Rovinj is a beautiful coastal town close to the Italian side of Croatia. There are beautiful beaches, a gorgeous marina and a quaint cobbled-street Old Town. Perfect for a quieter and more affordable alternative to the Italian Riviera experience.
Plan a trip to Rovinj
Where to stay
We stayed at Villa Marina in Rovinj. It was located only 350 metres from the popular Cuvi Beach and was very quiet and comfortable. (If you book using this link I get a small commission at no extra cost to you)
When to go
Summer along the coast is always the best, however, July and August can be very busy times for the park. I would recommend going in June or September to avoid the European summer holidays.
Top things to do in Rovinj
Soak up the sunshine at the beach
Explore the beautiful cobbled streets of the Old Town
Enjoy an ice cream while walking along the marina
Take a daytrip to the Istrian hilltop towns: Draguc, Buzet and Groznjan
Go truffle tasting in Buzet, Istria as a day trip
Upon arriving in the Italian inspired Croatian town of Rovinj we headed straight for the beach to relish in the last few precious hours of sunshine. The water’s edge was right at our finger tips but swimming was made rather difficult by the numerous treacherous rocks that lay hidden beneath the surface. That didn’t prevent us from having a refreshing swim though and we were out drying on the rocks soon enough. We came home and made supper together in our fashionably decorated apartment.
The next day we were made content with a fantastic leisurely morning. We had a typical holiday rise before making our way towards the Old Town of Rovinj. Located in the marina, the Old Town was wonderfully photogenic. The countless masts and gentle waves served as a beautiful foreground to the colourful buildings of the town perched higher up. We strolled along the promenade before arriving at the main square of the town. From that point there were a number of options as to which alleyway we would meander up. We chose one and made the lethal journey up the cobbled street that threatened the strong possibility of a twisted ankle. (Note: Do NOT wear high heels in this part of the world!)
We viewed the art galleries and jewellery shops which are characteristic to this part of any European town. Mom bought a set of paua shell jewellery which slotted itself well into the seaside theme of our holiday. We purchased a few watercolour artworks from a lively Croatian man who was so pleased that he had an opportunity to show off his English speaking abilities.
We got to the top of this seemingly ridiculously long street. It opened up to yet another square but this time the focus was on the church in the centre. We entered this unassuming building to find an incredibly ornate and sacred building. There were statues, candles and paintings everywhere. It was beautiful but sadly filled with tourists, allowing it to loose the holy quality surrounding it.
Winding our way back down the narrow streets we spotted some mountainous tubs of ice cream. We scooped up the flavours of strawberry, blueberry and biscotti and licked the creamy blobs as we walked towards the other side of town. We viewed the bobbing boats and run down, yet beautiful buildings before walking through a fruit market. We were bombarded by fruit sellers who stuffed their fresh produce down our throats in hope that we would bring them business. It was rather chaotic but a lovely and lively experience.
We made our way towards lunch which presented itself in the form of a Bosnian style restaurant on the harbour wall. They gave us freshly baked bread served with homemade sauces as well as a juice which was home brewed from a flower specific to the Istria region. This was all free of charge. We ate spaghetti bolognaise and maremonti pasta. It was delicious and left our stomachs filled and satisfied.
We walked to the beach and played beach hop, moving from one beach to another as it suited us. It was so much fun experiencing all sorts of different beaches as a celebration of our last day at the coast.
The next day we bid our farewell to the coast and drove to the hilltop towns located inland of Croatia. We visited Draguc and Buzet. Both of which were extremely sleepy and desolate towns. After this we had a taste sensation just outside of Buzet at a truffle factory. We walked into the upmarket tasting room and were welcomed by a very friendly and well in formed lady who guided us through the family’s truffle history, the process of hunting for truffles and through the delightful platters filled with the sensational delicacy. We began with a small taste of a brandy with truffles and honey in it. It was extremely strong but the truffle flavour at the end coated your entire mouth. We then made our way through the different sauces, spreads and pastes which were slathered onto the bread. Each one presented itself in a different form with the truffles being accompanied by either tomatoes, olives, cheese or other mushrooms. Each one unique but each one carrying the strong flavour of this peculiar mushroom. We then moved onto he sweets and let the flavours of chocolate, biscuits and honey roll around our palette.
It was a truly memorable and delicious experience.
We moved onto the next hilltop town of Groznjan. This town was abandoned for hundreds of years before becoming the artist’s and musician’s corner in the 60s. We dipped in and out of art galleries and photographed the picturesque cobbled streets which were filled to the brim with meowing cats. We dined at the restaurant of Pintun with the homely meal of beef goulash. We then enjoyed our final ice cream in Croatia before driving through Slovenia into Italy.