Rovinj Travel Blog: Things To Do In Rovinj

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Rovinj Travel Blog: Things To Do In Rovinj Croatia

If you’ve seen postcards or advertisements of the northwestern region of Croatia, chances are you’ve seen pictures of Rovinj. It’s the idyllic Istrian city with a tall bell tower standing over the seaside city like a knight in shining armor.

Rovinj is a beautiful port city located in the north of the Adriatic Sea on a picturesque oval-shaped peninsula. The town was settled by Illyrian tribes before it was captured by the Romans and later incorporated into the Byzantine Empire. Rovinj remains a large port and fishing center and has become a popular tourist destination.

If you’re planning on visiting the picturesque city of Rovinj Croatia, which was named one of the most beautiful coastal towns of 2014 by Travel and Leisure Magazine, and you want to make the most of your vacation but aren’t sure where to start, keep reading. We’ve composed a list of the best things to do in Rovinj Croatia below. We’ve wanted to share these ideas with you all since our very first visit. So, here is our list of what to do in Rovinj. Before heading off, make sure you have all the essential travel items, which will make your vacation that much more comfortable.

What To See In Rovinj

Visit Rovinj Old Town

One of the first things to do in Rovinj is wandering the cobbled streets of the Rovinj Old Town. It’s my one of my favorite Rovinj attractions. Beset by the remains of three town gates and remnants of the walls that used to protect this historic city, you’ll get to enjoy beautiful architecture that dates as far back as the early 1700s.

There’s a fantastic view from the town bell tower, while the small square is a regular tourist hotspot making this an ideal place to start off your holiday. Keep an eye out for Balbi’s Arch, the original entry to the town. We’ve stayed in a few hotels in the Old Town of Rovinj and love the vibe. The fact that there are no cars makes it an extremely kid-friendly destination.

While in Old Town, don’t forget to pick up one of our all-time favorite souvenirs from Croatia.

St. Euphemia Church

The Church of St. Euphemia is the first thing visitors will see when they get to Rovinj. This church, built in 1736, stands on a hill in the middle of the peninsula overlooking the rest of Rovinj. The Church of St. Euphemia is a beautiful representation of the baroque architecture that dominated the era it was built in.

The tomb of sweet 14-year-old St. Euphemia is behind the altar. According to local legends, the patron saint was tortured and thrown to the lions by Emperor Diocletian for her Christian faith. Her body disappeared on a stormy night and washed up on the coast of Rovinj, from where a little boy and two calves moved the Saint to where she lies now.

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Things to do in Rovinj. Photo Credit: Mario Fajt

Shop For Truffles

You simply can’t be in Istria and not eat (over and over again) truffles. Istrian truffles are truly world-class, with Mr. Chasing the Donkey claiming he can’t tell the difference between their Italian cousins. While you are shopping, also make sure to pick up some of Croatia’s best olive oil at the open-air market.

Valdibora markets are open from 7 am to 4 pm daily. If you do grab a truffle, here is a great truffle recipe to prepare, or try one of the local restaurants. Surprisingly (or maybe not), there are quite a few Croatian recipes that include the use of the Istrian truffle.

Facts about Croatia - White Truffle - Chasing the Donkey
It may not be the biggest truffle, but it was ours!

Stroll Through Grisia

Quaint little shops and art galleries characterize this beautiful, old neighborhood. Visitors get a feeling of stepping back in time when they walk down the cobblestone streets of Grisia. The buildings that line the winding streets of Grisia show different styles of architecture from years gone by. You’ll see Gothic, Renaissance, Baroque, and Neoclassical styles. Most of the buildings were constructed at a time where Rovinj was experiencing a population increase, and large families lived in one room with a fireplace.

Watch The Fishermen

The fishing port is still active, which is surprising given Rovinj is such a big tourist destination. It’s great to see that Rovinj has stayed true to its long history of fishing and many families in the area are still making a living from it. My guess is that that fishermen love the pastel colors of the city as their backdrop each day, too.

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Things to do in Rovinj. Photo Credit: Mario Fajt

Punta Corrente Forest Park

Also known as Zlatni Rt to locals, Punta Corrente Forest Park is a lovely place for a walk, bike ride, or swim. It was founded by the Austrian Admiral Baron Hutterott in 1890 after he began keeping a villa on Crevni Otok. Ten species of cypress trees dot the park, which opens up to the waterfront where visitors can take a swim. Punta Corrente Forest Park also boasts a spectacular view of the islands off the shore of Rovinj.

A mere 20-minutes walk from the center of town, this area is pretty much perfect for anyone who wants a serious dose of nature. Located on a peninsula south of the Old Town, this is simply wonderful, almost fairy-tale-like woodland. On the peninsula, you’ll find beautiful beach areas such as Golden Cape, Lone Bay and Škaraba.

Scuba Dive The Baron Gautsch Wreck

If wandering around an island isn’t your cup of tea and you want something a bit more action-oriented, you could scuba dive the Baron Gautsch Wreck. This old boat lies at the bottom of crystal clear waters, surrounded by numerous species of underwater flora and fauna.

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Things to do in Rovinj. Photo Credit: Mario Fajt

See The Islands

Fourteen islands make up the Rovinj Archipelago. Each one is full of lush, green grass and each is a popular destination to visit. We suggest St. Andrews Island or St Catherine Island, both situated just off the coast of the old town. These beautiful islands take between five and fifteen minutes to get to by boat. And best of all, they’re car-free, so you can walk around the islands’ beaches or visit the old cathedrals. 

Local Tip: Hotel Katarina on St Catherine Island offers a unique view of Rovinj. 

Hotel Katarina Roving Croatia
The view of Rovinj from Hotel Katarina. Photo Credit: Hotel Katarina

Go Big Game Fishing

You can’t visit the Adriatic without at least going for a boat tour. For something a bit different from the traditional tourist excursions, considering going big game fishing. With the chance to hook a massive tuna, reef sharks and marlin, you should definitely give this a try.

Although when you’re waiting out on the boat for a bite, just remember to take something to kill the time, like a book for example. 

Find The Best View

The absolute best place to get sweeping views over the colored buildings of Rovinj is to climb to the top of the bell tower. Set adjacent to the of the Cathedral of St Euphemia in the middle in the heart of the old town, you can’t miss it.

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The majestic bell tower of Rovinj. Photo Credit Dennis Stauffer

Kayaking

For anyone who loves sports or water activities, Adistra is the place to go. Adistra offers a variety of water tours around the archipelago on the coast of Rovinj. Their most popular is the kayak tours. These tours vary from a 9-kilometer trip around the islands to a 14-kilometer trip to the Lim Fjord. The tours include lunch and rental snorkeling gear. Another popular tour of Adistra is the Sunset Paddle that includes wine, cheese, and olives, arguably the greatest way to end a day in Rovinj.

Istria Wine Tours

Anyone who loves fine wine and exploring historic locales will love the Best of Istria Wine Tour. This tour offers a full day of wine tasting. Starting in the morning at Groznjan, anyone who takes the tour will visit the best wine locations across Istria. The areas are hidden and off the beaten path, true gems of the gorgeous Istrian countryside. Visitors tour wineries and cellars, all the while taking in the views that this beautiful land has to offer.

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Things to do in Rovinj. Photo Credit: Mario Fajt

Rovinj Museums

Batana Museum

The Batana House is a museum located in the harbor of Rovinj documenting the impact of the Batana boat on the people of Rovinj Town. A flat-bottomed fishing boat, the Batana and is a symbol of Rovinj’s history and culture. Although the museum is small, it’s positioned in a wonderful 17th-century townhouse.

There are occasional museum events where you can take a boat ride around the town in a Batana before having a traditional Croatian meal afterward. There are also tours that include visiting a local fisherman, who will demonstrate the art of fishing net repair. Great for those in Croatia with kids is that the museum has plenty of interactive displays, including captions and audios that appeal to all ages. 

Cost: 10 HRK | Open: Daily June-September 10am- 2pm and 7pm-11pm

Rovinj Heritage Museum

You’ll find the museum in the Baroque palace that once belonged to the Califfi counts in the 17th and 18th centuries. Founded by a group of artists from Rovinj in 1954, the Heritage Museum now serves as the town gallery with a rich collection of both temporary and permanent exhibits.

Website | Cost: 15 HRK | Open: Tuesday-Sunday 10am-6pm

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Things to do in Rovinj. War Memorial. Photo Credit: Mario Fajt

Enjoy A Little Wellness

I was blown away by the look and feel of the Lone Hotel Spa. It’s not only very welcoming and relaxing, but the “design” concept of the hotel continues to flow into this space and has a serious “wow” factor. The wellness spa is quite large at 1,700 square meters and offers everything you would expect from a 5-star hotel. It features a swimming pool with hydro-massaging chairs, whirlpool rooms, saunas, and massage and treatment rooms.

Lone Hotel Wellness Spa | Travel Croatia
The Lone Hotel Wellness Spa

Swoon Over The Sunsets

We were in awe of the shades of orange and blue the sky turned on our trip to Rovinj. There are several park benches to sit on while you soak up the hues yourself. You can also enjoy a stroll along the water’s edge and watch as the fishermen ready their boats for the next morning.

Jump On Two Wheels

There is no end to places you can cycle in Rovinj. Particularly famous is the coastal bike route. Easy enough for the whole family, including kids. If you want something a little trickier, however, you can find cycle routes in and around Rovinj with varying degrees of difficulty.

Day Trips From Rovinj

Got itchy feet and want to explore Croatia a little? There are many great day trips from Rovinj, such as the following.

These are just a few of the fun things you can do in this beautiful Croatian town. There are loads of other sights and fun things to do in Rovinj, so just make sure that when you visit this beautiful town, you make the most of your stay.

Best Beaches In Rovinj Croatia

Amarin Beach

Amarin Beach is one of the most popular Rovinj beaches. It is a rock and pebble beach with plenty of visitor facilities, including cafes, swimming pools, lifeguards, showers, changing rooms, and campsites. Dogs are allowed on the beach in designated areas. There is free parking on the front part of the beach, but there is a small entrance fee to use this beach because it is a part of the Amarin Resort. This is unquestionably one of the best beaches in Rovinj.

Valdaliso Beach

Another rock and pebble beach, Valdaliso Beach has various cafes and restrooms for users. There are lifeguards on site, while there are also plenty of sports facilities. Dogs are not allowed on the beach. Valdaliso is located on the north side of Rovinj and offers a beautiful view of Old Town. There is free parking in the reception area of the campgrounds, and there is a playground for younger visitors. This beach is an excellent location to moor and dock boats for recreational purposes.

Porton Biondi Beach

To the north of and within easy walking distance from the Old Town, you’ll find Porton Biondi Beach. This 700-meter-long pebble, rock and concrete beach lies in a beautiful cove and is perfect for sunbathing and swimming. There are plenty of facilities in the area, ranging from beach bars and restaurants to a water sports center, public toilets and deckchairs and umbrella hire services.

Borik Beach

Arguably the best beach in Rovinj, small and sheltered Borik Beach offers great views of Figarola Islands and the Old Town. Its crystal-clear water and green surroundings make it a wonderful spot for simply relaxing, soaking up some Adriatic sunshine and going for refreshing swims. This beach lies north of the town center in a quiet residential area. Amenities include free parking, restaurants, showers, chairs rentals and a beach bar.

Zlatni Rt Beach

A long rock and pebble beach in Zlatni Rt Forest Park (see above), which is also known as Golden Cape or Punta Corrente, this beach lies in one of the greatest coastal park areas in Croatia. This is the largest and most popular beach in Rovinj. Set in a calm bay, its waters are ideal for swimming and snorkeling, while on land you can sunbathe, hike, bike and do many other sports.

Best Restaurants In Rovinj Croatia

La Vela

La Vela restaurant has a delicious menu with very reasonable prices, focusing on classic Mediterranean and Italian dishes. You’ll find tasty treats ranging from seafood to pizza at La Vela restaurant. All of the seafood used in their dishes is caught locally. Everyone falls in love after a meal here. The staff always treat everyone like family, making everyone feel welcome the second they step through the door.

Restaurant Dream

Restaurant Dream serves delectable dishes and excellent Croatian wines. Located in the Old Town, this restaurant offers a mid-range priced menu of local dishes. They serve a wide variety of Mediterranean and Italian, as well as contemporary foods. There is no mistaking that the food is delicious. To top off the experience, the staff are very friendly and will love to chat with you. From appetizers to desserts, no one leaves Restaurant Dream dissatisfied.

Puntulina

Puntulina Restaurant & Wine Bar is a very popular and well-rated eatery in the heart of the Old Town, located on the waterfront and overlooking the sea. Its kitchen is a mix of traditional Rovinj dishes and new culinary trends. All food is prepared with fresh and seasonal ingredients, its menu featuring everything from grilled scampi’s and seabass fillets to beef in truffle sauce and lobster pasta. Naturally, fish and seafood take up a prominent place in this elaborate menu.

Tipico

Another excellent Rovinj restaurant serving dishes made with Istrian ingredients and paired with Istrian wines, Tipico lies literally in the middle of the Old Town, just underneath the towering church. If you’d like to experience what Istria tastes like, this is one of the places you should go to. They grow their own herbs and mix spices, while all other ingredients are sourced locally. The menu is exceptionally extensive and also includes vegetarian and vegan options.

Monte

Monte is a contemporary restaurant boasting a fine-dining atmosphere. Every item on the menu is plated to perfection, and all dishes taste spectacular. The wines come from Croatian vineyards and offers a taste of Rovinj flavors. Located in the Old Town, Monte’s unique dining experience on the cobblestone streets is one of a kind.

Rio Bar

Serving Mediterranean cuisine and the finest cocktails in Rovinj, the Rio Bar is a fan favorite. All the food served at Rio Bar is delicious, and all the wines are from local wineries. With reasonable prices, it’s no surprise that visitors come back to Rio Bar time after time. This place is open for breakfast and stays open well into the night for all of the night owls.

Gelateria Italia

This cute little café is a great place to enjoy a cup of coffee on a rainy day, or to take an ice cream break in the middle of a crazy day of family sightseeing. Gelateria Italia serves delicious coffees and ice creams as well as yummy snacks. Anyone who loves Italian-style ice cream should head here to satisfy their sweet tooth.

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Things to do in Rovinj. Photo Credit: Mario Fajt

 

Key Festivals In Rovinj Croatia

Grisia Art Show

The arts are prevalent throughout Rovinj, and that becomes evident during the annual Grisia Art Show. Every second Sunday in August, the Grisia Art Show takes place. This open-air art exhibition attracts visitors from all over the country. Anyone can display their artwork during this festival, from professionals to amateurs and children to adults. Everyone is welcome to participate. The artwork is displayed in churches, studios, and even along the streets.

Avantgarde Jazz Festival

The Avantgarde Jazz Festival is a large festival celebrating jazz music. This festival brings audiences and performers from all over the world to honor and celebrate jazz music. From May to July every year, this annual event is held all throughout Rovinj. Festival-goers can find musical performances from the old tobacco factory on the waterfront to the main city square. Jazz lovers will enjoy this long-lasting celebration of a worldwide and highly popular style of music.

Rovinj Hotels & Accommodation

If your looking for accommodation in Rovinj, you’ve come to the right place. We compiled a list of Rovinj hostels, Rovinj apartments, and Rovinj hotels to make it easy for you to choose where to stay. We have a bigger list of where to stay in Rovinj here, but the overview below is a good starting point.

Rovinj Hostels

Roundabout Hostel

This new Rovinj hostel is located near the main roundabout when coming from the city Pola. A ten-minute walk from Old Town, the Roundabout Hostel offers an eight-bed dorm and a four-bed dorm with air-conditioning and Wi-Fi. It is within close distance to beaches, the hospital, and located right across the street from excellent restaurants. Guests alway enjoy the relaxing atmosphere of the Roundabout Hostel. Check rates here.

Rooms Montalbano

Rooms Montalbano is a guest house in the heart of Rovinj. It is only minutes away from the downtown and beach areas and is surrounded by lovely restaurants and shops on a quaint cobblestone street. Each room offered at the Rooms Montalbano can sleep two people, has a refrigerator and portable fan, and has a bathroom with a shower and bathroom facilities. Cots are also available for guest rooms if they need to sleep more people. Check rates here.

Rovinj Apartments

Apartments Cvek

The Apartments Cvek are an excellent place to stay during your visit to Rovinj. With an extensive range of amenities, guests are always satisfied with their stay. All studios and apartments have balconies with a view. There is parking available, and all units have free Wi-Fi, air-condition, satellite TV, and a fully equipped kitchen including cutlery and a coffee machine. Outside, guests can use the garden, barbecue facilities, playground, and children’s swimming pool at their leisure.

Check Availability

 

The Oleander

The Oleander is located on the ground floor of a family house on a peaceful street. This apartment has three bedrooms, three bathrooms, and can sleep up to six people. Each bedroom comes with a personal bathroom. It is within walking distance to the center of Rovinj as well as the beach. Guests can enjoy the park place, terrace, garden, and barbecue during their stay. The owner is always happy to help and can be reached easily up on the first floor of the home.

Check Availability

 

3-Star Rovinj Hotels

Maistra Villas Rubin Resort

The Maistra Villas Rubin Resort is located on the beach in Rovinj. It is close to Golden Cape Forest Park and Monkodonja Hill Forest. Each room has a private patio and satellite TV. There are various amenities available to guests including an outdoor tennis court, a water slide, and an outdoor pool. There is childcare, a game room, a gift shop and a bar for guest’s convenience as well. Additionally, the Maistra Villas Rubin Resort also comes with internet access.

Check Availability

 

Vila Lili

This small hotel is located near the Adriatic Sea. With only 17 rooms, the Vila Lili offers a quaint, personalized stay. Even though it is small, this hotel does have many amenities. There is parking available on site, as well as a shuttle to pick guests up from the airport. For guest’s convenience, there is a spa and bar in the hotel as well, while each room is unique and offers different views of Rovinj.

Check Availability

 

4-Star Rovinj Hotels

Hotel Arupinum

Hotel Arupinum lies close to Nature Park Zlanti Rt. Each room comes with a private balcony overlooking the city, a flat-screen TV, a safe, and a minibar, as well as air-condition. The hotel has Wi-Fi, parking, a restaurant and bar, and an outdoor swimming pool to enhance guests’ experience. A short walk also brings you to shops, restaurants, spas, recreational area, and hiking trails.

Check Availability

 

Hotel Angelo D’oro

Hotel Angelo D’oro comes with a unique history. It was formerly a Bishop’s palace in the 17th century and the look of the hotel is supremely Venetian with vaulted ceilings and exposed stone walls. The small rooftop loggia gives guests breathtaking views of Rovinj from the heart of the city. Every room comes with a view of the garden, the sea, or the quaint cobblestone street. Amenities of the Hotel Angelo D’oro include air-conditioning, breakfast, and Wi-Fi.

Check Availability

 

5-Star Rovinj Hotels

Hotel Monte Mulini

The Hotel Monte Mulini is ten minutes away from the center of Rovinj. Each room has a beautiful view of either the pool, the garden, or the sea. Rooms were created to be of luxury to guests with free Wi-Fi, air-conditioning, satellite TV, a minibar, and a walk-in shower. For the convenience of guests, the hotel offers airport shuttles, a fine-dining restaurant, indoor and outdoor pools, and a sauna. The hotel even has beach access with changing facilities, showers, beach rental equipment, and a beach-side cocktail bar. This certainly is one of the best hotels in Rovinj.

Check Availability

 

Hotel Lone

The modern Hotel Lone lies within the Golden Cape Natural Park and is dedicated to making guest experiences perfect. We know, we loved it. With hotel amenities including an indoor pool, a sushi bar, a night club, several restaurants, a spa, a garden, buffet breakfast, and airport shuttles, it is hard not ot be satisfied with the Hotel Lone. Each room comes with free Wi-Fi, a private balcony, a flat-screen TV, air-conditioning, and a laptop safety box. The best part is that this hotel is close to the sea and a 15-minute walk to the center of town. This is also one of the best hotels in Rovinj.

Lone Hotel Rovinj

Luxurious 5-star hotel in the heart of Rovinj

CHECK RATES FOR YOUR DATES

 

Hotel Lone Rovinj

Photos Of Rovinj

Traveling To Rovinj Croatia

  • Air. Pula Airport is the nearest airport to Rovinj. It is a 40-minute drive from Pula to Rovinj. If you are looking for a large international airport, however, you will have to go to Italy or head to Zagreb. This guide will get you from Zagreb to Rovinj.
  • Bus. Bus stations all over Croatia serve buses that run to Rovinj. Rovinj to Zagreb is approximately 250 kilometers. Within the city, local buses are a very reliable form of transportation.
  • Ferry. There are several ferries that travel north along the Adriatic Sea. These ferries connect several different seaside cities and have various timetables to meet your needs, including ferries to Venice on Venezia lines Rovinj.
  • Train. There is a train station in Rovinj, although taking trains in Croatia is not the best option given the limited options.
  • Car: Road travel is, for us, the best choice in Istria. There are a series of roads that connect Croatia to other parts of Europe and great highways internally. Book your rental car in advance because during peak season rental cars are limited.
  • Parking. There are several parking locations along the beaches in Rovinj and many hotels offer parking as part of their amenities. Keep in mind, there are no cars allowed in the center of Rovinj, so plan your drive and parking accordingly.

What do you think will be your favorite thing to do in Rovinj? 

Main photo credit: Dennis Stauffer and many photos by Mario Fajt

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Comments (18)

  1. Your blog is great! We are travelling in August with kids and I’m finding your posts very helpful. Thank a lot

  2. almeno metà dell’Istria, compresa Pola, era da secoli italo-veneziana, e ce l’avete tolta con la violenza e senza un legittimo plebiscito.
    Noi però questo non ce lo dimentichiamo, e mai lo dimenticheremo. Cosicchè queste terre benedette – presto o tardi che sia – ritorneranno a noi.

  3. Shame on you SJ,

    first you tell us to go to Rovinj, and once there you say: go to Slovenia or Venice.
    Women………………

    Poz. Pim.

  4. Rovinj looks amazing! Thanks for the tips, it is now on my list of places to stay in Croatia this year! I hope 4 nights will be enough?

    1. 4 nights in Rovinj will be just grand!! Let us know how you like it and what else you find we can add to this list.

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