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The north-west corner of Istria is set amongst beautiful natural and historical surroundings, with vineyards and charming hill-top villages, as well as great beaches and tourist facilities. The main towns of Umag, Novigrad and Buje (all about 20 minutes from each other by car) are all worth a visit.

Seaside Umag is known for its Roman and medieval relics, its age-old wellness tourism, and for being the host of Croatia’s international tennis tournament. Or explore Novigrad, a peaceful and welcoming walled town set around a lovely marina where the River Mirna meets the Adriatic Sea. A pretty hill-top town, Buje is one of the most famous wine and olive producing areas in Istria and is surrounded by grapevines and olive groves.


Umag has become world-famous since it began hosting the ATP Croatia Open tennis tournament in 1990, but there is a lot more to the town than just tennis. The quaint old town was built on the foundations of Roman ruins on a small peninsula which used to be an island. Walking through the narrow streets you can still see remains of town walls, a gate and a draw bridge, along with four medieval churches. St Peregrine was built in 1401, the church of St Roche was built in 1507, and the Church of the Assumption of Virgin Mary is from the Baroque era. Wellness tourism and health has been a feature of the town since Roman times. Many of the hotels and resorts have extensive wellness centres and spas, swimming pools and fitness centres, with regular wellness events throughout the year. For a cultural experience visit Umag at the end of July in time for the festival of Ancient Sepomaia Viva. This is when locals celebrate their Roman heritage with costumes, food and dancing. 

If you’re looking for a beach holiday, Umag has two lovely beaches - Katoro and Polynesia - which have a mixture of pebbles, rocks and sand with facilities for sports, food and children. At Katoro you can also explore a Roman archaeological site where the remains of ancient seaside villas have been found. Polynesia beach is often popular with naturists. You can also make use of the extensive sports facilities in Umag, including (you guessed it) tennis courts.

Other places to stay & visit

  • Pula

    Stay in or near to the UNESCO World Heritage Town of Pula to soak in the local history and pure authenticity of the area.

  • Central Istria

    A stunning rural escape, rich in vineyards, fine foods, agritourism and plentiful beaches.

  • Vrsar and Funtana

    These areas offer many gastronomical establishments and some fun outdoor activities to get stuck into.

  • Umag and Novigrad

    With natural beauty and a rich cultural heritage, these locations are attractive with delicious local cuisine.

  • Labin and Robac

    These medieval towns are full of history and offer an array of outdoor activities such as hiking and sea kayaking. 

  • Rovinj

    One of the most beautiful seaside towns in all of Croatia, stay here to experience charm and character.  

  • Umag

  • Umag


Novigrad is a picturesque harbour town, still surrounded by fortification walls built in the 13th century. The town is full of historical buildings, including many old churches which you can visit. The church of St Mary, St Maximilian and St Pelagius was originally built in Roman times and you can visit its underground Romanesque crypt. Other churches include St Agate built in the 10th or 11th century, the Virgin of Carmel built in 1450, and the gothic church of St Antony which was reconstructed in the 17th century. On the nearby Karpinjan peninsula you can find the ruins of a Baroque palace built in 1762, as well as the Roman site of Dajla where the remains of a settlement and a harbour have been found under other historical buildings. For sports enthusiasts, Novigrad is well-equipped. There are facilities for tennis, football, beach volleyball, biking, walking, horse riding, water skiing, diving, surfing, windsurfing, paragliding, freeclimbing and target shooting.


Perched on a hill, Buje is one of the most famous wine and olive-growing areas in Istria, and has lovely medieval citadels, restaurants and taverns. It is almost on the border of Slovenia, and is surrounded by vineyards, olive groves, forests, and other hill-top settlements. Buje is a great place for wine connoisseurs to visit, as there are countless little wineries just a bike ride away, which do tastings and tours of their cellars. You can also bike (or drive) to other cute medieval towns nearby such as Grožnjan, Momjan, Kaštel and Triban. Momjan is known for its imposing medieval castle, as well as its special type of Muscat wine - Muškat Momjanski. The village of Kaštel dates back to prehistoric times, and also has ruins of an ancient fortified castle. Despite Buje being inland, you can drive to the beach and tourist resort at Kanegra in just 15 minutes.


The Umag Novigrad region is awesome for cycling, with many great biking trails both along the coast, and inland to medieval villages and wineries. Cycle 8km north of Umag to Savudrija to see the oldest lighthouse in Istria built in 1818. The quiet little village has a rocky beach and is great for windsurfing. You can also kayak down the calm Mirna River to see protected bird species and the untouched parts of north-west Istria, from a unique perspective. The towns of Brtonigla and Bujština have nice hunting grounds, with hare, pheasant, partridge, boar and deer. The region also caters for hiking, mountaineering, horse riding, fishing, diving, water skiing, sailing, paragliding and much more.


The beaches in the area include Katoro (Blue flag), Kenegra beach, Kanova and Laguna Stella Maris beach.

  • Kanegra beach and resort

  • Laguna Stella Maris (Blue Flag)

Food and Wine

The region features more than 20 quality wine producers, including small boutique wineries. It is a great area for wine tours and tasting, and you can easily visit more than one winery in a day, either by bike or car. You will find lots of traditional Istrian and Mediterranean food in Umag and Novigrad, especially great seafood. As well as fresh fish, you can order crab, lobster, clams, octopus, scampi, mussels and scallops. There is always a good range of meat dishes too, as well as Italian classics like pizza and risotto. Another Istrian speciality is truffles, which are served in restaurants all over Istria. Some of the best restaurants can be found in small towns outside Umag and Novigrad, so don’t be afraid to explore and try restaurants in places like Savudrija, Brtonigla, Petrovija. Almost every month there are local food and wine festivals such as Asparagus days in April, Wine Cellars Open Doors Day in late May, Festival of Istrian Malvasia Wine in July, Tomato Days in August, Grapes Harvesting in September, Truffle Days and Sole Fish Days in October, Mushroom Days and the Feast of St Martin in November and Adriatic Squid Days in December and January.