Located at the very entrance to the Lim Channel, Vrsar is a small, unassuming town with a history that’s nearly two thousand years long. Its historic core was built on a hill which means that views from anywhere on it are quite stunning.
But, this lovely town has much more than just sightseeing to offer. Aside from the beautiful nature of the Lim Channel that you can explore by hiking and cycling, the tourist offer in the area includes exciting outdoor activities such as adrenaline sports and theme parks. And of course, being a coastal town, the beaches of Vrsar will not disappoint you, either.
If you’re looking for a lovely little uncrowded place that will double as a great base for your exploration of the Istrian coast, Vrsar will be a fantastic choice.
Best historical sites in Vrsar
1.1. Main City Gate
The main gate of the historic Vrsar was built in the 13th century in the Romanesque style, and received a Venetian makeover during the second half of the 18th century. Fun fact: in wintertime the gate would close at 7 pm and during the summer at 8 pm, and stayed closed till dawn.
1.2. Church of St. Fosca
The interior of this church doubles as an exhibition space for the sacred art of the Vrsar parish. The artwork on display has blended in so well that some of the paintings now serve as retables for the side altars.
1.3. St. Martin’s Church
The parish church of Vrsar, dedicated to its patron saint, was built as the old Church of St. Martin was torn down, and is decorated with beautiful stone statues representing various saints and religious figures.
1.4. Church of St. Mary (of the sea)
A favourite of art historians among all of the churches in Vrsar, this long-standing holy site is a three-nave Romanesque basilica on columns. It used to be a favourite of the pilgrims, too, who regularly visited to have their prayers heard and potentially answered by the Virgin Mary.
1.5. Church of St. Anthony of Padua
Built in 1656 this church has the features of both the Venetian Renaissance and the Baroque style. Its loveliest part, however, is the porch that was used when extra space was needed during the mass. This charming building stands right next to the Small City Gate.
1.6. Small City Gate
Built in the early 13th century these small doors were decorated in the full-blown Romanesque style and set inside a frame of solid stone blocks, making it as grand as any other location in the old town.
Famous viewpoints of Vrsar
2.1. Casanova viewpoint
The records and the legend both say that the famous Giacomo Casanova visited Vrsar twice, in 1743 and 1744, and no doubt romanced a local girl or two. It is no surprise, then, that one of the most romantic spots in Vrsar was named after him. And just as aptly The Festival of Love and Romance that takes place in Vrsar every summer begins right at this viewpoint, with a kissing contest.
2.2. Bepo & Tonina Viewpoint
No less a romantic location than the Casanova’s Viewpoint, this one is adorned with a stylized sculpture of a man and a woman who have been dubbed Bepo and Tonina.
The view of Vrsar’s coast is amazing from up here, extending over the treetops onto the perfectly blue sea of the Vrsar waterfront in the direction of the north-west.
2.3. Bell Tower of Vrsar
The 40 meter tall tower isn’t quite used as a bell tower - it houses an exhibition of old bells and serves as a viewpoint with the best view of the whole of Vrsar and its archipelago. This stunning sights extend from the hinterland of the area and its hills all the way to the Church of St. Euphemia in Rovinj.
3.1. Have some aerial fun at the Aeropark Vrsar
If you want to go sky-high this is the place. You can admire the best view of Vrsar while skydiving, and for a slightly less-adrenaline packed experience you can book a panoramic flight over the area. If you’d rather keep your feet firmly on the ground have a look at the aeropark’s display of old and period air crafts.
3.2. Learn how to excavate dinosaur bones at the Dinopark Theme Park
This dinosaur-themed park in the vicinity of Vrsar will make for a wonderful adventure for children and adults alike. It is packed with prehistory-related attractions and activities, including a bone excavation workshop and representations of eighty different dinosaur species.
3.3. Take a tranquillity walk in the Kontija Forest
The white hornbeam trees in these woods are nearly one hundred and forty years old. But this is not the only gem of this forest: it also hides the gorgeous prehistoric settlement known as the Mukaba hill fort.
3.4. See the open-air exhibition at the Sculpture Park
This unique sculpture park was created by the famous sculptor Dušan Džamonja as a part of his summer house complex. Twenty six sculptures of this permanent open-air exhibition have blended beautifully into the landscape that surrounds them.
3.5. Explore the nature and history of the Lim Channel
The stunning landscape of the Lim Channel, with its dense Mediterranean trees covering the slopes of the surrounding hills, and its pristine azure sea, have been declared a natural heritage and a special marine reserve respectively. You won’t find any crowds here - just the beautiful tranquillity of nature, several restaurants with great shell fish dishes and the opportunity to explore the pirate history of the channel’s caves.
3.6. Have a walk around the St. Romuald’s Cave
While this cave was named after the hermit who is said to have lived in it a thousand years ago, the oldest human remains found in the cave were dated to the prehistoric times and are the oldest of its kind found in Istria.
3.7. Take a luscious bite of oysters at the Tony’s Oyster Shack
The Lim Channel is well-known for its shellfish farms that thrive in its pristine waters. While you’re exploring the landscape don’t miss to stop for quite possibly the best and the freshest oyster meal you will ever eat. The symphony of the tender, juicy taste of the seafood meeting the note of the salty water will keep you coming back for more.
Best beaches in Vrsar
4.1. Vancanella Beach
Three kilometers long, this spacious pebbled beach is equipped with all the usual amenities and a favourite with locals and tourists alike. A lovely mixed Mediterranean forest gives it plenty of natural shade for lounging and relaxation.
4.2. Naturist beach Konversada
The largest naturist beach in Europe, with sunbathing plateaus, and a small islet you can swim to. In case you’d rather enjoy the benefits of the mainland this beach has a cocktail bar and a restaurant.
4.3. Petalon Beach
For all those looking for a wild-beach ambience Petalon will delight you with its pine trees and a pebbled shore.
Why visit Vrsar?
If you like small charming Mediterranean places that are not overcrowded during the summer months, Vrsar will make a great choice.
It has its share of historical and cultural sites for all those who like to take in the history of the town they’re visiting. Having been built on top of a small hill it is known for its viewpoints, so all of its views will be a treat for photographers, both professional and amateur.
Vrsar is an excellent place for a family vacation, too - aside from lovely, well-equipped beaches all the members of your family, young and elderly alike, will enjoy a visit to the amazing Dinopark Theme Park. Aeropark Vrsar has a little bit of everything for everyone, too, whether you’re looking to try out adrenaline sports or enjoy a panoramic flight over the area.
Most of all, Vrsar makes a great base for countryside exploration, especially for anyone visiting the Lim Channel. All those looking to reconnect with nature and experience its tranquillity will enjoy their time in the Kontija Forest, in the company of its hundred year old trees.
We’ve selected the best locations and activities in Vrsar and its vicinity to point you in the right direction. We’d love to hear your impressions of this lovely town, so don’t hesitate to write to us in the comment section below.
We hope you enjoy Vrsar and have a wonderful time on your holiday.