Things to do
Istria has been a gateway to Europe for a thousand years. This coming and going is reflected in architecture and culture, making Istria more like Europe than southern Croatia. Italian is the official second language and the towns and fields look much like Tuscany.
Formerly Vodnjan was an important Roman garrison town; later overshadowed by its port, Pula. Today Vodnjan is modernising in a rather relaxed fashion, with new housing, supermarkets and petrol stations on the outskirts. The centre is largely unchanged from medieval times, and life goes on without the distorting influence of massive tourism. Benussi and Castello are fine staging posts for trips to Tito's island retreat on Brijuni, the beaches of Fazana and the seafood restaurants of Pula.
The popular coastal towns are within reach, but so are inland gems - the walled medieval hills towns of Groznjan and Motovun, the ruins of Divigrad and the dramatic Mt Ucka. History, wine, truffles, and a hot-spring mud bath can make a great day out.
The local area is excellent for biking, exploring, walking and climbing. Nearby Pula has a busy harbour, museums, shops and many cultural and sporting activities.
There are extensive Roman ruins in nearby Pula, including the impressive Arena - often used for concerts and performances.