Where do we start the story about Umag? It used to be a small island, and today it offers a wide array of tourist attractions; from those for fans of active holidays, to others for those who seek relaxation, or even those whose passions are culture and good cuisine. Thanks to its location, it is within reach of several countries, and once you are there – you will want to stay.
Umag is just that kind of town, it makes you feel at home from the first time you visit, and as we all know, there is no place like home. It is difficult to single out just a few special details, so I will take you on a small tour and reveal to you some of its famous as well as less well known sites and features – who knows, it might inspire you to go on exploring this fascinating town on your own.
It is early in the morning. I get on my “Park and Ride” bicycle and head for my destination while doing some morning exercise. Along the way I see people already jogging and roller skating. One of the best things about Umag is that you can go everywhere on just two wheels! The clearly marked cycling paths make it easier to get around, and bikes are accessible to everyone – they are the favorite mode of transportation amongst the locals, and they can also be used by visitors thanks to the public service called “Park and Ride”. You can lease a bike at five different locations around town, and get all the necessary information at the Istria Experience Information Desks.
But let’s get back to our story! And the story about Umag surely must take into account its appeal for tennis fans, as Umag is the place to be where tennis is concerned. Everyone has heard about the Umag ATP Tournament, which creates great excitement, and during which the town is at the height of the bustle and becomes the center of events on the peninsula as well as the whole region. Then there is also the Umag Tennis Academy with top quality facilities for tennis lovers from this part of Europe. But that is not all that makes this town the royal seat of regional tennis – Umag lives and breathes the tennis atmosphere throughout the year. The ride towards Stella Maris will take you through a lovely roundabout decorated with tennis balls, something you might come across at several other locations in town, making it very clear that tennis truly does count around here.
Coffee break and preparation for the beach
The beauty of Umag is that you can spend your days here in so many different ways, depending on your mood. I continue my tour around town on two wheels, enjoying the landscaping and smell of freshly mowed lawn. Towards me comes a charming tourist train, and I promise to take a ride on it the next time around. The morning exercise is done – time for coffee and breakfast, and then – straight to the beach!
My favorite coffee spots are the Batana and Tondo, and that is where I am headed today, particularly to enjoy the view of the sea they have. Before swimming, though, you need to get your water and other beach paraphernalia. Luckily, Umag has a great array of supermarkets; from the small grocery shops, to the big stores with a rich selection of groceries, such as Plodine, Getro and Kaufland. Ready?
Swimming, sailing, camping or relaxing?
As I continue the ride, my route takes me to the famous and fabulous boats on the beach known to the locals as the “African beach”. It has a great view of the old town core, but more about that later. Now it is time for swimming and enjoying the sun. As far as beach types go, Umag truly has something to offer everyone – from the artificial sand and pebbly ones, to the hidden and natural ones. Many have a rich offer of water sports, but if you prefer land sports, you can find an adrenaline park, horseback riding center and hot air balloon club close to the town. There is even a park where you can do fitness exercises outdoors.
The town of Umag has installed fitness machines in the Humagum Park near the ACI marina Umag, the impressive marina in the far north of the Adriatic. Thanks to this marina, Umag enjoys popularity among yachtsmen as well! If you like camping, CampingIN Park Umag will delight your family, while several different types of camps will guarantee that all tastes and needs are met and satisfied. If you are not a fan of camping, no matter, there are numerous hotels, big and small, family ones, as well as private accommodation and tourist villages, which provide enough of a choice for all visitors.
Those less partial to the active holidays might find something in the wellness centers in the area. It is precisely the wellness and gastronomical offer that form the main axis of the town attractions before and after the summer. Then you can enjoy the town’s charms and excellent food, and recharge your batteries in a somewhat calmer setting. And speaking of gourmets, we might as well take a ride and get some lunch, shall we?
A rhapsody of tastes and evening romance
As you head for the town center, you will start to smell the aromas of Istrian delicacies spreading from the many restaurants along the Umag seafront. My lunch will probably be light, something with fish, but if it were a different season, I might pick asparagus, truffles, clams or something else instead. I already know where I’m going to head for dessert. Personally, I feel the best ice cream and cake in town can be found at the Cafe Centar. Oh, or maybe I could go to the fantastic Villa Soši! What a dilemma!
Now is the time to leave my bike at one of the designated points, and end the day by visiting one of the local olive oil and wine producers: I’d better prepare for dinner and meeting my friends. A long walk around Umag is perfect for the slow amble home as the day comes to an end. A short break on a bench reveals a beautiful view of the town and of boats gently swaying on the sea… If you are in the mood, I would definitely recommend a walk along the long Umag pier at the end of the peninsula. Those who do not find this romantic enough will surely be swayed by a visit to the nearby Savudrija and its famous lighthouse, itself a sort of beacon for lovers.
In addition to the before mentioned ATP Tournament, you can enjoy concerts of all types, cycling competitions, recreational rides, gourmet events such as Tomato Days, and other fun events in Umag every summer.