A city with ancient charm
Our drive from Split could have been better, the planned scenic coastal route was brought to an abrupt end, by the rain of monsoon proportions that greeted us en-route.
A helpful guide
If you've yet to discover the delights of Croatia you're in for a treat. While planning our road trip, I used the DK Eyewitness books. I find them extremely informative, easy to follow and the pictures and maps tempt you into discovering more.
We used a previous version of this book to plan our north to south Croatian road trip, now you can grab the revised copy.
A little gem
Although the air was still quite damp when we arrived, it wasn’t going to put us off exploring the historical lanes.
Rovinj is nestled along the Istrian peninsular on the north Adriatic Sea, and if you are visiting Istria, it has to be on your list.
Once an island encircled by city walls, Rovinj’s history dates back to 6th century.
Due to is increasing population back in the 18th-century, it crept beyond the city walls, and in 1763 the area between the island and the mainland was filled in.
Keep it to yourself
Rovinj has become a popular destination for tourists, and when you wander the lanes, rubbing shoulders with so much history, it isn’t difficult to see why.
However, Rovinj still feels like a busy working town, particularly seeing the fishing boats moored in the harbour, and they even seem to overshadow the tour boats.
Strolling along the harbourside, you are greeted with an incredible view of the Old Town and the tall rustic houses, standing shoulder to shoulder around its perimeter.
Heading around towards the entrance of the Old Town, the architecture is impressive, it’s not immaculately kept, but that’s what gives Rovinj its lived in charm.
Further into the main square and with a view across the marina, there is a prominent the pink clock tower adorned with a Venetian Lion. From here you are drawn towards Baroque Balbi Arch and the shiny cobbled lanes that lead beyond it.
Once through the arch, you feel like you have entered another era.
Tiny narrow lanes, weaving their way up through Rovinj’s steep pedestrian streets.
Initially, within the cobbled streets you stroll amongst boutiques and art galleries, but the higher you climb all the while heading towards the Church of St. Euphemia, there are alleyways leading off to the homes of Rovinj’s inhabitants & little local communities.
Passing under washing lines and tiny balconies, you are intrigued to wander further and get lost amongst the passages.
Head to the top
Within Rovinj Old Town, all the lanes appear to lead to the church and the spectacular outlook you are welcomed with when you reach the top. The panoramic views across the Adriatic and the islands beyond are amazing.
You could be in Venice
The Baroque Church of St. Euphemia is lovely and ornate inside, however, what is most striking, is the incredible Venetian bell tower that stands next to it. The resemblance to the tower of St Mark's Basilica in Venice is quite uncanny (if not on a smaller scale).
What a difference a day makes
We were staying in Rovinj for two nights, and the bad weather certainly put pay to some visitors on the first day, which made the evening noticeably quiet.
So, after a lovely stroll around the bustling harbour watching the boats coming and going, it was time to sit and admire the view and watch the sunset across the Old Town.
Where we ate
While walking among the lanes, there a number of restaurants & konobas. The scent of wood burning, fuelling the grills, along with fresh fish tempting you, is so appealing.
We tried two restaurants, both with traditional local food and both pretty good value. Pian Del Forno, although it specialises in pizza (and they looked good), we went for local Croatian dishes. In Lavanda, we chose the grilled squid and pork kebabs with Croatian side dishes, both with a bustling atmosphere and equally good food.
Where we stayed
The apartment was very spacious, and the location was extremely central and just a short stroll to the harbour and Old Town. The owners were unbelievably helpful and friendly and couldn't do enough for us.
One of the main reasons we chose this apartment was for the private parking, which was fantastic. We have a larger car, and once in the gate, there is plenty of room to manoeuvre.
Would you like a little more?
We have created a little YouTube video of Rovinj
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Inspired to visit Rovinj?
Are you tempted? does this quaint town seem like the ideal base to explore Istria? It did to us, and the place had it's own idenity.
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