Here are the best beaches in Istria as I have discovered over the last 20 years of traveling Croatia.
The largest peninsula in the Adriatic, Istria, is shaped like a triangle; the lower two sides have a coastline. Naturally, this means that there’s plenty of swimming and sunbathing to be done in Istria. Below, we’ll explore the best beaches in Istria, places where you can wind down and soak up some Istrian sun.
Istria is as close to the perfect beach destination as you can get in Europe. Many charming old towns—coastal and on inland hilltops—dot the peninsula, while perfect weather invites you to spend all day every day outside. Add to this superb, traditional cuisine and fun water sports, and you’ve got yourself your new summer vacation destination.
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So, What Are The Best Istria Beaches?
Define best? It’s so subjective, but to get you started, here are the top-rated beaches in Istria as voted by us, your donkey-loving family, organized by location.
Best Cape Kamenjak Beaches
Cape Kamenjak is the wildest region on the Istrian peninsula. It lies south of Pula and consists of pastures, woods, rocky beaches, and a spectacular coastline. It comes as no surprise that this is a protected area.
Therefore, you won’t find any urban distractions while sunbathing in Cape Kamenjak. Its coastline comprises countless inlets, bays, coves, and beaches; you’re sure to find a spot you can claim for yourself here.
Although there are a few sandy beaches, most consist of pebbles or rocks. Those are often flat, so you can still put down a towel and soak up some sun.
Cape Kamenjak is also a great diving destination because of its crystal-clear water and rich sea life. Windsurfing and regular surfing are popular things to do as well. However, one thing to be aware of is that the currents around the cape can be strong. Don’t get caught off guard!
Best Beaches In Premantura
Beach Njive, Premantura
Located on the western side of Cape Kamenjak, this dreamy bay provides ample calm swimming spots amid its turquoise waters. This natural pebble beach is surrounded by pine trees and rock formations, giving it a secluded vibe. The entrance to the sea is shallow, making this an excellent beach for families with young children. A beach bar along with sunbeds and umbrellas are available for visitors.
Bay Pinizule, Premantura
Near the town of Premantura is the lovely little Bay Pinizule with a pebble beach. The crystal-clear waters make for some of the best snorkeling in Istria, so don’t forget your goggles! The beach is surrounded by pine forests, offering a break from the heat, and a beach bar provides excellent sangria and beer for refreshment. Additionally, history lovers will enjoy the nearby dinosaur trail with footprints and fossils on display.
Best Beaches In Porec
Sveti Nikola Island, Porec
Less than half a kilometer from the mainland in Porec lies Sveti Nikola Island. This little island is home to black oak and pine forests, concrete and pebble beaches, breakwaters, and rocky pathways. It’s a superb place to escape the summer crowds in town.
The main focus of this beautiful island is eco-tourism. Check out the island’s luxury beach resorts and access the beaches straight after breakfast. A park has sports facilities, while the beaches have bathrooms and first-aid equipment.
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Beaches Lanterna Camping – Porec
These beaches are simply beautiful and have some of the most transparent water you’ll ever see. Located in the middle of the Lanterna Campsite, the Val Adria Sandy Family Beach is one of the best for families who want a fun day on the sand and in calm, safe waters.
There are plenty of amenities on offer on these beaches and plenty of natural shade from the trees.
Best Beaches In Fazana
Beach Valbandon, Fazana
Along the western coast of Istria, in the village of Valbandon (part of the popular resort town of Fazana), is Beach Valbandon. It is the longest beach in the area, making it perfect for those who love to take a stroll during sunrise or sunset. The pebble beach with a white sandbank has ample space for sunbathers and amenities. These include shops, restaurants, a playground, and a promenade, making this particular beach popular for a family beach day.
Best Beaches In Rovinj
Lone Bay, Rovinj
Arguably the most incredible beach in Istria is Lone Bay Beach in Rovinj.
Located in Zlatni Rt Park, a short walk from the Old Town, this narrow strip of pebbles is ideal for families with young children. Amenities include two nearby bars and a place where you can rent equipment for boating and windsurfing.
This bay consists of several coves and promontories, allowing you to pick a spot that tickles your fancy. Wherever you choose to lay down your beach towel, there’ll be a great view of the Old Town in the distance.
Beach Mulini, Rovinj
Located within walking distance of Rovinj Old Town, Beach Mulini is one of the most beautiful beaches in Rovinj city. The beach is found within a sheltered bay and is made of a combination of pebbles near the water and concrete further up the shore. The slope into the water is gradual, and the waters are calm, making this a great place for swimmers of all ages and snorkelers looking for smooth, clear underwater views.
Punta Cabana Beach, Rovinj
Belonging to the vibrant Punta Cabana Beach Bar is a stunning spot and a great hidden gem to check out if you’re visiting Rovinj. Located in the forest, you can reach the beach from the city and through the trees before the view opens up to the impossible blue of the sea.
The beach is pebbly, and the green from the trees makes for some of the best views around.
Kuvi Beach, Rovinj
Kuvi Beach is a very in-demand beach during the summer months, and it has a stunning location sandwiched between the green trees and Villas Rubin holiday resort. The beach is very chilled out, and the sea is calm and safe. However, do bear in mind that there is a nudist beach just a few hundred meters south of this beach.
Otherwise, there are beach bars and amenities on site to give you a fantastic day on the beach, within close reach of Rovinj center.
Amarin Beach, Rovinj
Another excellent beach in Rovinj is Amarin Beach, situated about 3 kilometers north of the Old Town.
This Blue Flag beach is beautiful, made up of pebbles and rocks, its water azure blue and perfectly clean. Above the beach, you’ll find a tourist resort with shops, bars, and restaurants. Showers and changing rooms are freely accessible to all sunbathers. On the beach itself, you can rent beach chairs and umbrellas.
Local Tip: Check here for rates and details on the Family Hotel Amarin. This beach is within perfect walking distance from the best family hotel in Croatia (as voted by the Little Donkey).
Best Beaches In Umag
Beach Zambratija, Umag
If a naturally sandy beach is what you’re looking for, this little gem is it! Beach Zambratija lies just north of Umag and features gloriously fine sand sloping into calm, crystal waters. It’s a relatively quiet beachfront with a beach bar offering cool drinks and a lovely sea view. The beach is known to get busier during the high season, so arriving early is recommended if visiting during that time of year.
Ladin Gaj Beach, Umag
Although it’s not the most comfortable beach—like many Croatian beaches, it consists of rocks and concrete—Lading Gaj Beach is still totally recommended despite all of the concrete. This Blue Flag beach lies about 8 kilometers to the south of Umag.
You can get into its exceptionally pure and clean water via a series of stairs. Nearby, a well-equipped campground has a swimming pool, restaurants, and recreational opportunities for both children and adults. The beach features outdoor showers, changing rooms, a public bathroom, and umbrella and chair rentals.
Local Tip: The southern part of this beach is reserved for naturists, so unless you like to bare it all, be aware.
Polynesia Beach, Umag
Located 2km from Umag, Polynesia Beach is perfect for swimmers of all abilities. The beach is a combination of pebble, stone, and sand and features adapted sea access for those in need of assistance getting into the water. The crystal clear waters and surroundings are impeccable, which is why the Blue Flag award status of this beach. Along a narrow peninsula, beach go-ers can view Roman ruins, giving this beach a unique vibe.
There are various rentals for water sports and recreation, along with food and toilet facilities nearby.
Best Beaches In Rabac
Girandella Beach, Rabac
Another one of the Istria beaches with Blue Flag status, Girandella Beach, lies near the small tourist enclave of Rabac. It’s a great beach for everyone, from elderly sunbathers to young couples and families with kids.
Most of Girandella Beach is made of pebbles, but some parts are paved or rocky. Activities on offer range from banana boating and tubing to playing beach volleyball, picnicking, and enjoying a seaside stroll along the promenade.
Sveti Andrea Beach, Rabac
Incredible sea colors and impressive rock formations make this one of the most beautiful beaches in Istria! This Blue Flag awarded beach is a short distance from the town center but still walkable and is the place to go for peace and quiet. Small pebble bays are scattered along the beachfront, forming many alcoves for sunbathers, and calm, shallow waters make for easy swimming. This is a narrow stretch of beach, but there is not much shade on offer here, so bring an umbrella or rent one upon arrival if you have small kids.
Groceries, cafes, and restaurants are all within walking distance, making spending the whole day here easy. A public toilet, outdoor showers on the beach, a children’s playground, and sporting equipment rentals.
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Best Beaches In Pula
Cyclon’s Beach, Pula
West of Pula near Stoja, you will find this hidden gem. Cyclon Beach is made of pebbles and stone, surrounded by pines. The azure waters are picturesque and transparent, making this a stunning location for snorkeling. Magnificent rock formations make for an impressive backdrop to a day at the beach. Don’t forget your camera!
Nearby is the Pula Sea Cave – a must-visit site in the area!
Gortans Beach, Pula
You’ll also see this beach called ‘Gortanova Uvala,’ and it’s undoubtedly one of the best beaches in Istria. Situated on a large bay, the beach is easy to reach by car or bike from Valkane. The beach is pebbly and is excellent for families with children. There is plenty of space to sunbathe and a few beach bars to grab refreshments.
Hawaiian Cove Beach, Pula
With its stunningly blue water, Hawaiian Cove Beach is one of the Pula area’s best beaches. It’s situated at Verudela Peninsula. This beach is ideal for children, consisting of a bright pebble beach, clear and shallow water, flanked and protected on both sides by small rocky promontories.
More adventurous (and older) beach-goers can often be seen jumping into the waters from the rocks. This fun and small beach are ideal for an afternoon of undisturbed sunbathing and swimming.
Batana Beach, Pula
This small beach is somewhat of a hidden gem and a tremendous pebbly spot to visit during summer. There is a long jetty for fun sea jumps and lots of space for sunbathing, with a stunning view for your day’s sun worshiping.
There is a funky beach bar behind the beach, which has a vibrant atmosphere and is quite busy during the evening.
Plaza Histria Beach, Pula
To the south of the Verudela Peninsula, you’ll find this beautiful pebble beach with some of the best views you’ll ever see. The water is crystal clear and an excellent spot for swimming and snorkeling.
There are parasols and sun loungers for rent, and you can head over to the far end of the beach to enjoy the natural shade from the trees. There are water sports on offer, and Pula town isn’t too far away.
This is by no means an extensive list, and loads of other killer Istria beaches are ready for you this summer. But now that you know some, which of these beaches in Istria will you head to first?