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Location of Melissa
Great Things to Do Near Melissa
Pay a visit to nearby Lim Fjord, a spectacular protected landscape and special marine reserve situated between Rovinj and Vrsar. This long, narrow inlet is bordered by wooded, canyon-like cliffs rising up to 150m above sea level. It is said that one flank of this canal is populated by deciduous trees, the other by evergreens. A couple of restaurants are situated on the water front, namely the Viking which offers dishes such as oysters on crushed ice or noodles with scampi and mushrooms and the Lim Fjord (tel. 052 448 222).
Fish and Shellfish Cultivation
Platforms in the fjord betray the farming of oysters, mussels and fish such as bream and sea bass, encouraged by underwater freshwater springs which render the water partially brackish.
Palud, between Rovinj and Barbariga, is a swamp area and ornithological reserve of great interest to bird watchers. It is the temporary or permanent habitat of more than 200 bird species. In addition, turtles, eels and lizards inhabit the area.
Vrsar, at the northern mouth of the Limski Kanal is often overlooked because of the larger towns of Rovinj to the south and Porec to the north. The old town however, atop a hill, is a beautifully kept architectural gem with a number of brightly painted buildings chaperoning the citadel (kaštel), once the summer residence of Porec bishops. Look for the relief of a lion on the stone slab above the old town gate.
Head west to the historic town of Porec and specifically to the Basilica. Here from the beginning of July to the end of August enjoy a classical concert in the serene surroundings of the beautiful basilica.
Porec Annals - Art with a View
This annual art exhibition is one of the longest established in Croatia. Held in the spectacular historic Parliament Building in August and early September it features work by emerging Croatian artists who are supplied each year with a particular topic. Previous themes have been art and mythology, and 90’s Baroque.
A great way to unwind! For children and adults alike! (Open 1100-0100). There is also kart-cross here with a 1km track, illuminated at night, with water sprinklers! Take the main road out of Porec heading north towards Novigrad and you’ll see the venue on your right. www.kart-cross.net, tel 052 622 6320.
Take a Coffee!
Café bars are everywhere in Croatia and without exception serve excellent coffee, always in the correct cup for the drink ordered. Taking a coffee is part of Istrian and Croatian identity, it marks the beginning of the day, nurtures friendship and business relationships and should you be invited for a coffee it may not necessarily mean actually drinking coffee, it’s more a euphemism for a chat over a drink of any kind!
Fancy a tipple?
The Radovan vineyard in the village of Radovani produces and sells some highly renowned wines, Cabernet Sauvignon, Teran, Chardonnay and Malvzija Istarska. It’s on the right hand side as you drive into the village from the main road which runs between Baderna and Vižinada, you’re always welcome for a tasting! Tel.052 462 166.
Get Your Kicks... On Route 66
For a beautiful scenic drive, take the road no. 66 north east along the coastline of the Kvarner Riviera. Start from Barban, passing through Raša, Labin, Plomin, Mošcenicka Draga, Lovran, Opatija and round to Rijeka. Any of these places would make a good stop for a drink or a meal. Return to your house taking the inland route via the Ucka Tunnel (toll payable). You will need to allow at least half a day for this.
Crystal clear waters, underwater plant life, rock formations and sea life are all irresistible reasons to discover the ocean. Off the coast of Rovinj, explore the sunken shipwreck Baron Gautsch, said to be one of the 50 most beautiful diving sites in the world!
Purchase Your Daily Bread!
Bread in Istria is delicious. Many varieties are readily available in dedicated bakeries, mini markets and supermarkets, always freshly baked every day. You’ll find white and brown loaves and rolls, many seeded or with nuts, the range is endless. Brioche and croissants are also plentiful. Many restaurants or konobas bake their own fresh bread such as the Istarska Konoba at Bui?i, on the right hand side as you head towards Pore?, on the road from Žbandaj.
Etnografski Muzej Istre/Muzej Grada Pazina (Pazin’s Ethnographic and Town Museums)
Both housed in the medieval castle, there is an ethnographic collection representing traditional Istrian life as well as a display of archaeological finds from the area. (Tel. 052 622 220, open 1000-1800). By the way, Pazin’s market takes place on the first Tuesday of the month. Pazin is Istria’s administrative ‘capital’.
Go To Hell!
More accurately, visit Pazin Castle, a 16th century structure standing on the remains of its 10th century predecessor. It overhangs a gorge into which the river Pazin?ica disappears, supposedly the inspiration for Dante’s description of the Gateway to Hell in his Inferno as well as a major scene from Jules Verne’s 1885 novel Mathias Sandorf.
South east of Pazin, take a drive on road number 64, specifically the stretch between the villages of Gracišce and Pican. From these two vantage points, absorb the unique panorama of the valley from which Mount Ucka, the highest peak in Istria, rises (to 1,396 metres).
is a charming hilltop village offering magnificent views. Wander around its largely deserted lanes and look for the Romanesque gates set in the town walls and, just inside, its loggia dating from 1549. Nearby is the church of Sveta Marija, a square structure with portico and belltower and frescoed walls inside. Notable amongst the other churches is that of Sveta Eufemija with its 14th century crucifix, though largely rebuilt in the 1500’s. Look for the Masonic headstones with their ‘secret’ symbols some, intriguingly, with British names.
The little walled town of Pican was a bishop’s see from the 5th to the 18th century and, at the time, Istria’s smallest diocese. It has well preserved town gates dating from the 14th century and boasts some lovely medieval buildings. Views across central Istria's countryside are spectacular on a clear day. A festival celebrating Istrian legends, tales and myths is held at the end of July and at the beginning of August. The tiny Romanesque Church of St. Michael from the 13th century is situated at the top of 365 meters high Calvary Hill (Kalvarija), next to the cemetery. Being located on a hilltop, its natural viewpoint offers a wonderful view of the surrounding area.
Dubrova Mediteranski Kiparski Simpozij (The Dubrova Mediterranean Sculptors’ Symposium).
This is a nature park just north of Labin where, year after year, sculptors come from all over the world to enrich the existing collection of Istrian stone sculptures, leaving behind tangible examples of their creative work.
Try a Pizza!
Pizza in Istria is excellent and the real deal. Think large with a thin crust base, a variety of toppings, and baked in a wood-burning oven. Pizzas in Croatia are great value depending on size and the choice of toppings. The normal size pizza is big enough for two. Pizzerias also often serve grilled meats, salads, pasta, and risottos. Another Italian legacy! The Pizzeria in Sveti Lovrec is an excellent example!
Labin Art Republika
Head due east to the medieval hilltop town of Labin. Once a coalmining centre, in recent years it has transformed itself into a centre for the arts. Every Thursday or Friday from 8pm there are live performances, theatre productions, ateliers with artists in action and authentic crafts for sale at street stalls.