On the Istrian peninsular in northern Croatia is the old town of Porec. There are numerous hotels in the surrounding area, but they are so widely spread that the place never seems to be crowded. We spent a lot of time exploring and taking in the views. There was a tourist land train from our hotel, but sometimes we just strolled along the pleasant coastline.
Porec has a long history and there are some perfectly preserved buildings. In particular, the 6th century Euphrasian Basilica is not to be missed with its wonderful Byzantine mosaics. The whole of the complex containing the cathedral and the Bishop’s Palace is designated as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. We climbed up to the top of the bell tower – it is a long way up so you have to be reasonably fit. However, there are floors at regular intervals if you need a rest! There are marvellous views all around from the top. Porec was the first place in Istria to be colonised by the Romans and it retains the ancient street layout. Within the cobbled streets you can see lovely Venetian flower style windows, fragments of Roman temples. 15th century towers, mediaeval town walls, baroque, renaissance and Romanesque houses.
My daughter is an artist and she spent some time sketching and painting the picturesque surroundings. We also enjoyed browsing the gift shops because they were full of genuine handmade craft souvenirs. There are also plenty of pleasant small cafes to stop for a coffee or ice cream. We had a great ride in a speedboat taxi around the islands including St Nikola – sometimes travelling at speed which was very exhilarating.
It was good to have the time to explore Porec town on our own in a relaxed way as there was so much to see. Well worth a visit.