Forget about Dubrovnik for a moment; Rovinj is here! A town that has been called one of the most beautiful towns on the Adriatic Coast on several occasions is something to consider if you’re looking for more than just a seaside holiday destination.
Its Venetian architecture gives it a Venice-like feel, along with its colorful houses, charming galleries, and narrow cobblestoned streets. Whether you’re looking for a short city break or a destination to spend your vacation, Rovinj is a place where you just can’t be bored.
Many visitors prefer to laze on one of Rovinj’s many beaches or sip cocktails at the Grand Park Hotel (and we can’t blame them), but Rovinj has a lot to offer in terms of activities, sights, and culture. Above all, it’s also an ideal spot for any foodie, since the entire region of Istria boasts with fresh and unique local ingredients; from refreshing wine, fragrant olive oil, and exotic truffles.
What’s more, its location makes Rovinj an excellent base for day trips and activities around Istria. If you want more, it enables you to hop across the border and visit Slovenia as well!
Top things to do in Rovinj
1. Discover Rovinj Old Town
Old Town of Rovinj used to be an island until the 18th century. Now it’s connected to the land and it’s a car-free area. Here, you’ll find lots of shops, cafes, and small art galleries dotted in this area. Wear comfortable shoes so that you can explore it all thoroughly. This historic center is small but definitely worth it. Your camera will surely love the small details and quaint streets!
2. Stop by at St. Euphemia Church
Located in the highest part in town, the church of St. Euphemia, who’s also the town’s patron saint, was built in the 17th century by the Venetians. The church tower is an exact replica, though smaller, of St. Marco in Venice. You can climb the tower for a 360-view of the town!
Don’t forget to walk Grisia street when returning back into the Old Town, it’s the town’s most popular street. Quite photogenic and charming, the street is full of small shops, cafes, and a few restaurants.
3. Spoil your taste buds with truffles
If you’ve never had truffles before, they are an Istrian delicacy you can’t afford to miss. They grow in dark Istrian forests in abundance, but if merely getting them on your plate isn’t enough, you can go truffle hunting for a real authentic Istrian experience! After all, the world’s largest truffle was found back in 1999 and it weighed 1.31kg!
4. Take a swim at Punta Corrente park
Just a bit south of Rovinj lies a natural park, Punta Corrente. While its name coincides with the name of Croatia’s most famous beach – Zlatni Rat in Brač (Golden Horn), Punta is actually a park and the oldest protected site in Istria.
Take a nature break for a stroll, walk, hike, or a swim under 100-year old trees in the emerald sea. It’s easily reachable by foot from the old town and an ideal spot for relaxation.
5. Visit Batana Musem and go for a ride
Visit this small museum that’s dedicated to the art of batana making, the traditional wooden fishing boats from the area. If museums aren’t your thing, you can opt-in for a Batana boat ride around Rovinj instead!
6. Visit Rovinj surrounding islands
There are more than 15 islands that make up the Rovinj Archipelago, St. Katarina being one of the largest and most commonly visited ones. It’s accessible by the local ferry and a lovely way to spend a few hours, walking through its gardens and parks. Beaches aren’t the nicest, but the views of Rovinj are impressive!
7. Get a front-row seat for sunset
Rovinj is considered one of Croatia’s most romantic places, so observing a sunset or two is a must. Head over to a bar or a restaurant for the front-row seat and observe the colors change while the sun is slowly sinking into the Adriatic.
8. Fall in love with Motovun and Grožnjan
Istria is full of lovely spots and places that will easily impress you; the small towns of Motovun and Groznjan are no exceptions.
Groznjan is exceptionally lively during summers; it magically transforms into an art hub of the area, offering art, dance, drama workshops, and summer music academies. It’s artistic, charming, picturesque, and an absolute must if you’re in the area.
Motovun is located on a top of a hill; a walled town is small but one of the most beautiful towns in Istria. It’s best known for a film festival in summer, when the sleepy town transforms into a cultural center for a week, welcoming visitors from all over.
9. Take a ride to Brijuni National Park
Brijuni is an archipelago of 14 islands, and also one of the 8 national parks of Croatia. They’re located a short boat ride from the coast and are accessible by ferries and private tours. Most islands off-limits to tourists, but you can visit the largest of the islands, Veliki Brijun. Hop on a train ride, discover cultural monuments and dinosaur footprints, or go on a safari.
10. Visit 6th largest Roman Amphitheatre
Pula, the largest town in Istria, is just a short ride from Rovinj. Its amphitheater or Arena is well-preserved, and the town is worth visiting if you’re a history buff, since you can explore many Roman relics scattered around town.
11. Hop over to Slovenia
Staying in Croatia, you probably want to explore more of the country, but Rovinj to Plitvice lakes may seem too much for a day trip to some. You can get elsewhere instead, and Slovenia is an excellent option since it’s only about an hour away by car.
Piran is a tourist hotspot that’s been on everyone’s radars for a few years due to its picturesque houses, church on a hilltop, and amazing views of the Slovenian and Croatia coast.
Make the most of your border-hopping by taking a private tour and head into the depths of Slovenia for a day trip. Don’t miss out Postojna cave, Predjama castle, and a few other sights while in the area.
12. Take Istrian wine tour
Istria is home to some great wineries; some of them have boutiques in Rovinj, but for a more complete experience we recommend taking a wine tour, which gives you a better insight into the wine-making process in the area, along with spectacular views of the countryside and a better insight into the local lifestyle.
13. Lay on a beach
If too much strolling, exploration, and summer sunshine make you tired, we suggest visiting one of Rovinjs beaches and take a few hours to relax, unwind, and soak in the crystal clear Adriatic Sea.
14. Indulge in local delicacies
Istria is a foodie’s heaven for many. There are many different dishes to choose from, some are also unique to the area. Produce is fresh, olive oil is fragrantly green, and wines taste differently than those from Dubrovnik. For a complete culinary experience, don’t forget to indulge in gelato, and you’ll understand why it’s just so much more than ice cream!
FAQ on visiting Rovinj
Where is Rovinj, Croatia?
Rovinj is located in Croatian Istria, in the north of the Adriatic Sea.
What’s the best time to visit Rovinj, Croatia?
The best time to visit Rovinj is from May to October with July and August being the busiest months. June and September are excellent if you’re looking for warm weather with fewer tourists, but keep in mind that the sea may not be warm enough to swim yet, especially in May, June, and October.
Is Rovinj a good holiday destination?
Rovinj is an excellent holiday destination since it’s so diverse. It’s great for those who’re looking for a vacation holiday on the sea or those who want more than just soaking in the sun. Rovinj is a great starting point if you want to explore the Istrian peninsula more thoroughly, or if you want to do a Slovenia- Croatia vacation package.
How to get to Rovinj?
The nearest airport to Rovinj is Pula, which is about an hour’s drive away, but if you’re flying to Rovinj from outside Europe, landing in Venice, Ljubljana, or Zagreb all seem great options.
Is Rovinj safe?
Rovinj is, just like many other towns in Croatia, very safe, but we advise you to use precaution. Don’t carry large amounts of cash with you when heading out. Also, don’t leave your belongings unattended in public places, such as beaches, restaurants, shops.
How far is Zagreb from Rovinj?
Rovinj is about 250km (155 miles) away from Zagreb.
How many days in Rovinj?
For just Rovinj, one day is probably more than enough. The town is small so if you want to have a look at its Old Town you won’t need more than that. However, if you want to take part in activities and further explore Istria (perhaps even Slovenia), you’ll need more than a few days to get a better feel of the area.
Rovinj travel restrictions: Covid-19 in Croatia
The situation is changing all the time, so it’s best that you keep yourself updated with the help of official sources. If you’re looking for all updates and news on the current COVID-10 Croatia situation, we recommend you to visit the Croatian coronavirus website or the official EU website to stay informed on all European countries.