Medieval hilltop villages, gentle green hills and an enticing foodie culture with locally grown olives, wines and truffles have helped the heart-shaped peninsula of Istria in northern Croatia find fame as an alternative Tuscany.
The close proximity of Venice is reflected in centuries old architecture and there’s also more than a hint of Italy’s Liguria region in thin, terraced pastel-painted seaside houses.
Istria combines coastline homes in popular towns like Rovinj and Pula with old stone homes in the lush inland region: Motovun is a particularly delightful medieval hilltop village.
The main airport is at Pula in the south, Istria’s oldest and largest town. Istria hosts several film and music festivals throughout the year which bring tourists in numbers but despite its beauty and notable historic sites, it is less visited than the Dalmatian coast.