Day 1 in Porec
Welcome to Croatia! Upon arrival, you will go through customs and immigration. Should you opt to purchase a transfer to your hotel, a representative will be waiting for you as you exit immigration. Otherwise, make your way to Porec and arrive at your hotel. Check in and do not give in to jet lag! There is so much for you to see and do!
Begin your visit to Porec by going immediately to the city`s most noteworthy landmark, the Episcopal Complex of the Euphrasian Basilica. A UNESCO World Heritage Site, the Euphrasian Basilica dates from the 5th and 6th centuries, and is one of the best examples of an early Byzantine-era church extant in Croatia today. Take time to admire the beautiful mosaic work, undertaken and completed the 6th century.
Porec dates from before the time of the Romans, whose settlement here was called Parentium. As you head toward the end of the peninsula from the Euphrasian Basilica, along Eufrazijeva ulica, you will reach one of the two original streets of Parentium, the north-south Cardo Maximus Street. Turn left, and within a block Cardo Maximus Street crosses with Decumanus Street, the west-east artery in Roman Parentium. Both of these streets are as wide as they were during that time, and there are many buildings and ruins from that time interspersed between shops and restaurants. At this intersection, there is a three-story Gothic mansion called the Zuccato Palace; today it is a fine arts gallery operated by Porec Open University.
As you walk toward the end of the peninsula on Decumanus Street, you will pass by the unique structure called The Romanesque House. Dating from the 13th century, the eye-catching third-story wraparound balcony was added in the 18th century. The Ethnographic Heritage Collection of Porec is exhibited inside the house, and two of the three stories are accessible to visitors. Finally, head to Marafor Square and grab a bite to eat at one of the restaurants in the immediate area. Porec, long an Italian town called Parenzo, has quite a few Italian cuisine options to choose from. If you have time before sunset, walk toward the water past Marafor Square to the ruins of the Temple of Neptune. These ruins are from Parentium and date from the first century CE. Return to your accommodations at the end of the day.
Day 2 in Porec
Begin around 8 or 9 a.m. with a nice walk along the perimeter of the peninsula, starting at Park Jurja Dobrile and continuing on to the Istrian Assembly Hall just to the west. Formerly a church and monastery from the 5th century CE, the current building houses Istria Province`s elected assembly, and dates from the 14th century. It is open to the public as an exhibition space and the venue for Porec`s Annale, the longest-running art show in Croatia. Continue walking along the waterfront and make your way around to the other side of the peninsula. For reference, this road is called Obala Maršala Tita, or the Marshal Tito Shoreline Road. In a quarter of a mile, you should reach the Porec ferry port, where you can compare notes with vendors who offer boat excursions, should you want to go out on the water while you`re here.
The ferry port is directly across from the end of Decumanus Street. Walk up Decumanus Street and turn right onto Frano Supilo Square and Ulica Sveti Mauro. Here you will see the House of Two Saints, so named for the depictions of two sleeping saints on the building`s façade. Dating from the early 1500s, this house is an example of the Renaissance-era architecture Porec is known for. Continue to walk up Ulica Sveti Mauro and you will have the chance to visit Aquarium & Terrarium Porec, the largest aquarium on the North Istria Coast. Afterwards, walk up to Decumanus Street and head east to Sloboda Square. On the square you can visit the formidable Baroque-era Our Lady of the Angels Church. Have some lunch at one of the restaurants and cafés along the square.
In the afternoon, find some time to either go back to the waterfront and schedule a boat excursion, or go south of the city to sun yourself on the beach! Plava Laguna Beach, perhaps the most popular beach for tourists and locals, is located about a mile and a quarter south of Sloboda Square. There are two other popular beaches located a half-mile and a mile south of Plava Laguna; they are called Zelena Laguna and Bijela Uvala. There are quite a few resorts in this area so there are a number of food and drink options should you want to stay until the evening. Return to your accommodations at the end of the day.
Additional Days in Porec
Approximately 40 minutes south of Porec by car, Rovinj is one of the most picturesque Adriatic towns, a treasury of cultural and historical monuments. The Old Town is built on a headland which juts out into the sea, and at the top of the headland you can find the beautiful Baroque parish Church of St. Euphemia. Rovinj also serves as a hub for those wishing to experience the scenic wonders of the 19 islands of the Rovinj archipelago, which sit just offshore, surrounded by beautiful turquoise waters.
The Slovenian Riviera is a popular seaside tourist destination, and has been since the times of the Austro-Hungarian Empire, when it was then referred to as the `Austrian Riviera`. It consists of a mere 29 miles of coastline on the Gulf of Trieste, starting just an hour`s drive north of Porec. The towns on the Slovenian Riviera, such as Koper, Piran, Portorož, Strunjan, Izola, and Ankaran, all have considerable Italian influence, as the area was ruled by Italy for three decades in the 20th century. Perhaps the most popular beach in Slovenia is Portorož Beach, one of the few sandy ones along the coast.
An hour to the southeast of Porec, you`ll find Croatian Istria`s largest city, Pula. The Romans, capitalizing on Pula`s location on a safe harbor, quickly built the settlement into a cultural center called Pietas Julia. A number of beautifully-preserved Roman buildings survive and stand today amongst 20th and 21st-century buildings. The best-preserved Roman monument in Croatia, the Pula Arena, is located here. It is considered one of the six largest surviving Roman amphitheaters left in the world. Other noteworthy sights include the Temple of Augustus, the Gate of Hercules, and the Arch of the Sergii.
Your Last Day in Porec
Depart your hotel and head to the airport for your return home. If self-driving, please return your rental car to the place noted on your reservation (usually the airport, but double-check to make sure). If you are purchasing a private transfer, a representative will meet you at the hotel in time to take you to the airport for your flight out. We hope you enjoyed the sights of Porec!