Where to stay in Novigrad...
Its exterior built into a section of Venetian wall in the centre, the Cittar is one of the best deals in Istria. Run by a friendly team under Sergio Cittar, it has 14 rooms with varnished floors, big beds and bath tubs. A breakfast of warm croissants, meats and cheeses is taken in the sunny conservatory. Half-board is offered in summer, when you should book well ahead. The nearby Villa Cittar (052 758 780) has a dozen stylish rooms and is open all year.
Located in a residential area 2km north of the centre, the Makin has 14 simple rooms and is run, like the adjacent Taverna Sergio, by ex-footballer Sergio Makin. There’s a pleasant terrace and garden, as well as a swimming pool and sauna.
Djurdja and Lino Beletić run this sturdy three-star pension and restaurant in the centre of town with a dozen clean, comfortable rooms, some overlooking a courtyard. Their homely eaterie is a destination in its own right, offering a fine spread of local specialities at knockdown prices to guests and non-guests alike.
Presiding over well-kept gardens a short walk along the shore from central Novigrad, the Seventies-era Maestral has been given a new lease of life following extensive renovations in 2011. Rooms are decked out in neutral grey-blue or camel-brown hues, while the reception area, lobby bar and sea-facing terrace have the expansive sweep of a big resort hotel. The emphasis is very much on physical well-being: there’s a state-of-the-art spa and beauty centre, proper-sized indoor pool, a huge gym, and several rows of tennis courts on the doorstep. With facilities like these it’s no surprise the Maestral remains popular out of season, when it’s frequently used by sports teams as a training camp.
Opened in 2006 right beside Novigrad’s well-equipped yachting marina, the Nautica combines nautical flavour with contemporary comforts. The bespoke, dark wood, leather and brass furniture is styled after on-board fittings – it even extends to the ship’s wheel bedheads. With a restaurant, a large lounge bar, indoor pool and spa, it’s a welcome addition to Istria’s rapidly improving hotel stock. For those on sailing holidays, the ship-to-shore facilities could not be better.