In Search of Istria, part 9: Practicalities for planning a trip (getting to Istria, getting around Istria, and tourism offices in Istria)
Flying to Istria
The only useful international service into the Pula airport is Ryanair's flight from London Stansted, three times weekly starting at $55 including taxes (that's not a typo; that's a low-cost airline: www.ryanair.com).
Driving to Istria
It's far better to drive in from a major city outside of Istria. The closest big-city gateway is Trieste, Italy, just a few miles across the border (some consider its southern suburbs part of Istria).
Ljubljana, Slovenia, is less than two hours away by car, and Venice, Italy, and Zagreb, Croatia, are both within a four-hour drive.
In Search of Istria
• Intro - Welcome the farm
• Slovenia's coast
- The Soline salt pans
• Croatia's coast
- Rovinj & Limski Canal
- Brijuni National Park
• The hilltowns of inland Istria
- Pazin, Motovun, Grožnjan
- Frescoes in Beram & Draguć
• Istria Planning FAQ
- Getting to Istria
- Getting around Istria
- Tourism offices in Istria
Ferries from Italy to Istria
You can also grab a boat from Italy.
Hydrofoils from Venice (tel. +39-041-242-4000 in Italy, +385-(0)52-422-896 in Croatia, venezialines.com) head to Poreč (2 hr. 30 min.) with sailings once or twice a week in April and October, increasing to almost daily—twice a day on weekends—in July and August.
The service also connects Venice with Piran, Rovinj, and Pula, but with less frequency (it varies, but at least weekly) and slightly shortened sailing seasons.
From late April to late September there's also a coastal ferry from Trieste (tel. +39-0923-873-813, www.triestelines.it), twice daily except Sundays, with stops in Portoro/Piran (45 min.), Poreč (2 hr. 15 min.), and Rovinj (3 hr. 15 min.).
Buses connect most towns, as do some ferries, but the peninsula is best explored by car.
Istria is not big—you could leave Trieste after breakfast, drive all the way to Pula, and be back in Italy in time for lunch—but it's packed with riches that can easily eat up a week.
Invest in a good, recently published map as soon as you arrive. Many maps available outside Istria don't yet show all sections of the Y-shaped Ipsilon highway, completed in 2006.
Besides, some of the best days in Istria are those spent exploring back roads and tiny towns, so you'll want a detailed map.
There a lot of good information at the achingly slow www.istria.hr; their main office is at Poinirska 1 in Poreč (tel. +385-(0)52-452-797). Major towns each have their own tourist info office:
Piran, Tartinijev trg 2, tel. +386-(0)5-673-4440, www.portoroz.si
Poreč, Zagrebacka 9, tel. +385-(0)52-451-293, www.istria-porec.com
Rovinj, Obala Pino Budicin 12, tel. +385-(0)52-811-566, www.istria-rovinj.com
Pula, Nikole Tesle 1, tel. +385-(0)52-219-197, www.istria-pula.com
Pazin, Franine i Jurine 14, tel. +385-(0)52-622-460, www.tzpazin.hr
Groznjan, Umberto Gorjan 3, tel. +385-(0)52-776-131, www.istria-groznjan.com
Motovun, Trg Josefa Ressela 1, tel. +385-(0)52-617-480, www.istria-motovun.com