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Poreč

A chic, bustling little city founded as a Roman castrum (fort) in the 2nd century BC and swarming with tourists more than 2,000 years later, Poreč may not be quite as lovely as Rovinj—few places are—nor does it enjoy the benefits of a hilltop panorama, but it is nonetheless a pretty view of red-tiled roofs on a peninsula jutting out to sea. Within the historic center, the network of streets still follows the original urban layout. Dekumanova, the Roman decumanus (the main traverse street), has maintained its character as the principal thoroughfare. Today it is a worn flagstone passage lined with Romanesque and Gothic mansions and patrician palaces, some of which now house cafés and restaurants. Close by lies the magnificent UNESCO-listed Eufrazijeva Basilica (St. Euphrasius Basilica), Istria's prime ecclesiastical attraction and one of the coast's major artistic showpieces. Although the town itself is small, Poreč has ample capacity for overnight stays, thanks to the vast hotel complexes of Plava and Zelena Laguna, situated along the pine-rimmed shoreline a short distance from the center. Although you can cover the main sights in two or three hours, Poreč surely merits a one-night stay, or more if you figure in a day trip to a nearby attraction such as the Baredine Cave or the Limski kanal.

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