Labin Art Republika
When: July 2 to August 31, 2016
|Photo credit: Labin Art Republika|
This two-month long festival is hosted by the city of Labin, one of Istria's many charming hilltop towns. This is probably the longest and the most eclectic festival, running all summer long, and featuring a variety of events, most of which happen in the open air. This includes live music, a jazz festival, documentary films, theatre, dance, plays for children, stand-up comedy, art exhibitions, and night walking tours of the old town. The full programme of events is available on the Labin Art Republika website.
Jazz is back!
When: July 12 to 30, 2016
|Photo credit: Colours of Istria|
Even if you you're not a fan of jazz, you should definitely go to Grožnjan during this annual summer festival. Grožnjan is high on my list of favourite Istrian hilltop destinations, and this delightful village of cobbled lanes and stone houses has a magical atmosphere during this festival. Come early so you can enjoy a drink while watching the sunset over the hills at Kaya, and wander through the maze of narrow streets to the sounds of jazz, while having a peek inside the many art galleries on the way. You can see the full programme here.
When: July 18 to 28 August, 2016
Where: Brijuni Islands
This unique open-air theatre runs its season for six weeks on the islands of Brijuni, which are easily reached by ferry from the port town of Fažana. The ferry ride is included in the performance ticket price, and is a novel way to start the evening. This summer, the highlight of the 2016 season is the commemoration of 400 years since the death of William Shakespeare, with the staging of King Lear and Richard III. Richard III is produced by Almeida Theatre and directed by Rupert Goold, with Ralph Fiennes starring as Richard III and Vanessa Redgrave as Queen Margaret. Tickets will sell out fast for this one, so be sure to book here!
Festival of dance and non-verbal theatre
When: July 22 to 25, 2016
|Photo credit: Festival of dance and non-verbal theatre|
Svetvinčenat (also known as Savičenta) is not located on a hilltop, but this town in central Istria has a special atmosphere. It has an impressive 16th century church on a picturesque square with an old public well, and the town is dominated by the 13th century Grimani castle. The performances take place on the square itself, in the loggia, and in the unique setting of the castle. There are also plenty of little cafes, and a couple of pizzerias, for a pre- or post-performance drink or bite. You can check out what's happening at this festival of dance and non-verbal theatre on its website.
Motovun Film Festival
When: July 26 to 30, 2016
|Photo credit: Motovun Film Festival|
Motovun is, yes – located on a hilltop, and is one of Istria's best-known, and most photographed towns. It also gets many tourists during the summer, but this doesn't mean it is not worth a visit. The best time to visit is in the early morning – or during this festival, one of Croatia's best-known film festivals. Some of the screenings take place in the open air on the town's scenic squares. To find out which films will be featured this year, visit the Motovun Film Festival website.
Last Minute Open Jazz Festival
When: August 1 to 4, 2016
This festival is in its 10th year and is an initiative of Kamene Priče, a local tavern/bar in the pretty medieval town of Bale. This is another place where you'd want to come early to have time to explore its narrow lanes and old stone houses. The concerts take place outdoors on a charming square in front of the town's castle. The programme is available at this link.
Enjoy the summer!