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 2023
The parade of the Pula Carnival is in February (carnival month!), although there are also related events before and after this weekend.
Events in March 2023
The Days of Asparagus start in mid-March (running through to mid-May each year); the event will see a number of participating restaurants in the region showcase special dishes featuring…asparagus!
Events in April 2023
100 Miles of Istria (13th to 16th April 2023) 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 2023
Oleum Olivarum is a two-day olive oil exhibition held near Buje each year in early May.
The Rovinj Photodays photography festival takes place in early May each year; this year it will be on from 5th to 7th May 2023. There is a main exhibition featuring works submitted to the international photography competition, as well as 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 specialities. The exhibition also always features olive oils and brandies; over 100 exhibitors show wines, oils and spirits.
The intimate electro-music event Lighthouse Festival returns to Porec, taking place from 25th to 29th May 2023.
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!). The event normally always takes place on the last Sunday of May. Check local tourist offices for listings of participating wineries.
Events in June 2023
The Summer Sensual Days will take place from 1st to 4th June 2023 in Rovinj, featuring top world artists in over 40 hours of workshops, and beach and pool parties.
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.
The Croatian Summer Salsa Festival takes place from 12th to 19th June 2023 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!
Pula will be hosting RUN@PULA, a guided 5km running tour of the city every Tuesday and Thursday throughout summer from 15th June 2023. The tour starts in front of the Arena and includes entry to it too.
Florence + The Machine will perform in the Arena in Pula on 18th June 2023.
Indirekt is Istria’s first indie festival, taking place in mid-June.
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 he is celebrated with parts of the book (written in 1885) recreated in traditional costume.
Simply Red will be performing at Pula’s Arena on 21st June 2023.
The brand new Gates of Agartha music festival will be held in a former Roman quarry near Pula on 23rd & 24th June 2023.
Robbie Williams will also be playing Pula’s Arena on 28th June 2023.
Events in July 2023
Pula will be hosting a 3-hour Gourmet Tour every Wednesday evening from 1st July 2023 offering food and wine tasting as well as entry into the Arena.
Pula Film Festival will be in its 70th year in 2023, making it the oldest festival of its kind in Croatia. Held every July, Croatian and international films are shown at various locations in Pula, including in the stunning amphitheatre (the Arena) in the town.
The 33rd edition of the Croatia Open ATP tennis tournament takes place in mid-July in Umag. A selection of top men’s players (such as the 2021 champion, teen sensation Carlos Alcaraz), 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 (on at the end of July). Although held in this 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 2023
Burger Festival will take place on the Riva in Pula from 27th July to 15th August 2023, offering over 20 different types of burgers – plus good drinks and lots of fun – from some of the local best burger chefs!
The Last Minute Open Jazz Festival is held in the small but exceedingly pretty town of Bale in early August each year.
Imagine Dragons will be playing Pula’s Arena on 8th & 9th August 2023.
The second Sunday in August sees Rovinj host Grisia – an open-air art show that was first held in 1967.
Slatka Istra / Sweet Istria – presenting traditional Istrian cakes – takes place in the village of Vizinada (inland from Novigrad) in mid-August.
The history Trka na Prstenac will take place in the small town of Barban 18th to 20th August 2023. Sixteen horsemen in traditional costume compete on horseback over a specially marked track to race (in 12 seconds!) towards an iron ring (a prstenac) that they must hit with a spear. This year’s event is the 48th edition; however, this event was first recorded as taking place in 1696.
‘Leron‘ is an international folklore festival that takes place over two days in Vodnjan in late August each year.
Events in September 2023
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 Visualia Festivxal of Light should take place in Pula in mid-September.
The Weekend Media Festival, a regional communications event, takes place in Rovinj in September.
The FAKS International Folklore & Traditional Dance Festival will be held in Rovinj from 28th September to 1st October 2023.
Events in October 2023
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 plenty of information on these events on the Zigante Tartufi Days website.
Along the paths of Rovinj delicacies in early October sees certain Rovinj restaurants offer special menus for a promotional price. Taste some amazing Istrian delicacies!
The Ginistra Festival – obviously, all about gin – will be held in Rovinj on 6th & 7th October 2023.
Marunada is a festival devoted to chestnuts in October – sampling chestnut delicacies & chestnut liqueurs, collecting chestnuts…and plenty of games and sports events too! Marunada takes place in various venues, mainly near Lovran in Istria.
Teran Wine & Walk in and around Motovun covers a distance of 11.7km and is as it sounds – explore this beautiful part of inland Istria whilst also visiting local wineries on a special guided walk.
The Plava Laguna Ironman Triathlon will take place in Porec on 13th October 2023.
Tinjan in Istria is the venue of the International Prsut (Prosciutto) Fair (13th – 15th October 2023), with around 40 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 2023
The 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 2023
The Book Fair(y) in Istria will be held in Pula in late November/early December. 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.
Upcoming Events in Istria 2024
Avril Lavigne will be performing at the Pula Arena on 17th June 2024.