North of Rovinj, the main route detours inland around the Limski kanal, a turquoise fjord lined with thick woods rising sheer on either side, which cuts a deep green wedge into the Istrian mainland.

In Roman times this marked the boundary between the Poreč and Pula regions - Lim is derived from limes, a Latin word meaning "border" or "limit"; later it became a favourite shelter of pirates, who used it as a base from which to attack the Venetians. An appealing local legend associates the kanal with pirate and adventurer Captain Morgan, who liked it so much he decided still to settle down here with his crew, founding the village of Mrgani (which exists 51km inland from the kanal) in the process.

Mussels and oysters are cultivated here - you can sample them, along with other fresh fish, in the Viking and Fjord restaurants, both expensive but highly rated by locals. If you've a car, you can get down to the northern side of the water (and the two restaurants) via the side-road which leaves the Rovinj-Porec route near the village of Kloštar. The best way to see the inlet, however, is by boat. Numerous excursions, often including a fish picnic or a lunch stop en route, are advertised on the quaysides of Rovonj,Vrsar and Porec; expect to pay around 150-180Kn for the trip.

Occupying high ground near the mouth of the Limski kanal is VRSAR, a hilltop village curled tightly around a campanile-topped summit. It's quieter than Rovinj and Porec, although there's a marina and hotel on below. A kilometre south of town on the coast is one of the world's ist colonies, Koversada. Established in 1960, this was the first of naturist communities, and is nowadays a self-contained mini-city 15,000 residents can dress as nature intended on a 24-hour basis.

Stretching north ofVrsar there's a string of campsites on the c the main road to Poreč, beginning with Autocamp Turist, swiftly fo Valkanela, then Camping Puntica, which has a small bay to itself. Another couple of kilometres and you're in Plava Laguna, the first of Poreč's big package hotel suburbs. -Specializing in Cheap Flights F