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, as many of these types of events aren’t all that well publicised online.
Events in January 2017
A New Year’s Day bike ride will take place in the Umag region (starting and ending in the town itself) on a route that’s roughly 30km long. There will be a toast along the way to mark the new year, along with some sweet treats! A great, refreshing way to start the new year.
Events in February 2017
The third Carnival will be held in Pula on 18th February 2017, although there’s also related events before and after this weekend.
The fifth Choco & Wine Festival takes place in Brtonigla on 18th & 19th February 2017, featuring honey, lavender, olive oil as well as the two main delights.
Events in March 2017
Oleum Olivarum is a two-day olive oil exhibition held near Buje each year, this year on 11th & 12th March.
Events in April 2017
100 Miles of Istria (7th – 9th April 2017) 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.
The Days of Asparagus (which starts in mid-March and runs through to mid-May each year – this year’s dates are 21st March to 14th May) will see a number of participating restaurants in the region showcase special dishes featuring…asparagus!
The Ethno Film Festival will be held in Rovinj 27th to 29th April 2017 featuring a number of Croatian and international ethnographic and documentary films.
Events in May 2017
The tenth Rovinj Photodays takes place in early May 2017; as well as the main exhibition featuring works submitted to the international photography competition, the event also includes 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 – now in its 24th year – also always features olive oils and brandies; over 100 exhibitors show wines, oils and spirits.
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 takes place on a Sunday in late May each year.
The intimate electro music event Lighthouse Festival returns to Porec for 2017, taking place from 24th to 28th May.
Events in June 2017
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) with a wide variety of events including music, dance and more. Check locally for up-to-date listings.
The street art Festival FUC takes place in mid-June in Novigrad.
Indirekt is Istria’s first indie festival, taking place in mid-June.
The Summer Sensual Days will take place from 20th to 26th June 2017 in Rovinj, featuring top world artists in over 40 hours of workshops, and beach and pool parties.
The 13th Croatian Summer Salsa Festival will run from 26th June to 3rd July 2017, 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, and famous Latin bands, DJs and salsa artists will also perform. A great dance event in a beautiful location on Croatia’s coast!
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 2017
Croatian cello duo 2Cellos will be performing at the Arena in Pula on 2nd July 2017 – sure to be a magical concert in a magical venue!
The Festival of Cheese should taking place in Svetvincenat on a weekend in mid July 2017.
The Pula Film Festival will be in its 64th year in 2017, making it the oldest festival of its kind in Croatia. Held this year from the 15th to 22nd July, Croatian and international films are shown at various locations in Pula, including in the stunning amphitheatre (the Arena) in the town.
The Seasplash Reggae Festival will be on from 20th to 23rd July 2017 in Fort Punta Christo near Pula, with various international reggae bands performing.
The Organum Histriae organ festival takes place in several towns in Istria in July.
The 27th Croatia Open ATP tennis tournament will take place from 14th to 23rd July 2017 in Umag. A clutch of top men’s players, including some of the top Croatian players, take part. A number of other fun goings on also normally accompany the event, making it quite an eventful tennis tournament to attend!
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.
Sting will be performing in Pula’s stunning Area – his third appearance at this venue – on 26th July 2017. Tickets can be purchased at eventim.hr.
Another film event in the region is the well-established and renowned Motovun Film Festival which takes place at the end of July each year 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 2017
The 8th Solo Positivo International Music Documentary Film Festival will be held in Opatija in early August.
LegendFest – a festival of folktales, legends and myths of Istria – is held in Pican, inland Istria, in early 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.
The sister event to Outlook (see below) – Dimensions Festival – will return to Fort Punto Christo near Pula from the 30th to 3rd September 2017.
Events in September 2017
The five-day Outlook Festival takes place in Punto Christo, Pula from 7th to 10th September 2017 (with the opening concert in Pula’s Arena on 6th September); labelled as “Europe’s largest bass culture and dubstep festival”, the event is celebrating its tenth year this year. Read more about it on our Festivals in Croatia – Outlook Festival page.
St Euphemia’s Day (Rovinj’s patron saint) is celebrated each year on 16th September, although 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 takes place in Porec in mid-September. There will be traditional costumes, music and games.
The Weekend Media Festival, a regional communications event, takes place in Rovinj 21st – 24th September 2017.
The MTB Parenzana brings together cyclists from around the world to take part in this official World Bicycle Federation race at the end of September each year. Although this is a professional race, there are also other fun – and more leisurely – events taking place during the weekend for cycling amateurs and enthusiasts! Other cycling events in the region that take place throughout the year can be found at the Istra Bike website.
The Bijeli Lav (White Lion) Festival – and underwater film festival – takes place at the end of September.
Events in October 2017
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 seventh annual Pula Boat Fair will be held 11th – 13th October 2017, with a variety of boats and marine equipment expected to be on show.
Tinjan in Istria is the venue of the 11th 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, with tastings of brandies from Istria and other nearby regions.
Events in November 2017
The 23rd Days of New Olive Oil will be held in Vodnjan in mid-November, with exhibitors from Istria, Dalmatia and neighbouring countries showing off their oils.
Porec celebrates the Feast of St Maurus, its patron saint, on 21st November each year.
Events in December 2017
The 23rd Book Fair(y) in Istria will be held in Pula in early December 2017. 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 fairs taking place in several towns (see locally for details – or just look to see if there’s a fair taking place!) that 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.