12 amazing things to do in Rovinj – the best place in Croatia

Istria, Croatia

The little fisherman town of Rovinj has been on my radar since my visit to Istria last summer. I went to most of the main towns on the peninsula, but I didn’t make it to Rovinj which has been named one of the most beautiful coastal towns by Travel and Leisure Magazine.

If you’ve never heard of Rovinj, you might be wondering what’s so special about it. Well, let me just dig through its charm and you’ll understand.

12 Things to do in Rovinj

Oh, Rovinj. If you only visit one place in Croatia, this should be it. There’s so much atmosphere and character in this town, and I promise: there’s plenty of things to do in Rovinj. Here are my favorite ones:

Rovinj, Croatia
The picturesque town houses
Looking for the best things to do in Rovinj? Old town Rovinj is without doubt the most impressive and charming part of town. Aside from the smooth, shiny marble cobblestone streets and pastel-colored houses, the old town is renowned for its beautiful Venetian architecture. Here's an introduction to Rovinj: the most picturesque town in Istria, Croatia. #croatia #visitistria

1. Rovinj Old Town

Rovinj’s old town is without doubt the most impressive and charming part of town. Aside from the smooth, shiny marble cobblestone streets and pastel-coloured houses, this part of Rovinj is renowned for its beautiful Venetian architecture.

The hilly old town used to be separated from the mainland by a canal, but in 1763 the two were connected.

Rovinj, Croatia
Rovinj, Croatia

2. Get to know the history

Rovinj was once part of the Venetian Republic (from 1283 to 1797) until Napoleon Bonaparte arrived and put an end to the millennium of Venetian power in the Adriatic and beyond. When you walk around town, you’ll spot the Venetian lions everywhere, like on the Balbi Arch, the late-Renaissance clock tower and the wells.

Rovinj, Croatia
Rovinj, Croatia

I love how locals hang out their laundry to dry in the warm Mediterranean air. The clothes lines are connected between neighbors so they better stay good friends.

Things to do in Rovinj
Things to do in Rovinj

3. The town hall clock

In the Old Town, you’ll find the town hall clock. The clock is from the mid-19th century and has a Venetian lion, a symbol of Serenissima, on the side. You’ll find it at the square, surrounded by lots of restaurants and cafees – perfect for enjoying while you grab a glass a wine.

Rovinj, Croatia
The town hall clock. Notice the Venetian lion

4. Grisia Street

Grisia is a popular street in leading uphill through the old town to St Euphemia. The cobbled street is lined with galleries and souvenir stores, and it’s quite characteristic.

Rovinj, Croatia

5. Church of St. Euphemia

When you visit Rovinj, the first thing you’ll notice is the dominating church and bell-tower atop the hill. It’s dedicated to the young girl, Saint Euphemia, whose story made a deep impression on me. When Euphemia was just fifteen years old, she was arrested for refusing to give up Christianity.

After suffering various tortures, she was first thrown in the fire, which didn’t kill her and later sentenced to be eaten by wild lions who eventually killed her but did not devour her body. Her relics are preserved in a sarcophagus here in this church.

Can you imagine being a teenager and already having that much dedication and faith? She must have been so scared, but she never wavered in her faith. I was very touched by her story and diligence.

Rovinj, Croatia
The sarcophagus of St. Euphemia and a painting depicting her martyrdom
Rovinj, Croatia

On the top of the bell-tower there’s a statue of her that revolves around its axis depending on the wind. The saying goes that if the statue points towards the ocean, it will be sunny, and if it points at the town-side, it’ll be rainy and cloudy.

From the 61 meter-high tower there’s also a beautiful view of the town and you can even see the Alps on a clear day. However, the staircase is not for the faint of heart so keep that in mind before you enter. It costs 20 kuna ($3).

Rovinj, Croatia

6. Go to the beach in Rovinj

Rovinj is not only beloved for its charming streets and architecture; it’s also located by the Adriatic Sea which makes it popular for swimming and tanning. Although it doesn’t have white sandy beaches as in Thailand, the water is very clear and the cliffs serve as a great jumping spot and add a little drama to the scenery.

Rovinj, Croatia
Rovinj, Croatia
Look out for the seagulls as they might want to steal your food

7. Find the 6 most famous view points in Rovinj

Rovinj is one of those towns with a lot of beautiful view points. You’ve got the harbour, the hill, the other side of the harbour. Basically anywhere in Rovinj is a great view point, but the photos below are from the best sites.

Rovinj, Croatia
Rovinj has 6 photo spots and this is probably the most popular one
Rovinj, Croatia
This is another photo spot. And my favorite
Things to do in Rovinj
Things to do in Rovinj

8. Rovinj restaurants

Oh, don’t get me started on Croatian food. If you’ve been following me for a while, you know that this is one of my favorites!

You can read all about the delicious Istrian food right here, btw. Istria is one of those places where food & wine is actually part of the experience, so don’t cheat yourself for this. Must-try dishes include

Croatian food
The best food in Istria, Croatia
The best food in Istria, Croatia

9. Watch the epic sunsets at Rovinj Marina

From touching stories of martyrdom to the picturesque harbour at sunset, the day had to have a good ending. And you guys know me; there’s nothing like a good sunset to brighten up the day. My good friend SJ from Chasing the Donkey, told me that sunsets in Rovinj are notoriously beautiful, and she was right. If you’re as devoted to sunsets as I am, you will LOVE Rovinj.

Just look at these views.

Rovinj, Croatia
How amazing is this!
Rovinj, Croatia

10. Hotel Lone Rovinj (Stay at a design hotel)

And last but not least, my visit to Rovinj was completed by staying at the super hip Lone hotel. This five-star design hotel is shaped like a luxurious ocean liner floating on a hillside and it’s decorated with works from Croatian artists.

Read next: Staying at the Hotel Lone Rovinj in Croatia

I stayed in a spacious standard room with bathtub, separate rain shower and a gigantic balcony perfect for relaxing with a good book. Lone was an amazing oasis to come back to after exploring Rovinj and Istria all day.

Rovinj, Croatia

I finally made it to Rovinj and I’m so happy I did. It’s just as beautiful as I had hoped, andwith its romantic marble streets, charming medieval houses and tasty cuisine, Rovinj might just be one of my favorite towns in Istria.

11. Do a wine tour

Dining and wining is an absolute must when you’re in Istria. Croatia has THE best wine in the world (next to Italy), and it’s super cheap. To get a thorough introduction to the best wines in Istria, I highly recommend a wine tour. It’s worth it.

Read next: Gourmet Food in Istria you just have to eat (and where to find it)

12. Day trip to Lim fjord

One of the more popular things to do in Rovinj is to take a day trip to Lim Fjord. It’s really close (10-15 minutes), so if you’ve got a car, just drive there yourself. Apart from being a beautiful place, and an easy stop-over if you’re going south to Pula, you can also have fresh oysters here. You can also take a cruise if that’s more of your liking. 

You can read more about Lim fjord and six other cute towns in Istria here.

Small towns in Istria
Small towns in Istria
Small towns in Istria

Have you been to Rovinj? Would you go?

Read more about Istria

Many thanks to Visit Istria for hosting me in Croatia. Whenever I travel, there will always be full disclosure about whether my stay was hosted by a tourism board. And even if I’m on a press trip, my view will never be swayed one way or the other.

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20 Comments

  1. Whoa, you’ve taken some killer sunset photos during your travels, but these ones might just be my favorite! I wasn’t the biggest fan of Croatia during my time there while traveling through the Balkans (granted I did spend the least amount of time in Croatia of all the Balkan countries I visited) but your posts continue to make me think I need to give it another chance!

    1. Thank, Silvia 🙂 I think you’ll like Istria because it’s very different from Dalmatia. There are so many beautiful little towns there.

  2. Rovinj looks gorgeous! A girl I met on my travels once said that Rovinj is her favourite place in Europe (and she’s seen a lot), ever since I’ve been dying to visit! Your sunset photos are absolutely incredible!!

    1. That’s sweet of you, thanks Danielle! Like the girl you mentioned, I really loved Rovinj, and Istria has so many other cute towns close by. It’s a great destination.

  3. Rovinj looks so magical on your pictures! We love these charming coastal towns, it should definitely be on the list. 🙂 How was the weather this time of the year? Not too windy on the coast?

    1. Thanks, guys 🙂 The weather was changing all the time and at times it was actually quite chilly. Although the temperature went from 16-23 C in the daytime, I always wore pants. It’s typical spring weather for Central Europe.

      I saw on Insta that you’re visiting this summer – sorry for the late reply, but this week has been crazy busy. I highly recommend adding Istria to your itinerary. The small towns are so charming, and don’t even get me started on the food and wine 😉 Ps. it gets really hot in the summer.

      1. No worries. 🙂 Our itinerary is still under construction, but we reached the point that we should rather taking out things than putting in. 😀 Dubrovnik, Plitvice and Mljet are the 3 places we definitely want to see on our first visit, we will see what else we can fit in. Istria is a bit far from these places, probably we better do it next time so we won’t have a too tiring schedule. Luckily, Croatia is not far from us!
        On, and hot weather is no problem, we are actually hoping to have some lazy beach days. 😀

        1. I understand. There’s no fun in having an overpacked itinerary – I always tend to do that myself 😉 Well, if you find the time, you should visit Zadar on your way to or from Plitvice. It’s on the way to Dubrovnik and it’s such a romantic place (my personal favorite in Dalmatia). I’m excited to hear how you like Croatia.

  4. That’s a seriously cool hotel! Good enough reason alone to visit Rovinj :-). But seriously, Croatia is overwhelmingly beautiful, as you’ve discovered. We were particularly taken by the tiny medieval town of Trogir – nicknamed “Little Venice” even though it has no canals (we’ve written more about Trogir on our blog). And Korcula. And Mali Losinj. And, well we could go on… You’ve whetted our appetite for a return Croatia visit!

    1. Absolutely, Croatia is so beautiful and diverse. I love how it has everything from delicious food & wine in Istria to amazing beaches and historic towns in Dalmatia. I’m already excited to return 🙂

    1. Thank you so much, Ann-Louise! Rovinj is one of the most memorable places in Istria – it’s definitely worth making it a priority. Have a great trip!

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