Note: The region of Istria is very well known for its gastronomic delights. As you’ll see below, a number of the annual events in Istria are based on delicacies from the region – oils, truffles, wines, chestnuts and so on. Do also check for events listings at local tourist offices; many of these types of events aren’t all that well publicised online.
Events in February 2020
The parade of the 6th Carnival will be held in Pula on 8th February 2020, although there’s also related events before and after this weekend.
The 8th Choco & Wine Festival takes place in Brtonigla on 15th – 16th February 2020, featuring honey, lavender, olive oil as well as the two main delights.
Events in March 2020
The Days of Asparagus start in mid-March (running through to mid-May each year) will see a number of participating restaurants in the region showcase special dishes featuring…asparagus!
Events in April 2020
100 Miles of Istria (17th – 19th April 2020) actually contains several events over the weekend – the 100 mile ‘Ultratrail’ endurance race; the 110km ‘Ultratrail’; and more ‘manageable’ 65km and 42km trails. Anyone can enter any of the races – if you’re brave enough! Over 1,000 competitors are expected.
Events in May 2020
Oleum Olivarum is a two-day olive oil exhibition held near Buje each year in early May.
The 13th Rovinj Photodays takes place 8th – 10th May 2020. There’s a main exhibition featuring works submitted to the international photography competition. There are also other exhibitions, lectures, workshops and presentations. The event always has one main theme and then additional photography displays on the side.
Each May, the Vinistra exhibition in Porec allows wine-lovers to come and sample local specialties. The exhibition also always features olive oils and brandies; over 100 exhibitors show wines, oils and spirits. In its 27th year this year, it will be on from 8th to 10th May 2020.
The Sea Star Festival will be on in Umag on 22-23 May 2020, part of the Exit group of festivals. There’s also an opening party on the 21st May and a closing party on the 24th!
The intimate electro music event Lighthouse Festival returns to Porec, taking place from 28th May to 1st June 2020.
Wine Day (“Open Wine Cellars Day”) allows people to tour the wine producers of Istria, conducting tastings (and hopefully purchasing wine too, if something takes your fancy!). This year, the event will take place on 31st May. Check local tourist offices for listings of participating wineries.
Events in June 2020
The Days of Antiquity event takes place in Pula in mid-June each year, with games, music and even a fair harking back to Roman times.
“Porec Summer” will take place starting from mid-June, normally through to September. This includes a wide variety of events including music, dance and more. Check locally for up-to-date listings.
Indirekt is Istria’s first indie festival, taking place in mid-June.
The Summer Sensual Days will take place from 22nd to 29th June 2020 in Rovinj, featuring top world artists in over 40 hours of workshops, and beach and pool parties.
The Days of Jules Verne takes place in Pazin towards the end of June; the author set part of his novel Matthias Sandorf in locations in Istria, so is celebrated with parts of the book (written in 1885) recreated in traditional costume.
Events in July 2019
The 16th Croatian Summer Salsa Festival will run from 29th June to 6th July 2020, bringing together dancers and fans of Latin music in the beautiful setting of Rovinj. Daily workshops will teach salsa from beginner right through to advanced levels, with a range of styles of salsa and dance techniques – all taught by some of the top dance instructors in the world! In the evenings, dance events will be held in different locations that are open for everyone to participate in. Famous Latin bands, DJs and salsa artists will also perform. A great dance event in a beautiful location on Croatia’s coast!
The street art Festival FUC takes place in early July in Labin.
The Pula Film Festival will be in its 67th year in 2020, making it the oldest festival of its kind in Croatia. Held this year from the 18th to 26th July, Croatian and international films are shown at various locations in Pula, including in the stunning amphitheatre (the Arena) in the town.
The 30th Croatia Open ATP tennis tournament will take place from 17th to 26th July 2020 in Umag. A clutch of top men’s players, including some of the best Croatian players, take part. Other fun goings on also normally accompany the event (live music, parties and more!), making it quite an eventful tennis tournament to attend! The main stadium there is named after Croatian tennis legend Goran Ivanisevic.
Organised by the Zagreb Dance Company, the Dance and Non-Verbal Theatre Festival San Vincenti takes place in mid-July featuring contemporary dance performances, physical theatre, mime, circus performances, street art and educational seminars and workshops from both Croatian and international groups.
Another film event in the region is the well-established and renowned Motovun Film Festival (28th July to 1st August 2020). Although held in a small (but very pretty) hilltop town in inland Istria, the event is considered one of the premier film festivals in Croatia. A variety of features from across the world are shown, from documentaries to full-length films.
Events in August 2020
LegendFest – a festival of folktales, legends and myths of Istria – is held in Pican, inland Istria, in August.
The Last Minute Open Jazz Festival is held in the small but exceedingly pretty town of Bale in early August each year.
The second Sunday in August sees Rovinj host Grisia – an open air art show that was first held in 1967.
‘Leron‘ is an international folklore festival that takes place over two days in Vodnjan in late August each year.
Events in September 2019
St Euphemia’s Day (Rovinj’s patron saint) is celebrated each year on 16th September. There’s usually a number of events taking place in the run-up too. Check locally to see what’s on!
The historic festival Giostra (pictured below) takes place in Porec in mid-September. There will be traditional costumes, music and games.
The 8th Visualia Festival of Light should take place in Pula in mid-September.
The Weekend Media Festival, a regional communications event, takes place in Rovinj in late September.
Events in October 2020
Starting in September, though mainly taking place in October and the beginning of November, the “Day of Truffles” events are actually a succession of truffle-themed days taking place every weekend. Enjoy tasting various food and dishes flavoured with this Istrian speciality. There’s also plenty of information on these events on the Zigante Tartufi Days website.
The Marunada is a festival devoted to chestnuts in October – sampling chestnut delicacies & chestnut liquers, collecting chestnuts…and plenty of games and sports events too! The Marunada takes place in various venues, mainly near Lovran in Istria.
The 12th Ethno Film Festival should be held in Rovinj in mid October featuring a number of Croatian and international ethnographic and documentary films.
Tinjan in Istria is the venue of the 14th International Prosciutto Fair (late October), with around 30 exhibitors from several European countries expected to show off their products.
Hum, the smallest town in the world (it’s official!) normally hosts a Brandy Festival at the end of October. The festival has tastings of brandies from Istria and other nearby regions.
Events in November 2020
The 26th Days of New Olive Oil will be held in Vodnjan in mid-November. Exhibitors from Istria, Dalmatia and neighbouring countries will be showcasing their oils.
Porec celebrates the Feast of St Maurus, its patron saint, on 21st November each year.
Events in December 2020
The 26th Book Fair(y) in Istria will be held in Pula in early December 2020. In case you are wondering about the unusual title; the actual title in Croatian is “San(j)am knjige u Istri” which is a slight play on words. “Sajam” means Fair whilst “sanjam” means dreaming, so “Fair of books in Istria” cleverly turns into “Dreaming of books in Istria”.
Unsurprisingly, like much of Croatia, towns across Istria will be marking Christmas for most of this month with special festive events. Most common will be Christmas or Advent fairs taking place in several towns (see locally for details – or just look to see if there’s a fair taking place!). These include music, singing, kids events and food (of course!), with New Year’s Eve celebrations (a concert and fireworks) also likely. Check out details for what’s on in Pula at Christmas on the Pula Tourist Office website, for example, or see what’s happening in Porec at Advent Porec.