There was a time when Croatia was a destination far off the beaten European tourist trail, a great alternative to places like Italy for those who wanted real old world charm but wanted to avoid the crowds. It was truly a hidden gem. Nowadays things surely are different, but when walking around in one of the quieter cobbled alleyways of an old town town like Rovinj, you can at times still fool yourself into thinking you've stumbled upon a hidden gem.
At about an hour's drive along the coast from Pula (which has an airport frequented by the likes of Ryanair and such), Rovinj is a small fishing town in Istria that has become a major tourist attraction over the past decades. Based around a pretty harbour where batana (a traditional local fishing boat not much different from a Venetian gondola) compete for space with impressive yachts, the old town and its centrepiece of the St. Euphemia Church up high sits at the end of a small peninsula.
With the Adriatic on all sides, colorful facades and red roofs dating back to Venetian times, the buildings almost seem to be crammed in this area. In nearly every other one you will find a cute souvenir, art gallery or cafe. Go to the top of the bell tower if you don't mind a climb and want to get the best view of the city. Alternatively, you can head into the park to the south of the harbour for a different angle. Further on in the old town, closer towards the harbour at Valdibora, you find a bustling food market selling things like fruits, vegetables, truffles, fish and olive oil, that also seems to draw the crowds.
Visiting one of the small outlying islands (for instance Katarina or Andrija) or cycling along one of the many trails along the coast are two other favourite tourist activities here. [Review by travelindicator]
You can find the best hotel deals in Rovinj here.
- Rovinj is a city in Croatia's region of Istarska. It has a population of 14,294, is situated at an altitude of 33ft and the best airport to fly into is PUY (Pula, Pula)
- The main spoken language here is Croatian / Italian, and the average English skill is intermediate
- The currency used in Croatia is the Croatian kuna (HRK)
Other cities in the region (Istarska, Croatia)
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More Rovinj travel resources
Somebody asked Telegraph Travel whether Rovinj would be a good place to go to for someone who likes pretty old buildings, good food and the sea. The answer is lengthy, but apparently a resounding yes. Then there is of course the Rovinj Wikitravel and Wiki, as well as the brief piece by Lonely Planet. There is TimeOut and the excellent Frank about Croatia with a list of top things to do in Rovinj. Rick Steves loves the place. The Victor Travel Blog tells you why you will love Rovinj and Foodie Girl shows us some extremely appealing photos of the place. We want to go back.