Exploring Istria – Lim Bay’s natural beauty

The long narrow inlet between Rovinj and Vrsar is a very distinctive natural feature in the landscape. If you’re driving from Bale in the south to Poreč, as we were, you have to cross it one way or another. It’s a spectacular canyon, and well worth taking the time to see it properly. Lim gets its name from the ancient Romans, who referred to it as the border ( ie limit) between 2 provinces – Italia and Dalmatia. It’s a karst valley, created by the river Pazinčica, which now runs underground from Pazin in the centre of Istria to reappear as a freshwater spring at the top end of the Lim bay. The old river valley (now dry) is still a clear feature of the landscape that connects all the way (35 km) from the coast back to Pazin.

Deep in the forest of the south rim, there’s a glorious viewpoint over the canyon. It takes a bit of getting to, you have to know it’s there, and navigate the rough single track road in and out. The water below us was still and calm, a very deep blue in the sunshine. In October, there was only one boat making its way up the channel. The forest on the south rim is deciduous, while the north rim is covered in evergreens, and has several deep caves.

The bay is almost 13 km long and very narrow, giving its common name in Croatian as the Limski kanal. It isn’t of course a canal, but maybe a better translation is the Lim channel. In 1964, the landscape was designated a protected site of geomorphologic and hydrogeological importance. After taking in the overview, we headed down to water level for a different perspective. There’s a small community down there, with cafes and restaurants in season, and boat trips on offer.

In 1980, the bay was declared a special marine reserve. One particular feature of the bay is the lower salinity due to the submarine fresh water spring at the top end. That allows the growth of plankton, fish and shellfish, especially mussels and oysters. Tony’s Oyster shack is famous for its fresh oysters, and it was extremely popular the day we visited, even in late October!

Having enjoyed a glass of wine and a plate of mussels and oysters, we headed up the valley on the north side, and found our way to Aeropark Vrsar. It’s a small private airfield that offers flying lessons and air tours, with a collection of old planes that they are working to restore. We took the flying tour of the local coast, himself well happy to be back in a small plane again! At the end of the runway is the edge of the Lim canyon, so very quick to get airborne! I’ll write a separate blog on the aeropark and the flying, but for now, I’ll leave you with a few photos of Lim bay from the air.

Read more…

Vrsar Tourist Board: Lim Bay

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