Source: Croatian Traveller
The western coast of Istria that has been celebrated in song numerous times is adorned with a pearl too difficult to be described with words. Not even the photographs will do, because Vrsar needs to be experienced. As it usually is, this town of fishermen makes a much better living from tourism than from fishing in the 21st century. It is one of the most beautiful towns along the Croatian coast. There is no point to discuss tastes, but when we talk about the aesthetic advantages of Vrsar, the opinions are mostly similar.
On a hill that dives down to the turquoise sea, the old part of town seems like it has stubbornly resisted all changes and progress ever since it was established, in first century BC. Known then as Orsaria (comes from the word Or = izvor), it is a center of micro region in which the Mediterranean seafarers, between Funtana and Vrsar, stopped to replenish their water supply. Vrsar flourished during the Roman Empire, so we could say that the city was glad to greet its conquerors. The vicinity of an important town of Ravenna on the other side of the Adriatic was favorable for the development of Vrsar, so it became much more than a village on the Istrian peninsula.
However, the Slavs did not have too much sentiment for the beautiful Vrsar and all its charms, so they almost completely destroyed it when they made their breakthrough along river Dobra in late 6th and early 7th century. They drove out the indigenous Roman families, and decided to build “an even older and more beautiful” Vrsar. Of course, this is a little bit exaggerated history. Luckily, the Slavs were not that wild, or didn’t have efficient tools to completely destroy Vrsar, so many things from that time remained. And so did the Slavs. Some eight centuries later, Vrsar became the administrative center of Porec diocese. Let us not dig around the past too much (during which Vrsar was Austrian, then a part of the Napoleon empire, and in the end, Italian), we will just say that we are privileged by the fact that despite all turbulences throughout 21 centuries of its life, Vrsar was well preserved, beautiful, charming and unique.
When it comes to tourism, it is perhaps best known for Koversada, a beach and camping site that is one of the biggest in Europe, in the category of beaches and camping sites where textile is not used very often. Guests of Koversada call it “a naturist heaven”. Most of them have been coming here for a long time. Those who prefer clothes will find much more challenging things to the left of Vrsar hill, with Belvedere, Pineta, Vista, Patalon... all exclusive resorts, some of them even luxurious. Guests who come to Vrsar know that a lot has been done in that segment in the past ten years, and good quality accommodation is the last thing one should worry about in Vrsar.
Perhaps night life is not the forte of this Istrian town, but to be honest, there aren’t so many towns along the Adriatic with a “crazy” night life. It is a good circumstance that the town of Porec is only ten minutes away, and its night life is significantly better.
The advantage of Vrsar is the daily life. Salamon, Zavata, Galiner, Longa, Koversada, Galopon, Tuf, Figarolica, Lakal... Only a few people will know what we are talking about. These unusual names are islands and rocks that make swimming around Vrsar very much special. There you go, this is why this pearl on a hill of the western coast of Istria is different and interesting. Should we be surprised then that great artists like Dusan Dzamonja and late Edo Murtić chose Vrsar to be their small corner for finding inspiration for their work?