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Charming Rovinj, Croatia is an absolute gem – and one of our favorite Croatia destinations. Located on the western coast of the Istrian Peninsula, which hangs like a teardrop from Slovenia, Rovinj is a picture-perfect seaside town. During our 3-week stay, we discovered many things to do in Rovinj – both in the Old Town and beyond. Our guide of what to do in Rovinj covers the highlights and more!
What To Do in Rovinj, Croatia
Rovinj, Croatia holidays can be relaxed and serene…or absolutely filled to the brim with activities. Our list includes the top Rovinj things to do, as well as advice about where to stay, how to get there and other travel tips to enhance your trip!
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Old Town Rovinj was originally an island – separated from the mainland by a narrow channel. Occupied since ancient times, the city was conquered by the Romans, then ruled by the Byzantine Empire in the 6th century, followed by the Frankish Empire in the 8th century. The Republic of Venice took control in 1283 and held power until 1797.
Under the Republic of Venice, the island was heavily fortified with two stone walls surrounding it. The defensive structure kept attackers and illness (like the plague) out of the city, which made it quite a desirable place to live. Limited space on the island resulted in narrow streets and stacked housing.
In 1763, the channel was filled in and the island became part of the mainland. After the fall of Venice, Rovinj was shuffled to the Austrian Empire until the end of World War I, when it became part of the Kingdom of Italy. In 1947, Rovinj was included in Yugoslavia and eventually became a Croatian city in 1991 when Croatia declared independence.
Because of the intertwining history with Italy, there are strong Italian influences in the city. In fact, the town has two official languages: Croatian and Italian. As such, the town is named both Rovinj (Croatian) and Rovigno (Italian) – and most street signs are displayed in both languages, as well.
Things To Do in Rovinj
Our Rovinj travel guide includes everything you need to know to plan your trip – from must-see Rovinj sights to exploration beyond the Old Town.
#1 Explore Old Town Rovinj, Croatia
The romantic Rovinj Old Town – a collection of pastel pink and yellow buildings – occupies a small peninsula that protrudes into the teal-blue Adriatic Sea. Twisting cobblestone lanes, polished by millions of footsteps, weave through the dense space and laundry hangs on lines overhead, crisscrossing between windows.
Rovinj sightseeing is best done on foot – most of the Rovinj streets in the Old Town are too narrow for cars. Visitors who want local insight can join a guide on a Rovinj Walking Tour (read the reviews of this highly rated tour!). Independent travelers can create their own self-guided free walking tour of Rovinj by simply wandering the picturesque streets.
There are a few Rovinj, Croatia Old Town sights that should not be missed! St. Euphemia Church is next on our list of the top Rovinj, Croatia things to do, but make sure to check out these sights, too!
Balbi’s Arch (map): Once an Old Town Gate, Balbi’s Arch (Balbijev luk) was built in 1678 and leads into the Old Town’s main street.
Farmer’s Market (map): The local Rovinj market is an interesting place to peruse fresh, in-season produce and other locally produced goods.
Batana Eco Museum (map): A small museum near the pier, Batana Museum is dedicated to the region’s traditional wooden boat (the Batana) and the local fishing culture. Note: There are no explanations in English…and no actual boat on display.
#2 Visit the Iconic St. Euphemia Church and Bell Tower
Follow any of the Old Town Rovinj streets uphill and you will eventually arrive at St. Euphemia Church – the highest point in the city. Completed in 1736, the church is dedicated to the town’s patron saint, St. Euphemia, and houses her remains.
Climb the Bell Tower
One of the best things to do in Rovinj, Croatia is to take in the views…and there is no better view than from the top of the church bell tower. After climbing the rickety staircase, visitors are treated to phenomenal 360-degree panoramic views.
Read more about the Rovinj church, the legend of the relics and the bell tower in our St. Euphemia Church Post!
#3 Jump in the Sea from Rovinj Beaches
The water around the city is crystal clear. Under a shining sun, swimmers can clearly see several feet deep into the water, past their own toes to schools of fish that swim below. The water is especially salty, which helps to keep swimmers buoyant. Bobbing in the Adriatic Sea on a hot summer day is one of the top things to do in Rovinj. All of the best beaches in Rovinj can be easily reached on foot or by taxi boat.
Rovinj Old Town Beaches
The beaches around the Rovinj Old Town are located on the southwestern side of the peninsula. The Old Town beaches are rock and concrete, not sand. Swimmers can jump from the rocky edge into the deep, azure sea or use the paved steps and ladders bolted to the rocks to ease into the water.
Mulini Beach is located to the south of the Old Town (just past the marina) in front of 3 highly-rated hotels (more on where to stay in Rovinj at the end of the post!). Both concrete platforms and pebbles make up the stylish beach. Sun loungers and umbrellas are available for rent and there are beach bars and facilities on-site.
Golden Cape Beaches
South of Mulini Beach is the Golden Cape Forest Park (Zlatni Rt). The forested nature retreat has bays and hidden coves that are perfect for swimming. On the north side of the park’s peninsula is the Paradiso Beach Bar and an aquapark. On the south side is Golden Bay and Zlatni Rt Beach (which is not to be confused with the famous Zlatni Rat Beach on Brac Island).
Beaches on Islands Near Rovinj: St. Katarina
More than 20 islands make up the Rovinj Archipelago. St. Katarina Island, one of the largest in the archipelago, is just a stone’s throw from Rovinj. There are pebble beaches on the east end of the island near the Hotel Katarina (check rates!). However, the rocks on the northwestern side – which rise nearly 50 feet from the water – are popular with cliff jumpers (but do so at your own risk!). Taxi boats are the best way to access St. Katarina.
#4 Feast on Regional Fare at Rovinj Restaurants
Even though it’s a small town, there are many restaurants in Rovinj, Croatia. Rovinj food is heavily influenced by Italy…and the sea. Most travelers will have no problem finding places to eat out (as long as they like Italian fare and seafood!). Almost all Rovinj restaurants offer pastas, pizzas and seafood. Whole grilled fish, truffle pasta (my favorite!) and pizza with prsut are some of the regional specialties.
Best Restaurants in Rovinj, Croatia
Of the many places to eat in Rovinj, there are posh eateries, family-run konobas and fast food kiosks. For a romantic dinner, La Puntulina overlooks the Adriatic and features fresh seafood; it is often touted as the best restaurant in Rovinj. Two other top-rated upscale eateries are Monte (in the heart of the Old Town) and Wine Vault at Hotel Monte Mulini.
Rather than indulge in fine dining, however, we couldn’t resist the tempting pizzas. Anytime we started a conversation about where to eat in Rovinj, Croatia…we ended up at a pizzeria.
We ate an embarrassing amount of pizza in the city…but it’s okay, because pizza is one of the best things to eat in Rovinj! Our favorite pizza restaurant in Rovinj is the slightly inconspicuous (but nearly always crowded!) Pizzeria Da Sergio (Read Reviews!). Other pizza restaurants in Rovinj that we can recommend are Pian del Forno, Adria and Pizzera San Giocomo.
#5 Sample Local Wine on a Rovinj Wine Tasting Tour
Istria has long been known as one of the best wine regions in Croatia. In Rovinj, visitors can sample locally produced wine at shops, wine bars and restaurants. That said, we think one of the most fun Rovinj activities is sampling wine straight from the source…and there are wineries just a short distance from the Old Town.
Wine aficionados can join a guided tour of three wineries near Rovinj (Get the details here!). Or, follow in our footsteps on a self-guided Rovinj Wine Walk.
Get the details in our Rovinj Wine Tasting Post.
#6 Rent a Bike in Rovinj and Hit the Trails
The Istrian landscape is undeniably beautiful. One of the best – and most active! – ways to see it is on two wheels! With an entire network of intertwining trails, cycling in Rovinj is one of the best ways to explore beyond the Old Town. The paths weave through forests and vineyards, past ancient structures and lead to nearby villages.
There are several Rovinj bike rental companies where visitors can rent a bike for a couple of hours or a couple of days. We opted for cheap bike rentals in Rovinj so that we could go on a bike ride through the countryside for just a few hours.
Find out more about our route in our Hiking and Biking in Rovinj post!
#7 Watch a Sensational Sunset in Rovinj
We have witnessed incredible sunsets around the world, but few have been as impressive as the sunsets in Rovinj. Each night, the sky simply glowed! There are numerous places to watch the sunset near the Old Town – from atop the hill, down by the beach, along the pier – and each spot provided a unique vantage point.
Use our list of the Best Places to Watch Sunsets in Rovinj, then grab a bottle of wine or a couple of beers and find your favorite place for Rovinj sunsets.
#8 Set Sail on Rovinj Boat Trips
Hop on a boat for a day at sea! Boat trips from Rovinj are a fantastic way to see more of the coastline and region. Boat operators offer a range of tour options – from a couple hours aboard to all day adventures. We enjoyed a leisurely afternoon aboard the Delfin; look for their booth by the pier south of the Old Town. Additionally, the following boat trips come highly recommended by fellow travelers.
Lim Fjord Boat Trip
One of the most popular boat tours in Rovinj is a 7-hour cruise that features stunning scenery and two swimming stops. The journey navigates to the Lim Channel Fjord and around nearby Rovinj islands. Guests are treated to an included breakfast and lunch with unlimited drinks. Read the Rave Reviews!
Rovinj Boat Tours To Venice
Did you know there are day trips from Rovinj to Venice? Depart from Rovinj and spend 3 hours crossing the Adriatic Sea to Venice, Italy on a one-day trip. Boats depart early in the morning and dock in Venice around 11:00am. Day trip visitors have about 6 hours to explore the fascinating city on their own before cruising back to Rovinj in time for dinner. Top Tip: This journey can be booked as a full day trip or as a one-way ticket if Italy is the next stop on your travel itinerary. Get all the details!
Sunset Cruise with Swimming and Dolphin Spotting
Hop aboard a sunset cruise and keep your eye on the horizon for dolphins! This highly-rated cruise sails around the Rovinj archipelago and allows time for swimming in the Adriatic Sea. Snacks and drinks included! Find out more!
Active travelers can explore the Adriatic Sea by kayak. Single and double kayaks can be rented for self-exploration or with a tour guide. Kayakers can paddle to nearby islands, like St. Katarina, or along the coastline all the way to the Lim Fjord.
Take a half-day boat trip and go snorkeling in Rovinj! Popular snorkel trips stop at two islands: St. Andrew’s Island (also known as Red Island) and either Pisulj or Sestrice. Each stop lasts for two hours, allowing for plenty of time to go swimming, snorkeling and exploring! Book your Spot!
#9 Discover the Region on Day Trips from Rovinj
Excursions from Rovinj are not only by sea; there are many options for fantastic Rovinj day trips on land, too! Istria is diverse and the landscape is stunning. The best day trips from Rovinj are to historic coastal towns, lovely hilltop villages and gastronomy adventures.
Top Tip: Both organized and DIY Rovinj day tours are options. While the local buses are fantastic for getting between major Istrian cities – like Rovinj to Pula – they are not as useful for getting to the hilltop towns. Visitors who drive to Rovinj – or rent a car for more than one day – should be aware that parking in Rovinj is very limited and expensive in the summertime.
Istria Day Trip
Combine all of the Istrian highlights into a full day tour from Rovinj! We had a private car and driver for our Istria day trip, but travelers can also rent a car or join one of the organized Istria tours (Get Tour Specifics!)
Because we had a personal driver, our day was tailored to include the places and sights we were most interested in seeing. The full-day tour started bright and early at 7:00am, but we were back in Rovinj for sunset.
Our day began with truffle hunting in Paladini at Karlic Tartufi (and included the most incredible truffle egg breakfast!). The second stop was brandy tasting in Buzet (even though it was still well before noon!). Our afternoon was split between sightseeing the famous hilltop town of Motovun and the seaside town of Porec, where we visited the UNESCO-listed Euphrasian Basilica.
Use our detailed Istria Day Trip itinerary to plan your Istria adventure!
Day Trips to Seaside Towns
Porec and Pula are the two most popular coastal destinations for day trips from Rovinj. Because we included Porec in our Istria Highlights Tour, we visited Pula on our own. Top Tip: Vrsar and Umag are also popular Istria day trip destinations.
Day Trip from Rovinj to Pula
Pula is the busy port town of Istria – but the town has numerous Roman ruins and ancient architecture, too. The 1st century Pula Arena is a highlight of any trip to Pula, but there are many attractions to see.
Getting to Pula from Rovinj is easy by public bus. There are numerous departures daily and the ride only takes about 40 minutes – leaving plenty of time to explore Pula.
Get all the details of what to see in our guide of Things To Do in Pula.
Accommodations in Rovinj
There are numerous choices when it comes to places to stay in Rovinj, Croatia. The types of accommodation in Rovinj range from luxury resorts to campsites. When deciding where to stay in Rovinj, guests need to consider location, amenities and budget (high-season prices can easily be more than double – and often triple – of off-season pricing).
We think the best place to stay in Rovinj is in the Old Town – and there are centrally located accommodations right in the heart of Rovinj Town. It can, however, be noisy in the Old Town at night (and wooden shutters do little to block the sound). Some of the top-rated hotels and a slew of holiday rentals are available outside the Old Town, too.
There are top-rated hotels in Rovinj in the Old Town and on the beach. For summertime travel, it’s ideal to book Rovinj, Croatia hotels in advance…as hotels do book up completely!
Old Town Hotels
Looking for a hotel in Rovinj Old Town? Highly-rated Old Town Hotels include: The Melegran, Hotel Adriatic, Boutique Hotel Valdibora, Hotel Casa Garzotto and Blubini Heritage Hotel.
Check prices and availability for these Old Town accommodations on Booking.com.
Is a beach holiday more your style? Read reviews and check rates of the top beach hotels in Rovinj.
Hotel Eden Rovinj: The Eden Hotel overlooks the beach and bay near Golden Cape Park. It has both indoor and outdoor pools and free beach chairs and umbrellas for guests. The property features an on-site spa and included breakfast. Check rates!
Grand Park Hotel Rovinj: Situated at Mulini Beach, the 5-Star Grand Park Hotel earns rave reviews from travelers. Modern and elegant, the hotel has an on-site pool, spa and a private marina. Check Rates!
Hotel Amarin Rovinj: The beachfront Family Amarin Hotel is located north of Rovinj. All meals are included and the resort complex features 4 pools and a spa. Check rates!
Hostels in Rovinj
There are far fewer Rovinj hostels than hotels and apartments. Hostel Amfora is a highly-rated hostel that offers rooms with shared bathrooms. Hostel Step and Hostel Step 2 also get fairly good ratings. Check rates and availability!
There are many (many, many) holiday apartments for rent in Rovinj. During our stay, we rented an adorable apartment in Old Town Rovinj that we found on Airbnb. The apartment had a small kitchen and living space with a separate bedroom and shutters that opened onto an idyllic cobblestone lane. We absolutely loved the location!
We often choose to stay in apartments rather than hotels, as they usually have more space and a kitchen (and the cost of eating out in Rovinj can really add up!). There are many places to find rentals, but we always use Airbnb so that we can read reviews and communicate with the host prior to booking.
Visitors who want to go camping in Rovinj have a few options, mostly on the outskirts of town. Amarin Campsite and Polari Campsite are two options. Camping Vestar Rovinj offers on-site mobile home rentals, too.
Rovinj Map: Where is Rovinj, Croatia?
Use this link to Google Maps for an online map of Rovinj. Visitors can pick up a Rovinj tourist map from the Tourist Information Center.
How To Get To Rovinj, Croatia
Getting to Rovinj takes a little effort – but is still fairly easy. Travelers can arrive by car, boat or bus.
Fly to Rovinj
The nearest airport to Rovinj is in Pula, which is about a 40-minute drive from Rovinj. Flights are very seasonal, but in the summertime several airlines service the airport from major European destinations (like London, Milan and Amsterdam). Start your search for the best prices on flights on SkyScanner.
Bus to Rovinj
There are numerous bus routes from Croatia destinations to Rovinj – but not many are direct. That said, the Rovinj bus station is located just outside the Old Town. When we use public buses in Croatia, we check for routes on Bus Croatia.
Ferries to Rovinj
Just like flights, ferry service to Rovinj is also seasonal – and quite limited even in the summertime. There are 4 ferry companies that run routes to Rovinj from destinations in Italy (Venice, Trieste and Cesenatico), Slovenia (Piran) and Croatia (Mali Losinj). You can check schedules here.
More Tips for Your Rovinj Trip
Now that we have covered the essentials – what to do, where to stay and how to get there – we have a few more tips for your trip!
How To Pronounce Rovinj
Before you go to Rovinj, make sure you are pronouncing it correctly (or as best as possible)! Although the J at the end can make it look like an intimidating word, it’s not that difficult to say. The simple way to pronounce Rovinj is: RO-veen.
Rovinj enjoys a Mediterranean climate with hot summers and mild winters. On average, summer temps are around 80 F, but in August, the temperature can reach 95+ degrees. Check the Rovinj forecast before your trip on AccuWeather.
Piran or Rovinj
International travelers that are visiting both Slovenia and Croatia often decide to either visit Piran or Rovinj. We think both towns are absolutely charming!
Read our Guide of Things To Do in Piran to help you decide which town you should visit!
What You Will Need
For a relaxing Rovinj vacation, you won’t need much! However, you will want to make sure to have these items for your trip.
In addition to your swimsuit, be sure to pack sunscreen (it can be really expensive in Croatia…especially on the seaside!). It’s also a good idea to bring a wide-brimmed travel hat to keep the sun off your face. Water shoes are recommended for most of the beaches in Croatia; not only are the pebbles uncomfortable to walk on, but much of the coastal water is home to spiky sea urchins!
Capture the beauty of Croatia with an actual camera (instead of just your phone!). We use a Canon Rebel with an 18-135mm lens, which takes incredible photos. Travelers who want a slimmer and lighter camera might want to invest in a Canon Powershot, which we also use when city sightseeing.
The Adriatic Sea has incredibly clear water, which is perfect for underwater photography! Don’t forget your GoPro (or a less expensive action camera) for pictures under the sea! And, of course, keep your phone and small camera safe and dry with a Sea To Summit waterproof pouch!
We think travel insurance is essential for every trip! Not only can trip insurance cover flight delays and lost baggage, but it can also cover injuries and illnesses abroad. Find our more about rates and coverage at World Nomads.
We want to know: What are your favorite things to do in Rovinj, Croatia? Is there anything you would add to our list of what to do in Rovinj? Give us your best tips and advice in the comments below!
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