Rovinj has become synonymous with summer getaways full of crystalline waters, cobblestone laneway and a healthy dose of nature. One of the most frequented towns in Croatia, it lies west coast of the Istrian Peninsula. With an undeniable essence of Italian influence still running through its core, it attracts travellers looking to mix culture with history and plenty of sunshine. 

    Some of the best things to do in Rovinj include exploring pebbly beaches, taking a well-deserved afternoon nap under the shade of pine groves, and topping up your intake of salt and sand by the sea. Wander the peaceful, vibrantly coloured streets of Rovinj's Old Town before taking in the views by the picturesque harbour and ending your day with a glass of crisp white wine.

    What are the best things to do in Rovinj?

    1

    Old Town

    Wander the tangle of medieval streets

    • History
    • Photo

    Rovinj's Old Town has many tightly-packed colourful houses that add splashes of colour to the winding cobblestone streets. Structures along the waterfront appear as if they’re rising from the sea. There are several small boutique stores, fine art galleries and cafés to visit, easing your way through the historical heart of Rovinj. 

    It’s quite easy to see the Venetian influence on Rovinj, with Tito Square, near the harbour, especially influenced by the city’s Italian past. Bright wooden shutters contrast against boldly coloured walls and washing strung from balconies. The Old Town is a photographer's dream, so be sure to clear out those memory cards.

    Location: 52210, Rovinj, Croatia

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    2

    Golden Cape

    Stroll along the waterfront

    • Couples
    • Photo
    • Adventure

    The Golden Cape is one of the most beautiful natural spaces in the Istrian Peninsula of Croatia. Located south of central Rovinj, it's part of the Zlatni rt Park Forest, which is abundant in oak, pine and cypress trees. 

    Traverse the tree-lined paths, seafront promenades and meadows for an energising wilderness escape in nature. Cool off at one of the swimming holes among the nestled bays or pack a blanket and a book to unwind under the shaded groves. The area is closed to motorised traffic, meaning you’re sure to find a peaceful corner without the sounds of vehicles interrupting your zen.

    Location: Park Forest Zlatni Rt, 52210, Rovinj, Croatia

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    3

    Lone Bay

    Spend a day in Croatia’s sparkling sea

    • Couples
    • Photo
    • Adventure

    Lone Bay is within the region of Rovinj’s Golden Cape. As it's within walking distance from the centre of town, the sheltered shores of this bay are often crowded with sunbathers and swimmers. It offers views across to the skyline of Rovinj in the distance, making a truly great spot for a day at the beach.

    Swimming and sunbathing aren’t the only activities to keep you occupied in Lone Bay. You can hire bikes to cruise along the nearby coastline, or rent pedalos or rowboats to set out on the sparkling seas. The best way to enjoy the day here is packing a picnic and heading into one of the nearby groves for a lunch break in the shade, but there are also a few cafés close by.

    Location: Lone Bay, 52210, Rovinj, Croatia

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    4

    Monkodonja Hill Fort

    Visit the archaeological ruins

    • History
    • Photo

    The ruins of the Monkodonja Hill Fort are located 5 km south-east of Rovinj. The site was only discovered in the mid-20th century, with research and architectural reconstructions conducted in the late 1990s. What remains on the site of Monkodonja are a series of walls and stone blocks that once belonged to an ancient town dating back to around 2,000 to 1,200 BC. 

    Set on a hilltop plateau, the site has views of the surrounding area. The fort's design is unusual, with 3 concentric walls constructed from drystone. It was inhabited during the Bronze Age, with estimates placing the population at around 1,000 people. There's also evidence suggesting that the ruins may be related to the Greek city of Mycenae, as Mycenaean ceramic remains were located.

    Location: Monkodonja, 52210, Rovinj, Croatia

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    5

    St Andrew’s and St Catherine’s Islands

    Take a boat to explore neighbouring islands

    • Families
    • History
    • Photo
    • Adventure

    St Andrew’s and St Catherine’s Islands are the largest in the region, both offering plenty of activities and the possibility of an overnight stay. Both are car-free and a short 5-10 minute boat ride from Rovinj harbour.

    Once on the islands, you can visit beautiful gardens, churches and a monastery that provides an excellent view overlooking the Old Town. St Catherine’s is particularly popular with beachgoers, with some of the best shorelines in the region. Head to the east of the island for calm bays with kid-friendly swimming holes. Those with more adventurous spirits may prefer to head west for some cliff jumping straight into the sea.

    photo by Mateusz Kamiński (CC BY 2.0) modified

    6

    Adriatic Titanic

    Dive to one of Europe’s most interesting shipwrecks

    • Adventure

    The Adriatic Titanic is ideal for travellers who want to explore some treasures lurking below the ocean's surface. Divers will be thrilled to examine the sunken remains of Baron Gautsch. One of the first victims of WWI, the ship was sunk by a mine laid by the Habsburgs Navy in Istria just 2 years after the tragic sinking of the Titanic.

    Dive excursions from Rovinj take you to a depth of around 35 metres. Excellent water clarity provides ideal conditions for viewing the shipwreck. While only discovered in the late 1950s, the Adriatic Titanic is considered one of the best dive sites in Europe. 

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    7

    St Euphemia's Church

    Explore the dominant feature of Rovinj’s skyline

    • Couples
    • History
    • Photo

    St Euphemia's Church is a focal point for any stay in the Istrian seaside town. The 18th-century church holds the title as the largest baroque church in Istria. It's a fact that's made very apparent as it towers above the Old Town, perched on a hilltop overlooking the sea.

    St Euphemia's Church’s bell tower actually pre-existed the current structure, having been built in the mid-17th century. You may also notice an uncanny similarity to St Mark’s in Venice. The bell tower was modelled after the former – yet another nod to Rovinj’s Italian roots. You can admire the frescoes above the sanctuary, along with an artwork collection inside the church.

    Location: Trg Sv. Eufemije, 52210, Rovinj, Croatia

    Open: June-September: daily from 10 am to 6 pm (until 4 pm in May and 2 pm in April)

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    8

    Grisia

    Peruse the town’s artistic corner

    • Shoppers
    • Photo

    Grisia is Rovinj’s artistic corner runs along a cobblestone street of the same name, starting from the town square to St Euphemia's Church. Weaving through the Old Town is a collection of architecture from varying periods, including Gothic, Renaissance, Baroque and Neoclassical. 

    As you meander along Grisia, works of art by professionals, aspiring and young artists (even children) are displayed, some of which are even for sale. You’ll also discover a wealth of vibrant galleries. Every August, a competition takes place in Grisia, with the tradition being held since 1967. 

    Location: Ul. Grisia, 52210, Rovinj, Croatia

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    photo by Mateusz Kamiński (CC BY 2.0) modified

    9

    Eat brodet

    Enjoy the flavours of the sea with a traditional Istrian fish casserole

    • Food

    Make the most of Istria's proximity to the sea by trying Rovinju's traditional fish casserole, brodet. Usually bold with flavour and intensity, the dish combines several types of fish and is often served with creamy polenta.

    As brodet is a staple in Croatian cuisine, you should have no trouble finding this on most restaurant menus. Head to ResoLution Signature Restaurant for a modern take on the casserole, which has scallops and prawns added into the mix. 

    Location: Ul. Luje Adamovića 31, 52210, Rovinj, Croatia

    Open: Daily from 12 pm to 11 pm

    Phone: +385 (0)52 632 017

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    10

    Bask in an Istrian sunset

    Take it all in from some of the city’s best viewpoints

    • Couples
    • Photo

    There are plenty of vantage points throughout Rovinj for you to bask in an Istrian sunset. Whether you choose to watch the day end by the water, from a higher lookout point or while enjoying a few sundowners at a bar, there’s no doubt it’s a must-do.

    One of the best and most popular spots is from Rovinj Pier. Extending from the Old Town, the viewpoint allows you to take in the southern side of the Old Town and St Catherine’s Island as the sun slips over the horizon. We recommend arriving early to find a spot with the best view. 

    Location: Šetalište Vijeća Europe 6, 52210, Rovinj, Croatia

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    Kiri Nowak | Contributing Writer

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