Umag and its surroundings have been inhabited since civilisation began. A guess at the origin of the name Umag (Humagum in Latin); according to some etymologists the name derives from the Celtic word “magus” meaning a cultivated field, merged with the Latin “humus” (Lat. fertile soil). Humagum is presumably a mutation of the original name.
Umag, mentioned for the first time in the 7th century by an anonymous citizen from Ravenna, had already existed in the Roman times. Proof of that is found in the numerous remains of Roman retreats, the so-called villa rustica uncovered all along the coast. The town’s history is closely linked to the settlement of Sipar whose ruins can be found on the narrow cape, six kilometres north of Umag. In the 9th century the fortified settlement of Sipar was devastated by invaders, the Neretva pirates. However, after this unfortunate incident Umag grew in significance thanks also to its location, a small islet separated from the mainland with a narrow channel. It was actually this location to safeguard the settlement from the continuous invasions throughout the centuries.

 Modern day Umag is a venetian-style town around a pedestrianised piazza. When standing in the piazza, look up at the bell tower and you will see the lion of Venice. The town itself is buzzing in the early evening, less so later on at night. The main street is Garibaldi, where you will find ice cream shops, jewellers and other clothes, gift and wine boutiques. Well worth a stroll with an ice cream before sunset. If you do happen to be there around that time, walk through the old part of town to the promontory (diga) and you'll get a great view of the sun hitting the water. From Umag the bay curves round to Punta, where some of the hotels and beaches are located. From there the coast follows round to Stella Maris and then onto Katoro. The route is walkable in about an hour, or a little train will take you from Umag to Katoro and back.