Bale, Istria: The Best Kept Secret in Croatia

by Tsvete Popp
Bale, Istria

Uncover the hidden gem of Bale in Istria, Croatia, often hailed as the best-kept secret of the country. Nestled amidst picturesque landscapes, this charming village offers a unique blend of history, culture, and natural beauty. Immerse yourself in medieval architecture, wander through narrow streets, and indulge in delectable local cuisine. Our guide reveals the enchanting allure of Bale, from its ancient churches to its olive groves and vineyards. Escape the crowds and discover the authentic charm of this Croatian treasure. Plan your visit to Bale, Istria, and unlock the best-kept secret of Croatia today.

St Elizabeth's Church, Bale

When a local says “You cannot travel home before seeing Bale”, it means to me: “Yes, let’s go”! … especially when this place does not appear in most travel guides about Istria. Bale, or Valle in Italian, is one of the best-hidden gems of Istria – a place that has preserved its character and original beauty as far as possible.

The picturesque Bale is a small town made entirely of stone. A place where time stood still. A place that is not destroyed by mass tourism and a flourishing economy.

St Elizabeth's Church

Bale is now one of the few places where you can still feel the real Istria!

I would recommend visiting Bale to anyone who seeks to explore off-the-beaten-path places. So, if you’re hunting for a non-touristy but picturesque piece of land in Istria, that also looks like a set from Game of Thrones – pack your camera and drive to the medieval town!

Bale, Istria

Did you know that...
This small Istrian town is made up of 48% Italians and is officially bilingual.

Bale, Istria Bale, Istria

Although Bale is situated between Pula and Rovinj, you won’t find it in the tourist brochures! The little town is located on the southwestern corner of the Istrian peninsula, only 15 km from Rovinj and 20 km from Pula. But in contrast to Pula and Rovinj, Bale is not visited by many tourists … which is perfect for photography lovers!

Bale, Istria Bale, Istria

The history of Bale goes back to Roman times when the small town was officially known as Castrum Vallis. Some historians assume that its origins are even older than that – before the Romans lived here, the little town was also home to Illyrian tribes.

Did you know that...
The 45th parallel goes straight through the narrowest part of the district of Bale. This means that Bale is exactly in the middle between the Equator and the North Pole.

Bale, Istria Bale, Istria

The town of Bale is constructed entirely from stone.  Its cobbled buildings, narrow streets and kitschy corners flow together into a medieval labyrinth that will bring you back in history. Just like a time machine.

Many of Bale’s houses and also its Soardo-Bembo Citadel was built during the 14th century under Venetian rule by the powerful Soardo family. In the 16th century the beautiful Citadel, considered one of the most important monuments in Croatia, became the property of the Bembo family. During the same century, the communities of Bale grew and developed around the Gothic-Renaissance Palace (the palace in the middle of the town) that also belonged to the Bembo family.

The medieval streets and houses made of stone, ancient churches and artistic vibe make Bale unique and full of atmosphere. Bale and its surrounding is one of the purest beauty in Istria where colourful flowers and plants, fruit trees and vegetables grow and flourish throughout the year. This area offers not only amazing natural wealth and untouched nature but also the rich cultural and architectural heritage of the Istrian region.

Bale, Istria

Must-do in Bale ...
Enjoy a glass of Istrian wine at one of the most beautiful and picturesque attractions in Bale – the cultic restaurant-bar called Kamene price!

Kamene Price, Bale

Kamene Price, Bale

Planning a trip to Istria?

Istria Accommodation

Begin your search for the perfect accommodation now while the excitement is still fresh in your mind. Discover stylish and affordable options, and find the best accommodations at the lowest prices:

Istria Flights

Make the most of your trip by finding the most affordable flights. We highly recommend using, a reliable flight comparison site. Click here to compare and book cheap flights to Istira.

Private Airport Transfers

Kiwitaxi is a popular online platform that specializes in providing private airport transfers and transportation services worldwide. It offers convenient and reliable door-to-door transfers between airports, hotels, and other destinations. With Kiwitaxi, you can pre-book private taxis or minivans with professional drivers, ensuring a comfortable and hassle-free journey.

Rental Car in Istria

Looking to rent a car in Istria? has you covered! We search through all the major car rental companies in Istria to find you the best price possible.

Istria Tours

If you enjoy guided tours, here you can find a wide variety of options to suit every preference. Discover and join fascinating guided tours across Istria.

Travel Insurance

When it comes to travel insurance, we understand the importance of finding reliable coverage that suits your needs. That’s why we highly recommend Safety Wing – a trusted provider offering comprehensive travel insurance plans even for digital nomads. Safeguard your travels and gain peace of mind by exploring the excellent coverage options provided by Safety Wing.

Enjoy the day!

*Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links. Rest assured, we only recommend products and services that meet our high standards and that we genuinely believe in. The opinions expressed are solely our own and are based on our personal experience.

Find Cheap Flights