What is Porec like in Croatia?
Located on the west coast of the Istrian peninsula in Croatia, Poreč can most simply be described as a seaside town with many tourist attractions but also with a rich and indispensable cultural history. It is perhaps best known as the home of the Euphrasian Basilica (so-called Euphrasiana) from the 6th century, one of the seven UNESCO’s world heritage sites in Croatia.
However, in the last few years, Poreč has been filling newspaper columns as one of the best cities to live in Croatia, which has been contributed to by its economic, cultural, and social development. A famous tourist town that lives throughout the year? It seems like it could be. Since I have been spending almost every summer in Poreč since I was born, I would unquestionably like to get to know it better from the perspective of living in it. Maybe one day, but for now, I will focus on what I know Poreč is worth visiting for.
Historic center: Is Porec in Croatia worth visiting for culture and heritage?
Apart from the aforementioned Euphrasian Basilica, a must-see cultural site to visit, the whole old Poreč city core is a cultural monument. The peninsula on which the old town of Poreč is located hides historic traces dating back thousands of years. The main street that passes through it – Decumanus – is full of tourists in summer due to its numerous shops and restaurants. At the intersection with Cardo Street, the so-called Dekumanova Street reveals several Gothic and Baroque palaces.
The Euphrasian Basilica in Poreč is one of the most beautiful preserved monuments of early Byzantine art in the Mediterranean.
Built in the 6th century during Bishop Euphrasius, after whom it is named, the Euphrasian Basilica is famous for glittering mosaics dating from the 3rd century. The picture shows the Euphrasian Basilica’s apse decorated with Byzantine mosaics.
At the entrance to Dekumanova Street from Sloboda Square, attention is drawn to the Pentagonal Tower, at the top of which is a restaurant. At the top of the nearby Round Tower overlooking the waterfront, tourists love to enjoy a cafe.
Dekumanova Street / Decumanus Street in Poreč
Evidence of life from ancient times is hidden near the oldest square of Marafor. Also, Poreč is the proud home of the largest Roman shrine in Istria, the Large Temple, and to the north of it are the remains of the Temple of Neptune.
For me, one of the usual evening activities in Poreč is a walk through the old town in the mentioned Decumanus Street, as well as along Poreč’s lungomare or Ante Šonja Coast, with a romantic view of the north side of Poreč – Peškera Bay (where the city beach is located), Pical, and Materada. I call it the quiet side because there are no stands on it, for which the other part of the city is famous, just the open sea in front of you, with some lighthouse flashes.
The old town of Poreč and Poreč lungomare / Romulić and Stojčić
I usually continue my walk along the coast to the newly renovated city waterfront, i.e., Marshal Tito’s Coast, thus embracing the entire old core of Poreč. I admire numerous yachts, tourist boats, and fishing boats moored in the Poreč port along the waterfront side.
Last year, the Poreč waterfront, an integral part of the Poreč old town, got a new attire – new facilities with signposts to the old town’s sights. / Poreč Tourist Board
Is Porec in Croatia worth visiting for beaches and sports activities?
I stayed in Poreč during all stages of my life – from a playful child, through a demanding teenager, to a serious student – and at no time was I bored in Poreč, nor my parents who have been spending their summers in this beautiful Istrian city for almost 30 years. As we are a family that likes a combination of active and lazy holidays, we love Poreč because we get both there – beautiful and clean beaches, as well as many cultural, gourmet, adventure, fun, and sports facilities.
As my all-time favorite activity is rollerblading (and as I’m not a fan of swimming), I enjoy long rides from the center of Poreč along beaches trails. There is a crystal clear sea on one side of the trail, while on the other side, there are various sports and catering facilities. The first beach to reach is Beach Brulo. Located in the mild Mediterranean and sheltered bay, surrounded by pine trees, it is ideal for a real summer vacation.
Brulo Beach / Croatian Tourist Board
The trail along the coast goes all the way to Poreč Blue Lagoon, Green Lagoon, and White Bay, beautiful bays and hotel resorts. I recommend the popular tourist train that goes from the south side of Poreč Riviera! Also, If you like cycling and similar recreation, you will love cycling in Poreč.
As there are pebble, sandy, rocky, and concrete beaches, you will indeed find a beach tailored to your needs in Poreč. In 37 kilometers of the Poreč shore, there are as many as 22 beaches with a Blue Flag, an international symbol of clean sea and landscaped coastline. That is as many as 20 percent of all Blue Flags which flutter along the Croatian coast!
What I always liked about beaches in Poreč are numerous fun activities, such as water sports – pedal boats, canoes, paragliding, banana boats, parasailing, aquapark, and sports facilities such as tennis courts, volleyball courts, and mini-golf.
It is important to emphasize that the City of Poreč works tirelessly to provide access to all cultural facilities to people with disabilities. For example, last year, they carried out an adaptation project in the Euphrasian Basilica, and many beaches have been adapted for people with disabilities.
Our all-time favorite daily activity is visiting the Saint Nicholas island across Poreč, also known as Valamar Isabella Island Resort. In the summer months, the island is connected to the Poreč waterfront by a full-day ferry line. The boat from Poreč to the island goes every thirty minutes in both ways. The boat ride takes only five minutes, and the ticket price is 40 kunas (5,30 euros).
The island of Saint Nicholas in Poreč and Isabella Castle, Valamar Isabella Island Resort / Poreč Tourist Board
I recommend visiting this lovely island across Poreč at least once during your stay to enjoy beautiful, clean, and tidy beaches. It has always been a kind of undiscovered place for my family and me, even before it was renovated by Valamar, the biggest tourism company in Croatia. A nice walk around the island to experience nature’s calmness and see the old but now renovated Isabella castle is a must!
On the island and in the whole city, a lot of effort has been put into facilities and activities for children. Along the beaches, you can find numerous children’s playgrounds and toboggans. Poreč invests a lot in education, which I witnessed last year when I found out they even have summer tourism workshops for children. Also, children’s camps are organized on the beaches, where you can often see many animators with groups of children. There is also a diving school on Brulo Beach.
Poreč Tourist Board
Is Porec in Croatia worth visiting for daily boat excursions?
Daily boat excursions from Poreč to surrounding bays and cities are among the most popular activities among tourists. While walking along the waterfront during the evening, when many tourist boats are waiting for their next venture, you can book one-day boat trips to Rovinj, Vrsar, and Lim Fjord, fish picnic trips, and submarine ride. You can also find boats and taxi boats to the nearby Poreč bays, such as Green Lagoon, Blue Lagoon, and White Bay.
One of my earliest travel memories was a one-day trip to Venice from Poreč when I was eight, which I totally recommend. Even though I have seasickness, my first trip to Italy was by boat from Poreč, and I absolutely loved it. Hopping to another country and another city in the middle of your holidays was so exciting back then, and I hope that soon the circumstances will allow the like journeys again.
Tourist boats in the Poreč waterfront / Poreč Tourist Board
Is Porec in Croatia worth visiting for nightlife?
Here comes the fun part. During the summer evenings, at the beginning of the city waterfront, you will not be able to miss the sounds of the world’s greatest hits and dance rhythms from the famous Poreč club Saint & Sinner.
There is no shortage of night bars and clubs in the city, and the Poreč casino is also popular. Various performers (most often musicians) perform at the summer terraces of hotels and restaurants almost every day. One of the most famous such summer bars is the Lapidarium.
Saint & Sinner / Poreč Tourist Board
At the very top of the Poreč peninsula, at the foot of the Riviera Hotel, music from the attractive Palazzo Club attracts attention. Besides, there are numerous lounge and beach bars by the sea.
I also remember seeing organized transport vehicles around Poreč offering transport services for party people to the nearby famous nightclub Byblos. I’m sure I’m not the only one who is nostalgic about crazy summer parties! Last summer, it was relatively quiet in Poreč, but let’s hope for the better in the upcoming summer season.
As for parties, Poreč is also known for hosting Poreč Open Air Festival, an all-summer-long festival that consists of street performances, music nights, cinema, theatre, and special events. The MTV Summerblast in Poreč was also held, but due to the current situation with the coronavirus, the holding of all festivals is uncertain for now.
Is Porec in Croatia worth visiting for gastronomy, adventure, and education?
Although the temperatures in Poreč are high and the sea is warm, I will not lie – almost every year, I experience one rainy day during holidays. However, such days allow me to explore Poreč and its surroundings.
In addition to the many hotels and apartments, many famous restaurants and cafes in Poreč offer only the best Istrian delicacies. Getting to know the local specialties is an indispensable part of getting to know the destination. In Poreč and Istria, those are, among others, truffles, olive oil, Istrian prosciutto, Istrian boškarin beef, asparagus, and seafood, offered in best of Poreč offer. Along the Dekumanova Street in the old city core, you can find many patisseries with ice cream.
Istrian food – scallops, mussels, oysters / Poreč Tourist Board
I don’t have to emphasize the importance and popularity of Istrian wines and wine roads. One must taste them when in Poreč, but what surprised me last year was the favorite activity of Istria people – truffle hunting. It was the best activity for me in the whole visit to Poreč and Istria the previous year, and it is worth experiencing!
As part of a truffle hunting tour, we ate an Istrian specialty – scrumbled eggs with black truffles / Donatella Pauković
And since Istria has been named the best olive oil region in the world for the sixth consecutive year, my next visit will for sure include olive oil roads in the Poreč hinterland.
Near Poreč, there are many entertainment and educational facilities, such as Motodrom Poreč with karting. In addition to karting, many other activities are offered: bigfoot riding, cross-kart driving, segway, quads motor wheels, paintball, and Adventure Park SkyFox. It is possible to ride horses in the nearby horseriding centers in Poreč.
Motodrom Poreč / Donatella Pauković
A few years ago, we spent a day visiting the Baredine Cave, at the bottom of which we saw one of the few specimens of a human fish. I recommend the Baredine Cave if you get bored of the heat because by descending to a depth of 60 meters, the air temperature also drops to 14 degrees Celsius, which is a shock compared to the outside 30 degrees during the summer days.
Human fish in the Baredine Cave near Poreč, Istria / Donatella Pauković
If you want to get the best from water experience, near the tourist resort Zelena Laguna in Poreč, you can enjoy the largest Croatian water amusement park – Aquacolors Poreč. Also, the attractive Aquapark Istralandia, recently named fourth best water park in the world, is only a 20-minute drive from Poreč.
If you want to learn something about astronomy, the Višnjan Observatory, one of the 12 most productive observatories in the world of all time, is 16 kilometers away from Poreč. During 2018 and 2019, the Observatory discovered and documented over 1,400 asteroids, and recently, as part of a crowdfunding campaign, they secured funding for further investment in scientific and educational facilities.
Conclusion: Is Porec in Croatia worth visiting?
Suppose you want to have active holidays, then yes. In that case, Poreč is worth visiting because it offers a combination of lovely beaches, city sights, beautiful sunsets, rich culture, numerous sports and adventure activities, great food, and even a great nightlife. Poreč simply has it all.
I have visited Poreč countless times in winter when it turns into a quiet town without tourists, and I would always rejoice to see some pizzerias, restaurants, and cafes open even during the winter. Poreč is also a host to many sports teams during winter, who do the preparations for sports competitions in six Poreč sports halls. Did you know that Poreč will soon even have a football camp? It is the result of a long-term investment in sports in Poreč.
Poreč Tourist Board
It is fascinating to me how every Croatian city and place hides many interesting facts, and sometimes it is challenging to discover them all in one visit. Therefore, I know there is a lot more to do and see in Poreč, and I can’t wait to revisit it.
Although I have traveled a large part of the Croatian coast in my 24 years and the mainland, I think there is always something new to explore in Croatia, and I’m looking forward to finding out more about my beautiful country in the future.
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