Who doesn’t love charming European cities with a maze of cobblestone streets, delicious seafood, fascinating history, and views for days?
Rovinj is a small city on Croatia’s Istrian peninsula with all that and more. However, it is seriously underrated—more travelers opt to visit Dubrovnik, Split, or Plitvice National Park. Don’t get me wrong—these are incredible destinations. Still, there are so many things to do in Rovinj that you could easily enjoy a week in this idyllic spot.
Best things to do in Rovinj
Get lost in Old Town
The number one thing to do is to explore Old Town Rovinj. Plan a day to simply wander around the tightly-packed streets, occasionally stopping to check out the delicious seafood restaurants, fun cafés, or unique olive oil shops.
Old Town is right on the water, making it extremely picturesque. Strolling through the streets and snapping pictures is a great way to spend a morning. No cars are allowed in this section of the city, making it a pedestrian’s dream!
Visit St. Euphemia’s Church and climb up the bell tower to get an impressive bird’s eye view of the city!
Next stop—Balbi’s Arch, the location of the original gate to the city. It was built in a Venetian style in 1679 and is a great location for history and architecture buffs.
Then, head to the port to see local fishermen and people watch! Rovinj is still an active fishing town, so this is an interesting way to see how the locals live.
Pro tip: The cobbled streets can pose a bit of a challenge if you have limited mobility. Don’t worry–the edge of the waterfront has wheelchair access and isn’t as demanding on your feet.
Beaches in Rovinj
Many people head to this coastal town to enjoy the beaches along the Adriatic Sea. And I don’t blame them! It’s one of the top things to do in Rovinj. The crystal clear sea provides a stunning backdrop to enjoy!
Just north of the historic center is Porton Biondi Beach, the closest beach to the city center. It’s a combination of pebbles and pavement, with a lovely section of grass for sunbathers to relax on.
Mulini Beach is a fantastic option close to Rovinj’s city center. Popular with families, this beach is a great spot to bring your kids to splash around in the cerulean waters. It is possible to rent a few lounge chairs and an umbrella here, but be prepared to fork out some cash. Two chairs and an umbrella will set you back about €80 ($80) for the day. Bring a towel and grab a spot in the shade if you’re on a budget.
Plaža Balota is another excellent place to swim if you want a break from all the families on Mulini Beach—it’s a little bit more peaceful. You can even go cliff jumping here! The water is clear, and you can always find a nice spot to lay out on the pebble beach. Plaža Balota is the perfect spot to catch an epic sunset.
If you want even more natural beauty, Brijuni National Park also has a beautiful beach. Just 40 minutes south of Rovinj, this untouched area is a collection of 14 different islands and is excellent for swimming. Brijuni also has plenty of cafés and places to rent beach umbrellas.
Lim Fjord or Lim Channel
Lim Fjord is a great day trip from Rovinj. This natural channel is a submerged canyon and used to act as the divider between the Dalmatia and Italia regions during Roman times.
The channel is naturally warm, which attracts a wide variety of sea life. You can easily take a tour by grabbing a boat in Rovinj. Most companies offer a seafood meal as well!
While you cannot swim in the channel, you can still enjoy the natural beauty from a boat or a biking trail. Exploring the nearby caves on foot and learning about the fascinating Viking history is also possible.
If you’re a nature lover, check out this forest park, also known as the Golden Cape.
This stunning park is near the center of town and is one of Rovinj’s most important natural locations. In the late 1800s, a man named Georg Hütterott bought four of the islands off Rovinj with the hopes of turning Punta Corrente into a spa.
He died before the project could be completed, but local officials saw the value in cleaning these 90 hectares, which contributed to the development of the town’s tourism.
It is the perfect place to walk amongst the cedar trees or relax by the beach.
Did you know Istria is famous for its wine?
Croatian wine is delicious, and Rovinj is a great place to base yourself to head into the countryside and try all the wines.
If you opt to book a wine tour, most companies will take you to three to five different vineyards. You’ll be able to try several different wines, including the native Teran and Resfošk red varieties and the Malvazija Istarsk white variety.
Some tours also include olive oil or truffle tasting, both well known in the region.
Rovinj Heritage Museum
If you are in the city during bad weather, fear not! One of the best things to do in Rovinj when it rains is visit the Heritage Museum.
The museum is located in an old Baroque building and houses local works of art. There are old paintings, modern art, and an interesting mix of archeological finds.
Where to go after Rovinj
After tasting the Croatian wines and taking in the stunning views, you’ll no doubt want to head to an equally impressive locale.
Venice is a great option to explore The City of Canals and enjoy delicious Italian food.
It is possible to take a bus from Rovinj to Venice, and the journey only takes about four hours. This option costs about $50 per person.
However, it is also possible to take a ferry for a little more money and a lot more comfort. Venezia Lines offers a direct ferry to Venice, which takes four hours and 45 minutes. This is an excellent option as you’ll be able to take in the stunning views of the Adriatic along the way and watch Venice appear slowly before your eyes.
If you prefer to stay in Croatia, why not head off the typical tourist trail? You can quickly go from Rovinj to Opatija via bus in about two and a half hours ($15).
Opatija is another wonderful coastal town. Visiting will allow you to maximize your relaxation and continue enjoying the Adriatic Sea. What more could you want?
Regardless of where you choose to go next, Rovinj will undoubtedly leave an impression on you. The Istrian Region is an unforgettable place to visit.
It’s ro-VEEN. Make sure you don’t pronounce that J.
June or September will find the best combination of glorious weather and fewer crowds. It is warm enough to enjoy the beaches, but not oppressively hot. Plus, you’ll miss summer school holiday travelers as well.
No—it is a very walkable city. The old town is compact, and there is plenty to see and do in one central location. However, if you are driving or plan to pick up a rental car for an epic Croatian road trip, there are several places to park, and driving is a relative breeze.