18 May 2009

Istria - Poreč /Parenzo

Poreč (Italian: Parenzo) has the highest number of hotel rooms in Croatia, with numerous hotels located at the Zelena and Plava Lagunas (Green and Blue Lagoons). Avoid them, or face the German and Italian package tour groups at your own risk. When you do go (we suggest spring or fall), it will obviously be to see St. Euphrasius’ Basilica, one of the westernmost examples of Byzantine mosaics, and possibly to stop by Ulixes for lunch or an early dinner and Torre Rotonda for a coffee overlooking the peninsula. Then book it out of town – it is seriously preferable to stay in Rovinj (or anywhere else in Istria for that matter). However, given that it is the biggest tourist trap in Istria, it does have good connections by ferry and hydrofoil to Piran, Venice, and of course Pula and the rest of the Croatian coast. (Seriously, don't stay here. Cittanova is around 20 km away - go there, go anywhere, just don't stay in Poreč.)

Hotel Valamar Riviera
Obala M. Tita 15
+385 (52) 465 000 (reservations)
Excellent location in the old town, considering that it is the old town in Poreč. But if your hydrofoil from Venice is delayed, you may have to stay overnight and this is right on the waterfront.  Formerly the Hotel Neptune, it was renovated as part of the Valamar group in 2010.

Hotel Mauro
Obala M. Tita 15
+385 (52) 219 500
Small hotel located on the shorefront drive in the old town, the Mauro is moderately priced and has exceedingly friendly staff.  The over-automatic rooms are a bit too much (personally don't like automatic faucets on the bathroom sink - try shaving with one of those).  Small rooms with seaview, or larger rooms at same rate but no view.  Open in offseason.    

Peterokutna Kula
Dekumanova 1
+385 (52) 451 378
Although obviously catering to tourist, the "Pentagonal Tower" (aptly named) does seafood well and has a convenient location at the beginning of Decamanus street.  Pleasant staff, and open in the off-season as well.

Restaurant Ulixes
Decumanus 2
+385 (52) 451 132
+385 (91) 576 2004
Truffles again (mixed into the pasta, drizzled into soup, fermented in the cheese), as well as numerous other things that they seem to do wonderfully including a plethora of seafood and “biftek veli jože”(a.k.a. beefsteak with truffles served with fuži in truffle sauce). Decent Istrian wine list. To find it walk from the main square towards Peterokutna Kula and Ulixes will be in a courtyard on your right. Pleasant garden seating in the summer, not terrible looking indoor seating for more inclement weather. But then, you’re not there for the decor.  Closed in winter.

Torre Rotonda
Narodni Trg 3a
+385 (98) 255 731
If you find yourself in Poreč, an afternoon stop at Torre Rotonda is an ideal spot to have a drink overlooking the old town and the sea. But remember: Don’t be in Poreč in June, July, or August.

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