Rovinj was an island until 1763 when the channel was filled in, connecting the city to the mainland. As an island, it was heavily fortified with two stone walls surrounding it – keeping attackers and illness (like the plague) out, which made it quite a desirable place to live. The limited space resulted in narrow streets and stacked housing, but not a lot of green space. However, nature isn’t far and there are ample hiking and biking trails in Rovinj, Croatia. To the south is the Golden Cape Forest Park and to the north is the rural countryside filled with vineyards and olive groves. Both are well connected with paths. We set out on foot to the south and rented bikes to explore the area to the north.
Hiking and Biking Trails in Rovinj: Golden Cape Forest Park
Following the coastline south of Rovinj around the harbor, past the marina and Hotel Park Maistra, we found our way onto Trail 203 and entered Golden Cape Forest Park (Zlatni rt). The park is made up of both indigenous and foreign trees and is considered to be one of the most significant parks along Croatia’s coastline.
There are many hiking and biking trails through the forested area, but we stayed close to the shore, only leaving it to climb a large hill (with high hopes of panoramic views). At the top, we walked through the quarry (much of its rock used to build Venice).
The sheer rock left behind provides an ideal spot for rock climbers and a peaceful place for us to sit and enjoy the sea from a different perspective. On the descent, the path reconnected with the shore, eliciting a stream of oohs and ahhs from me over the teal water, off-shore islands and picturesque sailboats.
I couldn’t help but take ‘just one more’ photo and I was pleased we were on foot. Had we been on bikes, I would have been stopping every 10 meters to take another picture. On the other hand, I wished that we had worn swimsuits, as the water looked more inviting than ever.
We made it as far as the cove and decided to turn inland. We wound up on a street in a neighborhood that was lined with holiday rental homes. We eventually made our way to the Hotel Eden and popped back out on the coastline and headed back into town.
Hiking and Biking Trails in Rovinj: Rural Countryside
Feeling slightly more adventurous, we rented bikes to explore the area to the north. We hopped on Trail 201 outside of the old town and completed the (roughly) 10km loop.
We struggled in the beginning, unsure of where exactly we were on the map and unable to find any trail markers on the street, but we eventually found our way to the official trailhead. From there, we rode through gentle hills on both gravel and pavement; through vineyards and olive groves; past countryside konobas (restaurants) and farms.
The path is part of the larger Basilica Track. On our route, we pedaled past two old churches: the ruins of St. Bartholomew’s Chapel and St. Christopher’s Church. Pilgrimages used to take place to all of the field churches to pray for crops.
On our approach back into town, we momentarily connected on Trail 202 to complete our smaller loop. We could see all of Rovinj, prettily perched out into the sea. The density of the old town sits in contrast with the open spaces of nature to the north and south.
Tips for the Hiking and Biking Trails in Rovinj, Croatia
- Pick up an Istria Bike Map from the Tourist Information Office that outlines the hiking and biking trails in Rovinj.
- Bike rentals are offered from various agencies for about 20 kuna an hour, but the best deal in town are the bike rentals from the parking attendant at the north parking lot for just 5 kuna an hour.
- Our hike to the south and bike to the north each took about 3 hours, including several stops for pictures and lunch.
- Trail 201 to the north is poorly marked when departing from Rovinj’s old town. We expected to see signage, so when we didn’t, we had to make frequent stops to verify our placement on the map. Looking at the map in more detail prior to leaving would have been beneficial.
- Much of Trail 201 is shared with cars. The narrow roads aren’t heavily trafficked, but be aware and pull off to the side for larger vehicles.
- That being said, when leaving the old town, follow the water. There are ridable paths along the shore, away from the traffic until we turned into the first neighborhood.
We want to know: Have you been on the hiking and biking trails in Rovinj, Croatia? Where did you go? Have any tips? Tell us about it in the comments!