Ukratko mala “samopohvala.” Navikli smo da se Hrvatska spominje u New York Times-u, Travel magazinu itd. Evo i jedne pohvale i preporuke za Istru u današnjem Wall Street Journal-u. Nije da nisu hvalili Hrvatsku i prije, negdje u Travnju čini mi se preporučen je bio odlazak na Dalmatinsku obalu, ali pošto sam ja Istrijan prvo i prvo, moram malo više istaknuti Istru. 😉 No hard feelings people. Znam, Opatija baš i ne spada u Istru, ali gdje da je drugdje stranci stave? U Primorsko-Goransku regiju? Ne zvuči baš turistički ili jednostavno za zapamtiti. Pula i Brijuni se spominju pa cijeli članak ipak prolazi za Istru, a ne neku drugu regiju…..
From Venice to Pula, in a weekend
|Waterfront villas in Opatija, Croatia.|
During the height of the summer season, Venice can be a touristy, claustrophobic mess. For a quick escape, rent a car and head east, passing through Trieste, a sliver of Slovenia and on to Croatia’s Istria region, a peninsula jutting into the clear blue waters of the Adriatic Sea.
The drive to Opatija, formerly a favorite summer resort for Austro-Hungarian elites, takes a little over three hours from Venice. Leaving the A4/E70 autostrade in Italy for the E61, the road through Slovenia traverses pristine forests and rolling hills.
The landscape turns barren and rocky when you enter Croatia, but forests of laurel trees and the sparkling sea emerge on the road winding down to Opatija’s harbor. There, the opulent, pastel-colored buildings reveal the peninsula’s polyglot history and lasting appeal to centuries of travelers. Istria was a part of the Venetian Republic for over 500 years. The Austro-Hungarian Empire and Italy later controlled the area before it was ceded to Yugoslavia after World War II.
Spend the night at a seaside hotel in Opatija. I recommend the Hotel Milenij, a grand building set in the center of the town’s seaside promenade. For dinner, take a 15-minute walk north along a beautiful coastal path to the tiny harbor at Volosko. There you’ll find Le Mandrac, an elegant glass box that opens onto the water, just steps away from fishing boats arriving with the daily catch (a reservation is a must). Le Mandrac’s food is superb, showing the peninsula’s Italian influences and a range of local specialities, including truffles, crisp white wines and, of course, fish.
The next morning, take the scenic, cliff-side road south to Pula near the tip of the peninsula, less than an hour away. There you’ll find one of the world’s largest and best-preserved Roman amphitheaters and other ruins.
Here, you can take a boat to the nearby island of Brijuni, the former summer playground of Yugoslavia’s communist-era leader, Josip Broz Tito. At Brijuni, Tito entertained Elizabeth Taylor, Sophia Loren and others, showing off the island’s lush vegetation and imported safari park. Take a swim at one of Brijuni or Pula’s unspoiled beaches before driving back to Venice—if you have the willpower to leave. — Adam Cohen