Novigrad in Istria, your place in Croatia where Museums relate to Indie Festivals and Wine to Nature

Novigrad or Cittanova (in Italian) is a town in northwestern Istria, Croatia. The name Novigrad means New city, and for me, it indeed was. Although I am from Istria, I honestly do not remember the last time I was there. At least not until last week when my friend invited me for a cup of coffee and a museum tour. To sum up, I gladly accepted the invitation and discovered a new and lovely city.

It is a popular destination for many people, mostly for its charming beaches and the sea. On the other hand, many travelers decide to visit Novigrad because of its rich history and culture. Maybe the best way to get to know its core is to mix all of the above. In that way, I am sure everybody will feel the chill and a bit bohemian vibe this city carries.

The sea and the sun is not everything Novigrad is made of

If you are like me and don’t like too crowded places, maybe you would never decide to travel to Novigrad. But think again! My friend Lara (a local) gave me some inside tips that I’m going to share with you. ☺

Firstly, it is quite empty from October to Easter time. If you visit Novigrad and Istria in this period, you will most likely enjoy discovering it in a more personal way. One of the potential problems is that a lot of local restaurants and shops are closed until spring. However, if you love nature, you can admire it while having a picking on the beach with no one around you but the sound of waves. 

Sea View in Novigrad, Istria, Croatia
Sea View in Novigrad, Istria, Croatia

Secondly, you will get a lot cheaper accommodation and experience a more calming vibe. The people who decide to take a road trip by car will find a parking spot very easy.  In other words, no reason to stress out about the traffic.

Last but not least, I must add that Novigrad has a Mediterranean climate. That is to say, if you are not a fan of high temperatures and don’t mind a bit of bura or jugo (typical winds in Istria), you will probably fall in love with Novigrad in every season. Spring and summer also have their pros for sure, but I will talk about that a bit later.

Archaeology meeting modern architecture at the Lapidarium Museum in Novigrad, Croatia

In the center of Novigrad, just a few minutes by walk from the coast, you can find the small Lapidarium museum. It is by no means a typical one.

Lapidarium Museum, Novigrad, Croatia
Lapidarium museum, mixing history with modern architecture

I visited the museum with my friend Barbara, and we both felt it is almost a part of nature. To clarify, thanks to curtain glass walls, the visitors get to see from the inside out. The view will include the park and the small streets surrounding the building. Isn’t it a cool way to connect a museum with all the cultural and natural beauty around it? Also, the interior walls are very dark. As a result, you experience the complete contrast between the dark colors of the walls and the white stone monuments.

Seeing sculptures and medieval furnishings mixed with modern elements was a fun way of observing the past and the present at the same time. The one I got most intrigued by was a grave stela portraiting two sisters. One of the curators told us this is a rare scenario throughout history since they mostly represented men.

The Stela - Lapidarium Novigrad
Stela portraiting two sisters. Inscription: F(austa) / HOSTILIAE C. F. FAUSTAE / HOSTILIA C. F. QUARTA / SORORI. V(iva) F (ecit). 1st century, limestone

HOW TO CONNECT ART AND HISTORY WITH INDIE MUSIC? Here is the answer.

Lapidarium is not only a home for medieval monuments. It is also a location where you can enjoy indie music and literature. If you want to know how, or if you have plans to visit Novigrad in May or June, keep reading. ☺

Indirekt festival is an independent art and music festival set in Umag, a city just 15 km away from Novigrad. However, one part of it (The Warm-up), is connected to the Lapidarium museum. In short, the Warm-up serves to discover art exhibitions and lectures linked to art. Where is a better place to found out more about art than in a museum? Above all, you can get lost in the world of heritage and history while listening to live music. In my opinion, a great way of learning in a more relaxing and fun atmosphere.

Summertime in Novigrad in Istria – experience the perfect mix of cultural heritage and beautiful landscapes in Croatia

My favorite season to visit Novigrad would be autumn. But do I think summer has its advantages? Absolutely. And here’s a few reasons why.

* The distance between the museum and the coast is, I would say, less than 200 meters 

* On your way, you will get to see the beautiful Church of St. Pelagius. It was a home for the monuments now situated in Lapidarium

* You can admire a view of the sea from the park in front of the Church

Saint Pelagius Church, Novigrad, Croatia
Church of St Pelagius. I tried to capture some of its beautiful details ☺

* The adorable Logga Belveder from the 16th century will be a perfect place to escape from the crowdy main street

Loggia
Loggia

* Two cute cocktail bars are only a few minutes away from the museum 

* All the parts of Novigrad are well connected, so you can enjoy wandering around the streets in the late evenings. I do suggest bringing a light jacket, just in case. 

* Last but not least- the sunsets from the coasts in Istria are like from a fairytale, trust me! <3

Port Mandrač, Novigrad, Istria, Croatia

Wine and walk… by the sea

Northwestern Istria is well known for its beautiful nature and good wine. And what happens when you connect the two? Wine and Walk manifestation!

Novigrad, and the area around it, have a lot of vineyards and wineries. It is also famous for the so-called wine roads. To clarify, other towns in the region organize similar manifestations on their wine roads.

Lara told me it is a great experience to attend because you get to enjoy taking a slow walk by the sea with a glass of good wine in your hand. Hmm, maybe I should explain the details. The tour starts from Port Mandrač in the city center and is 10 km long. But do not worry, there will be wine & food points on the route, where you can taste (for example) Istrian malvazija and try some traditional food. 

The event occurs in late September. Therefore if you find yourself in Novigrad at that time, I suggest you check it out. In my opinion, a perfect way to spend a day, right? 🙂

Wineyard in Istria, Croatia
Wandering around the vineyard

Well, I know it is not September, but Barbara and I decided to find one of those famous wine roads on our way back home. It didn’t take long to notice the first one, only a few kilometers away from the city. As a result, we took a walk by one of the charming vineyards. Clearly, to prepare ourselves for autumn.

P.S. While admiring nature, I remembered one limestone fragment from the museum, decorated with vines. I instantly thought it is a very convenient leitmotiv of the day.

Vines on the limestones, Lapidarium Museum

Further links

Lapidarium Museum Novigrad official website

Read my previous article about the Istria region in Croatia: Memo, the museum where good memories come back to life

Read one of the oldest Fun Museums posts, the 2015 article about a museum on the Croatian island of Korčula

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