Along the southern coast of Istria, not too far from Pula, is the pretty town of Fazana (or Fažana), which lies on the canal of the same name and is known for its beautiful beaches. The town has Roman origins, and at the time it was known by its Latin name of ‘Vasianum’, as there were many workshops here that made ceramic vases and amphorae; with time, the name of the town changed first to Phasiana and then to Fazana, and the amphora remained as the town symbol. It should also be remembered that the consular-imperial road, Via Flavia, passed through here, connecting Aquileia to Rijeka, facilitating the traffic of goods and people in this area of the empire.
The economy of Fazana has always been largely based on fishing and agriculture thanks to a fertile and flat land that lends itself well to the cultivation of orchards, olive groves and vines. The town has developed as a tourist destination in recent years when it expanded its range of activities and accommodation facilities and implemented connections with neighbouring towns.
In fact, Fazana is now also known as the ‘Gateway to Brijuni‘ because it is the starting port for exploring the Brijuni archipelago, an absolute must-see on a voyage of discovery. Today, Fazana presents itself as the ideal destination not only for those who want to sunbathe on its beaches but also for those who enjoy outdoor sports and water activities.
Fazana is known for its beautiful beaches lapped by crystal-clear water and surrounded by lush pine forests. Among the most popular is the public beach ‘Fažana sjever’, a pebble beach boasting an exceptional view of the Brijuni National Park. Here you can find all the services such as sunbed and umbrella rental, sanitary facilities, showers, children’s play areas and several restaurants. There is also a pedestrian and cycle path known as ‘Antonio Smareglia’, which is very popular with sportsmen.
Another beach close to the centre is the ‘Dječje igralište’ beach, which is popular with both families and young people due to the wide range of activities available. In addition to sunbed and umbrella rental and sanitary facilities, there is also a children’s playground, fitness areas, a beach volleyball court and a bowling alley, as well as restaurants and bars that organise aperitifs and beach parties.
Those who want to spend hours in the sun in total tranquillity can opt for the Pineta beach, so called because it is surrounded by lush pine trees. The beach consists of small pebbles, is washed by crystal-clear waters and offers a sensational view of the Brijuni Islands. Here, in addition to toilets, showers and the hire of sunbeds and parasols, it is also possible to rent pedal boats and jet skis.
Moving two kilometres further on to Valbandon, which is also within the municipality of Fazana, you will find other bays such as the town public beach, which is equipped with all the necessary facilities for those seeking comfort and tranquillity. Two other beaches to consider are the Odmaralište MUP beach and the Bi Val beach, known for having been awarded the Blue Flag title and for offering the possibility of numerous water activities such as windsurfing, diving, SUP, jet skiing and parasailing.
In the 20th century, Fazana developed from a small fishing and farming village into an internationally renowned seaside destination. Fortunately, the town has developed touristically but has managed to preserve its rich architectural and cultural heritage, the fruit of its long history. In the last century, its historical centre also won over Pier Paolo Pasolini, who described it as ‘a gracious little town’.
On the main square is the parish church of Sts. Cosmas and Damian, which was built in the Gothic style in the 15th century and houses valuable marble altars and a painting of the Last Supper by the Croatian painter Zorzi Ventura in the late 16th century. Another church of great historical and artistic importance is the Church of the Blessed Virgin Mary of Mount Carmel, which was erected in the 14th century and has a single nave with the remains of ancient frescoes and a wooden sculpture of the Madonna and Child dating back to the 15th century.
Walking through the town streets, then, it is impossible to miss the famous ‘rondinella’, the narrowest street in Fažana, which was so named because it was so narrow that only swallows were able to cross it. Fazana is also the right place to go on various excursions and explore nearby territories both by land and sea. In addition to the Brijuni Islands National Park, it is possible to follow cycling routes such as the 301 Vasianum road and the 302 St. Eliseus road, which, starting from Fazana, allow you to cycle surrounded by unspoilt nature.
Fazana is a small, cosy town with a small old town centre and a small harbour that is home to much of the local life. In the town there are a number of establishments where you can stay at different price ranges. In addition to hotels and boutique hotels, there are also hostels, campsites and many flats. Those looking for a quieter experience, on the other hand, can find suitable accommodation in the hamlet of Valbandon, which is just over 2 km from the centre of Fazana.
Fazana can be easily reached by car or by public transport. The town is 110 km away from Trieste and can be reached by car via Slovenia and then along the E751. Those who wish to travel by public transport can use the buses that leave from Trieste, Rijeka and Zagreb and arrive in Pula, then from there you can take a local bus to Fazana or rent a car.
Pula is also home to the nearest railway station, which is connected to several Croatian cities as well as Ljubljana. The nearest airport is always Pula, which is 12 km from Fažana and is connected to it by bus. Pula can also be reached by sea thanks to ferries that leave from Venice or Trieste.