Rovinj holidays are postcard-perfect. A cluster of pastel-coloured townhouses adorns the peninsula, framed by the brilliant-blue Adriatic Sea. In the morning, St Euphemera, a Baroque church rising above the hilltops, rings its bells to awaken the city. And if you’re staying near the port, you’ll probably hear the sound of the morning catch being hauled in.
Holidays to Rovinj feature beaches with a faraway feel, stunning Italianate architecture and a foodie scene that punches well above its weight for a town of this size. This is one of Croatia’s Michelin-starred destinations, but you’ll also find affordable, family-run restaurants with sea views, where you can tuck into some of that freshly-caught seafood, washed down with local Istrian wine.
Take a wander up the cobbled streets of Rovinj’s old town to browse the local arts and crafts. One of the most popular spots is Grisia street, which is home to several quirky galleries and cute cafes. To get a real feel for the city, explore its fishing traditions with a visit to the Batana House Boat museum, then stroll along the pine-fringed coastal path until you find a wild cove where you can lay down your towel and dive into the Adriatic.
Find your private paradise
The coastline looping around Rovinj is wild and rocky, and there are plenty of secluded bays and coves where you can enjoy peace and quiet. With fine shingle and easy access, the city beach is ideal for families looking to cool off. Or you could hike to the Golden Cape, a forested peninsula where you’ll find the bulk of the hotel resorts, hidden amongst the pines. With private beaches and elevated bars, you can enjoy the sunset as the sky turns brazen shades of orange at sunset – sit back with a cocktail and soak up the view.
Immerse yourself in ancient history
The Italian-influenced Rovinj is brimming with history and culture. This former island was once surrounded by stone walls, and you can still see some of them around the old town. Connected to the mainland in the 17th century, the town grew rapidly as people fled the plague that afflicted the neighbouring towns of Porec and Pula.
Walk up the sloping cobbled streets until you reach the hilltop and the Venetian-style church that overlooks the city. Here you’ll find the remains of Saint Euphemia, preserved in a sarcophagus dating back to the 6th century – alongside a wealth of antiquities and religious art. Wander past the crumbling walls that once guarded this church, where you’ll stumble upon the occasional bar or cafe nestling among the ruins.
Dress up for dinner
Rovinj is easily one of Croatia’s most luxurious destinations. Even the nightlife here is sophisticated, with fine-dining restaurants and wine bars where you can hear the tinkling of piano keys alongside the crashing waves. Sip on a cocktail or two at a harbourside bar and enjoy the lively atmosphere while taking in the views of the stunning coastline.
The legendary Monte restaurant is an excellent choice if you’re looking to fork out for a fancy meal. Expect exquisite gourmet cuisine, and a price tag to match. On the waterfront, a cluster of family-run restaurants provides a typical Istrian welcome and simple, affordable dishes. Try the local specialities like Istrian black Fuži pasta, served with lashings of truffles.
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