Novigrad in a Page: History, Fishing, Seafood, Day Trips

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From a small fishing village to an important tourist center, Novigrad became one of the most desirable vacation spots in Istria. Let it fascinate you with its lovely sights and attractions.

Welcome to Novigrad, a charming fishing town!

A small fishing town, Novigrad exudes its cultural and historical heritage. It was first mentioned in the 7th century, and its area was inhabited as far back as ancient times. However, today it is a famous tourist center of Istria.

Despite its tourism success, Novigrad has retained its charm of a fishing village. Also called Cittanova in Italian, it lies on the northwest coast of Istria and is only 25 kilometers from Slovenia.

Its streets will enchant you, as well as indigenous gastronomic delicacies such as Novigrad scallops.

The beautiful coast and clear sea have been attracting tourists to this area for years. That is why Novigrad is an excellent place for holidays with many tourist and sports facilities. Discover all of its secrets!

How to get to Novigrad and get around

Arriving in Novigrad by car or bus

Novigrad has excellent road connections, so you can quickly arrive by car or bus. If you’re coming from Italy, Slovenia or Pula, you can take Istrian Y highway and exit in Nova Vas or Višnjan. When coming from Zagreb and Rijeka, the fastest way is a local road through Buzet.

You can take a bus to Novigrad from the Croatian cities of Zagreb and Rijeka, and even from Plitvice Lakes. If you are somewhere else in Croatia and want to get to Novigrad by bus, you can do so by coming to Rijeka first. It’s a connecting stop to the whole of Istria.

Looking for a fast, reliable and trouble-free transfer to or from Novigrad? Contact TC transfer partner Adriatic Transfers for your one-stop solution.

Local bus lines connect Novigrad to Umag, Poreč, Rovinj, and Pula. There used to be an international line from Trieste to Novigrad. Unfortunately, because of the current epidemiological situation, there is still no information on future rides.

Camping in Novigrad / Romulić and Stojčić
Nearest airports

The closest airport to Novigrad is Pula Airport, offering shuffle bus services to nearby cities, including Novigrad. Also, Trieste Airport in Italy could be your other closest option.

To find out all current rules for traveling to and from Croatia, check our daily updated COVID-19 in Croatia guide.

Although Istria is mostly a car destination, several more airports surround it. So you can also plan your arrival via airports in Rijeka, Zagreb, Ljubljana, Treviso, and Venice.

Boat lines to and from Novigrad

You can come by boat from the neighboring Istrian towns of Umag, Rovinj, and Poreč. Day trips to and from Novigrad from the entire western coast of Istria are very popular. Be sure to experience Novigrad through the view from the open sea.

5 things not to miss

Freestanding bell tower

Bell tower of the St. Pelagius /

Each city has its symbol. In Novigrad, it is the bell tower of St. Pelagius from 1883. The church of the same name is a three-nave basilica, famous for the only early Romanesque crypt in Istria.

Does the bell tower remind you of another one? Yes, it was modeled on the bell tower of St. Mark in Venice.

Novigrad umbrellas

Umbrellas in Novigrad / Donatella Pauković

If you walk through the old town, you will be pleasantly surprised by the dance of colorful umbrellas over the streets. Apart from the ancient walls and the recognizable bell tower, this new attraction also became a peculiar symbol of the town.

During sunny summer days, the umbrellas with their warm colors provide a unique atmosphere of this picturesque city. Take a photo for social networks and delight your followers!

Fish specialties – Novigrad scallops

Novigrad scallops – Novigradske kapešante / Colours of Istria

Since Novigrad was once a fishing village, this heritage is still stable today. Admittedly, to a somewhat lesser extent than in the past. But fish specialties are still an essential part of Novigrad’s gastronomic offer.

Have some fish or seafood on your menu as well.

The most appreciated shellfish of northwestern Istria is the Novigrad scallop or Pecten jacobaeus (Novigradska kapešanta, Jakobova kapica). Apart from them, mussels and oysters are also famous. Also, February and March host the so-called Shell Days, dedicated to this delicious seafood.

Lapidarium Museum

Lapidarium Museum in Novigrad /

One of the most important collections of stone monuments hides inside this museum. Besides its top-notch contemporary design, the Lapidarium Museum building blends perfectly with the old town.

Above all, a young and ambitious team leads this relatively new concept. It is a must-visit place to get to know the town’s cultural heritage!

Safe harbor Mandrač

Mandrač, Novigrad /

This hideout safe from wind and waves was once a central fishing port important for the fish trade. This tradition is still preserved by the local population, which regularly gathers in Mandrač Bay.

Today, Mandrač is one of the most recognizable symbols of Novigrad. Experience its magic during the warm summer nights.

Where to stay in Novigrad

Aminess Maestral Hotel Novigrad / Romulić and Stojčić

The most important economic branch of this town is undoubtedly tourism. That is why there is a whole wealth of hotel and accommodation facilities. Wellness centers and family facilities are only part of the destination’s hotel offer. Besides, Novigrad has two camping centers, as is Istria is a famous camping destination.

Aminess Maestral Hotel (also a wellness paradise), Aminess Laguna Hotel, and Hotel Nautica lie along the attractive Novigrad coastline.

Colors of Istria brings a detailed accommodation guide to Novigrad.

Needless to say, the beautiful beaches of Novigrad will provide you with everything you need for a perfect vacation. On the Aminess Maestral Hotel beach, close to the city center, find the Punto Mare sun deck, a place for top summer fun.

Where to eat in Novigrad

Mussels – traditional Novigrad specialty / Novigrad Tourist Board

Istria is a famous gourmet destination and was declared the best region of olive oil in the world. Therefore, when visiting any Istrian place, you must taste this exceptional cuisine. Also, tasting quality Istrian wine is indispensable.

Novigrad does not lag with its gastronomic offer either. Restaurants Čok, Marina, and Damir & Ornella stand out as the best in Novigrad.

Since Novigrad is a fishing town, enjoy the taste of the sea depths with their best fish delicacies.

Especially mussels, a traditional local specialty. Every year, the Mussel Festival takes place in Novigrad. Don’t miss it this year!

Trip ideas from Novigrad

Daily boat trips to nearby cities

Rovinj/Rovigno by Romulić and Stojčić

Whether you decide to visit Poreč, Rovinj, or Umag, you won’t regret your choice. Each western Istrian city hides its own unique story. If you stay longer in Novigrad, be sure to book one day to explore them.

Boat lines connect the towns, and it’s also close to hop from one to another by car or bus.
If you want to stay in nature, visit a beautiful submerged estuary Lim Fjord.

Road trips to inland Istria

Grožnjan/Grisignana by Romulić and Stojčić

As beautiful as the Istrian coast is, so is its interior. If not more.

Feel the spirit of the history of this charming peninsula through the numerous small towns on the hilltops. The possibilities are endless.

Places like Višnjan, Grožnjan, and Motovun will surely enchant you with their hidden beauty. It is up to you to head to Istria’s interior.

Mirna River delta and Tarska vala (Tar Cove)

Mirna River delta and Tarska vala (Tar Cove) / Colours of Istria

When entering Novigrad by car or bus, you will take a narrow road over the mouth of the river Mirna through the bay of Tarska vala (Tar Cove). It’s hard to describe that feeling when the water surrounds you from all sides. You have to experience it for yourself. The shallow bay around you will seem unreal.

You can park your car in the bay and enjoy a drink overlooking this habitat rich in fish and known for fishing. This whole area is rich in flora and fauna, especially birds. It has thus been declared an ornithological reserve.

And apart from being a habitat for many bird species, the Mirna River delta is one of the few remaining wetlands in the Mediterranean.

Wine roads

Istrian wineyards / Romulić and Stojčić

Northwestern Istria is a perfect place for all wine lovers.

The Umag-Novigrad region is the cradle of the Istrian wine tradition. Due to the sunny hills and terra rossa (soil), wine varieties such as Muškat Momjanski were born here (in Momjan near Buje).

Today, some of the most prominent Croatian winemakers operate in this area, whose wineries are open for visitors. Count them as your next stop when in Istria! Take the wine roads and taste the best Istrian wines along the way.

Besides, you can book a trip “Novigrad Cittanova Wine Trail,” which provides an unforgettable journey through the wine roads of Novigrad.

Aquapark Istralandia

Aquapark Istralandia

Are you up for some fun? Luckily, Aquapark Istralandia is just a few kilometers away from Novigrad. Perfect place if you are on vacation with children. However, it is no less fun for the rest of the family either.
And it has recently been named the fourth-best water park in the world! We hope we’ve given you enough reason to pack up and spend a day at this awesome colorful water fun.

Bike trails

Biking / Colours of Istria

Biking is undoubtedly one of the fantastic ways to enjoy the incredible nature of Istria.
Whether riding along the coast or on the hills, northwestern Istria hides incredible cycling adventures. The list of Istrian bike trails is long. Find them all in this e-book.

Pits and caves

Mramornica cave or the “Marble cave” / Agroturizam Sterle

The interior of Istria also boasts a wealth of speleological objects open to visitors.

One such treasure, the Mramornica cave (also called the “Marble cave”), descends to a depth of 20 meters near the town of Brtonigla. Speleologists rank the Mramornica cave among the largest and most beautiful underground sites in Istria.

The Baredine Cave (Grotta Baredine) near Poreč is unique because you can see a human fish at the bottom. Take a peek into the underground world of Istria.

More information

For more information about Novigrad, visit the Novigrad Tourist Board website.

To follow the latest news from Novigrad, check out the dedicated Total Croatia News page.


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