On the north rim of the Limski Kanal is Aeropark Vrsar, a private airfield, open to the public, that offers skydiving, scenic flights and, if you care to spend longer, flying lessons. It also has a museum of oldtimer planes parked behind the hangar. The airfield belongs to Rajko Tomašić. It has a 700m paved runway and fuel is available. Rajko developed what used to be an empty field with just his own resources, and has plans to extend the runway and build new facilities with a recent EU grant.
I was in my element as we chatted to Rajko, and prepared for our flight around the local area. Then it was into the familiar cockpit of a Cessna 172M and off we go. The North-South runway heads straight for the canyon rim and glorious views of the Limski Kanal as we take off.
Right turn to head north up the coast towards Vrsar. The old town is on a small hill and dates back to pre-Roman times. The numerous bays are now popular with nautical tourists, and the nine islands and numerous rocks and reefs, in particular the island of Koversada, are a haven for naturists.
Continuing up the coast to Poreč we circled around. You can see the old town on its peninsula with the spire of the 6th century Euphrasius Basilica, the two tiny islands of Karbula and Barbaran, and the larger island of St Nicholas with its Valamar Miramare resort.
And so back southwards over some typical Istrian scenery and past the entrance to the Limski Kanal again….
Our furthest southern point was a circle around Rovinj for some fantastic views. Like Poreč, Rovinj sits on a peninsula that used to be an island surrounded by defensive walls. The tall spire of St Euphemia’s church dominates the skyline. Looks like we captured my old school at the right of the leftmost photo!
The peninsula nearby where I spent the first few years of my life exploring the coast and swimming in the sea….
And so on back to the airport for a photo with our pilot Rajko and sidekick Franjo.
The museum is a work in progress, with a selection of rescued oldtimer planes sitting on the grass in various stages of disrepair…
Most of the planes are accessible, and you can even get into the cockpit of a Mig 21. I had a great time climbing all over the planes.
Lovely people, great little airfield, definitely worth a detour. As well as the museum and flying lessons, there is parachute jumping and aerobatic flying. In 1998 the World Skydiving Championships were held here and the airfield was also the base for the 2014 and 2015 Red Bull Air Races,
After that exciting little excursion, we got back in the car and continued up to Poreč.
Vrsar Crljenka Airport, LDPV, Elevation 37m (121′),
Phones: +385 91 944 4110; +385 91 525 1109; email: firstname.lastname@example.org
|Dimensions:||2297 x 59 feet / 700 x 18 meters|
|Runway 18||Runway 36|
|Coordinates:||N45°8.69′ / E13°37.85′||N45°8.32′ / E13°37.81′|
Find out more…
Wikipedia: Vrsar Crljenka Airport
2 thoughts on “Exploring Istria from above”
Great article and and beyond brilliant photographs reminds me i must revisit Istria after a number of years working there for Saga, incredibly the Turbolet is still in production a remarkable Soviet design, and a more updated model was even in service with Trade Air last year flying along the Croatian Coast ( It is now made in Slovakia)
Thank you for this brilliant article.
Thank you! So glad you enjoyed it