.
4. Konoba Barbara: Seafood, Croatian cuisine; Susak 610, Susak.
5. Bar Palma: Ordinary bar; Donje Selo bb, Susak.

Hotels and Accommodations on Susak Island

1. Susak Sansego: Holiday house; 4-star; $$; Susak 622, Susak;
2. Apartment Grgac: Apartments; 2-star; $; Susak 220, Susak;
3. Apartmani Matijasec: Apartments; 2-star; $; Donje Selo bb, Susak.
4. Kuca Krvavica: Rooms; 2-star; $; Donje Selo bb, Susak.
5. Apartmani Sarson: Apartments; 2-star; $; Donje Selo bb, Susak.

Google Map of Recommendations for Susak Island

See ART Google Map for additional recommendations of places to see and things to do on Susak Island. 

Rab Island Travel Guide


Rab's history dates back to progressive Roman times, when Octavian Augustus built the town walls and made Rab a municipality. In the Middle Ages, Rab was part of the Byzantine Empire, was then briefly owned by the Kingdom of Croatia, followed by rule under Hungary, Venice, Austria, and Yugoslavia. During WWII, the Italian Fascist Regime installed a prisoner camp on Barren Island, just off the Rab Old Town Peninsula. The camp closed in 1943. Tourism then returned to Rab, and vineyards, olive groves, vegetable farming, and fishing again became the focus, along with tourism. In 1991, Croatia's independence paralleled the opening of the Eastern Block countries, boosting Rab as a tourist destination for Europeans. Today, vineyards, olive groves, vegetable farms, resort hotels, and restaurants welcome throngs of visitors from all over the world. They come to view the four Venetian campaniles, or bell towers, and walk the cobbled streets while enjoying all the benefits this beautiful island has to offer. Ferries connect passengers from Stintica on the mainland to Misnjack on Rab, or from Valbisca on the island of Krk to Lopar on Rab.

Where is Rab Island?

Rab is an island (and a town) just off the northern Croatian coast in Kvarner region of Croatia. The island is 22 km long, has an area of nearly 100  km² and 10,000 inhabitants.

Rab Island Tourist Board

Trg Municipium Arba 8, Rab
+385 (0) 51 724 064;

Attractions and Activities in Rab Island

1. Old Town: Unique small town that has the port on one side and a lovely coastal walk on the other
2. Monastery of St. Anthony: Founded in 11th century as a refuge for aristocrats; art gallery
3. Beaches: There are many beaches with Kandalora as its top one, called “a slice of heaven”
4. Forest of Dundo: National botanical park; one of the rare preserved forests of evergreen oak
5. City Walls - Tower of the Bold: Built in the 15 century on the ruins of medieval walls
6. Medieval Summer Festival Rabska Fjera: Knight tournaments, local crops and homemade foods
7. Cathedral Bell Tower: Beautiful tower built in the Romanesque style in the 13th century
8. Duke's Palace: Built in the 13th century; Gothic and Renaissance style dominates
9. Art Colony: At the grounds of Suha Punta there’s an art colony where the artists work outdoors
10. Geopark: Perfect spot for fossils and geology lovers, marked on hiking trails as ‘’Premuzic path’’


Restaurants, Bars, and Cafes in Rab Island

1. Restaurant Velum: Croatian cuisine; Palin 71, Rab;
2. Konoba Marenda: Croatian cuisine; Supetarska Draga 320A, Gonar;
3. Restaurant Barbat: Croatian cuisine; Barbat 366, Rab;
4. Konoba Riva: Mediterranean cuisine; Kneza Branimira 3, Rab;
5. Restaurant Eufemija: Croatian cuisine; Kampor 66, Rab;

Hotels and Accommodations in Rab Island

1. Arbiana Hotel: Beautiful hotel; 4-star; $$; Obala k. P. KreŇ°imira IV 12, Rab;
2. Tourist Resort San Marino: Nice Resort; 3-star; $; Lopar 608, Lopar;
3. Hotel Carolina: Beautiful hotel; 4-star; $; Kampor 82, Suha Punta;
4. Residence Astoria: Apartments; 4-star;  $; Trg M. Arba A.D.X.A.C. 7, Rab;
5. Hotel Padova: Lovely hotel; 3-star; $; Banjol 322, Banjol;

Camps near Rab Island

1. Mini Camping Lando Resort: Nice sandy beaches; 4-star; Lopar 2, Lopar, Rab;
2. Camp Zidine: Nice beaches; 2-star; Kampor 321 (Uvala Mel), Rab;
3. Camping San Marino: Nice beaches and modern; 4-star; Lopar 488, Lopar;
4. Camping Padova: At the beach; 3-star; Banjol 496, Rab;

Google Map of Recommendations for Rab Island

See ART Google Map for additional recommendations of places to see and things to do in Rab Island.

Explore other destinations in Croatia.

New Book: Best of Istria


New Book: Best of Istria

I've been working on the Best of Istria book since summer 2015, shortly after participating in the ShareIstria contest. Istria is an amazing place that everyone must visit at least once.

The book is now available on Amazon.

Istria Tourist Board has many outstanding resources about Istria on its website, and there are many blog posts about Istria on the web. However, my goal with this book is connect all highlights of Istria to Google Maps, so they're all available in one interactive Best of Istria Google Map.

As a Google Local Guide, I appreciate the value of connecting the Best of Istria book with Google Maps where the reader can learn more about the place, find its location and use Google directions to get there, see pictures, get contact information, and read reviews. By tying Best of Istria book to Google Maps, I hope to provide readers with a practical guide to exploring Istria that is truly unique.

Best of Istria: Content

The book covers the highlights from the following destinations:

  • NW Istria (includes Umag, Novigrad, Brtonigla, and Buje)
  • Central Istria (includes Pazin, Buzet, Groznjan, and Motovun)
  • Porec
  • Vrsar and Funtana
  • Rovinj
  • Pula and Medulin (also includes Brijuni Islands)
  • Labin and Rabac

Visit the Best of Istria webpage for full Table of Contents.

Best of Istria: Share Your Favorites

Through end of August, I invite you to share your favorites of Istria:
You can also email me with your recommendations or share them on Twitter.

Thanks for the help, and look forward to learning about your secret spots in Istria! :)