A small town, shining from the Istrian peninsula took my heart a long time ago. I have been visiting Rovinj since I was seven months old. The photo where my dad holds me up as a baby has always been my favorite and it was taken in Rovinj. Call it a faith!
The best view…
Rovinj is amazingly photogenic and one might call it „the model of Croatia“. It is possible to take wonderful photos of Rovinj from so many places you could not believe. And with the old town being on the peninsula itself makes it even more convenient. I can not really say what my favorite view of Rovinj is. The one that you witness driving from the land, just passing by “Rovinjsko Selo” (actually the biggest village in Croatia) having it just in front of you, in all it’s beauty. Or the one entering the city from the north-east, in the morning shades of blue with the smell of nearby fishing factory. Or perhaps the most popular view from the so called „photo spot“, having the old town of Rovinj in front of you, in the early morning sun, gold and shiny.
I’m a morning person, enjoying to get up at dawn just to see the city’s morning glow, drinking first macchiato on an empty stomach in a just opened cafe, talking to myself or reading the newspapers in solitude and smell the sea. I love to watch and hear how the city awakes. Yes, it could be any city in the world, but not with this view….
Where to stay…
In the last few years Rovinj has become very popular, even famous. There are many festivals, concerts and events of all sorts, specially during the summer months. A few remarkable hotels were built and there is literally a spot for everyone, from 5* hotels with picture perfect locations and great spas like The Lone and The Monte Mulini to budget hostels and apartments for rent. There are also many camping sites, such as Polari and Vestar and a very nice, brand new family resort Amarin, with an amazing view and the best Martini Spritz you can find.
My favorite though, is an old hotel in the city center, just refurbished, called The Adriatic. They serve fantastic Illy coffee with tiny, crispy cookies and with a view of the small harbour. It is a place for people who “run on the sun“, like myself. If you come here in the morning you won’t be able to find a lot of shade, so it is a perfect spot for May or October.
The walk around Rovinj…
I guess I could write about Rovinj forever. With every single thought I write down the new one just pops up. A runner or a walker would appreciate a forest park called The Golden Cape (Zlatni Rt). With beautiful white paths and smell of pine trees it just calls your name….come and see me, explore! It is a perfect location for escaping the city’s summer heat, with clear blue water and beaches of all kind, and a lot of shade. Yes, as you can imagine, the view is also amazing from here. I love to walk from Skaraba Bay all the way to the town centre, passing the main marina and having the outline of Rovinj in front of me.
To get a different view of Rovinj and surroundings one should walk up the narrow streets of old town, all the way to the church of St. Euphemia, saint of the city. For the perfect sunset, it is best to arrive in the late afternoon and rest at the one of numerous benches along the walkaway. The sea smashing at the rocks, the sound of seagulls and the view of the old bunker and ancient Roman cemetery makes it both romantic and scary. As kids, we used to come here in a search of adventure and lost Roman treasure, just being „Croatian Goonies“.
The most famous street in the old city is called Grisia. It is full of small ateliers of known and unknown artists and local jewelry shops. In August, the annual art event takes place here and it becomes a magnificent exhibition under the clear sky, crowded with locals and tourists. But, my favorite street in the old town is the St. Cross street, full of great restaurants, tiny bars and cafes, some even serving drinks on the rocks, under the starry sky with the sound of the waves. From there, a beautiful view of St. Catherine Island emerges, a small island so close to the city harbour one could swim across in just a few minutes. Daily boat trips take tourists to the island, for a relaxed few hours of sunbathing or if preferred, staying at the one and only hotel on the island, conveniently called Catherine Island Hotel.
Even though Rovinj is not a shopping destination, there are few nice small shops and boutiques in the street called Carera. The longest street in the city centre is just behind the Rovinj’s main promenade, connected to it with numerous small passages. For a few months, as a student, I worked in a cute little shop in Carera called „Aqua“, selling local souvenirs, all in white and blue (marine) stripes. Since then, in the past ten years Aqua became a brand and you can find it at almost every town along the Adriatic Coast.
The best beach…
Around Rovinj there are many different beaches and spots perfect for chilling out and relaxing, so it is a difficult task to choose a favorite, but being such a “view lover“ I would have to decide upon the one in the bay “under the hospital“, in the north part od Rovinj. The view from there is the one I never get bored of. Not in 35 years, not yet. I also love taking boat trips to the St. Andrija Island, or the Red Island, as we call it. It actually consists of two small islands, connected with a bridge, making it a perfect place for relax vacation, filled with swimming, sunbathing and exploring. There is a nice hotel available and numerous different beaches, so it is even possible to spent a few days here.
At the end, you don’t even have to speak Croatian to enjoy this beautiful town, Italian will do! Or just walk around and soak up all of amazing views Rovinj has to offer.
How to visit Rovinj…
Rovinj is easily reachable by plane (and then by car) from Pula, Zagreb, Rijeka, Ljubljana, Trieste, Venice, by boat from Venice and by bus from Zagreb and Rijeka. The best time to visit is from May to October, August being the busiest month, with tons of events, but quite crowded.