Umag, also known as Umago, is a coastal town in Istria, Croatia, and is the westernmost town of the country. With a rich history dating back to Roman times, Umag’s growth was influenced by its strategic location, which protected it from invasions over the centuries.
The town has been under various dominions, including Byzantine, Lombard, and Venetian rule, and has faced destruction, plagues, and wars. In modern times, Umag’s economy has been shaped by its geographical location, fostering the growth of the tourist industry and traditional Mediterranean agriculture, particularly olive and wine grape growing.
The town also hosts the annual ATP tennis tournament on clay courts and the Sea Star Festival.
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Attractions & Things to in Umag
1. Sea Star Festival
Umag hosts the Sea Star Festival every May, a significant event in the area.
Travel Tip: If you’re a music lover, planning your visit around the Sea Star Festival can provide a lively and entertaining experience.
2. Church of St. Mary and St. Peregrin
This architectural building and religious site is located in the city center of Umag. While it may not be considered extraordinary, its accessibility and historical significance make it a point of interest for visitors.
Travel Tip: Visit this church if you are in Umag and interested in historical architecture. It’s free to enter and easy to find.
3. Coronica Winery
One of the top three vintners in Istria, Coronica Winery offers a fabulous property with contemporary architecture. The winery provides excellent explanations and tastings of their limited production wines.
Travel Tip: If you’re a wine enthusiast, don’t miss the opportunity to take a tour of this winery and enjoy the tastings.
4. Stella Maris Stadion
This sports complex is known as the tournament venue for the Tennis Complex clay courts of the tourist village Stella Maris. Famous tennis players like Carlos Moyá have played here.
Travel Tip: Tennis fans should consider visiting during the tournament season to experience professional tennis in a fantastic setting.
5. St. Pelegrin Church
A church by the sea coast, St. Pelegrin Church has a rich history dating back to the 11th century. Folk tales tell of Saint Pellagio’s steps visible in stone during low tide.
Travel Tip: Visit this church for a blend of historical and natural beauty, especially during low tide to see the legendary steps.
Cuj is a specialty and gift shop known for olive oil and wine tasting. Visitors can enjoy a tasting of all the wines and olive oils offered.
Travel Tip: If you’re interested in local products, make sure to stop by Cuj for a delightful tasting experience.
7. Park Umag
A beautiful park in Umag that offers a peaceful place to relax and enjoy nature.
Travel Tip: Ideal for families and those looking for a quiet spot to unwind.
Unique Activities in Umag
1. Olive Oil, Wine, and Local Food at a Family Farm
Discover the rich culinary heritage of Istria at a local family farm. Dive into a world of authentic flavors as you taste olive oil, wine, and other local delicacies. Learn about traditional farming practices and the passion that goes into producing these exquisite products.
Day Trips from Umag
Discover the charm of Rovinj, a picturesque town with narrow cobblestone streets, art galleries, and a stunning seaside promenade. Savor the delightful Istrian cuisine at one of its many waterside restaurants.
Travel tip: Parking can be challenging in Rovinj’s center during peak season; consider parking on the outskirts and enjoying a short walk into the heart of the town.
2. Brijuni National Park
Experience the natural and historical wonders of the Brijuni Islands, where you can see exotic animals, Roman ruins, and Tito’s former summer residence. Take a boat tour to explore its 14 islands and immerse yourself in its unique biodiversity.
Travel tip: The only way to access the islands is via organized tours; book your ticket in advance especially in the summer months.
Witness the ancient Roman architecture of Pula, highlighted by the iconic Pula Arena, one of the best-preserved Roman amphitheaters in the world. After exploring, relax on one of its lovely beaches, which offer a blend of history and natural beauty.
Travel tip: To avoid the crowds, visit the Pula Arena either early in the morning or later in the afternoon, and always wear comfortable shoes for exploring.
Where to stay in Umag
Umag, a picturesque city in Croatia, offers a plethora of hotel options for travelers. From luxurious resorts to budget-friendly stays, the city caters to every kind of traveler. With its rich history, beautiful beaches, and vibrant culture, Umag has become a popular destination for tourists. The hotels in the city provide a comfortable stay, ensuring that visitors can fully immerse themselves in the Umag experience.
1. Best Reviewed Hotel
Hotel Zlatna Vala (★★★)
- Description: Situated right by the sea, Hotel Zlatna Vala offers air-conditioned rooms with private balconies, free Wi-Fi, and a tennis court. The city center of Umag is only 5 km away.
- Price: €167 per night
- Rating: 9.4 (Superb)
2. Most Luxurious Hotel
Hotel Coral Plava Laguna (★★★★★)
- Description: Located in Umag, Hotel Coral Plava Laguna offers beachfront accommodation with various facilities such as a restaurant, bar, and garden.
- Price: €137 per night
- Rating: 8.2 (Very good)
3. Budget Hotel
Hotel Natura Vilanija (★★★)
- Description: Hotel Natura Vilanija features a seasonal outdoor swimming pool, garden, restaurant, and bar in Umag.
- Price: €136 per night
- Rating: 8.7 (Fabulous)
4. Hotel for Family
Hotel Garden Istra Plava Laguna (★★★★)
- Description: Located in Umag, Hotel Garden Istra Plava Laguna is situated 250 meters from Aurora Beach and offers facilities like a bar, private parking, garden, and terrace.
- Price: €142 per night
- Rating: 8.2 (Very good)
5. Hotel for Couples
Hotel Sipar Plava Laguna (★★★★)
- Description: Hotel Sipar Plava Laguna has a restaurant, seasonal outdoor swimming pool, bar, and garden in Umag.
- Price: €188 per night
- Rating: 8.7 (Fabulous)
6. Hotel for Solo Travelers
Hotel Umag Plava Laguna (★★★★)
- Description: Situated in Umag, Hotel Umag Plava Laguna offers beachfront accommodation and provides various facilities such as a restaurant, bar, and garden.
- Price: €106 per night
- Rating: 8.4 (Very good)
Did you know? Facts about Umag
- Umag is the westernmost town of Croatia, and it includes Bašanija, the westernmost point of the country.
- The town’s history dates back to Roman times, with numerous remains of Roman villas, known as “villa rustica,” found along the coast.
- Umag’s history is closely linked to the settlement of Sipar, whose ruins can be found four kilometers north of the town.
- The town was under various dominions including Byzantine, Lombard, Franc, and Venetian rule, reflecting a rich and diverse cultural heritage.
- In 1370, the Genoese navy attacked Umag, destroying the town’s archive, leading to a period of destruction and looting.
- The harbor of Umag was historically used for loading agricultural surplus, contributing to the local economy.
- The geographical location of Umag has led to the intensive growth of the tourist industry after World War II, making it a popular travel destination.
- Umag’s economy also emphasizes traditional Mediterranean crops like olive growing and wine grape growing, leading to a successful winemaking industry.
- The town hosts the Sea Star Festival every May since 2017 and an annual ATP tennis tournament on clay courts, attracting sports and music enthusiasts.
- After World War II, Umag became part of Zone B governed by the Yugoslav Army and eventually became part of SR Croatia within SFR Yugoslavia in 1954, reflecting its complex political history.
FAQ about Umag
What is the historical significance of Umag?
Umag, a coastal town in Istria, Croatia, has a rich history dating back to Roman times. The town’s history is intertwined with the settlement of Sipar, and it has witnessed numerous invasions, including those by the Neretva pirates, Odoacer, Theodoric, and the Langobards.
How has the population of Umag evolved over the years?
According to the 2021 census, Umag had a population of 12,699. The town has seen various population trends since the 1857 census, with a notable exodus of Italians after World War II.
Which are the notable settlements in the Municipality of Umag?
Some of the settlements in the Municipality of Umag include Babići, Bašanija, Crveni Vrh, Čepljani, Đuba, Finida, Juricani, Katoro, Kmeti, Križine, Lovrečica, Materada, Monterol, Murine, Petrovija, Savudrija, Seget, Sveta Marija na Krasu, and Valica.
What economic activities thrive in Umag?
Umag’s economy is significantly influenced by its natural features. The town has seen dynamic growth in the tourist industry, especially after World War II. Agriculture, particularly olive growing and wine grape growing, plays a vital role. The region also boasts a successful winemaking industry.
Are there any annual events hosted in Umag?
Yes, Umag hosts the Sea Star Festival every May since 2017 and an annual ATP tennis tournament on clay courts.
How did Umag become a part of Croatia?
After World War II, the Trieste crises led to the establishment of the Free Territory of Trieste. Umag became part of Zone B governed by the Yugoslav Army and eventually became part of SR Croatia within SFR Yugoslavia in 1954.
What are the primary industries in Umag?
Apart from tourism, Umag has a growing agro-tourism sector. The town also has a food industry, with factories like “Podravka” processing large quantities of tomatoes. The early 20th century saw the opening of the “Arrigoni” plant for packing fish and tomatoes and a flour mill.
How has the Venetian Republic influenced Umag?
The Venetian Republic imposed its rule over Istria, causing Umag and other western Istrian towns to swear loyalty to Venice. From 1269, Venice appointed governors of Umag from its nobility. This period witnessed clashes with Genoa and other challenges, shaping the town’s history.