A First Taste of Istria, Croatia

The C slot in my travel files was bursting with articles on Corsica, Copenhagen, Catalonia, California and last but not least, Croatia.  (Almost every letter of the alphabet has a bursting travel file!)  The latter was all about Croatia’s popular city, Dubrovnik. I hadn’t even heard of Istria, nor could I have placed it on a map.  So when I was selected for a travel blogger’s trip to Croatia last month, thanks to the Istrian Tourist Board, I knew it was going to be nonstop discovery.  And it was.  First thing’s first – quite simple to answer the map conundrum: all you have to do is draw a straight horizontal line across the Adriatic Sea from Venice and you’ll end up in the Northwestern most point of Istria and of Croatia.

Back to Zürich just filled to the brim with new stories to tell, friendships, 1,000 photos (literally!) and a belly full of olive oil, truffles, fresh Mediterranean fish and Istrian ox, it was a lot to digest.  And then I got awfully distracted by the market’s fresh rhubarb and Swiss army knives here in Switzerland!  But now it’s time to share my experiences in Croatia.  They were numerous, and it was truly an eye-opening and sensory-filled experience.  A region overflowing with history, culture, gorgeous landscapes and hello, it was just a food lover’s dream!  So here’s a little photographic preview of what’s to come…

Going row by row, left to right, you’ll see below the coastline in Rovinj, a grappa vendor showing his colorful bottles, a pig farm in Zrenj, fishing boat in Fa?ana, cooking Istrian meat the traditional way, view from the charming city of Motovun, typical street in Pula, crabs ready for lunch hours after being caught, trattoria in Rovinj, Villa Dobravac nearby, ostrich at the Brijuni (Brioni) National Park, Malvazija wine, hams in their drying phase and the harbor in Novigrad.

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So stay tuned for more here on my Istrian discoveries.  Have you ever been to this region in Croatia?  Do tell!

26 Responses to “A First Taste of Istria, Croatia”

  1. jen laceda says:

    Argh!! My Google / Blogger reader didn’t update, so I almost missed this post! Thanks to facebook, I am reading this D-licious, D-lightful, D-sirable post (obsessed a tad bit with D’s, aren’t we, Jen?). I’ve heard of Istria, but I think I might have heard it from cruising holidaymakers (“oh, we had stopped in Istria during our Adriatic cruise…”). All I can say is…WOW! Love that crab photo, the oil bottle photo, the grill photo, the beach photo…heck, I love them all photos!

  2. kelleyn says:

    What a pretty city!

  3. Stéphanie says:

    Never set a foot there but i’d love too!! I just dream about swimming in that water and eat a slice of ham :d

  4. kelleyn says:

    My children intrupted me during the first post. I love ham, but I have never seen it that way. I am sure it taste wonderful, but euww! That is cool that you were selected to go for a visit.

  5. Saddleshoos says:

    Wow! This looks incredible! I had a great friend in middle school who was Croation and her mother was this unbelievable cook. Croatia has suffered so much in the last decades–I’m happy to see this part of the country thriving!

  6. Lilliy says:

    This is the first time I heard of Istria. Looks very relaxing and charming place to visit.

  7. Shaun says:

    Looks fantastic… I had heard alot about it but the pictures make everything seem better than I had imagined. Tough life huh?

  8. Baron says:

    This is such a wonderful post…I shall return and EAT it (Oooops…meant read it) all up. It is great and sounds like we’re in for a lot of good shots and entertainment.

  9. Uncle Beefy says:

    Hidey ho, Miss Kerrin! Whew! Lots to get caught up on here!

    This “taste” or Croatia already looks amazing! It is definitely one of those places that seem very top-of-mind for tourists lately. I’ve heard great things but it’s so nice to have your pics and perspective! Can’t wait for MORE!

    (ps – Thanks to you I am now positively ADDICTED to Matzoh!!!) ;)

  10. Uncle Beefy says:

    not “or” but “of”…Croatia…

  11. Lani says:

    I have been to Dobrovnik and thoroughly enjoyed the fascinating culture there, especially the food. I heard that Istria is the “french riveria” of Croatia. It certainly looks inviting. Your photographs certainly tell a beautiful story of a new place to venture. Thank you for sharing this trip with all of us!

  12. Julia @ Mélanger says:

    I have not been to Croatia, but I would like to go one day. My partner went about 3 years ago and sailed down the coast. He said it was just amazing. Your photos look great.

  13. Kerrin says:

    Jen, thanks for the D-arling note, so glad you love the photos !

    Saddleshoos, you are so right. After so many years, it IS great to see Croatia in the news not for political reasons, but for tourists ! Istria is definitely an up and coming destination… you’ll soon read here all about it. Did your friend’s mother cook traditional Croatian food for you and her daughter when you were young?? Any food memories of that? I’d love to know!

    And hidey ho to you too Mr Beefy ! So wonderful to have you back in the blog comments, missed you! And tell me – are you addicted to matzoh — or matzoh buttercrunch? For me, it’s definitely the latter! ;)

    Lani, what’s so great about Istria is that it is the French Riviera, but it also is so much more – inland hill towns and mountains too, so many different landscapes in this one region. You feel like you are visiting different countries when you go from one to the next.

    Julia, I bet your partner’s trip to Croatia was amazing – sailing down the coast just sounds fabulous. I’d love to do that one day myself !! But… how come you didn’t go with him?! ;)

  14. Robert Aguilera says:

    Great, tasty pics as usual. I especially love the pig shots……mmmmm……european pig products! Do you know if the ham is smokey in taste?

  15. Scribetrotter says:

    Last time I was in Istria, it was part of Yugoslavia… the food was so horrible and facilities so non-existent I virtually ran across the border back into Italy! Certainly sounds like things have changed… Time to plan another visit I think.

  16. Chris Cook says:

    Now Kerrin, how did you get that pig to smile for that picture? ;) Can’t wait to see more of your pics.

  17. Solo Road Trip says:

    First and foremost, congratulations on being selected for the travel blogger’s trip (is this also called a Press Trip?)! Secondly, the hams, I thought you said “dying” and then I looked at them and agreed mentally they appeared to indeed be dying, but more than that, they look like HUGE bats hanging from their daytime perches. LOL

  18. US Trip says:

    Hey i was born and raised on the Croatian Adriatic Coasts. You should check out the beachs in Koranti. Koranti is stunning. you need to take a cruise there and the water is a buetifuk blue. There sandy parts, rocky, parts and pebble parts. Also you shoudl try Privlaka its a small fishing town near Zadar. The flight form New york is 7 hrs and 15 min to Amsterdam. then another 2 and half hours to Zagredb and then about 45 Minutes to whereever you want.

  19. Kerrin says:

    Robert, I knew you’d be most excited about the ham ! Here’s a website for you. Check out the ABC’s of Istrian ham, it’s chock full of great info !
    http://www.istria-gourmet.com/en/experiences/ham

    Scribetrotter, yes it certainly sounds like a return visit to Istria is in order. You might be quite shocked at the quality of the food nowadays. And you might just run across the border FROM Italy next time! ;) Would be interesting to hear your perspective after going back.

    Chris, you had me laughing – that pig really does look like he’s smiling (and batting his eye lashes, if he has any!) for the camera ! ha ha!

    Solo Road Trip, thanks for the congrats wishes. Yes, this was indeed a press trip – even more specifically, all travel bloggers (from the UK, Amsterdam, US and me). But oh my goodness, on the “dying” hams ! What an image, and even more so — the bats !! What an imagination you have !!

    US Trip, so glad to have a Croatian reading this series on Istria. You’ll have to let us know what you think/know of the areas I’ll be posting about. And thank you so very much for your recommendations. I have them on my list for the next Croatia trip. And I sure hope to have a next trip !

  20. Hester Borm says:

    Wow, that crab sure looks delicious! Nice pictures. :) Can’t wait to see/read more!

  21. KY says:

    Oh my goodness! Look at those crabs! Look very delicious to me :) .
    Greetings from Germany. I’m new to your blog and love the insights that you’ve posted. Wanted to explore Croatia for some time!

  22. Dubrovnik » MyKugelhopf » Blog Archive » A First Taste of Istria, Croatia says:

    […] MyKugelhopf » Blog Archive » A First Taste of Istria, CroatiaThe latter was all about Croatia’s popular city, Dubrovnik. I hadn’t even heard of Istria, nor could I have placed it on a map. So when I was selected for a travel blogger’s trip to Croatia last month, thanks to the Istrian Tourist … […]

  23. katy says:

    beautiful photos per usual! thanks for the introduction to Croatia. Another to add to my ever growing list of places to visit.

  24. Duncan Brewster says:

    Croatia is referred as the country of a thousand islands. If you have ever dreamed about being on a small island alone with someone, this is the place for you. If you are a nature lover, a travel to Croatia offers: camping, mountain hiking/biking, rafting, scuba diving and skydiving.

  25. How To Travel In Croatia says:

    The ham is not smokey, it is dried for 1 year on wind and covered with salt.

  26. IanSmith says:

    Definitely would agree with kellelyn. This is such a beautiful city. How I wish I could soon visit that place with my family. Not to mention the food… ahh those crabs… makes me very hungry right now

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