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Story: Jutting out into the Adriatic, this Istrian fishing town charms visitors with its low-lying hills that crescendo in Rovinj’s old town. Here, a compact network of cobbled streets, artisans’ studios and gelato bars is crowned by the 18th-century St Euphemia’s church. Clinging onto the steep descent to the water’s edge, Italianate houses overlook the restaurants and traditional wooden fishing boats that populate the harbour.

Punctuated by tall cedar and cypress trees, the protected forest of Zlatni rt – the Golden Cape – is best explored by bicycle. As summer’s temperatures climb, so do the number of bathers at the park’s Lone Bay, but you only need to make the short journey to the other side of the peninsula to enjoy a cove to yourself. Ahead of your excursion, assemble a picnic of local produce at the Green Market just off Rovinj’s Marshall Tito Square; cheeses, honey, truffles and seafood are especially good here – and don’t forget a snorkel.

To explore farther into Istra’s hinterlands is to enjoy the riches of Croatia’s natural bounty. Make a day trip to the hilltop towns of Motovun and Groznjan or the lush valleys and estuaries that surround the Mirna river and frolic through vineyards, olive groves and blooming fields of lavender.

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