Gone are the days when Rovinj was a very inexpensive tourist resort. Today, a number of 4-star hotels and luxury restaurants stand along its beautiful coastline, attracting a more discerning and chic tourist.
Fortunately, the charm of this beautiful seaside town, one of the most beautiful ports on the Adriatic, has remained intact and in addition to the luxury hotels, a good selection of hotels, B&Bs and campsites can be found.
The old town, dominated by the imposing Church of St Euphemia, will enchant you with its narrow streets, panoramic views and romantic, sleepy atmosphere.
A blue sea provides a backdrop to the architectural beauty of the centre; the enchanting beaches in the surrounding area and the islands of the Rovinj archipelago are the perfect destination for relaxing days and exciting boat trips.
Developed within the confined space of a peninsula, the old town of Rovinj is characterised by narrow, winding streets, narrow houses with characteristic chimneys, alleys and small squares.
Seven gates opened on the old city walls, three of which are still preserved today: St. Benedict’s Gate, La Portica and St. Cross Gate.
On the site of one of the seven gates, Porta della Pescheria, you can today admire the elegant Balbi Arch, built in 1679 and dedicated to the then city governor Daniele Balbi. Take a look at the top of the arch: it is decorated on the inside with a Venetian head and on the outside with a Turkish head.
Ulica Grisia is the street of local artists, who sell portraits and paintings to tourists. Take a stroll even if you don’t intend to buy anything: this pretty cobbled street will take you from the Balbi Arch to St Euphemia, the city’s most important church.
TheTown Hall used to be the Palazzo del Pretore, whose construction dates back to the 14th century; it originally housed the city prisons. The façade and atrium were restored in the 19th century and later in 1935, with the coats of arms of important Venetian and Istrian families added.
One of the most characteristic sights in Rovinj is the town clock, located on the main town square, where the tower on which the southern town gate opened once stood. The tower dates back to the 17th century, but was extended on several occasions, while the clock with the Venetian lion dates back to the 19th century.
The construction of the elegant Antonio Ganduso Theatre is owed to the visionary mayor of Rovinj, Nicola Califfi, who drew up the plans for this Baroque-style building at the end of the 19th century, which blends in perfectly with the buildings and its surroundings.
Dedicated to an Italian theatre and film actor born in Rovinj, the theatre is still a wonderful setting for ballets, operas and classical music concerts.
The most important monument in Rovinj is the Church of St Euphemia, the largest Baroque building in the whole of Istria, located at the highest point of the peninsula on which the town stands.
It is an imposing sight, with its magnificent 60-metre-high bell tower reminiscent of St Mark’s bell tower in Venice, topped by a statue of St Euphemia built in such a way that it can turn on itself, just like a wind vane.
The present copper statue replaces an earlier wooden one that was destroyed by lightning; interestingly, its replacement was also struck and damaged by lightning, but was able to be repaired.
The church was built in 1736 on the site of an earlier church dedicated to St George. Inside you can admire a marble relief of St Euphemia and her tomb.
Other interesting churches in Rovinj include the Franciscan Monastery, a beautiful 18th century Baroque building that houses a small museum, and the much older Romanesque Church of the Holy Trinity, with its unusual heptagonal shape.
During your visit to Rovinj, don’t miss the eco-museum Casa della Batana, an extraordinary permanent exhibition dedicated to batanas, traditional flat-bottomed boats typical of the area.
A visit to the museum, which displays perfectly preserved batanas and other fishing items, is a fascinating journey into the traditions and customs of the local population, whose life for centuries has been deeply and inextricably linked to the sea.
If you are tired after a day of visiting museums and monuments, or if you are simply looking for some fresh air, you can find rest and shade at the Punta Corrente Forest Park, easily accessible from the centre by a beautiful seaside walk.
Rich in indigenous plants and meadows, the park, founded by an Austrian baron in 1890, is the perfect place for relaxing walks and bicycle rides, as well as more intense sports activities, such as running, gymnastics and free climbing.
With 67 km of indented coastline and an archipelago comprising 14 islands and islets, Rovinj has an incredible variety of beaches, coves and bays to offer sun- and sea-loving holidaymakers.
Here are some of the most beautiful beaches in and around Rovinj:
Don’t leave Rovinj without taking a half-day or full-day boat trip to the nearby islands, including the island of St Andrew with its picturesque castle and theisland of Maschin.
A very scenic boat trip is a cruise along the Lim Channel, a small ‘fjord’ lined with lush vegetation – undoubtedly one of Istria’s most beautiful natural attractions.
Two very popular sports activities in Rovinj are diving and rock climbing. Experienced divers come here to admire the wreck of the Baron Gausch, a passenger ship that sank in the waters around Rovinj in 1914 after hitting an underwater mine.
With a special permit, it is possible to visit the interior of the wreck, one of the most beautiful in the entire Adriatic, which is still perfectly preserved.
A fun activity for the little ones can be a visit to Mini Croatia, a theme park featuring all the most important sights and tourist attractions in Croatia on a small scale. Play with your children as a giant walking through famous streets and monuments!
Rovinj is well connected by bus with other Croatian cities, such as Zagreb, Porec and Pula, while it has no train station.
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The famous Rovinj is located on the west coast of the Istrian peninsula, halfway between the Slovenian border and the city of Pula.