Istria (Croatian: Istra) is the largest peninsula in the Adriatic Sea. The peninsula is located at the head of the Adriatic between the Gulf of Trieste and the Bay of Kvarner.
The geographical features of Istria include the Učka mountain ridge, which is the highest portion of the Ćićarija mountain range; the rivers Dragonja, Mirna, Pazinčica, and Raša; and the Lim bay and valley. The peninsula lies in three countries: Croatia, Slovenia and Italy. By far the largest portion (89%) lies in Croatia. “Croatian Istria” is divided into two counties, the larger being Istria County in western Croatia. Important towns include Pula, Poreč, Rovinj, Pazin, Labin, Umag, Motovun, Buzet, and Buje. Smaller towns in Istria County include Višnjan, Roč, and Hum.
The ancient region of Histria extended over a much wider area, including the whole Kras plateau until the southern edges of the Vipava Valley, the southwestern portions of modern Inner Carniola with Postojna and Ilirska Bistrica, and the modern Italian Province of Trieste, but not the Liburnian coast which was already part of Illyricum.
Central Istria (Pazin) has a Continental climate. West and south coast (Novigrad, Poreč, Rovinj, Pula) has a Mediterranean climate. East coast (Rabac, Labin, Opatija) has a Sub-Mediterranean climate with Oceanic climate influences. The warmest places are Pula, Rovinj, while the coldest is Pazin.
There is a long tradition of tolerance among the people living in Istria, regardless of their nationality, and although many Istrians today are ethnic Croats, a strong regional identity has existed over the years. The Croatian word for the Istrians is Istrani, or Istrijani, the latter being in the local Chakavian dialect. Today the Italian minority is organized in many towns so the Istrian county in Croatia is bilingual. Furthermore, Istria is a supranational European Region that includes Italian, Slovenian and Croatian part.