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Fun Things To Do In Poreč, Croatia
If you’re looking for a small and charming coastal town with plenty to see and do during the day as well as in the evening, Porec is the ideal choice, a picturesque town packed with sightseeing options. What’s particularly great about this town is that it’s small enough to explore in a day and makes for a great base to explore the rest of Istria.
Situated on the pretty Istrian coastline, ideally placed to explore further afield too, the picturesqueness and nightlife of Porec may be a strange combination, but it’s one that works primarily!
It’s virtually impossible to get lost in Porec, which is ideal for those who enjoy wandering around as they please, seeing what they can find along the way. The beaches in and around the town are also typically idyllic. The crystal-clear water is what the Adriatic sea is so famous for, and there’s plenty of that in this area.
There is also lots of history around the town, including the famous Euphrasian Basilica, which dates back to the 6th century and is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Nature also abounds, with walking trails and endemic flora, fauna, and wildlife to explore.
Things To See And Do In Porec
Episcopal Complex Of The Euphrasian Basilica
History fans will love this particular sight in Porec, dating back to the 6th century and built during the Byzantine Empire. This site is UNESCO World Heritage-listed, and the architecture is just stunning. History echoes around every corner in this unique church. The building itself is very well preserved, with beautiful murals on the walls and ceiling.
Of course, the view from the top is also breathtaking, overlooking the impossible blue of the sea just a stone’s throw away. Do be sure to check opening times when you visit, though. At specific periods of the year, e.g., Easter and Christmas, the church is closed to visitors.
Around 6 kilometers inland, easily accessible by bus or car, you’ll find the natural wonder of the Bardine Caves. This is where you’ll see a shimmering underground lake with intricately decorated chambers. You can take a 40-minute tour through the caves, which involves descending a pathway until you are 60 meters underground.
You will find many tour excursions to the caves, making them easily accessible. Additionally, some endemic wildlife, for example, the blind white salamanders and the cave olm, are worth trying to spot. Of course, there are the typical stalagmite and stalactite formations as well, giving the caves this weird and fantastic feel.
Seafood Picnic In Lim Fjord
Although it’s sometimes called a “fjord,” that’s not what it actually is. This is technically a “ria,” a flooded river valley connected to the sea. As it’s often also called, the Lim canal is a 10-kilometer-long estuary of the Pazinčica River.
The beautiful natural attraction lies just north of Rovinj, and it’s a bay in Istria that no seafood lover should skip. You can get there by tour boat, many of which can be found along Porec’s seaside promenade.
Lim is well-known for its abundant fish and seafood like mussels and oysters. Lim Fjord has low salinity, making it perfect for oyster and mussel farming. As such, you can find some fantastic food in local restaurants. Ain’t nothing better than fresh seafood, and you can’t get fresher than straight from the sea.
There are plenty of hiking and biking opportunities along the river, while the water itself is excellent for boating of all kinds, from stand-up paddleboarding to kayaking.
Poreč Old Town
A wander around the cobbled, narrow streets of the Old town of Poreč’s is a must-do. The town is not overly big, but a simple stroll around can still quickly fill half a day if you take your time. Many small cafes and restaurants stop at if you fancy a pitstop or a refreshment (a few excellent wine bar options include Bacchus Wine Bar, Wine Corner Porec, and Casa Manzolin), while the old buildings will offer you a window to the past. The church inside the Old Town (see above) is very well preserved and a major highlight. Basically, this whole area gives you a feel of times gone by, still relatively free from mass tourism.
The Round Tower
This exciting and historic building gives you something a little different in terms of a coffee break! The restaurant inside the tower is fantastic for refreshments, while the narrow curved steps to the top lead you to a stunning view over the town and distant peninsula. Be aware that the steps are pretty steep, so take your time.
Sveti Nikola Island
Less than half a kilometer from the mainland in Porec lies Sveti Nikola Island. This tiny 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 on 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.
This is another historic part of Poreč, which hints back to the former Roman Empire, with buildings and structures still very well preserved. A modern twist is evident here, too, with many shops, cafes, and restaurants. This is a busy part of the town, especially during the peak summer season, and you will get a real taste of modern Croatian life here.
As a hint to consider, to see the best of the architecture, you need to look upwards, as the buildings are very tall. They are so intricate that you need to crane your neck to see the best of it! This is a straight street, so it is impossible to get lost. Going for a stroll on this iconic street is genuinely one of the best things to do in Porec.
Local Tip: Along a side street that heads to the Euphrasian Basilica, look for Gelateria Il Gelato Di Salvatore and stop in for authentic gelato!
Cycle The Parenzana Route
This route was once a railway line that connected 33 different locations between Istria, Trieste, and Poreč. In the early 1900s, the railway closed after only being in operation for 33 years. However, it has undoubtedly left its mark on the region and today is known for something else. Cyclists have become enamored with the old railway line and follow parts of it as a guide for their biking trail.
Biking in Istria, in and of itself, is epic. There are great trails that wind through nature, wooden bridges that span small gorges, and excellent urban areas for cycling. The old railway line serves as a gauge to follow the lay of the land, winding in and out through the forest and up and over the mountainous terrain.
Sample Olive Oil, Wine & Cheese At Stancij Spin
Poreč is home to the headquarters of Agrolaguna, a company dedicated to creating olive oils, wines, and delicious cheeses.
At the Stancij Spin tasting room, you can sample all of Agrolaguna’s products along with taking guided tours of the vineyard and wine cellar.
This is not a small family-owned winery, but their wines nevertheless deserve to be mentioned. Their Laguna brand comes in three different categories, with Festigia Riserva being the very best of them, so pay attention to it.
Malvasia Vižinada 2016 is a part of that label, and it has recently won a gold medal at 2019 Mundus Vini. Cabernet Sauvignon from that same label has also received a lot of praise.
Also to note, a full menu is offered at Stancij Spin, so it makes for a great dinner stop if you want to do more than a nibble.
Aqua Colors Waterpark
If you need a place to beat the heat, check out the Aqua Colors Waterpark – one of our top waterparks to visit in Croatia.
The park has 12 giant slides, including family rafting, magicone, a fun ride in a gigantic funnel, looping rockets, various water slides for kids, etc. Although, most slides are designed for kids six years and up.
The park has two outdoor swimming pools, one for lounging and relaxation – let’s just say a pool for adults, while the second pool has many water slides and fun for the kiddies.
Other attractions include a lazy river and a large dry playground for children. Many courts for sporting activities, such as beach volleyball, animation programs for kids and adults, including workshops, competitions, theme parties, and more.
When hunger strikes, the park has many food and drink options, such as fresh salads, smoothies, burgers & grill, pizza & sandwiches, various drinks, and treats to satisfy your sweet tooth.
Visit Damjanić Winery
On the outskirts of town, you can find the Damjanić winery.
This is a great place to get a taste of Istrian wines. You see, not only has the Damjanić family been producing wine since the 18th century, but they also produce some of the best wines around today.
This was confirmed with two gold medals from the International Wine Challenge – one for their Malvasia from 2016 and one for their Clemente Blanc from 2015.
It should be mentioned that Malvasia is the grape variety characteristic of this part of Croatia, so if you really want something authentic, this is the wine you will want to get your hands on.
Day Trips To Nearby Towns
The town’s excellent location allows you to venture further into the Istrian Peninsula and discover the diversity of the region. Buses leave the station in Porec regularly to nearby Pula and Rovinj, or you can hire a car and drive yourself through the gorgeous Tuscany-esque countryside.
Rovinj has a stunning Old Town, with artists showing you their talents on Grisia Street. Or head to Pula and visit the massive Roman amphitheater. Alternatively, the inland hill-top town of Motovun, surrounded by vineyards and truffle forests, is a major Istrian highlight as well. You should undoubtedly take advantage of the ease of travel around the region. When basing yourself in Porec, you can have the ultimate holiday experience combining sea, sun, cuisine, history, and culture.
Venice, Italy, is also close enough to visit from Porec on a day trip via car, boat, or tour bus. The trip is approximately 2.5 hours each way, and you can either tackle the journey yourself or join a tour group for the day.
Best Beaches in Porec
Much of the coastline around Poreč is rocky and pebbly, so wearing water shoes or just a generally good pair of travel shoes is a good idea. Zelena Laguna is around 5 kilometers south of the main town, and there are countless small bays and coves to explore, making it easy to find your ideal spot for the day. There are many cafes and restaurants around, offering you the chance for a refreshment or meal halfway through the day. The nearby wakeboard park might interest active holiday enthusiasts’ water, while the small pebbly beach is ideal for children.
This is a favorite spot on the coastline around Porec. Delfin Beach offers you plenty of shade if you want to escape the hot summer sun, a picturesque rocky beach backed by a dense pine forest. This particular fact also makes this a good beach if you travel with children. However, there are some steep drops when you enter the water, so keep an eye out and don’t let your little ones head out unaccompanied. There are many different water sports available and kayak rental for those who want to do some marine exploration.
Around 2 kilometers from the town center, you will find the famous Brulo Beach. Again, there is plentiful natural shade as the pine forest runs to the back of and around the beach itself. The beach is rocky, pebbly, and concrete, with adequate space for sunbathing. Children will enjoy the natural pool on one side of the beach, with shallow water for splashing, as well as the playground. Facility-wise, there are changing huts along the beach and lots of water sports on offer. Note that in peak season, this particular beach can get very busy.
If you are staying in central Porec, this will be your most convenient choice of beach, located around 15 minutes from the resort on foot. Locals head to this particular beach on weekends, so be aware that you might encounter crowds. This is a good place for a good old-fashioned beach day, i.e., splashing and generally having fun. There is a picturesque promenade running along the length of the beach, and a children’s playground at one end, too. The beach is pebbly, and there is a Jet Ski Centre for those who feel an urge to get adventurous.
Continue walking along the promenade past Pical Beach, and you’ll reach Spadici Beach. This is another rocky and concrete beach with a nice grassy area. There isn’t any natural shade on this particular beach, so perhaps not the best choice if you are visiting with children. There are, however, many facilities for changing and showering, and there are cafes and bars within a stone’s throw from the water’s edge.
Best Places To Eat & Drink In Porec
Restaurants in Porec
Luna Beach Bar
If you’re looking for a cheap eat on the beach (and who isn’t?), this is the place for you. Considering the setting, the prices should probably be higher, but the menu is extensive and low in cost. This is a great spot to chill out during the daytime without spending a fortune and somewhere for a pitstop snack while exploring the town.
Kantun Grill Corner
Located in the Old Town, this café is bright and colorful, with a fresh yellow and green décor to greet you. Despite its location, the café actually feels modern and funky, and the food is delicious, especially considering the low prices. Check out the burgers, which are grilled to perfection and certainly large enough to fill you up.
Located in the city center, this particular restaurant looks like it is more expensive than it actually is. The pasta dishes are to die for, and the staff is amiable and attentive. This is a restaurant that has a lot of return guests, which indicates its delicious food and fantastic ambiance.
It’s always a good idea to try some local dishes wherever in the world you go. Konoba Daniela has an extensive menu that incorporates local cuisine with more international dishes so that everyone can find something to munch on. The steak tartar is a very popular favorite, prepared in front of you to prove its freshness.
For an unforgettable night out with some delicious food and a beautiful setting, look no further than Restaurant Mauro. Located on the marina with a stunning view of the sea, booking your table in advance to avoid disappointment is advisable. The menu is eclectic, featuring local and Mediterranean dishes, while the presentation is also outstanding.
Cotton Club Restaurant
Located on the main square, this is an easy place to find. The dishes on the menu are international and Mediterranean, and the presentation is undoubtedly very artistic. While a high-end restaurant, the prices are at the lower end of that bracket, making it a fantastic choice for a special night out.
Chili Fusion Street Food
This is some of the best “street food” in the city. With street-side tables, craft beer, and sticky toffee pudding for dessert, it’s definitely a place worth stopping for a quick bite! A small menu featuring Asian fusion cuisine at affordable prices makes this place hard to beat.
A historic town just across the Adriatic Sea from Italy, Porec has a few excellent pizzerias. Pizza lovers will undoubtedly enjoy a visit to Stari Saloon, a recommended pizza restaurant in the heart of the Old Town. Its claim to fame is that it serves the largest pizza in town, 120 centimeters in diameter! This makes it a fantastic place for a casual dinner out with friends or family.
Restaurant Sveti Nikola
Situated near the tip of the Old Town of Porec peninsula, Restaurant Sveti Nikola offers stunning views over the Adriatic Sea. This popular establishment is one of the best restaurants in Porec, according to online ratings and reviews. Naturally, its menu is dominated by fish and seafood and Istrian specialty ingredients such as truffles. Definitely try their “Motovun wood” soup made with truffles and other mushrooms and the “Mare nostrum” carpaccio with monkfish, scampi, and octopus.
This café is very popular for a daytime chill out, with a great range of light snacks and coffee on the menu, as well as alcohol if you fancy something with a little more kick! The café is located on the promenade, making it the perfect pitstop while walking from one end of the town to another, with stunning views over the beach and out to sea.
Gelati & Baci
This is quite an upmarket coffee shop, but if you want quality coffee and ice cream, this is the place to go. The café has a unique feel to it, which is evident in its décor. It’s located in the Old Town so that you can head there for a break while you wander around the narrow streets of Poreč.
Bars In Porec
Located on the seafront, with its own section of beach, this is a very popular spot for chilling out by day and partying by night. The club is spread over two floors, with a terrace on the ground floor featuring resident and guest DJs. This bar is open during the summer season only, from May to October, but it is undoubtedly a hotspot during that time.
Fora Le Porte
In the middle of the Old Town lies Fora Le Porte, a popular wine bar that’s revered for its extensive wine list, reasonable prices, and fantastic atmosphere. People enjoy great food and excellent service. Note that this is not a party bar but simply an excellent venue for a delicious meal and a good glass of wine after a long day of exploration.
This is one of the oldest nightclubs in Porec, dating back to 1967, and it’s also the largest place to head for a party. There is an admission fee, but it’s certainly worth it, with a promise of a fantastic night out and popular DJs playing here regularly.
For the craft beer lovers, you need to try Bura Brew beer. It’s the only local craft brewing company in Porec, and you can find the beer at bars and restaurants throughout town, but you can also make a stop at the brewery. Here you can buy bottled beer & merchandise, drink fresh brews, and, time permitting, take a tour of the brewery itself.
Key Festivals & Events In Porec
100 Miles Of Istria Ultratrail
Are you a running enthusiast? Do you feel the need to run even though you might not be that experienced? If you said ‘yes’ to any of the above, this event is for you. This trail run takes you through some of the incredible scenery and terrain around the Istria region, including Porec. The event takes place every year in mid-April and is a fantastic opportunity to see the area and keep fit at the same time.
If the thought of running brings you out in a cold sweat, this event might be more for you. The Parenzana is an old railway line that has been transformed into a walking, running, and cycling path. At the end of April every year, countless families, couples, groups, and singles take to the path to enjoy the 10-kilometer journey, which takes in Istria’s stunning scenery.
Vinistra Wine Festival
In May, head to the famous Vinistra Wine Festival. If you love vino, this is a must! This festival sees crowds flock to the area and gives visitors a chance to try various locally grown wines, as well as other gastronomical delights produced in the area, such as olive oil, cheese, grappa, and honey, to name just a few. Of course, there are plenty of opportunities to try various wines and many talks and exhibitions on how the wine is made, which is very interesting in itself.
Several competitions occur across the event, attempting to crown the best wine. This sees international winemakers flock to the area, and the judging panel is made up of top wine experts in the industry and vino fans themselves.
The Vinistra Wine Festival will help you learn much more about the wine industry as a whole, help you possibly find your new favorite tipple while bringing more fame to Istria as a gastronomical hotspot, with the various delicious foods on offer too. Tickets vary in price regarding what you want to do, e.g., wine tasting and exhibitions, so check online for specific costs just before the event begins.
Mediterranean Folklore Encounters
The beginning of July sees something traditional and unique in Porec. Here you will learn about the region’s culture, with performances, parades, musical concerts, handicraft markets, workshops, and food tastings.
Traveling To Porec From Split
- Air. To reach Split from Porec, or vice versa, you can fly to cut down on time. To do this, you will need to take the bus from Porec to Pula, which takes around one hour. The flight from Pula to Split is about 40 minutes.
- Bus. There are daily services to Split from Rijeka, so you first need to get a bus to Rijeka from Poreč.
- Car. Of course, you could avoid public transport altogether and hire a car and drive yourself, which would give you much more freedom to explore. To drive will take you around five hours.
Dubrovnik To Porec Or Porec To Dubrovnik
- Air. There are no direct flights between Pula and Dubrovnik. However, you can fly via Zagreb, which takes around 5 and 1/2 hours, including layover time, or via Split on a seaplane.
- Bus. As with most buses, the bus from Porec goes to Rijeka first and takes around 15 hours to reach Dubrovnik. This is a long trek. However, the passing coastal scenery is stunning.
- Ferry. If you want to combine unique experiences, why not get the ferry over to Venice for a day and then fly to Dubrovnik from there? This is quite affordable, and you get to see two places. The ferry from Porec to Venice takes around 2 hours 45 minutes, and the onward flight from Venice to Dubrovnik is about 1 hour 20 minutes.
- Car. Again, hire a car, and you can be in Dubrovnik in around 8 hours, although obviously, the more you stop, the longer it will take.
Zadar To Porec Or Porec To Zadar
- Bus. Your options when traveling from Porec to Zadar are bus or car. The bus will first take you to Rijeka and then onwards to Zadar. In total, the journey will take around 6 hours 45 minutes.
- Car. Hiring a car and driving to Zadar is the quickest option, taking around 4 hours 20 minutes, depending on traffic and stops.
Zagreb To Porec Or Porec To Zagreb
- Air. To reach Zagreb from Porec, you must go to Pula airport and catch the direct flight to Zagreb. There are daily departures for this route.
- Bus. There are multiple daily services to Zagreb from Rijeka, so you will need to first get a bus to Rijeka from Poreč.
- Car. Getting to Zagreb by car is easy and will take around 3 hours.