Rovinj is a city that tops the favourite list of many travellers to the Istrian Peninsula. So, if you have seen a postcard or picture of an idyllic Istrian city with a church tower standing in the middle, you have probably seen Rovinj. It is no wonder because in 2019 this charming peninsula-shaped small town was awarded the tourist destination of the year by the Croatian Tourist Board. But is not only the Croatians who think highly of Rovinj. It was also named one of the most beautiful coastal towns in 2014 by Travel and Leisure Magazine. Rovinj is also the second most visited town in Croatia, right after Dubrovnik.
The lightness of being
The lightness of being is so simple in Rovinj. Rovinj is lovely, romantic, historic, and it looks and feels very Italian. Set on a hilly peninsula, and facing the sea, the old town is dominated by the St. Euphemia Church and colourful houses. The cobbled streets of Rovinj Old Town with its three town gates that used to protect the city date back to the 1700s. With a small, yet colourful harbour packed with fishing boats, small ferries, Rovinj is very scenic and one of the most photogenic places.
You can spend the day easily just wandering the old town with its narrow, cobbled streets, enjoying the view from the cathedral, because Rovinj is one of those places that is perfect for exploring without an itinerary or to-do list. Its scenery will amaze you with every step and photography lovers will surely make some of the best photos. After a pleasant walk, you can some of the best seafood restaurants in Croatia, or have a coffee or a drink in one of the cafes. Along the way, go shopping at the small boutiques, galleries and souvenir stores, especially in Grisia – a popular cobbled street leading uphill through the old town to St Euphemia.
History and tradition
Once you climb all the way up to St. Euphemia church, you will be intrigued by the legend of St. Euphemia who was just fifteen years old when she became a Christian martyr. She was arrested and tortured for refusing to give up Christianity and in the end thrown to the lions who killed her but didn’t devour her body. Her relics are still preserved. On the top of the bell-tower there’s a statue of Euphemia that revolves around its axis depending on the wind. The saying goes that if the statue points towards the ocean, it will be sunny, and if it points at the town-side, it’ll be rainy and cloudy. If you aren’t scared of height, try the 61-meter-high tower that will grant you a beautiful view of the town. People say you can even see the Alps on a clear day.
The Italian touch
It’s hard to not notice the Italian touches in Rovinj and you can really get a feel for it everywhere. You will notice the Venetian lion on the town hall clock in the Old Town. It is a reminder that Rovinj was once part of the Venetian Republic. At the square in front of the clock, surrounded by lots of restaurants and cafes you can enjoy delicious Istrian food and a glass a of refreshing Istrian Malvasia wine or any other wine Istria is so famous for. (The wine lovers should definitely go on a wine tour, which is easily accessible from Rovinj and worth every penny.) Dining and wining is generally an absolute must when you’re in Istria. Mediterraneo Bar is one of the coolest places. This small bar located right on the water’s edge with grants a view out to St. Catherine’s Island and the harbor.
Stroll to the beach
Rovinj is not only famous for its architecture. On a summer day, you can stroll to the beach. On its rocky and pebbly beaches, the water is very clear and the cliffs are very dramatic. When you go south from the famed Lone Bay beach, through beaches of Golden Cape (Zlatni Rt) forest, across Punta Eva, all the way to neighboring Bale, there are many lovely beaches to choose from. Several are naturist-friendly. You can also go to Valdaliso Beach, a short drive from the old town.
Sunsets, top-notch hotels, what’s not to like
Sunsets in Rovinj are a story of its own. Notoriously beautiful, the sunset with the view of the city will leave you breathless. In a nutshell, dolce vita everywhere you go.
In Rovinj, hotels are a story of its own. Beautifully and luxuriously designed top-notch hotels are Lone, Monte Mulini, Grand Hotel Park Rovinj and hotel Adriatic. If you are eager to explore some more, many companies offer cruises out into the sea, where you can get scenic views of the old town and the nearby small islands, such as St. Catherine’s Island and the Red Island. Also, in Rovinj cycling all the way round the peninsula on your bike is a great fun. You can take the marked bike routes or explore your own path.
Your new favourite spot
Rovinj is a uniquely charming Istrian town that can fulfil all your vacation wishes – from relaxing at the beach, exploring the history and tradition, adrenalin-filled activities, as well as gourmet local wine and dine experiences. Besides all the charms, Rovinj is also a perfect location to explore the rest of Istria, and even neighbouring Slovenia and Italy, where you’ll see that you can easily spend a week or two in the lightness of the dolce vita of Rovinj.