Reasons to Visit Rovinj (Croatia)
Rovinj is a very pretty small town and for many people that’s reason enough to make it a place worth visiting. Many will spend 2-3 days and will most likely rave about its romantic charm, colorful streets and glorious sunsets. People staying longer (like us – we used Rovinj as a base for 5 weeks) will need more. I’ll cover that further below. For now here are some photos of beautiful Rovinj.
More images of Rovinj
As you can see, Rovinj is a very picturesque place. The historical center however is very small – within a couple of days you’ll find yourself walking the same streets over and over again. In all honesty you’ll most likely get bored.
As longer term travellers we actually enjoyed Rovinj more for its less obvious traits. We’re not the only ones because we discovered that many people, mostly families, come here for extended periods – sometimes renting apartments for a month or two. When we arrived (in early May) we saw a lot of empty apartments in the neighborhoods outside the old town. Towards the end of our stay we noticed more and more families (many Italian and German), arriving in loaded up SUV’s and hatchbacks, filling up the same apartments.
There are several reasons Rovinj is a great base for an extended holiday
1. Its a great place to relax and do family stuff. Close to the old town is Golden Gate Forest Park (also known as Zlatni rt or Punta Corrente), a huge park with bicycle trails, beaches and little cafes. You can spend days here doing activities. For more serious cyclists, bike trails extend even further: there are 3 trails of 30km and 2 that are over 60km in length (see here for details on bike routes). So Rovinj is a very outdoorsy kind of place.
2. People are incredibly friendly. We especially loved Rovinj because of the people. Although it is a tourist town and gets very crowded in the summer, it hasn’t changed the people. The reason for this is that the town only really gets busy with tourists from June to September (ie. 4 months). So for most of the year locals are carrying on their regular lives, often having a couple of jobs. In the summer they supplement that by renting out properties or working in the tourism sector. But since they’re not full-time tourist workers they aren’t jaded and are appreciative of tourists. I’ve previously written about our Airbnb hosts in Rovinj. They were incredible (if you haven’t read that post it’s really worth it). We’ve had other people tell us that their own experiences with other hosts were also fantastic. My theory is that Rovinj gets a lot of repeat business and with the summer rental market being so competitive they work hard at giving you a great experience. The people in Rovinj really rank as some of the nicest people we’ve ever met in our travels.
3. Rovinj makes for a great base to explore the rest of Istria. During our 5 weeks there we explored almost everywhere: Pula, Porec, Novigrad, as well as most of the hilltowns of Istria. We also visited many other pretty towns that never made it on the blog, places like Bale, Pazin and Svetvicenat (this last one was one of our favorites). There’s lots to see and we enjoyed having Rovinj as a base..
We have a last reason for loving Rovinj. As full-time travellers, we are always juggling our non-Schengen and Schengen stays. Rovinj is in non-Schengen Croatia, an hour away from the Slovenian border (which is Schengen). It is also 90 minutes away from Trieste in Italy. Because of this, and all the reasons above, we’ll always make Rovinj a base when going back and forth to the Schengen zone.
Practical information and Tips
– Accommodation. I mentioned our Airbnb apartment. I can’t recommend anyone else. If you haven’t signed up for Airbnb yet, please use our link – you’ll save the equivalent of $35 US on your first stay. Hotels. If you prefer hotels or non-Airbnb apartments I have a few recommendations: Hotel Angelo d’Oro (beautiful hotel right in the center of the old town), Luxury Apartment Fabris (beautiful apartment just a couple of minutes outside the old town), La Fondiaria (nice apartment right outside center, very good value).
– We went to Lea’s gym while in Rovinj. Good place to stay in shape. The gym would usually be ‘closed’ in the afternoon but in true Rovinj fashion the owner showed us where he hides the key and we would have the place all to ourselves.
– We tried most of the best rated restaurants in the old town and were disappointed (that includes Rio Bar, Aqua 2 and Kantinon). Our host (a chef) served us the best Croatian food we’ve ever had. But she also recommended Orca restaurant which she says is the best restaurant in town (See this post by a fellow blogger on Orca).
– You need a car to get outside Rovinj and explore Istria. Have a look at my post on car rental in Croatia and the most scenic drives.
Related: Exploring the highlights of Croatian Istria
Ps. If you find our blog helpful, please consider using our links to book your flights, hotels, tours, and car rentals. Have a look at our Travel Resources page.
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from the perspective of someone who lived there their whole life, yeah, it is a beautiful place for tourists for 2 or 3 days but once youve visited everything it gets kinda boring
Divya: Gone With A Whim
How lovely 🙂 Rovinj sounds like a beautiful town with so much character. I’m visiting Istria for a week in September and I can’t wait. <3 Beautiful photos.
You’ll enjoy it! Thanks for taking the time to comment.
Did you mean ‘were disappointed’ about the restaurants? Or did you mean *weren’t?
I meant “were”. Just didn’t have great food experiences eating out.
Damn it. Thought I was a chance.
You have to try, right?
Spanky always finds your comments amusing.
Do I win a date with Spanky?
No, what you’re going to win is a big fat punch to your face 🙂
Good steaks don’t need much attention. Just season and don’t overcook. Wagyu is the best.
Thanks Tom. You’re the new Bbqboy 🙂
I lived there for the whole of July. Now, it is my favorite city in Croatia.
One more reason to visit Rovinj: they are masters in preparing steaks. And yes, Venice is not so far.
Preparing steaks? At restaurants? Do you have any favorites?
Yes, we’ll be back, very nice place.
So over-the-top gorgeous! I can see making a visit for several weeks and using Rovinj as a base to explore other places or just chill and enjoy its colorful charms and vibe. There are so many places on our list of places to go but Croatia looks like it’s moving up the list as a priority – It wouldn’t take much for me to pack a bag and go!
Thanks Anita. Yes, we’ve gone back 2 years in a row now and really enjoy our time there. Rovinj is beautiful but our favorite area still Dalmatia, particularly Split, because of the mix of mountains and sea.
You don’t have to twist my arm – I want to go! I love the 7th photo from the top down, it looks as if you go down the stairs, pass the little table and fall into the sea. It’s one of the charms of historic cities, all the little nooks and crannies and alley ways.
Hey, I’m so glad that you like Rovinj, especially appreciate your comment about our hospitality. I have used to live a few seasons in Rovinj and have good memories on it. Rovinj is one of the most beautifull towns in Croatia, that is for sure. Yes, it is not so big and old town could become a little bit boring as you have noticed but there is so much to do around town and I’m sure you could easily fill up your time.
Regarding your comment on restaurants it is well known here that if you wish to eat well and not overpriced you should go away from centre of city, especially during the peak of season.
And yes, your photos are beautiful as always! 🙂
Thanks for your comment Gile!
Tanja (the Red phone box travels)
great photos! I’m really glad that you like my country:))
We love it Tanja 🙂
Rovinj looks simply beautiful and I love all these colourful photos! And even though the streets look so picturesque and gorgeous, it’s really interesting to see that the factors of it that have appealed to you more have been the aspects that are so much more important in day to day life like how friendly people around you are. I’ve not been here before but it seems to bear a few similarities to Piran in Slovenia, purely just from a couple of the photos. Are they actually quite different places would you say?
Actually, it’s funny you mention Piran because I had said to Lissette that it wasn’t much different at all – except for it’s popularity. Somehow they’ve done a great job marketing Rovinj for the masses and it gets LOTS of tourists. Piran is unknown compared to Rovinj. But honestly, I thought Piran was just as nice.
And for the day to day differences, it’s only because we were there 5 weeks. You can only pass the same view so many times before it doesn’t seem so striking. It ended up being a great base for us because it was just so liveable.
As always, this looks like the place to go right now, you are making me doubt about our planned next year trip that includes a cruise from Copenhagen to St Petersburg, Oslo, Copenhagen and then visit Belgium, Holland and maybe one city in North Germany, and cancel all this and go for a month only to Croatia, everything you have posted about that country looks so beautiful and nice people!!!, this looks like a kind of paradise..
Thanks again for those beautiful pictures and comments.
Those sound like nice plans as well Carlos! We haven’t done much travelling in Northern Europe but have read only great things about the places you’ve mentioned. You’re quite the traveller yourself!!
I really think the Balkans are fantastic though and you can easily explore the whole area if you rent a car, it’s also much more economical. If there’s one recommendation I’d make though it’s to avoid July and August – tourism is very seasonal in the area (we’re in Split now and it’s surprising how many people are here – plus more expensive, plus the restaurants suddenly serving crap food..)
Amazing how it reminds me so much of Malta. The buildings are more colorful, but it really does look like so many parts of Malta mixed with Italy. I’m sure l would like it there. Your images are awesome as usual. I know l would really like it here. Stop making my list longer! 🙂
I think I’d like to visit Malta one day. Another I really want to see is Corsica, looks great for hiking.
Thanks for your comment about the photos 🙂 I think the better photos are more and more Lissette’s…
Another place to add to my Pinterest board! Looks like such a chilled place to visit. The colours remind me a little of the Cinque Terre.
It does look like an Italian coastal town. Actually, Istria used to be part of Italy until 1945 and even today everything is bilingual Croatian/Italian (which is why names can get confusing at times).
These photo’s are gorgeous Frank! Each one put a silly grin on my face as I imagined my stay there. What a charming town. Is five weeks the right amount of time?
It’s probably too much for most people. But for us and the way we travel (working while travelling) it was perfect. Plus we always like paying the monthly rates on Airbnb.
Thanks for your comments on the photos Paula 🙂