Croatia’s secret beaches and little Venices

Head to Croatia’s northern Adriatic coast to discover some of the country’s most captivating regions. While Dubrovnik and other parts of southern Dalmatia get the lion’s share of attention, the Istrian peninsula and the neighboring islands and coastal ports of the Kvarner Gulf reveal other sides of Croatia’s rich culture and history.

In fact, there’s almost too much history to absorb – ancient Greeks and Romans, Venetians, Austro-Hungarians and Italians have all left their mark on the region’s architecture, the language and the food.

Ah, yes, the food. Truffles, olive oil and deliciously juicy oysters and mussels in Istria, fabulously fat langoustines in the Kvarner Gulf, gorgeously flavored lamb from Cres – and they all go beautifully with Istrian malvazija whites and teran reds, and a crisp white žlahtina from Krk.

When you’re not exploring ancient Roman ruins, Venetian villages and Habsburg towns, you’re basking on the hundreds of beaches that run along Istria’s long coastline to the neighboring Opatija Riviera and the shores of the Kvarner Gulf. Then hop on a ferry to roam the islands of the gulf – Krk, Cres, Lošinj and Rab – each accessible from the other, but all demanding a lingering look.

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