Poreč is something of a cross between Pula and Rovinj, although neither as street-smart nor as bohemian. It can be hard at first to recognise its true value. Hoards of visitors fill the treasured sixth-century Euphrasian Basilica, the ancient square built by Romans and the scores of restaurants, cafés and one-price-fits-all package hotels.
One of the most important historic sights in Croatia, the Euphrasian Basilica & Bishop’s Palace (Sv Eleuterija, 052 431 635; open Mar, Apr, Oct 9.30am-6pm, May, June Sept 9.30am-8pm, July, Aug 9.30am-10pm, all Mon-Sat; admission church 30kn; belfry 10kn, museum 10kn) was built in the sixth century by Bishop Euphrasius, a rare example of Byzantine art.
Restaurant staff attempt to pull you in for a meal in the pestrianised Old Town, and tacky souvenir shops cram the 2,000 year old stone-paved thoroughfare of Decumanus. But if you can see past the crowds, you can take in a lot of history. Decumanus, the square Trg Marafor, and the ruins of the temples of Neptune and Mars, are evidence of the Roman occupation. The harbour contains reminders of Venetian dominance until the 18th century, when Poreč was ruled by Napoleon and then the Habsburgs. The Venetians built a wall which stretched from the harbourside Round Tower, now hosting a bar, to the Pentagonal Tower, now a restaurant.
The resort hotels are outside town, on a green strip where pine forests run up to the beach, Plava Laguna and Zelena Laguna, linked by an open-air tourist train.
Festivals include the Valamar Jazz Festival in July (www.valamarjazz.com), with concerts in the Euphrasian Basilica and on the island of Sveti Nikola.