Rovinj is on of the most beautiful towns in Croatia’s Istria region and today I am here to write a full travel guide to this place.
We’ll learn a bit about the town, the top things to do in and around Rovinj, its beaches, and a lot more. This is the only article you’ll need to read to know everything about Rovinj and plan for a perfect holiday.
Top Things to Do and See in Rovinj
Since this is what you’re probably most interested in, let’s start with the main attractions and activities in the area!
Spend a day (or more) at the beach
While you don’t get any sandy beaches in the area, the rocky or pebble beaches are still spectacular due to the amazing water and nearby nature. So you can still enjoy a day out soaking the sun and swimming in the Adriatic.
For a truly unique experience, I recommend visiting the Red Island, where you get to experience plenty of smaller, but very private beaches with raw nature and spectacular water.
If you want to remain close to the town itself, the best choices are Lone Beach, Balota and Mulini Beach.
I have a full guide to Rovinj’s best beaches here. Make sure to check it out for a complete, in-depth look.
Rovinj’s Old Town: A Walk Through History
Rovinj’s Old Town is, without a doubt, a place you should visit. Prepare to walk along the history-filled streets and enjoy the views.
Most of the main attractions in the town can be found in this area – with plenty of hidden gems like art shops, beautiful pavement and buildings and much more hidden behind a corner somewhere.
Existing from the Roman and Venetian eras, these small charming streets will take you to the ancient town gates and the remnants of the old town walls, the Balbi Arch and the Town Clock, as well as plenty of other attractions that we’ll talk about below.
But simply wandering around the streets is what you should do. If you prefer a more organized way to do it, to make sure you don’t miss anything important, I recommend taking a guided walking tour like this one.
Visit the Church of St. Euphemia
Dominating the town’s skyline, St. Euphemia’s Church is one of the main attractions in Rovinj’s old town area.
This is a Baroque church built in the early 1700s, housing the impressive, 60-meter high bell tower reminiscent of St. Mark’s Campanile in Venice.
The church itself is like a treasure chest, so make sure to enter too. For example, here are the relics of Saint Euphemia, preserved in a Roman sarcophagus dating back to the 6th century.
There are also various works of art here, like the Gothic statues from the 15th century, or various paintings from the 16th and the 17th centuries.
When here, make sure that you also climb the bell tower for some amazing views over the Adriatic sea and the town itself.
Related reading: If you think that Rovinj might not be the best choice for you, read about the nearby Porec.
Sample Rovinj’s Gastronomic Delights
If you’re fond of fish and seafood, you will truly enjoy Rovinj’s culinary scene. To do so, make sure to visit the traditional konobas (taverns) instead of the upscale restaurants to fully flavor the local dishes.
Signature dishes here include fresh Adriatic seafood, Istrian truffles, and hand-made pasta, usually combined in delicious treats that mix Croatian and Italian influences.
If you want to, you can learn more about traditional Croatian foods here.
Stroll Along the Harbor and the Promenade
I always love walking down to the Harbor of Rovinj, all the way to the end and get impressed by the sea and the various boats docked in the marina.
I dream that some day, I will own such a boat… but until this happens, looking at them from the harbor is good enough.
Ideal for photography enthusiasts, the harbor also offers picturesque views of traditional batana boats, or truly Instagram-able panoramas from the harbor.
As you walk, the promenade unfolds, lined with a variety of cafes and restaurants, where you can soak in the scenic harbor views, the Adriatic sea and that perfect feeling of being holiday.
Yes, the prices are a bit higher here – but you’re also paying for the views, so it’s all worth it in my opinion. Even locals enjoy coming here to grab a bite, a coffee or a fresh lemonade.
Visit Rovinj Farmers’ Markets
Shop for fresh produce, truffles, and unique souvenirs at local markets, most of them scattered around the old town area.
While I’ll touch on this a bit more in depth below, expect to find fresh Croatian produce in these markets, usually grown almost organically, but at great prices.
Also, while here, don’t forget to sample the local cheese which is a true delicacy, as well as the olive oil made in the region… and grab a bottle (or two) of local wine to enjoy it with a meal later on!
Do some Shopping in Rovinj
It’s not just farmer markets that you can enjoy while in Rovinj. The town is actually renowned for its art-focused shopping, with plenty of handmade products made in various shops around the old town area.
Notable among these is Atelier Devescovi, where artist Dean Devescovi showcases his jazz-inspired paintings. I am marking it on the map here, to make sure you don’t miss it.
Another gem is Atelier Sottomuro, a charming gallery run by UK-raised Jan Ejsymontt, offering acrylic paintings and unique jewelry pieces. This one is a bit further away, but I am marking it on Google maps here.
But, of course, there are plenty of such Ateliers – just take your time, visit them and you’ll surely find one that you love, one offering unique souvenirs to bring back home.
The town’s premier shopping destination is Carera Street, famed for its diverse array of shops.
Here, visitors can explore stores selling clothing, footwear, gourmet food, pharmaceuticals, office supplies, souvenirs, leather goods, and exquisite filigree and other jewelry styles, if the Atelier-type of shopping is not your thing.
Learn about Rovinj’s maritime history and art at local museums – there are plenty of good ones, but I am listing my favorites below:
- Rovinj Heritage Museum: The town’s main museum, showcasing the historical and cultural evolution of Rovinj.
- The Batana Eco-Museum: A really cool, interactive experience dedicated to the batana, the traditional fishing boat of Rovinj.
- Rovinj Aquarium: Part of the Ruder Boskovic Institute, the aquarium will be a favorite for a younger audience (although I have to admit I always love visiting too!) Expect to see a variety of Adriatic sea flora and fauna here.
- Mini Croatia Park: An absolutely amazing park showcasing miniature models of Croatia’s most famous landmarks, spread over a large, 5,500 square meter area.
There are a few amazing islands that you can and should visit when in Rovinj. I have already briefly mentioned the Red Island before, but also worth seeing is the island of Saint Catherine’s.
Saint Catherine’s Island, just a five-minute water taxi ride away, is known for its lush vegetation and stunning views of Rovinj.
Saint Andrew’s Island, also known as Red Island, is famous for its twin islets and botanical garden featuring over 180 plant species.
On both islands, expect to find amazing beaches, beautiful nature and some hidden gems, like the Maškin Mausoleum on Red Island.
There is also one amazing hotel on each of these islands – so if you’re up for a less crowded, but truly special vacation, I recommend looking at the top rated Maistra Select Island Hotel Katarina or Maistra Select Island Hotel Istra.
If visiting islands is something you enjoy doing, I also recommend checking out my Croatia Island Hopping Itinerary as an alternative.
Visit the Punta Corrente Park
If you’re an outdoorsy person, the nearby Punta Corrente Park is where you have to be.
There are plenty of outdoor activities you can enjoy here, from hiking, jogging or cycling, to rock climbing, all the way to the coastal area where there are ample opportunities for various water sports, like kayaking, stand-up paddleboarding, and windsurfing.
More things to know about Rovinj, Croatia
Now that you know what are the main things to do and see in the area, let’s talk a little about this charming city in Croatia, as it’s always good to know a bit of the background story too.
Rovinj (Rovigno in Italian) is one of the most romantic towns on the Adriatic coast. It has a unique blend of urban and fishing settlement architecture, plenty of bars and restaurants and I highly recommend it as a romantic getaway in Croatia.
This small town started its romantic life on a small peninsula (once an island) whose tight space conditioned the construction of compact houses, narrow streets and small squares, still untouched by modern urbanization.
Do you need more? Well, what about 2,400 hours of sunshine annually – making it one of the sunniest cities in Croatia!
While the Istria peninsula offers many wonders, it is Rovinj’s rugged archipelago, comprising 14 islands and 6 cliffs, that really blows your mind.
These islands, covering over 65 hectares, form a scenic backdrop to the old town, their collective length stretching to an impressive 20.5 km.
Among all these, we have a unique island located just 1.5 nautical miles away from the old town. We’re talking about Lighthouse Sveti Ivan, locally known as Lanterna, which is a 23-meter-tall octagonal stone tower, built in 1853.
It stands proudly on the small 70 x 50 meters rock, offering amazing views and even accommodation in one of two apartments on the island. I am marking it here on Google Maps, as this is lesser known, and mostly locals are familiar with it.
If you search for it, you will be taken to other attractions or even a totally different Lighthouse, so make sure to use my link.
Rovinj is, without a doubt, a unique and magical place in Croatia. You know now everything about the main things to do in the area, but also a bit of history and fun facts for a complete, truly enlightening experience.
Are you planning to visit Rovinj this year? Let us all know, by commenting below, what attractions are you most interested in.