Croatia, Rovinj: beaches, recreation and attractions
One of the most romantic places on the Adriatic coast is the city of Rovinj (Croatia), which is often compared to Venice. Beach holidays in Rovinj can be combined with walks through the old historic center and sightseeing. And not for nothing this city in Croatia has become a favorite destination for wedding voyages – its atmosphere perfectly matches the romantic mood.
It is unknown when exactly on a small island in the gorge a settlement was formed, i.e. today’s Rovinj. In the surroundings and site of today’s Rovinj there are many finds from the Bronze and Iron Age, so the material history can be followed more or less uninterruptedly since 1500 BC.
There is also a legend that the Argonauts founded Rovinj because some of these legendary ancient sailors landed here and abandoned the search for the golden fleece. Nevertheless, we can safely attribute the beginning of today’s Rovinj to the 7th century. At that time, the Istrian Romans from the surrounding area took refuge on the island of Rovinj, fleeing from the Slavs.
The city of Rovinj in Croatia is located on the western tip of the Istrian peninsula and 22 small coastal islands. Advantageous geographical position of Rovinj was the reason that during its history it was dominated by the Byzantine Empire and the Venetian Republic, as well as German, Austro-Hungarian, French, Italian, Yugoslav and Croatian rule.
The architecture of the old town, situated on a small peninsula, is characterized by a variety of styles left by different eras. The new part of Rovinj stretches on both sides of the historic center along the Adriatic Sea. The total area of Rovinj is 88 square km, and the population is about 14.5 thousand people.
The ethnic composition of the population is diverse, with Croats, Serbs, Italians, Albanians and Slovenes living here. Multinationality, as well as the tourist orientation of the economy contribute to very friendly and welcoming attitude of the local residents to the guests of the city.
The main attraction of Rovinj in the summer are the beaches. On the coastline of the resort there are more than 15 different municipal beaches – mostly pebbly and rocky, but you can also find sandy. There are beaches with well-developed infrastructure, there are small, nudist beaches.
One of the best beaches in Rovinj Mulini Beach is located near the hotel Monte Mulini. Clean pebble beach is equipped with free toilets, changing rooms and showers. On the beach you can rent deck chairs, umbrellas. There is an information desk, a good bar with a thirty-meter long openwork awning. In the evenings the bar turns into a cozy restaurant. Concerts and competitions are often held on a specially equipped platform.
But just a note! The nearest Slovenian beach resort to Rovinj is Portoroz. About the peculiarities of rest in this place we tell on this page.
Rovinj, like the rest of Croatia, has mostly rocky beaches. Cuvi Beach is one of the rare sandy beaches in this area. Clean sand covers the shore and the seabed of the beach. Part of the bathing area is shallow, this wide shallow strip is well heated and safe for children to swim and play. This makes Cuvi Beach ideal for holidays with children. The beach is surrounded by a pine forest.
On the beach you can rent a deck chair inexpensively, there are cafes where you can eat for both adults and children.
The beaches of Skaraba are 3 kilometers from the center of Rovinj, on the shores of the peninsula with the park zone Zlatni Rt. The rocky coastline of Skaraba is indented with bays that enclose pebble beaches. This is a place for those who like solitude, there is almost no infrastructure, the nearest cafes are quite far – near the bay Kurent.
The most visited bay is Balzamake, which is beloved by picnickers. There are secluded rocky areas, where it is convenient to sunbathe. The western part of the peninsula is rocky, it is not suitable for families with children or those who do not swim well. This place is more suitable for diving. To the east of Skaraba Cape there are high cliffs, suitable for diving.
You can only get to Skaraba Beach by bike or on foot. You can leave your car in the parking lot of the entertainment center – Monvi.
Pay attention! The most popular beach resorts in Croatia are described in this article.
As in all tourist cities in Croatia, in Rovinj there is a wide choice of accommodation. Here you can rent rooms in hotels of various levels and price segments. You can also rent an apartment or a villa, which is better for groups of tourists.
The price for a room for two with breakfast included on average is 75-110 € per day. You can find options at a cost of 45-65 € per day, as a rule, they are located at some distance from the center and the beach. Since Rovinj is overrun by thrifty tourists from neighboring Italy in the summer, it’s better to book a hotel in advance.
Rovinj attracts tourists not only with its beaches, but also many attractions, thanks to which it is interesting in any season.
Tourists who come to Rovinj, you will not have to look for sights for a long time, this word can be used to describe the entire historic center of the city, permeated with the atmosphere of the Middle Ages. The old town is situated on a small peninsula, a large part of which is surrounded by the sea.
From the waterfront there is a magnificent view of the island part of the city, which covers 22 small islands, among which St. Catherine and St. Andrew are particularly picturesque. The streets of the old town converge to the center, where the main attraction of Rovinj is the Cathedral of St. Euphemia.
The proximity to Italy as well as five centuries of Rovinj under the rule of the Venetian Republic could not but affect the appearance of the old town. If you see the city of Rovinj (Croatia) on the photo, it can easily be confused with Venice.
Abundance of water, old architecture, in its style reminiscent of the Venetian, the narrow streets, paved with stone polished over the centuries and decorated with flowering plants – all this gives Rovinj a striking resemblance to Venice. The only thing missing are the Venetian gondolas, but they are replaced by numerous white-washed yachts moored off the coast.
Walking around the old town, you can relax in shady courtyards, visit colorful cafes with a variety of cuisines, souvenir stores and wine shops. There is also a market, delighting the abundance of all kinds of fruits and vegetables. From the waterfront you can go on a boat tour and admire the islands and views of the old city from the sea.
One of the busiest streets of Rovinj is Trevisol Street. There are many shops where artisans sell their wares, making this street especially feel the medieval spirit of the city. A tour of the old city usually leads to the Cathedral of St. Euthymia.
The majestic Cathedral of St. Euphemia stands atop a hill in the center of the old town. Built three centuries ago, this Baroque building is the main ornament and landmark of Rovinj. Its 62 meters high bell tower is the highest on the Istrian peninsula. The spire of the cathedral is decorated with a 4.7m tall copper statue of St. Euphemia.
The Great Martyr Euphemia was martyred for her devotion to the Christian faith in the early 4th century and the sarcophagus containing her relics is kept in the cathedral. Every year on the day of her death on September 16, thousands of pilgrims from all over Europe come to Rovinj to worship the shrine, which is open to all. According to ministers, there are many known cases of healing that have occurred after a pilgrimage to the relics of St. Euphemia.
Entrance to St. Euphemia’s Cathedral is free. It is visited daily by thousands of tourists who also go up to the bell tower (20 kuna) to enjoy the beautiful panorama from there. An old wooden staircase leads to the observation deck, reaching the height of about 14 floors, but the long climb is justified by the vivid impressions and the possibility of taking a bird’s-eye view of Rovinj.
In the historic center of Rovinj on Tito Square among the old houses in the style of the medieval Venetian Republic stands out the red building of the city gate. Its tower is decorated with ancient clock, under which there is a bas-relief with the image of Venetian lion. The clock tower is a kind of symbol of Rovinj (Croatia), it can often be seen in photos and postcards. On the square in front of the tower there is a fountain with the figure of a boy. Nearby is the city museum of local history – another attraction of Rovinj.
Tito Square is a favorite resting place for Rovinj residents and guests. Here you can sit on the benches and summer sites of numerous cafes, admire the architecture of historic buildings and seascapes.
On one of the days you can find time to go on an excursion to the nearby ancient town of Porec.
Rovinj is one of the cities in Croatia, where you can see sights at almost every step. An example of this is the Arch of Balbi, which seems to hover between two houses in one of the narrow old streets Main Square, leading to Tito Square.
This bizarre arch was built in the 17th century on the site of the former entrance to the city. It was named Balbi Arch after mayor of Rovinj Daniel Balbi who ordered its construction. The arch is built in the Baroque style. From different sides it looks different. Above the opening, sculptural portraits of a Venetian and a Turk decorate both sides, above which a superstructure with the coat of arms of Venice and a Venetian lion rises. The mayor of Balbi, who installed the arch, also immortalized the coat of arms of his family on the landmark.
The Red Island is a 20-minute boat ride from Rovinj. It is one of those sights without which getting to know Croatia would be incomplete.
In fact, the Red Island is an archipelago of two islands connected by an embankment of sand. One of the islands of the archipelago was named St. Andrew and has been inhabited since ancient times. On it survived the monastery, which was built in the 6th century.
At the end of the 19th century, this archipelago was bought by the Huetterott family. The monastery was converted into a villa, and around it was planted park, including a huge variety of plants from all over the world. Now this park has more than 180 species of plants.
Island Hotel Istra
The villa has been luxuriously decorated and houses a collection of art objects which are still available to view today. The Island Hotel Istra is now open here with a sandy beach and a magnificent park. The second part of the archipelago is known for its nudist beach.
Red Island is attractive to different categories of holidaymakers. Families with children will find here comfortable beaches with fine pebbles, an opportunity to take a walk in the picturesque park, to feed the seagulls. Fans of active recreation can do windsurfing, diving, ride boats and catamarans, play golf and tennis.
The hotel has indoor and outdoor pool, restaurant, pizzeria, fitness center, snack bar, beauty salon, TV lounge. There is a maritime museum in the former church, where you can see models of ancient sailing ships, copies of frescoes of Istrian temples. If you want to visit the Maritime Museum, please contact the hotel reception.
You can get to the Red Island from the pier “Dolphin” and from the city port. From May to September boats leave every hour from 5:30 am to 12 at night.
Weather and climate, when best to come
The city of Rovinj, Croatia, has a mild Mediterranean climate with an average winter temperature of +5 ° C and summer temperatures of +22 ° C. Water on the beaches warms up to over 20 ° C during the June-September period, which is the beach season.
You can come to Rovinj all year round, because this Croatian city is interesting not only for beach holidays. There are many attractions, in addition, it is possible to make sightseeing trips to nearby cities in Croatia and other countries.
How to get to Rovinj from Venice or Pula
From Venice to Rovinj, Croatia, you can travel by bus and ferry.
- Buses from Venice to Rovinj depart from the main city bus station, travel time is about 5.5 hours. The ticket price depends on the choice of carrier and may vary from 14 € to 26 €.
- The ferry Venice-Rovinj leaves from the port of Venice. Travel time is 3 hours. Schedule and prices depend on season and ferry company. The ticket price is 55 € per person. Transportation of vehicles is charged separately. The exact timetable and prices are on venezialines.com.
- From Pula to Rovinj you can travel by bus from the central station and by ferry. Travel time is 45 and 55 minutes, the ticket price for the ferry is 15-20 €, for the bus – 6 €.
Video: walk around the city of Rovinj, sightseeing, prices and food, as well as aerial views. A must-see!
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15 must-see sights in Rovinj
Have you ever heard of the city of Rovinj, Croatia? The sights of this lovely place are not familiar to all travel lovers, and for good reason! Rovinj is a stunning little town in Croatia, located on the west coast of the Istrian peninsula.
The center of the old town was built mostly in the Venetian style and made of pale limestone, making the local houses literally shine in the sun. After wandering the labyrinthine streets of Rovinj you can always stop for some local Balkan food in a café by the town’s picturesque port. Ancient ruins, wild beaches and breathtaking natural beauty await you in Rovinj, with the 10-kilometre-long Lim Fjord undoubtedly the highlight.
Old Town. | Photo: Marco Verch Professional Photographer and Speaker / Flickr.
Before the Venetian reclamation project, which was carried out in 1763, Rovinj was actually an ordinary island. In the old town, you can walk through narrow medieval streets and alleys with their arched openings and climb winding staircases that remember more than a century of turbulent history.
Although this historic city center is relatively small, you can easily get lost in its dense maze of cobblestone alleyways. In the end, you will in any case come out to one of the local restaurants or cafes, where you will have a chance to have a cup of coffee, and enjoy the regularity of local life.
The address is: Old town, Ul. Grisia, 52210, Rovinj, Croatia.
St. Euphemia Church
Church of St. Euphemia.| Photo: wikimedia
The square bell tower of this Baroque church is clearly visible from many points in the city and somewhat resembles the bell tower of St. Mark’s Cathedral in Venice. It is not surprising that the 17th century Church of Saint Euphemia was built by the Venetians as they were in control of the city when it was built.
You can climb this very bell tower (which is 61 meters high) and on a clear day enjoy the gorgeous views of the Alps to the north. The church boasts a sumptuous interior, with a 15th-century marble altar with a statue of Euphemia in front of the sarcophagus containing relics of the saint herself.
Address: Cathédrale Sainte-Euphémie de Rovinj, Trg Sv. Eufemije, Rovinj, Croatia.
You can reach this beautiful natural wonder by road or by boat from the port of Rovinj. This place is often called a fjord or canal, although in fact it is a 10-kilometer river canyon surrounded by steep wooded mountain slopes, some of which are up to 100 meters high.
What makes this area look like fjords is the river, or rather, its width, which in some places is up to 600 meters. When you are on land, you can walk or ride your bike through the forest trails or through the deciduous and coniferous forests, and then go to a cozy restaurant at the mouth of the canyon. It serves delicious seafood, including oysters and mussels, which Croats carefully grow in local waters.
Address: Limski kanal, Croatia.
Port of Rovinj
Port of Rovinj.
The city port of Rovinj is where you get the best views of the sea (and where you get the best photos for Instagram). On its promenade stand beautifully painted houses, with the marvelous bell tower of St. Euphemia rising proudly in the background.
Turn your head toward the water and you’ll see a classic working port with fishermen’s schooners sailing leisurely back and forth against the city’s panorama. Along the promenade are numerous cafes and restaurants where you can have a great time on a hot sunny day!
Address: ACI Marina Rovinj, Šetalište Vijeća Europe, Rovinj, Croatia.
Park Punta Corrente
Park Punta Corrente. | Photo: Mateusz Kamiński / Flickr.
Punta Corrente Nature Park is located on a boot-shaped peninsula. Punta Corrente (which means “Golden Cape”) was the work of 19th century Austrian industrialist Johann Georg von Hütterotte, who bought the land and transformed it into a blooming garden.
Now it’s a veritable idyll: planted for over 100 years, coniferous forests abound with magnificent cedars, Douglas firs, cypresses and Aleppo pines. Come here to stroll along the scenic trails, relax on the lawns, or unwind by the rocky coves along the coast.
Address: Park šuma Zlatni Rt, Obala Maršala Tita, Vrsar, Croatia.
Considering the considerable age of this archaeological monument, situated at the top of a picturesque hill outside Rovinj, one can only wonder how well it has survived to this day. The fort was founded in 1800 BC and fragments of pottery found on the site during archaeological excavations suggest that Moncodonia was in close contact with the ancient Greek Mycenae.
Here you can touch ancient walls, many of which reach a meter or more in height, as well as walk through ancient paved areas and see an iconic local cave. From here you can also admire the Adriatic and its small green islands, which are particularly beautiful against the local sunset.
Address: Monkodonja, gradina, arheološko nalazište, Rovinj, Croatia.
Balbi Arch.| Photo: wikimedia.
This massive arch, which appeared in the late seventies of the 17th century and leads to Grisla Street from the main square, is named after Daniel Balbi, the local mayor who actually ordered its construction. The arch replaced the old city gates and is distinguished by a classic element of Venetian architecture – the lion of St. Mark.
It also features two stone heads, one on each side of the arch. One head belongs to the bearded Venetian, and the other one depicts a Turk in a turban.
Address: Balbijev luk, Trg G. Matteottija, Rovinj, Croatia.
Rovinj Heritage Museum
Rovinj Heritage Museum.
This attraction was founded by a group of local artists in the 1950s with the aim of gathering the cultural wealth of the region and publicly displaying the works of local artists and sculptors of Rovinj. What to see in this museum? Well, to begin with, there is an impressive gallery of 1,500 exhibits representing contemporary art.
You’ll also find exhibition rooms with curious artifacts related to the different cultures that have inhabited Rovinj in different eras. The building of the museum itself adds to its attraction, being a four story baroque palace built by the Counts of Califfi in the early 17th century.
Address: Rovinj Heritage Museum, Trg Maršala Tita, Rovinj, Croatia.
The City Clock
If the town clock of Rovinj looks particularly austere, it is because it was once the southern part of the city’s defenses. This square tower in the main square of Rovinj was built at the beginning of the twelfth century and underwent several serious reconstructions – especially in the seventeenth century, when the Venetians took serious charge of its appearance.
Right under the dial you can see the relief of the famous winged lion St. Mark, the constant symbol of the Venetian statehood. For several hundred years there was a prison with a single cell at the base of the tower, and nowadays it is used as a tourist office.
Address: Bell tower, Trg Maršala Tita, Rovinj, Croatia.
Lone Bay beach.| Photo: Tim Ertl / Flickr.
After seeing the local sights you can always relax against the background of the calm Adriatic Sea, which offers an unforgettable experience during the hot days of July and August. Just a few kilometers north or south of the city along the coastline, there are as many as 13 beaches, which, incidentally, bear little resemblance to the lazy coastlines of Spain.
The beaches of Istria are either secluded coves surrounded by rocks from which you can dive, or small pools of white pebbles. For example, Monte Beach is located close to the old town and the church of St. Euphemia. It is accessed by a separate staircase and is surrounded on three sides by rocky rocks. The pebble beach at Lone bay is more suitable for tourists – it is equipped with sunbeds and there is a pine forest nearby.
Address: Lone bay, Croatia.
Dvigrad ancient city and fortress
Ancient city and fortress Dvigrad.| Photo: tzzimone / Flickr.
Take a 20-minute tour of the Istrian countryside to visit the ruins of an old medieval town that was abandoned in the early 18th century due to a plague epidemic. As you understand, the town never revived.
Here you can see the jagged tower of the castle from the side of the Lima Fjord and take a good look at all the local majestic ruins, including the city gate, the fortress walls, about 200 ancient houses and the remains of the once stunning St. Sophia Church. The place is slowly being restored and in time it will provide all the necessary conditions for tourists.
Address: Dvigrad ruins, Kanfanar, Croatia.
City of Pula
City of Pula. | Photo: wikimedia.
Even if you are a small fan of ancient history, we still advise you to stop by the city of Pula in southern Istria. The main attraction of this place is the Arena – a huge Roman amphitheater with high arched walls, which can compete with the Roman Colosseum itself.
The complex has been preserved so well that you can even take a detailed look at all the original infrastructure: the tunnels through which gladiators passed under the arena, and the facilities used by wealthy spectators who sat in the most advantageous seats.
Also be sure to walk to the local Forum, home to the mighty Temple of Augustus and the Goddess Roma, as well as ancient gates and triumphal arches. All these buildings create the atmosphere of a square forever frozen in time.
Address: Pula, Croatia.
Brijuni National Park
Brijuni National Park.
To reach the Brijuni National Park, follow the coast from Rovinj to Pula until you reach the coastal village of Fažana. Here you buy a ferry ticket to Brijuni, the largest island in the wonderful national park of the same name.
This is part of an archipelago consisting mainly of uninhabited islands with fascinating nature and history. Prehistoric people have inhabited these places since time immemorial, but by the early 18th century man had abandoned the place forever due to rampant outbreaks of the plague.
Be sure to visit the ruins of the two Roman villas and the Church of Saint Mary, built by the Templars in the 13th century. Here you can also see the oldest dinosaur footprints, frozen in limestone, which are almost 200 million years old.
Address: Nacionalni park Brijuni, Fažana, Croatia.
Golden Cape Park
Golden Cape Park | Photo: Tim Ertl / Flickr.
This park, covered with oak and pine groves with 10 species of cypress trees, was founded in 1890 by Baron Hütterott, an Austrian admiral who had his own villa on the island of Crveni Otok. Here you can swim in the bays located between the three capes: Punta Montauro, Punta Corrente and Punta Scaraba. The park is easily accessible on foot or by bike, following the promenade south of the harbor.
Address: Golden Cape, Rovinj, Croatia.
Street Grizia.| Photo: jbdodane / Flickr.
This beautiful cobblestone street with galleries and souvenir stores crosses the old town and climbs uphill to the Church of St. Euphemia. Its windows, balconies, portals and plazas are a whimsical mix of styles – Gothic, Renaissance, Baroque and Neoclassical.
Note the unique fumaioli (outdoor chimneys) built during the demographic boom, when entire families lived in the same room with a fireplace.