The island of St. Nikola, located opposite the town, is a natural shield of the city port, strengthened by two breakwaters.
It is the largest and most beautiful of Poreč islands, and also a popular bathing site. Along with the regulated, fenced beaches, the western side of the island has beautiful rocky open-sea beaches. Thick pine trees provide shade during the hot summer days. Here you will find a round tower from 1402, the oldest lighthouse in the Adriatic, now no longer in function.
The name of the island first appeared in the 15th century and its rich history dates back as early as the 6th century. It is believed to have provided stone for the roof of the Theodoric mausoleum in Ravenna. First settled by Greek priests in the 9th century, it was later given to the Benedictine monks and used as quarantine in the 18th century. Its most prosperous period began with the arrival of the Polesini family who purchased the island in 1798.
The official opening of Isabella Castle was one of the biggest social events of the time since it was attended by the most prominent Poreč noble families and its original look and feel is carefully preserved to this day.
Some of the photos and cards from the past
During the harsh plague epidemic in the 17th century, St. Nikola Island was turned into a quarantine area. All merchant and passenger ships were obligated to spend 40 days on the island before they could be cleared to enter Poreč as described on this obelisk:
“Serene and distinguished, the below signed Health Chief superintendents and superintendents hereby declare the following: May it be forbidden for any person from an armed or unarmed vessel to disembark on Sv. Nikola Island, unless they receive a decree from the Poreč office, as stated by the current regulations. Distinguished gentlemen reserve the right to apply harsh penalties against those who do not comply.”
The island has a brand new Valamar Isabella Island Resort, and it can be reached by boat that leaves every half hour from the main pier.
During the 2016 summer season, the island was one of the central locations of the Poreč Open Air Festival, with its Princess Ball and Istra Inspirit weekly events.