Can we drive to Istria?
Yes. It is closer than you would expect. And many of our customers already have! Pula, at the southern tip of Istria, is less than 1000 miles from the Channel Tunnel and Dover Ferry. This is less driving than to the centre of Spain, and 350 miles closer than either Seville or Malaga. We can supply comprehensive and varied routes by post/email.
Can we fly to Istria?
Yes, from April to October you can now fly from Stansted direct to Pula with Ryanair.com and, in the summer, you can fly directly to Pula from a number of UK airports with Thomsonfly.com.
Another alternative is to fly to Trieste with Ryanair, Ljubljana with
Easyjet (each about 2 hours drive from Pula). We can offer a collection and
return service, meaning that you can hire a car from the next day for a
lower overall cost. Flight times are very short, typically 1 hr 45 mins in
the air. Also look at Croatia Airlines and Monarch Airlines as these will be flying regularly too!
Do we need a visa?
Not for visits and holidays up to three months. For this you will only need your passport. We can assist with visa applications if you decide you want to live here.
Are there any special health requirements?
There are no mandatory vaccination requirements. Just remember your suntan lotion! All tourists from the UK have a right to free emergency medical care. Certain medical services must be paid for but the fees are reasonable.
Are pets allowed?
Pets are welcomed almost everywhere but must have an international certificate (EU Pet Passport. Vaccinations, particularly for rabies, must be up to date and you must have the necessary health check documents from your vet.
Can we hire a car?
There are lots of car hire firms around. If you are flying to Trieste or
Slovenia make sure the company allows driving into Croatia (not all do). Our
local car hire is extremely satisfactory and always gives our customers a
generous deal. We use him regularly and know that he is trustworthy and his
insurance is very good.
What about Public Transport?
The local and 'intercity' bus services are reliable and cheap - you can get from Trieste to Pula in about 4 hours for less than £10. There are good rail links between most of the towns. However, our recommendation is to always hire a car as the roads are so good here and the driving so relaxed and the sights so close!
Can we drink the water?
All the mains tap water is potable; we have not bought bottled water since arriving in Istria.
Will there be language problems?
The younger generation and anyone involved in the tourist industry can generally speak English. Italian and German are widely spoken too. We have had very few problems communicating and believe it to be easier than in Italy, Spain or France. The local TV has many English and American shows which do not have voiceovers! Just Croatian subtitles!
What currency should we bring?
The Croatian Currency is the Kuna (currently about
8 to the GBP). Some of the larger shops, hotels, restaurants also accept Euros. Credit cards are accepted widely and there are many Currency Exchange Bureaus if you want to bring Sterling. Our advice is to bring British Pounds and exchange to Kunas here as the exchange rate is much better at this end! You will lose exchanging in England.
Is it safe to swim in the sea?
Yes. It is very clean, and very calm because of the protection given by all the islands nearby. An added benefit is the high salt level, which makes swimming very easy - you literally float! The beaches, so close to here, are the cleanest and most beautiful. Do bring 'sea wearable' sandals or rubber swimming shoes because these are rocky beaches and we do have sea urchins!
What can we expect from the weather?
Istria enjoys a typical southern Mediterranean climate. Spring and Autumn temperatures tend to be in the mid twenties, Summer in the thirties. The winter can be cold, typically between 5 and 10 degrees, but we have found it to be bright; ideal for painting and other outdoor activities. Most of our apartments have central heating for the cold weather (when Istria is still a really beautiful place to visit) and good fans for when it is hot!
Is there much crime?
The police here are responsible for the protection and safety of tourists as well as locals. We feel very safe and comfortable in all circumstances. The Istrian people really are very friendly and welcoming. The widespread use of English is a bonus and the police are very approachable. However we do, of course, recommend you take sensible precautions to avoid theft of personal items as you would in any country.
What's the food like?
We have experienced a great variety of meals from the smallest family run restaurants to the big hotels. The quality has always been excellent and the costs are very reasonable. Fresh fish from the Adriatic is most popular, many kinds of meat are available and we have noticed vegetarian options are on most menus.
A very wide range of locally produced wines, brandies and beers are available as well as the usual soft drinks and branded products. Self-catering is simple, small markets are common and supermarkets can be found in all the towns. The open-air markets supply a fantastic quality of fresh salads and vegetables, fish, cheeses and meats at very reasonable prices.
What is the electricity supply?
Bring the usual European two-pin plug adaptor - everything else is the same: 220v-240v, 50Hz.
Nigel & Sue Simpson, Istria Life
Istra Zivot d.o.o Tourist Agency
Glavani 4 52207 Barban Croatia
00385 52 522 920 00385 91 896 4525