The delights of Croatia’s Istrian Riviera – on a peninsula lapped by the Adriatic Sea – cannot be underestimated.
The coastline promises countless opportunities for sun, fun and culture with a distinctly Italian flavour. And, because of its proximity, Italian is the second language spoken here.
If you’re seeking some family-friendly R&R you’ll be pleased to learn that Jet2.com and Jet2holidays fly from five British airports to Pula, Istria. And at 2hrs-2hrs 40 minutes, it’s an easy flight for young children (and parents) to this great-value European destination. Here, Jet2holidays have 13 resorts including in Pula, a town known for its impressive amphitheatre; the popular seaside resort of Poreč; and the charming medieval port of Rovinj, regarded as a gastronomic hotspot and a haven for artists.
If you have pre-schoolers a trip is recommended during term-time in the quieter warm and sunny months of April, May, June, September and October. And with Jet2holidays’ infants-go-free and free-child-places policy, generous 22kg baggage allowance, inclusive transfers, and welcoming in-resort Customer Helpers, you can be assured of an idyllic holiday.
Breathtaking beaches and picturesque towns
Loved for its pine forests, clean pebble beaches, hidden coves and clear blue water, and dotted with pretty historic ports and terracotta-topped towns lined with cobbled streets and quaint cafes, the Istrian Riviera is a sight for sore eyes. The Rovinj old town (pictured below) is particularly spectacular at sunset. Inland is just as lovely, too – a lush landscape of rolling hills, valleys and vineyards.
Family-friendly spots include the shallow waters of Hawaii Beach on Pula’s Verudela peninsula and, a short tourist train ride from Poreč, Pical Beach, which offers restaurants, watersports and a playground. Families will also go wild for the Aquacolors waterpark (open May-September).
Because of its prime position in the Mediterranean, the Istrian peninsula encompasses a variety of cultures, including Roman and Venetian. In Pula, you’ll find the Arena, a well-preserved amphitheatre dating back to the 1st century AD that’s since swapped gladiator fights for live concerts, while in Poreč you can admire the Byzantine mosaics lining the walls of the 6th century Basilica of St Euphrasius, a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
Fine food and drink
The Istrian Riviera boasts a diverse cuisine that produces quality ham, olive oil, truffles and wine. Dishes are largely seasonal and embrace the local bounty of honey, kobasice (sausages) prsut (cured ham), wild asparagus, seafood such as scallops from Novigrad, and fish. There are also plenty of Italian-influenced dishes such as pasta, gnocchi and risotto – good news for parents of young kids – while adults are sure to enjoy a glass or two of the region’s Malvazija and Teran wine.
A number cultural festivals and events are held throughout the year. Every evening the mesmerizing Lighting Giants display illuminates Pula’s Uljanik shipyard, while during the less busy months family-friendly options include Rovinj Photo Days in May; the Days of Antiquity and Giostra historic festivals in June; and in September the St. Euphemia’s Day celebrations and Visualia, Festival of Light.
Pula’s stunning Roman amphitheatre hosts several concerts throughout the year along with other classic performances, such as ballet and opera.
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