12 best beaches in Istria you should visit (+ map)

I’m lucky to call Istria my second home and have spent the last several years exploring all the nooks and crannies in order to put together a list of the very best beaches in Istria. Discover them here.

best beaches in Istria

Istria has more than 267 miles (430 km) of spectacular coastline, ranging from clear water rocky beaches to caves and grottoes.

Beach hopping is undoubtedly one of the best things to do in Istria, but there are so many beaches to choose from, and many of them are hidden.

So, how do you know where to go swimming and snorkeling? 

Read on to find the best Istria beaches and all the details. 

Read next: 15 unforgettable things to do in Istria

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Map of the best beaches in Istria

On the map below, I’ve listed the 12 best beaches in Istria that are mentioned in this post.

Simply click on the number to find the beach. You can zoom in and out by clicking the + and – sign in the corner.

What are the beaches in Istria like?

The Istrian beaches are mostly rocky or pebbly, with some man-made beaches that have been created with imported sand. These man-made sandy beaches are typically found in larger resorts and towns, such as Pula, Rovinj, and Umag.

The coastline is long and diverse with crystal clear sea ideal for swimming, rock diving, snorkeling, and diving. You’ll also find caves and grottoes that you can explore by boat or kayak.

The pebble beaches are often surrounded by pine forests, and they have beautiful clear water.

👉 These water shoes with non-slip and a firm grip will protect you from the sharp rocks and sea urchins when you enter the sea.

best beaches in Istria

How to get around

The only way to get between Istria’s best beaches is by car. There’s a lot to see in Istria so you can find many great stops along the way.

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Where to stay in Istria

Istria is easy to get around by car, and it takes about 1 hour to drive from Novigad in the north to Pula in the south.

You’re always near a beach, but if you’d like to stay close to the beaches mentioned in this post, these are your best options:

PulaBoutique Hotel Oasi (⭐ 9.2)Check availability
FazanaHotel Villa Vera (⭐ 9.0)Check availability
RovinjLone Hotel (⭐ 9.1)Check availability
UmagHotel Villa Rosetta (⭐ 8.7)Check availability
RabacTerra Residence (⭐ 9.7)Check availability
PorecHotel Imperial (⭐ 9.2)Check availability

1. Hawaii beach in Pula

Hawaii Beach is the best beach in Pula and one of the best beaches in Istria! It’s a pebbly beach with rocky sides and the water is crystal clear, creating a breathtaking ambiance that looks straight out of a travel catalogue.

The beach is located in the popular Principina Cove at Verudela Peninsula in Pula, surrounded by several hotels, sports facilities, and restaurants. There’s a spectacular view and it’s perfect for swimming or snorkeling on a warm summer day.

There’s a 5-7-minute walk from the parking lot down to the beach.

best beaches in Istria

2. Cyclone beach in Pula

If you’re looking for a hidden gem, head to Cyclon’s Beach, located west of Pula near Stoja.

This pebble beach is surrounded by rocks and stones that create a unique and beautiful shoreline.

The green pine trees give off a wonderful Mediterranean vibe, while the crystal clear water is perfect for swimming and snorkeling.

And speaking of snorkeling, don’t want to miss the chance to discover the magnificent underwater world full of fish!

best beaches in Istria

3. Valbandon beach in Fazana

Valbandon beach is one of the most unique beaches in Istria.

This beach has a beautiful snow-white sandbank and plenty of space to spread out, enjoy water activities and soak up the sun.

And when you need a break from the Adriatic sea, there are great restaurants and cafes along the coastal promenade where you can grab a bite to eat or a refreshing drink.

If you’re looking for a family-friendly or just a unique beach in Istria, Valbandon beach is definitely worth checking out!

best beaches in Istria

⭐ 4. Njive beach in Premantura (my favourite)

My favourite beach is Njive, which is also the best beach in Istria.

Njive beach is straight out of a postcard, a real dream beach! It’s located in the Cape Kamenjak Nature Park (the southernmost part of the Istrian peninsula), which means it’s surrounded by some of the best beaches in Istria.

Read next: 9 best beaches in Premantura you should visit

The beach itself is a stunning small pebbles bay surrounded by pine trees, and the turquoise water is perfect for swimming.

Plus, there are plenty of other quiet spots along the rocky shoreline if you want to explore. There’s also a lounge bar with music where you can relax, have a sandwich or something to drink. It’s the perfect place to spend the whole day!

best beaches in Istria

5. Plovanije beach in Premantura

Next to Njive, you’ll find Plovanije beach. It’s a beautiful and unique beach that’s smaller and feels more private.

The crystal-clear waters are perfect for swimming and snorkeling, and the beach has a laid-back and relaxed vibe that’s perfect for a day of sun and fun.

best beaches in Istria

6. Lone Bay beach in Rovinj

Lone Bay in Rovinj is a lovely spot for a beach vacation in Istria.

This pebble beach is located inside a forest park near the charming coastal town of Rovinj, and it’s surrounded by pine trees that provide natural shade and a peaceful atmosphere.

The water is clear and perfect for swimming, and there’s a cozy beach bar with loungers and parasols to relax on.

I stayed at Lone Hotel, which is just close by, and if you’re looking to splurge, this hotel is one of the best I’ve stayed at – read my review here.

istria beaches

7. Mulini beach in Rovinj

Mulini Beach is a really nice spot to check out if you’re in Rovinj.

The beautiful pebble beach is surrounded by lush greenery and crystal-clear water, which gives it a natural and peaceful vibe.

The mix of white pebbles and rocks on the beach is a bit different from other beaches in the area, but it’s still really nice. And if you need some shade or a place to relax, there are plenty of sun loungers and umbrellas available.

The water quality is also really good, so it’s perfect for swimming and snorkeling. Plus, it’s conveniently located close to Rovinj old town, so it’s easy to get to.

istria beaches

8. Zambratija sandy beach in Umag

Zambratija Beach in Umag is a hidden gem among the most beautiful beaches of Istria.

This small sandy beach is located just north of Umag and has a quiet atmosphere, a fine and gently sloping sandy beach, and a cool beach bar with a breathtaking view of the sea.

It’s a popular spot for families with small children and anyone who prefers a sandy beach in Istria.

best beaches in Istria

9. Polynesia beach in Umag

Polynesia Beach in northern Istria is a really beautiful spot.

The beach has a unique Mediterranean setting with crystal-clear turquoise waters that are perfect for swimming and snorkeling.

And if you’re interested in history, there’s a Roman archaeological site nearby that you can check out. The water is really clear, so you’ll be able to see a lot of different fish while snorkeling.

best beaches in Istria

10. Girandella beach in Rabac

On the east side of Istria, you’ll find the beach town of Rabac.

Rabac has a few beautiful beaches, including Girandella beach, which is a string of small bays.

The white pebble bays are really beautiful, and they give you a little privacy, which I thought was nice when I visited.

The turquoise water is stunning and perfect for swimming and enjoying the sun. And if you get hungry or thirsty, there are plenty of restaurants, beach bars, and hotels nearby.

Istria itinerary

11. Sveti Andrea beach in Rabac

Sveti Andrae Beach is also located in Rabac, and it’s a beautiful beach that is kept really clean.

The pebble-covered shores are stunning, with amazing sea colours and rock formations that are picturesque. It’s top sea quality.

istria beach

12. Lanterna Camping beach in Porec

The Lanterna Campsite in Porec has some fantastic beaches to check out.

The Val Adria Sandy Family Beach is a standout, with soft sand and beautiful sea colours.

If you travel with younger kids, you’ll love this beach because it’s flat and easy to get into the water. There are also other nice spots along the coast if you’re looking for a quieter beach experience.

Lanterna Camping beach


Does Istria have good beaches?

Yes! The beaches in Istria are a bit different than what you might expect, because instead of sand, the coastline is mostly rocky or pebbly. But don’t let that hold you off!

The crystal-clear waters are perfect for swimming, snorkeling, and diving, and there are plenty of caves and grottoes to explore by boat or kayak.

Does Istria have sandy beaches?

No, there are no natural sandy beaches in Istria. The beaches in Istria are mostly rocky or pebbly, with some man-made sandy beaches found in Fazana and Umag.

Which Croatian island has the best beaches?

Brac island has some of the most beautiful beaches in Croatia.

Zlatni Rat is the most famous beach, with a distinctive horn shape, and it’s popular for windsurfing and kitesurfing.

Bol Beach is another popular spot, with crystal-clear waters and plenty of beach bars.

For a more secluded experience, Lovrecina Bay is a great option, with shallow waters perfect for families with children.

What is the number 1 beach in Croatia?

Zlatni Rat (Golden Horn) beach on the island of Brac is the most famous and popular beach in Croatia.

Known for its distinctive horn shape and crystal-clear waters, it’s a popular destination for windsurfing and kitesurfing.

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