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More a fishing town than a tourist place, Fažana will charm you precisely because of that.
- How to get to Fažana and get around
- 5 things not to miss
- Where to stay?
- Where to eat?
- Top 3 day trips from Fažana
- 5 things you didn’t know about Fažana
Fažana is the biggest settlement on the otherwise sparsely populated stretch of the Istrian coast between Pula and Rovinj. It’s neighbouring Pula and sits right across the famous Brijuni islands. Unlike many Istrian towns, Fažana is not overwhelmed by tourism and is still a relatively quiet place. If you are looking for an unpretentious holiday with an unmistakable Istrian touch, Fažana is for you.
Fažana’s closest airport is Pula’s. If not driving yourself, a taxi ride will take about 20 minutes. Just make sure to get a licensed taxi, as local drivers are prone to scamming tourists. It’s possible to reach Fažana from Pula by public transport too – there is a shuttle bus from the airport to Pula’s bus station. See below for more info.
If coming by car, best to take Istria’s “Y” motorway system, connecting the peninsula to Rijeka, Zagreb, Slovenia and Italy. Exit it at Vodnjan south, turn left onto road 21, then right onto Galižanska cesta, leading you straight to Fažana.
There are no intercity bus lines serving Fažana, so you will have to travel to Pula if coming by bus. A local bus line connects Fažana and Pula, starting from Giardini, Pula’s main square. Additionally, a number of bus lines connect it to the bus station, and by foot it’ll take about 20 minutes. See the webpage of Pula’s public transport company.
Fažana itself is easily manageable by foot. However, having a car or a bike will help you explore the surrounding area more.
5 things not to miss in Fažana
One of Fažana’s main attractions is its kilometres long promenade, running up to the neighbouring Peroj village. With a view of the Adriatic Sea and Brijuni islands, it makes for a great walk or a bike ride and offers some spectacular sunsets. Also, make sure to check out the water sports offer Fažana is known for. Some of the options are renting a boat or a jet ski, taking a boat ride around the local archipelago, or joining the local fishermen for a fishing experience. See Fažana’s tourist board page, linked below, for more info.
At Fažana’s southern end, next to Štinjan village, you will find Hidrobaza, a popular beach. The place has a peculiar history, as in times when fascist Italy ruled Istria, it served as an aeroplane base. More precisely, as a seaplane base, hence its name.
It was destroyed in a bombing before the end of World War 2, but some of the old infrastructure is still visible. Nowadays, it’s a place where locals and visitors go to swim and relax.
Punta Christo Fort
Austrian-Hungarian Empire ruled Istria until the end of World War I and made Pula its chief military harbour. Obviously, the Empire built dozens of fortresses in the area around Pula, and one of the biggest and best-preserved is Punta Christo fort. It sits on the peninsula of the same name, located south of the aforementioned Hidrobaza beach. Until 2019, it was known as the place for summer music festivals. The festivals have sadly left Istria for the time being, but the monumental fortress is well worth visiting. Be sure to check out the lighthouse at the tip of the peninsula, and the hidden beaches around the fortress make for an intimate swim.
In Roman times, Fažana was known as the place where the best olive oil was produced. The remains of ancient oil mills found here testify to that. Today, the area around Fažana is still where some of the world’s best oils come from. Especially renowned is the nearby town of Vodnjan, also called the Croatian capital of olive oil.
The producers to check out for tasting and shopping are Cadenela, Brist, Meloto, Chiavalon, and Agroprodukt’s Salvela brand (this company also runs a very good winery too). For those who wish to learn more, some of the aforementioned producers offer guided tours through their olive groves.
Founded by famous Hollywood Croatian-born actor Rade Šerbedžija and writer Borislav Vujčić in 2001, this festival sees the abandoned fortresses and other locations on Brijuni islands turned into stages for classic plays such as King Lear or Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf. The plays usually happen throughout July and August, so if you find yourself in Fažana at the time, best to check out what’s on the programme.
Currently, the only major provider of accommodation in town is the three-star hotel Istra. Currently, an old Austro-Hungarian villa, San Lorenzo, is being refurbished into a 5-star hotel. So, your best bet for finding where to stay is to check the offer of guesthouses, villas, boutique hotels and apartments. Camping is also possible in the area – two big campsites are Pineta and Bi Village Holiday Center. Both are located a bit outside of the town’s centre and offer mobile homes for rent.
For seafood, try konoba Feral or restaurant Officina del Pesce. Another great place is konoba Alla Beccaccia, more meat-oriented, in the nearby village Valbandon. For simpler food, try Arboretum pub, known for burgers, and La Bodega.
One of the most famous Istrian attractions is a short boat ride away from Fažana. This national park was one of the first tourist places in Croatia, serving as a resort for wealthy Austrians until the end of World War I.
After World War II, the place became the summer residence of communist Yugoslavia’s president-for-life, Tito, where he received guests ranging from famous politicians like Nasser or Nehru, to movie stars like Sophia Loren and Elizabeth Taylor. The place is open for visitors today, with its parks and Tito’s museum among its main attractions. And don’t forget about the Ulysses Theatre.
Istria’s biggest city is less than half an hour away by bus so it wouldn’t make much sense to miss it. The main attraction there is the Roman arena, one of the best-preserved in the world, and a number of other Roman remains scattered throughout the city. Make sure to check out the offer of events in Pula – apart from Pula Film Festival, the Arena also hosts big-name concerts and events such as staged gladiator fights.
The most popular Istrian city is only half an hour away by car. An old Italian town, with colourful houses located on a peninsula, it makes for one of the most romantic places on the Croatian coast. Make sure to visit the church of Saint Euphemia and take a walk in the Golden Cape park forest.
3 things you didn’t know about Fažana
A statue found on Fažana’s promenade is dedicated to Croatia’s greatest boxer of all times, Mate Parlov. Born in Split, he moved to Pula as a kid. His achievments include winning Olympic gold medal, and winning European and world championship both as a professional and as an amateur, all in light heavyweight category. He was also the first professional world champion from a communist country. After retiring from boxing, he first moved back to Pula, then to Fažana, where he spent his last days.
As mentioned, Fažana is a fishing town, and the most important catch is one of the most modest species of fish: sardine (or pilchard). There is even an academy dedicated to the fish, which organizes events such as a school of fish salting, a school of preparing sardine dishes, and a festival of fish dishes. Most are held in tourist season so check their webpage for the ongoing programmes.
Skateboarding Film Festival
How unique is a movie festival dedicated solely to skateboarding? Fažana’s August Šenoa skateboarding club started Vladimir Skate festival in 2011, and by now it grew into a three-day event. Held in late September, it showcases movies, photos and art installations concerning skateboarding. A skate park is also under construction. For more info, check August Šenoa club’s Facebook page.
To follow the latest news from Istria, check out the dedicated TCN page.