Istria’s west coast represents the peninsula at its most developed. A succession of purpose-built resorts are scattered along the shore, but it’s the long stretches of unspoiled rocky coast that give the area its character. Inland, the coastal strip fades imperceptibly into conifer-studded heathland, olive groves and the fertile red earth of farmers’ fields bounded by dry-stone walls. Here and there you’ll spot the enigmatic, conical-roofed kažuni, the stone huts 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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