ISTRIA – 1 week on the eastern side

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I don´t even remember when was the last time I spent a night in a hotel in Croatia, since we always stayed either in camping places or private apartments or rented houses, but this time we got it as a gift – a week in Rabac in a very nice hotel. We chose this place because it is close to Slovenia (as we were just on a short visit in the area) and did not want to drive to far and also. We combined the holidays it with exploring Opatija and Labin also, plus we went to an amazing Jack Johnson concert in Pula.

When: July 2011

Visited: Rabac, Labin, Opatija

How: with our car

Stayed in: hotel

GETTING THERE

Rabac is a SMALLER TOWN town on the Eastern side of ISTRIAN PENINSULA, with lots of apartments, hotels and a very NICE COASTAL WALKING PATH that connects everything. It takes you 1hr from Pula, 1hr from Rijeka or 2,5 hrs from Ljubljana (Slovenia) to get there. Labin is just a short drive from Rabac and is a perfect spot for a day trip if you are staying anywhere in that part of Istria.

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RABAC


So we used Rabac as a base. As you can see it´s set in a really nice environment, PINE TREE WOODS on one side and sea on the other – it´s also the only bigger coastal town around, because the cliffs here are quite steep and there is not even much space for settlements. Anyway, Rabac is one of those towns where you can immediately see it is powered by tourism. It looks like everyone is offering a room, has a restaurant or a bar or at least rents out bicycles or canoes. I must say though I´m not a fan of such, this place still looked somehow cute with all its little colourful houses packed on a hill.

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Our hotel was situated a bit OUTSIDE OF THE MAIN TOWN AREA, which meant we had more peace and nature surrounding us. It was beautiful, we had a balcony with a great view, a garden to relax in and the beach was directly under the rooms. Food was great and I have to admit, being pregnant and just in the phase where I could “eat a horse” this was convenience at its best!

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The beaches here are, well, so so. Nice, but DON´T EXPECT SOMETHING EXTREMELY AMAZING. I´m used to such (mostly rocky with some little bays with little stones), but many are disappointed, especially if they expect a sandy beach. It was also the highest season so all those little bays were packed – this seemed to be a very popular place for family summer holidays as we mostly saw family with little kids.

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We loved this walking path! And obviously we were not the only ones: It got us to the town centre on foot in about 30 minutes which was a great evening and morning walk! On the way there are also many little bays you can jump into the water and restaurants you can have lunch at. It is also very well maintained, with nice landscaping ideas and lush Mediterranean vegetation.

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LABIN


ONLY 5km NORTH OF RABAC there is the little old town of Labin, which is built on a hill 320 metres above sea level which means there are GREAT VIEWS! Since it is so close to Rabac you simply have to go there one time if you are staying down at the sea. The old houses are stunning, it´s nice and cool, some wind breeze is always good on a hot summer day. Sometimes there are also concerts or other events in the old town so check that before you go. We also found some nice cafes!

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labin

OPATIJA


Quite the opposite of an old town village on the hill like Labin, is Opatija. This FANCY TOWN in the Gulf of Kvarner has a RICH HISTORY and has been a popular resort since forever. The town is full with posh little hotels which host prominent guests from time to time, nice restaurants, cafes and shops. We loved the facades – each was different and had its very own interesting details.

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The BEACH in Opatija really isn´t anything special. Lots of asphalt, so more of a city beach. We visited Opatija for a day, I think it´s a great thing for a weekend, especially if you stay in one of those nice hotels 😉 And do other stuff, rather than swimming.

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Here are also NICE PARKS with interesting vegetation, even plants form all over the world so you can spent quite some time in parks, which also offer nice shades in the summer.

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Time to go back to Rabac for the last couple of days before heading back home. This was a nice relaxing week and it´s a nice place to be if you don´t want to drive too far (assuming you are coming from the north). And if you are from Slovenia, this is a great idea for a summer weekend trip!

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The last views from our hotel balcony…

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