Istria’s west coast represents the peninsula at its most developed. In itself it’s attractive enough, with fields of rich red soil and pinewoods sloping gently down to the sea, but a succession of purpose-built resorts has all but swallowed up the shoreline. Inland, the coastal strip fades imperceptibly into conifer-studded heathland and fields bounded by dry-stone walls and dotted with kažuni, the characteristic stone huts with conical roofs traditionally used by Istrian shepherds for shelter when overnighting with their flocks. Rovinj is Istria’s best-preserved old Venetian port; farther north, beyond the picturesque hilltop village of Vrsar and the Limski kanal, spreads the large resort of Poreč – package-holiday-land writ large, although it does boast the peninsula’s finest ecclesiastical attraction in the shape of the mosaic-filled Basilica of St Euphrasius.

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