“ The Istria Peninsula — Croatia”.

 

 

 

Those of you old enough to remember the marine biologist & diver, Jaques Cousteau, may also remember that his favourite sea for diving & exploring the huge variety of sea-life, was the Adriatic off the coast of Croatia. It really is the ideal holiday spot. The entire coast is beautiful & largely unspoilt. It also stretches too far to cover in one review so we`ll start today with the peninsular of Istria & cover Dalmatia etc., in a future issue. Istria has  something for everyone. Rovinj is a beautiful old picture postcard town with its ancient streets winding & climbing towards the old church at the top . Further up the coast Porej is ideal for families with good swimming & diving, plenty to do for the kids and a lovely old town centre to wander round. The Porej seafront stretches for miles but you can take a water taxi across the bay or alternatively there`s a little “noddy” train that runs almost the entire length of the bay. Further still up the coast is the quaint old town of Novigrad. It looks tiny on the map but we were still discovering pretty little streets & alleys on our last day. I doubt if it will remain unspoilt for long however as the luxury yacht marina is expanding by the day. If, like me, you prefer warm but moderate temperatures in the upper twenties , the best time to visit Croatia is in May or September. The climate is ideal for a wide variety of fruit, much of which seems to go unharvested. You can help yourself to grapes , figs, pomegranates, etc straight from the vine or tree. Any one of the these three resorts is ideal for tours. You can visit Brunji Island which used to be the private residence of President Tito. It was custom for visiting foreign dignitaries to present Tito with animals from their country as presents and he built up quite a collection of animals from all over the world. Many of them remain & you can take a little train tour of the island to spot them. Anther area worth a visit (although it’s a fair way & means an early morning start) is the Plitvice reserve on the Bosnia/Herzegovina border. Here 16 lakes of different altitudes fall & cascade into each other & into the valley below in spectacular fashion. Another trip not to be missed is a leisurely sail along the coast from one resort to another in an old pirate ship to the accompaniment of accordion players and with unlimited quantities of complimentary local hooch and served with a meal of grilled fish & potatoes. If all that isn`t enough , off the coast of Croatia are over a thousand islands. Most of these are accessible and next year we intend to spend most of our visit island hopping. Croatia still has its own currency, the Kuna, and prices are still reasonable – certainly less than in the U.K.. Food is excellent –particularly fresh fish – Croatian wine is also good and very cheap. If you take your own bottle to top up from one of the enormous outdoor wooden vats its even cheaper still. A reasonable pint of Karlovacko or Ozujsko beer is about 2 euros. Roll on next visit to the lovely Croatia ! WAYFARER (wayfarer@ntlworld.com) In the next issue we go off the beaten track in Holland.

 

 

 

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