Vrsar doesn’t usually feature as a top recommendation when people are visiting Croatia. But those who have given this fishing town a chance have often said that they would gladly visit again. This, as you are about to discover in this travel guide, is an irresistible spot not to be missed. Vrsar, Croatia is located on the Istrian peninsula south of Porec.
The small fishing town of Vrsar is a true gem. Set on the small hill, it has stunning views, is surrounded by numerous islets and has beautiful sunsets. You will love the beautiful marina and the atmosphere of the old town. Other timeless charms in this small town include winding streets, seafront promenade, and old stone houses.
Being a small town makes it ideal as a family holiday destination. It has many resorts and campsites all within short walking distances from the old town. Similar to many places in Croatia, Vrsar is unquestionably for sea and nature lovers.
This is a good fishing settlement to visit, perfectly located between the Lim canal and Poreč. The locals are great and easy to interact with. Vrsar, Croatia is a surprise waiting to be explored and the memories of this town will stay with you for a lifetime.
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Getting to Vrsar, Croatia
Vrsar can be reached from several directions depending on where you are coming from. For example, it’s well connected with the towns of Poreč and Rovinj. However, the primary transportation hub for the Istria region is Pula. So, in all likelihood, unless you are driving, you will first land here before heading to Vrsar.
The central train station in Pula is extremely well-connected, serving all local towns in Istria including Vrsar. If you are coming from the Italian direction, Pula is also connected to cities like Trieste and Venice. Pula is also connected with neighbouring Slovenia by train.
If you are flying in, the nearest airports to Vrsar are found on the Island Krk (Pula) and Triest. Vrsar does, however, have a small airport that can be used to travel around. More on that later!
One of the easiest ways of accessing Vrsar is by water. Boats connect all the Croatian seaports along the Istrian coast with Pula being the main port. But the best way of reaching Vrsar is by private vehicle. This is also the most independent mode of travelling. Simply follow the directions on the Istrian Y, a Croatian highway network.
Best Time to Visit Vrsar
Because of the ideal climate, Vrsar is a fantastic holiday destination. No matter the time or season, the town is perfect. We, in particular, recommend spring when the flowers are blooming and the scenery is all green.
This area around Istria, Croatia has a beautiful Mediterranean climate. This means in winter, it’s only mildly cold and the summer is comfortably warm. In spring, the average temperature is about 12.5 degrees Celsius, about 24 in the summer, 15 in fall, while winter is about 5 degrees. If you are planning on hitting the beaches, we recommend the summer season.
However, in general, no matter when you come calling, Vrsar is a great destination. Rarely does it get so cold that you cannot walk around or ride your bike Top of Form to the numerous historical and cultural sites?
Getting Around Vsar
Whether travelling alone on a soul searching trip, on a lover’s excursion with your spouse, or with your family along with your pets, Vrsar will refresh you. It refreshes both the body and mind. This serene fishing town will leave you ready for the next face of your life.
Cycling is an excellent way of getting around Vrsar. The town is connected with Porec by a cycling trail, not asphalted though. This trail has great views as it mostly takes you by the sea. Alternatively, you can take the other direction and cycle toward Lim Bay. The town of Vrsar also has many inland cycling paths that we highly recommend, some passing through olive groves and vineyards.
But here is the clincher! Vrsar has something that most other cities don’t have: it has a small airport where you can hire a small plane and fly over the area as you admire the beautiful region from above! Of course, you can expect this activity to cost you more than your typical tourist excursion.
Aeropark Vrsar, a sort of Aviation Park, offers panoramic flights over the region and, if you are adventurous enough, tandem jumps.
Things to do in Vrsar Croatia
A millennia-old little town, Vrsar was once a tiny nondescript fisherman's village. Today, it is famous as a tourist destination. Just off the coast of Vrsar lies the beautiful Istrian archipelago that has 18 uninhabited tree-filled islands.
Visitors are enchanted by the natural beauty of this small old fishing settlement that also boasts of a naturally sheltered harbour. And there is much to do and see in Vrsar such that you might not even know where to start. Our Vrsar, Croatia travel guide is meant to help you in that regard and much more.
Admire the Historic Main Town Gates
As you enter the town, you pass by the two historic old gates that welcome visitors to the picturesque neighbourhoods. The Romanesque design gates date to the 13th century and serve as the city entrance.
You will marvel at the semicircular arch designed with intimate and detailed carvings. At one point in time, the gates had Istrian oak wings bound by iron. They originally formed part of the town walls that protected the villagers from marauding intruders. Today, however, only fragments of the walls have been preserved and these can be seen when you walk around Vrsar.
Enjoy the Town’s Viewpoints
Vrsar has many great viewpoints that give you unique views of this quaint small fishing village. Besides, the whole town is beautifully perched on top of a hill with magnificent views of the blue waters of the Adriatic. A sharp, short walk to the hills above the old town gives a spectacular and eye-popping view of the Vrsar archipelago.
The best part is that the town of Vrsar has 3 arranged viewpoints equipped with coin-operated binoculars. This means you don’t even need to buy or bring your own. Simply insert some change and the spectacular views below are yours to behold.
The village will also accord you a glorious view of Istria’s west coast, perhaps why past rulers choose it as the ideal spot for their fortresses. Today, you can still see some of these fortification systems as you stroll down the neighbourhoods. Talk of walking back in time!
Visit Monuments and Landmarks in Vrsar
Vrsar has many remarkable landmarks and monuments. Just to mention some notable ones that you may want to check out, we recommend the Church of St. Foška, the remains of the City Gate, the Roman Necropolis, and the old Romanesque City Gate.
Others we found to be of interest include the St. Martin Romanesque, the Church of St. Anthony Church, and the Romanesque Basilica of St. Mary of the Sea (10th century). You cannot afford to miss the remains of a prehistoric settlement that lies on the top of the promenade as well as harbour abandoned quarries.
Tour Dzamonja Sculpture Park
The park is located just off campsite Orsera towards Porec. This is a beautiful sculpture park that spreads over 10 hectares and is open to all. The sculptures on display here are the creations of Dusan Dzamonja. This is a renowned artist whose works can also be found in London’s Tate Gallery and New York’s Museum of Modern Art. The works can also be seen in the various museums of modern art in Antwerp, Paris, and other cities.
If sculptures don’t interest you, why not visit Dino Park? This park is located in Funtana, a small village just a couple of kilometres from Vrsar. This is a unique disposition of life-size moving dinosaurs, but electric dinosaurs. If you are travelling to Vrsar with your family, this is an excellent entertainment spot, suitable for both kids and adults.
Koversad, a True Nature Lover’s Paradise
If you love nature, you are in the right place. This is also home to an expansive nature camp known as Koversada. In fact, this is one of the main reasons why visitors flock to this town. Nature lovers consider this area an absolute paradise.
This is also one of the few locations in the world where you will have the chance of enjoying both the crystal clear sea and idyllic green sceneries. You will find lots of activities to be enjoyed in this small village such as picnics, boat excursion tours, and fishing among others.
Surfing and Sailing Explorations
Vrsar’s fame stems from being a fishing and boating community. You can easily rent sailboats, pedal boats or surfboards and explore the waters. Here, you get the chance of experiencing the world-famous Croatian blue waters.
What if taking to the sea doesn’t tickle your fancy? Well, just jump into your swimsuit and enjoy a relaxing swim or simply sunbathe on the sands.
Visit the Marina in Vrsar, Croatia
On the northern part of the Vrsar Harbor is located the only marina found here. It has 40 berths on land and 200 berths in the sea. The marina facilities include a reception office, café/bar, restaurant, hotel, shops, toilets, car park, and fuel. If you are looking to relax in the afternoon or evening, the Vrsar marina is the place to be.
Attend Festivals in Vrsar
Love social and community events? The town has several festivals throughout the year. Perhaps the most famous, or infamous, is the Casanova Festival. Legend has it that the legendary Italian lover, Giacomo Girolamo Casanova visited Vrsar several times. Casanova Festival is a celebration of love and celebrates that historic connection. The famous lover is celebrated in town every June.
Perhaps the erotic is not your thing? Then watch out for the International Montraker Sculpture School. This has been taking place since 1991 in the last week of September. Here, international artists gather and showcase their works at an abandoned quarry. Every year, all the sculptures from previous school workshops are exhibited throughout Vrsar on beaches, parks, and the waterfront.
Into rock music? An event you may want to explore is the Montraker festival, one of Istria’s few rock festivals. This takes place for 3 days (Thursday to Saturday) in mid-July.
Resorts in Vrsar usually organize entertainment for their guests that includes day-long activities that range from creative, educational, artistic to sports activities suitable for all ages.
Food and Drinks in Vrsar
It’s often said that you only truly experience and know a town after tasting the local food. And that you must do when in Vrsar. So, don’t forget to dine and taste what the local restaurants have to offer as that will give you a taste of the local culture. Being a fishing village, fish is prepared according to old traditional recipes and it goes with lots of delectable local meals.
The town has many restaurants and taverns (konoba locally) which offer traditional Istrian food and strain autochthonous wines. Look out for minestra (an Istrian vegetable soup), boskarin meals (autochthonous Istrian ox), home pasta, truffles, asparagus, and, of course, fresh seafood.
Famous Istrian wines to try to include Teran and Malvasia, and you may want to try those at Casanova Beach Bar. This is a popular beach bar that offers day-long entertainment and you will find it at the beachfront. In summer, there are many concerts and parties at this popular venue.
Accommodation in Vrsar
Vrsar is a small seafront town that isn’t overflowing with tourists, so you might not find any big 5-star luxury hotels here. It does, however, have modest accommodation and has two notable hotels: Hotel Vista and Hotel Pineta. Hotel Vista is centrally located and also close to Vrsar’s seaside promenade.
This is the only town in Istria with resort type properties that are within walking distances from the old town. In particular, we single out Petalon and Belvedere as the best tourist resorts in Vrsar. Petalon Resort is on a peninsula that is surrounded by a dense pine forest. Other notable resorts include Koversada Apartments Naturist Resort and Koversada Villas Naturist Resort.
Although the town has many types of accommodation, private accommodations and campsites predominate the scene. One of Vrsar’s biggest campsites is capable of accommodating 6,000 people. Valkanela has 2000 camp units connected with electricity plus water hook-ups. This is the ideal site when you are travelling with family. The Valkanela beaches are 3 km long dotted sandy, rocky, and pebbly beaches.