Umag Travel Guide
Overview of Umag
As Croatia's westernmost city, Umag throws open the gates, embracing travelers from all points across Northern Europe to Croatia's breathtaking Adriatic coast. Derived from the Latin "humagum," the name Umag is likely a derivation of "humus" meaning "fertile," and "magum," meaning "cultivated field."
Once the summer residence of influential Roman citizens, the city of Umag gracefully exhibits architectural remnants of its historic past. Town walls and defense towers from the 10th century and lovely details of an ancient, grand, coastal Roman villa, nestled up to lush hillside vineyards and olive orchards, handsomely display its resilience. Umag has a long history spanning across the times of the Romans, Byzantines, Lombards, Francs, Venetians, Turks and Genovese, and now, Croatia.
Umag is well known for its tourism, inviting the world to explore Umag's magnificent scenery, crystal blue beaches along its 45 km coastline, Istrian food delicacies, wineries and olive oil, blue flag ACI marina, its ATP international tennis tournament, the Adriatic coast's oldest lighthouse, spas and wellness centers, and exhilarating hiking, biking, climbing, and camping pursuits. Umag is truly the gateway to the Istrian peninsula, as well as a splendid Croatian holiday.
History of Umag
Umag has a long and interesting history:
- It is assumed that the larger area has been inhabited since the early Stone Age. In the vicinity, characteristic stone tools were found from that period. Settlements from the Copper and Iron Age were also found, populated by the Histri, an ancient tribe that lived in Istria.
- In 177, the Histri were defeated by the Romans, who left behind numerous buildings, from luxurious villas, commercial buildings, to statues and precious objects from everyday life. In that period, Umag was an island separated from the mainland by a narrow channel and surrounded by defensive walls.
- Umag was mentioned for the first time in the 7th century during the Byzantine rule, as Humagum. Shortly after it fell to the Longobards but it was then again conquered by the Byzantines, and finally ended up under the authority of the Franks.
- In 876 Umag was attacked by Croats and it was almost completely destroyed. After the departure of the Franks, Umag fell to the patriarch of Aquileia. The moving bridge, between the island and villages on the coast, was built in the 10th century.
- Umag fell under the government of Venice in the 13th century, where it remained until the end of the 18th century when the territory was taken by Austria.
- With Napoleon's arrival in 1805, Umag was briefly under French rule and ten years later it was under the rule of the powerful Austro-Hungarian Empire.
- After one hundred years of rule by Austro-Hungarian Empire, ending at the end of the First World War, Umag fell under the rule of Italy.
- After the Second World War, Umag became an integral part of zone B, the free territory of Trieste, under the direction of Yugoslavia. It was annexed to Yugoslavia only in 1954.
- Umag remained part of Yugoslavia until 1991 when it finally became part of the modern Croatia.
The glamour and magnificence of the historical times can be seen today in Venetian houses of the old Umag town where city walls and fortresses are partially preserved as well as some renaissance and baroque buildings and churches.
Rapid tourism development in the second half of the 20th century transformed Umag into an economic center and the largest town of north-western Istria, as well as a major tourism and sports center.
What to do in Umag
Umag offers the perfect vacation - beautiful beaches, freshness of the sea with beautiful nature, many attractions in Umag and Istria, various fun and sport activities, enticing wines and olive oil from local producers, dishes made from fresh local ingredients, and the variety of evening performances and concerts. Umag provides a perfect combination of active and laid-back holiday, with stunning natural sights to take in. Come visit Umag and Istria for an unforgettable experience!
There's a lot to see and do in Umag. Here are the top recommendations for what to see in Umag.
- Umag town walls from 10th century.
- Assumption of Virgin Mary and St. Peregrine Church, dedicated to the patron saint of Umag. The 33m bell-tower originates from 1651.
- St. Roche Church from 16th century.
- Umag Town Museum with exhibitions of precious archaeological collections, including ancient pottery and crafts.
- Savudrija lighthouse, the oldest lighthouse on the Adriatic coast built in 1818. Legend has it that the house was built by Count Metternich in recognition of his true love.
- Sipar archaeological site with remains of the Sipar castle from 5th century, as well as remains from houses, villas, and mosaics. The town was completely destroyed by pirates in 876.
- Remains of Villa Tiola, a luxury villa from Roman times.
Whether you're into sports, events, dining, or just want to relax, there are plenty of activities to keep you busy during your stay in Umag.
- Umag’s main promenade, which runs along the beachfront, is ideal for walking, running, and biking, or simply enjoy the beautiful sea view while sitting on a bench or sipping coffee. Also visit the promenade early in the morning for the freshly caught fish and other seafood.
- Go jogging on the 24 km trail along the coast.
- Enjoy Umag's plentiful open air events and shows, especially during the summer season.
- Have fun in Croatia Open ATP Tennis tournament that usually takes place in mid-July, which is also accompanied by Istria Gourmet festival and Umag party nights.
- Enjoy the delicious local Istrian cuisine. Foodies will rejoice over the famous truffles, pasta, ravioli, fuzi, prsut, sea food, excellent olive oil and wines, especially the unique Istrian Malvasia. The food and wine is even tastier with a beautiful view over the sea. Read more about Istrian cuisine.
- Rent a bike from Park&Ride bike rental system with bikes throughout Umag.
- Go biking and explore numerous bike trails. Rent you bike from Umag Park and Ride bike stations throughout Umag.
- Take day-trip boat excursions to nearby beaches, towns, or Venice in Italy.
- Rent a car or scooter to explore the region at your leisure.
While in Umag, also check other exciting activities in Istria.
Umag has some of the best beaches in Istria. By staying at Villa Umag, you'll be close to all of these crystal blue beaches of Umag:
- Main Beach: This sandy beach is located in the Punta quarter and is the main municipal beach, enjoyed most by children. This beach is nicest in the morning as the sea is truly stunning, clean and crystal clear. Other facilities at this beach include a beach volleyball court, a slide, swings and a restaurant. At the nearby stands you can find swimwear, various souvenirs, beach toys and more.
- Laguna Stella Maris Beach: A pebbled beach with a Blue Flag certificate at the Stella Maris Resort, located just off the ATP Stadium, the venue of the top tennis tournament in Croatia. A tourist train will take you right to the beach – the kids love it, so do try a ride while in Umag. A Park&Ride bicycle transport system is also available. The beach offers sun loungers with parasols, showers, toilet facilities, cafes offering ice cream and refreshing beverages. Older kids and adults will certainly enjoy the excellent offer of water sports.
- Osmica Beach: Situated at the Stella Maris Resort and below the Sol Stella apartments, it offers everything you need for an ideal vacation on the beach with the kids. Parents with babies can find shade in the pine forest. Below the paved beach with sun loungers and parasols there is a sand area where children can play and run without fear of injury. The beach offers change cabins, showers, sun loungers and parasols and access to the water is suitable for children. There are many bars and restaurants nearby – the most attractive is a pool with a pirate ship promising great fun for all ages.
- Aurora Beach: The beach is paved and offers sun lounger, parasol and water sports equipment rentals. Steps provide access to the water with deep water right off the beach. Above the beach there is pleasant shade to take cover from the sun. The tourist train will take you to the seaside with a station right next to the beach.
- Polynesia Beach (aka Katoro Beach): On this long beach you can rest and have some great fun as it offers many sports activities for which it has won a Blue Flag. The beach is divided into paved, pebbled and rocky areas. It offers showers, change cabins, a large water slide and several bars and restaurants. Above the beach are the Umag Tennis Academy and a volleyball court, a small children's playground and a water sports center. Beach volleyball tournaments are organised frequently attracting many young people. Close to the beach are two attractive outdoor pools and spacious grassy areas where you can have fun playing soccer or badminton. A tourist train will take you to the beach and you can take advantage of the Park&Ride bicycle transport system.
- Savudrija Beach: The shores of Savudrija are graced by natural stone beaches and a nineteenth century lighthouse. The pine forest provides shade and a part of the beach is pebbled and suitable for children. Parts of the beach offer access to the disabled. There are many bars and restaurants as well as sports and recreation facilities nearby. You will have a great time here searching for shells on the beach.
- Kanegra Beach: Situated in one of the most beautiful bays on the western coast of Istria. It is surrounded by greenery providing pleasant shade and as such perfect for all-day stays without fear of sunburn. The beach is covered with fine pebbles, it drops gently into the sea and is ideal for families with small children. There are many bars and restaurants as well as sports and recreation facilities nearby. Kanegra Tourist Resort permits pets and includes a nudist campsite and nudist beach.
- Canova Park Umag Beach: This beach has a Blue Flag and is characteristic for its stepped water access, facilitating access to the sea for the disabled. The beach area is almost entirely paved. There are shops, bars and restaurants nearby (within the campsite).
- Park Umag Central Beach: The beach is pebbled with paved sections and steps offering access to the water, with a new sunbathing area with all the necessary amenities. Lots of fun and activities are included in the special offer of the sports center, where you can enjoy water sports and use various sports facilities and equipment. You may find refreshment in the nearby cafes and restaurants.
- Beaches in Istria: (Colours of Istria; Istria Tourist Board)
- Beaches in Umag: (Colours of Istria; Plava Laguna)
Umag’s campsites are located by the sea in pristine nature. They offer a wonderful getaway for open-air holiday.
Main Umag campsites:
- Stella Maris Umag Campsite in Stella Maris
- CampingIN Pineta Umag in Savudrija
- CampingIN Finida Umag in Finida
Umag has plenty of restaurants, konobas, fast-food shops, pizzerias, cafes, cake shops and ice cream shops offering delicious bites. Here are Umag's top restaurants.
- Konoba Buscina: Buscina 18, Sv. Marija na Krasu
- Restoran Toni: Siparska ul. 7, Zambratija
- ItIstria: Tra Marija i Line 4, Umag
- Restaurant Umag: Setaliste Vladimira Gortana 18, Umag
- Konoba Rustica: Sv.Marija na Krasu 41, Umag
- Restaurant Badi: Umaska 12, Lovrecica
- Konoba Nono: Umaska 35, Petrovija
- Villa Vilola: Umaska 2a, Zambratija
Istrian wine is recognized as some of the best in the world. Umag is located in the heart of Istrian wine country. Take vineyard tours to learn about the wine-making process of famous wines of the region, such as Malvasia and Teran varieties, and enjoy wine tasting sessions while visiting the Umag wineries.
- Coronica: Koreniki 86, Umag
- Polesina: Jadranska ulica 50, Umag
- Cuj: Farnezine 5, Marija na Krasu
- Fiore Vino: Sarbarica bb, Umag
While in Umag, also visit other nearby wineries in Istria.
Umag Olive Oil Producers
Istrian olive oil is recognized as some of the best in the world. Flos Olei, the world's most comprehensive guide to the world's best extra virgin olive oils, named Istria the best olive region in the world.
- Cuj: Farnezine 5, Sv.Marija na Krasu
- Vesna and Flavio Kmet: Seget 18c, Umag
- Olive Charm: Rozac 5, Umag
- Zubin Enio: Buscina 18b, Umag
- Sapparis Ulja: Labinske republike 10, Umag
- Uljara Pilar: Stella Maris, Umag
- Selvella: Trgovacka 4d, Umag
- Monte Rosso: Augustina Vivode 22, Umag
While in Umag, also visit other nearby oil producers in Istria.
Whether looking for souvenirs, Istrian gourmet products, or even Istrian jewelry, you'll find plenty of shops to browse.
- There's a Konzum supermarket one block from Villa Umag. There are also numerous supermarkets, smaller groceries, and food shops around the town.
- Umag old town is full of souvenir shops, which offer local produce, art and craft such as local pottery, paintings, wooden crafts and more.
- If you like shopping for clothes, Umag has many boutiques offering designer and stylish clothes.
- If you like riding bikes, Umag has a few specialist biking shops with good offer of biking gear for cyclists. There are also biking stations throughout Umag where you can rent bikes.
- Local produce such as olive oil and locally produced wine can be bought in specialty shops or on stands of Umag's market.
Various types of accommodations are available in Umag, including local houses, hostels, apartments, hotels, villas, and camps. For a stay in a local house, check with city tourist offices that have access to many rooms available for rent by locals.
- Villa Umag is a brand-new 2-story villa in Punta, Umag.
- Umag has many fine hotels, such as Istraturist hotels, Melia hotels, and Kempinski Hotel Adriatic.
- Small family and boutique hotels with their intimate atmosphere.
- Umag's campsites with mobile homes and camping pitches where you can enjoy closeness of the beach in natural surroundings.
- Umag's apartment resorts with their luxury villas and apartments, perfect for a family holiday.
- Umag's private accommodation in self-contained apartments and rooms that are usually part of the private houses.
Search the Istria Tourist Board accommodation directory for all accommodations in Istria.
Best of Umag: Google Map
Getting to Umag
Due to its ideal location in NW cornet of Istria, Umag is known as a gateway to Croatia from Europe.
Umag is easily reached from:
- Zagreb airport (269 km; 3 hr) and Pula airport (84 km; 1 hr) in Croatia.
- Ljubljana airport (153 km; 2 hr) and Portoroz airport (14 km; 20 min) in Slovenia.
- Venice airport (201 km; 2 hr 30 min) and Trieste airport (90 km; 1 hr 20 min) in Italy.
For additional information on travel by car, bus, boat, and train, see Istria Tourist Board's travel information page.
Once in Umag, you'll have easy and quick access to entire Istria, allowing you to get around and explore the other beautiful regions and towns of Istria.
Weather in Umag
Istria has a pleasant Mediterranean climate with mild winters and dry, warm summers. Temperatures in June, July, and August are typically in the high 80s F (~30 C) to low 90s F (~35 C). Winters are mild and it rarely snows. Fall and spring are pleasant.
The swimming season in Istria spans from May to October with the hottest months being July and August. Sea temperature is the lowest in March (around 10 C or 50 F) and is highest in August (around 24 C or 75 F).