Best Things to Do in Rovinj, Croatia – Weekend Guide to Croatia’s Rising Star

קרואטיה רוביני חצי האי איסטריה

Rovinj Weekend Guide – Best Things to Do in Rovinj Croatia

Looking for the best things to do in Rovinj, Croatia? Well, our Rovinj weekend guide has everything you need to plan the perfect weekend getaway in Rovinj. From the best things to do in Rovinj, top photo locations and charming streets in Rovinj Old Town, the best viewpoints of this charming city, where to find the best restaurants, and the best day trip from Rovinj to discover the charms of the Istrian Peninsula.

Rovinj in Istria, Croatia, is one of the most charming towns we’ve ever been to. Believe us, we’ve had our fair share of stunning European cities with narrow cobblestone streets, colorful houses and lots of charm, but Rovinj is special. Perhaps it’s the mixture of Croatian and Italian vibes or the fact that it’s an active fishing port; we could feel Rovinj or Rovigno in Italian, is a special place from the minute we started exploring this little town. The old town is simply stunning, and as photographers, we’ve explored the area to find the best viewpoints in Rovinj and there are so many! This place is photogenic from every angle! Seeing Rovinj Old Town from afar is such a striking sight; it almost looks like it’s hand-drawn. Strolling along the narrow streets of the old town, we’ve discovered so many hidden gems and instagrammable corners, and have we mentioned the food? There are excellent restaurants in Rovinj, from simple eateries to somewhat fancy ones, and everything is made with local ingredients from Istria, the best olive oil, truffles, seafood, wine and more! Perhaps it’s the mixture of the Venetian architecture with the charming harbor and the Italian vibes, but in our opinion, Rovinj is probably the most stunning town in Croatia. Not long ago, Rovinj was crowned as the Champion of Croatian Tourism for 2019 and Lonely Planet has chosen Istria as a top tourist destination for 2019 , so what are you waiting for? Start planning your perfect Rovinj weekend getaway.

Rovinj streets in Croatia
Rovinj guide Croatia
Colorful Rovinj in Istrian Peninsula

This post may contain affiliate links, which means we earn a small commission if you purchase from them (no extra costs to you!). For details check our disclaimer.

A Perfect Weekend Getaway in Rovinj Croatia

To plan the perfect weekend getaway in Rovinj, you need to know what you are looking for. Do you want to relax and spend your days on the beach? Do you want to stay active and rent a bike or go diving? Do you want to explore the most beautiful towns in Istria, or are you looking for a foodie adventure and want to go olive oil/wine tasting or truffle hunting in Istria? The best thing about visiting Rovinj is you can do all of the above and more (but then you’ll probably need more than a weekend in Rovinj). First of all, let’s talk about the weather and transportation.

Where Is Rovinj Located?

Rovinj is a small fishing town that is located in the north part of the Adriatic Sea. The town’s location at one of the most beautiful spots along the western coast of the Istrian peninsula makes it the perfect gateway to explore Istria county in Croatia. You’ll find charming fishing towns along the coast and further east, the Istrian Peninsula is dotted with beautiful medieval villages, olive groves and wineries.

How to Get to Rovinj, Croatia?

By Plane – The nearest airport is located in Pula, approximately 38 kilometers from Rovinj. It’s a small airport but during the season there are flights from several European destinations such as London, Berlin, Amsterdam and other locations. Thanks to the increasing popularity of Istria, more and more flights are added every month. Otherwise, you can fly to one of the nearby international airports in Croatia, such as Rijeka or Zagreb, Trieste in Italy or Ljubljana in Slovenia and drive/arrange for transportation from there.

By Bus – There are buses from many cities in Croatia and nearby European destinations. From Trieste, Italy, it’s only a 3-hour drive (with the direct bus) and from Ljubljana, Slovenia, it’s about 4 hours (with the direst bus). For more information about buses to Rovinj, Istria.

By Boat – During the season, you can also reach Rovinj by ferry. There are 4 companies operating ferries to and from Rovinj. In the high season there are 1 to 5 journeys per day, but in the low season, there are no ferries at all. For more information about ferries to/from Rovinj.

By Car – If you are planning on exploring the Istrian Peninsula, we suggest hiring a car. There are some buses from Rovinj to several towns in Istria, or you can go on an organized tour, but hiring a car is the best way to see Istria. If you are also visiting Zagreb or the Dalmatian Coast, you can hire a car from there and venture on a road trip. We made this little road trip from Split, and it was very convenient driving on the highways. You can take the scenic road of course, but it will take you longer.

For more information about getting to Rovinj, Istria

Rovinj Viewpoint #1

When to Visit Rovinj, Istria?

Rovinj and Istria, in general, can be visited at any time of the year; however, the best time of the year is usually June – September. In July and August, the temperatures can reach 30°C, and there are more tourists in the area. Nevertheless, Istria is still relatively quieter than other areas in Croatia (though it’s changing quickly), and it’s the best time to enjoy the beaches. Fall is the best time to visit Istria if you want to watch the harvest of olives and grapes and go truffle hunting.

For more information about weather conditions in Rovinj

Get our detailed maps for FREE with all the attractions around Istria – Subscribe to our monthly Newsletter

Rovinj Weekend Getaway - Best Things to Do

Rovinj, Croatia – An Overview

Rovinj is located in the northern part of the Adriatic Sea, and though today it’s connected to the mainland, it used to be an island. The town started to develop in the 3rd century, and it used to be a settlement of Illyrian tribes before being captured by the Romans. Rovinj has known its fair share of intruders and in 1283, following the increasing threats of pirate raids, the town swore allegiance to the Venetian republic in exchange for protection. While it was a part of the Venetian Republic it flourished, and in 1763 the small island was connected to the mainland. After the fall of the Venetian Republic, Rovinj kept changing hands. For a while, it was ruled by the Austrians, then the Italians and for a brief time, it was under German occupation. In 1947 it became part of the Yugoslav Republic of Croatia until Croatia gained its independence in 1991.
Rovinj’s history is reflected in its architecture and culture, and to this day, the town is bilingual. The residents speak Croatian and Italian, and the older ones also speak a unique dialect that is a mixture of Croatian, Italian and the Istrian dialect and currently is considered as an endangered language.

Rovinj shops
Rovinj alleys in the Istrian Peninsula
The beautiful porches in rovinj Croatia
Rovinj alleys in the Istrian Peninsula Croatia
Cobbled streets of Rovinj
Spend a weekend in Rovinj to discover the charming alleys
The best spot in Rovingo

Top Things to Do in Rovinj, Croatia

Getting Lost in Rovinj Old Town

The Old Town of Rovinj is a bit hilly, and there’s no better way to get to know the town than getting lost in these small alleys (it’s a car-free zone). The narrow winding streets of Rovinj tell the story of this fishing town. The Venetian architecture and colorful houses, the renaissance and baroque influences are a testament to the town’s history. While we were strolling along the cobbled streets of the old town, it seemed that the houses were crammed together into a multicolored mess, another reminder to the fact this town used to be an isolated island without much space to spare. Take some time to follow the narrow streets and explore the picturesque maze of photogenic alleys. Look up to find colorful laundry lines, old ladies peeking at you from leafy windows and terraces, lazy cats napping in front of pastel-colored walls, a man selling chunks of cheese and truffles from his front door and so many more hidden gems.

Insider Tip: Look for the streets that will lead to the bottom-level houses. Now and again, you’ll find a staircase leading straight to the Adriatic Sea. Have a peek at the seaside porches and unique viewpoints.

Strolling Along Grisia Street

Grisia Street is probably the most famous street in Rovinj’s old town. Ul. Grisia will lead you from Rovinj’s main square to St. Euphemia’s church through a mix of galleries and boutiques, small squares, beautiful porches, and a mixture of Renaissance, baroque and Gothic architecture.

Insider Tip: If you happen to visit Rovinj in August, you might be lucky enough to attend the one-day open-air art exhibition that takes place on the second Sunday in August (see more in our festival section)

Visiting St. Euphemia Church and Bell Tower

The bell tower of the Church of St. Euphemia (or the Basilica of St. Euphemia) is the most dominant landmark in Rovinj. You’ll see the towering bell tower (61 meter-high) from every angle while exploring Rovinj. Other than using a drone, it’s the best place to catch the view of Rovinj from above. The St. Euphemia Cathedral itself is a Baroque church located on a hill in the heart of the historic part of Rovinj. The current church structure replaced the older church that became too small for the growing population of Rovinj. The church itself was built from 1725 to 1736 but its façade dates back to the second half of the 19th century. The church is dedicated to St. Euphemia, the patron saint of the town, a 15-year old girl who gave her life for her beliefs. She was arrested by Diocletian’s soldiers and refused to convert her religion despite the torturing she went through. After her death on September 16, 304, her body was preserved. Legend has it that at some point, her body disappeared and sometime later, it reappeared floating in the sea. To this day her relics are kept in a sarcophagus behind St. Euphemia altar inside the church. The church also contains several decorated altars and a series of paintings dating from 1883, some of which depict the story of St. Euphemia. If you look up, you’ll also see a statue of the patron saint at the top of the bell tower.

Insider Tip: Every year, on September 16, the town celebrates St. Euphemia’s Day. There’s a grand celebration at Rovinj’s main square where you’ll find many traditional Istrian delicacies

St. euphemia church bell tower in Rovinj

Looking for Balbi’s Arch and Rovinj Town Clock

There are many historical monuments around the historical center of Rovinj, so make sure to keep your eyes open. When strolling around Rovinj, look for Balbi’s Arch. Balbi’s Arch was built in 1679 where the town’s main gate once stood. This unique historical monument was built by Mayor Daniel Balbi during the Venetian Rule. On the one side you’ll find the carved head of a Venetian and on the other the head of a Turk. At the top of the arch you’ll see the Venetian Lion of St. Mark with an open book (signifying Rovinj’s allegiance to the Venetian republic). Another landmark to look for is the old clock tower. The clock is located in the town’s main square. It was once part of the town’s southern walls. The tower was built in the 12th century and went through renovations throughout the years. As in many places in Rovinj, the town clock also has a decoration of the famous winged Lion of St. Mark, the symbol of Venice.

Taking a Walk around Rovinj Port

Don’t you just love picturesque ports? Rovinj’s beautiful port is just the right size, not too big, so you’ll get drowned by huge cruise ships and cranes and not too small where the pier is only 100 meters long. Taking a walk around the port is one of the best things to do in Rovinj. First of all, there are endless opportunities to take pictures of the front row pastel-colored houses. Second, there are so many coffee shops and restaurants lining the harbor’s area, and what’s better than catching dinner or a drink with such a view? Since it’s an active fishing port, we’ve spent some time just watching the fishermen and the swaying boats that were dancing in the wind. 

Beautiful shop in Rovinj
Kids in Rovinj colorful town in Istria Croatia
Children selling seashells
Colorful houses in rovinj istria
The old town of Rovinj Croatia
Viewpoints to the Adriatic Sea

Going Boutique Shopping in Rovinj

Rovinj’s streets are lined with quite a collection of unique boutiques. First of all, you’ll find here plenty of specialty food stores where you can buy locally produced gourmet food and ingredients from olive oil and truffle oil to chunks of cheese and unique tea blends. Second, walking along the alleys of the old town and around the port, you’ll find many art galleries, jewelry stores and women boutiques. It’s part of the fun to get lost in the winding alleys and look for unique stores and great viewpoints.

Insider Tip: Make sure to look for Atelier Charm, a women boutique with the most stunning location in Rovinj. Address: Ul. Vladimira Švalbe, 52210, Rovinj

Browsing the Stalls of Rovinj Green Market

If you like markets as we do, make sure to stop by Rovinj Farmers Market, where you’ll find stalls with fresh produce, local fruits and vegetables, olive oil bottles, truffles, fish, souvenirs and more.

Address: Ul. Giuseppea Garibaldija, 52210

Atelier charm boutique in Rovinj
A Boutique in Rovinj Croatia
Atelier Charm Boutique
Rovinj hidden gems in Istria

Rovinj Pictures - The Best Viewpoints and Photo Spots

We’ve spent many hours looking for the best viewpoints in Rovinj. There are a few excellent spots in Rovinj where you’ll get a breath-taking shot of the old town or the stunning harbor with the rows of pastel-colored houses.

Best Rovinj Viewpoint #1

This is our favorite viewpoint of Rovinj Old Town. There’s a great spot just near Velika Valdibora Parking Lot, where you’ll see the northern side of Rovinj’s old town with its rows of colorful houses and the bell tower towering above the town. If you’re lucky, you might even catch a fisherman or two…

Best Rovinj Viewpoint #2

There are two piers in Rovinj’s harbor. The longer one (Veliki Mol) can provide beautiful viewpoints of Rovinj peninsula and the adjacent port.

Best Rovinj Viewpoint #3

Instead of taking photos from the piers, try and take a picture of the boats and colorful houses along Rovinj’s harbor from Obala Pina Budicina street.

Best Rovinj Viewpoint #4

You can also photograph Rovinj Old Town from the Marina with the rows of boats at the foreground. 

Best Rovinj Viewpoint #5

We’ve already mentioned the stunning views you’ll see from the top of the bell tower of the Church of St. Euphemia.

Rovinj Viewpoint #2

רוביני חצי האי איסטריה קרואטיה
The old town of rovingo Croatia

Enjoying the Sunset at Rovinj Marina or Rovinj Peninsula’s Bars

Rovinj is known for its famous sunsets. Depending on the day, season and weather conditions, the sky is colored by hues of orange, gold and even pink. If you want to have a drink while watching the Rovinj peninsula wrapped in hues of red, orange and gold as the sun sets, you’d better sit at one of the cafes, bars or restaurants located at the southern side of the harbor along Obala Alda Rismonda, Obala Alda Negria or Obala Vladimira Nazora. However having a drink at one of the waterfront bars on the peninsula is a great experience too. The most famous bar is probably Mediterraneo Bar, but there are a few others with simple sittings right on the rocks in front of Katarina Island.

Insider Tip: Since having dinner or drinks with a view may come with a bit of a more expensive price tag, instead, you can buy some ice cream or take your drink to go and find a spot on one of the benches and rocky beaches along Rovinj’s peninsula and harbor.

Looking for the Fishermen or Joining Them

Don’t know about you, but we love fishermen pictures. For us, they are always a very interesting subject matter to photograph, and they can give you great insight into the local everyday lives. You’ll find plenty of fishermen along the harbor and peninsula, and you can even go on a fishing tour if this is your thing.

Visiting One of the Museums or Art Galleries

If you have enough time and you’d like to deepen your knowledge about Rovinj’s history and cultural heritage, visit Rovinj’s Heritage Museum or the Batana House Eco Museum

Rovigno Heritage Museum – for a little taste of everything, visit Rovinj City Museum. The museum itself is set at a former Baroque palace of Count Caliphs. Since its establishment in 1954 the museum has curated a nice collection of artworks by old masters as well as a contemporary Croatian art collection, some archaeological findings, ethnological items, photographs and more.
Address: Rovigno Trg maršala Tita 11  Hours: Tue. – Sat. 10.00 am – 1:00 pm (closed on holidays)  Tickets: 15/10 Kn adults/seniors and students

The Batana House Eco Museum – Battanas are Rovinj’s traditional wooden fishing boats with a flat bottom, which allows the fishermen to navigate and fish in shallow water. At the Batana House you’ll be able to learn more about the fishing tradition of Rovinj and the marine life in the Adriatic Sea. Moreover, this museum organizes workshops and various events (such as the Batana boat parade) where you’ll have a chance to have a glimpse into the traditional lives and cultural heritage of Rovinj from the unique dialect to other aspects of everyday life. It has even gotten UNESCO’s recognition for helping to safeguard the living culture of Rovigno.
Address: Obala P. Budicina 2   Hours: varies throughout the year (check their website)   Tickets: 20/10 Kn adults/students and seniors

If you’d like to feast your eyes on artistic treasures, pop into one of Rovinj’s art galleries (ateliers).

Rovinj Viewpoint #3

The colorful Rovinj old town
Colorful alleys in rovinj old town

Have a Beach Day

Most of the beaches around Croatia and especially around the Istrian Peninsula do not have sand, they might have pebbles, but many times you’ll jump into the water straight from the rocks. Nevertheless, the water is so clear with amazing hues of deep emerald green and turquoise; you simply must visit one of the local beaches. There are a few beaches in and around Rovinj.

  • Monte Beach – Located at Rovinj Peninsula, just near St. Euphemia Church, many tourists choose to relax at this beach after a day of sightseeing. Follow the pathway that leads to a small rocky coastal area where you’ll be able to sunbathe and swim. Although we are talking about quite a small beach, it is divided into several areas. Big and Little Guguliera are suitable for bathing small children, while Baluota (or Balota) and Lanterna aimed at adults who are strong swimmers since the entrance to the sea is via climbing down or diving from the rocks. There are no special facilities or shade.
  • Mulini Beach – Mulini Beach is located very close to Rovinj Port. The beach consists of several areas. The first area is basically a concrete sunbathing area from which you can get into the water via ladders. There are no sunbeds for hire and no shade. If you continue walking, you’ll get to the part of the beach that belongs to Hotel Lone. Here you’ll find a beach bar and sunbeds for hire. This is a very popular section of the beach. Further away there’s another beach section with pebbles and forested area as well as lifeguards. This area is especially suitable for families.
  • Lone Beach – If you are willing to get out of town, you’ll find a very nice beach at Punta Corrente, about 1.5 km from the old town. The beach is suitable for children, adults and pets (there are special sections designated for dogs). You’ll find here a bar, shaded sections and you can even rent a sunbed if you’d like.
  • Katarina Island Beach and the Red Island Beaches – Both of these beaches are accessible only by boat. You can read more about them in our Rovinj Archipelago section.

Getting Active – Diving, Kayaking, Cycling and Trekking

If you are looking for an active vacation, you’ll find plenty to do in Rovinj from diving and kayaking to cycling.

Diving and Snorkeling

If you are looking to explore the undersea world, you’ll find a few diving centers in Rovinj, which also offer snorkeling excursions. The best time to dive around Rovinj is during May – November, but you can enjoy diving year-round. There are various diving sites in the area, including the wreck of the passenger steamer “Baron Gautsch” that sunk in 1914. Other than that, there are several more shipwrecks, caves and reefs in the vicinity of Katarina Island, Figarola Island, Pirusi Island and additional locations around Rovinj Archipelago. For more information about excursions, courses, diving sites, and snorkeling, check out the websites of Scuba Rovinj and Dive Center Rubin

Kayaking

We love kayaking since it’s a fun activity you can do with a partner while filling your lungs with fresh sea air and getting a unique vantage point from the sea. Kayaking around some of the islands around Rovinj and the stunning coastline is a great experience. Most of the tours last for about 6 hours, but you’ll need to check the details of your tour. There’s also a shorter kayaking tour at sunset from 6:00 pm till 9:30 pm which includes traditional Istrian snacks such as cheese, olives and wine.

Cycling and Trekking

There are lots of cycling and trekking trails around Rovinj and Istria in general, some of which are suitable for the whole family. For trekking, one of the most popular ones is The Sunny Coast of Count Hüterott that goes through the old town. You can check here for all of your trail options for cycling and trekking.

Visiting the Golden Cape Forrest Park (Punta Corrente)

If you enjoy spending time in nature or participating in sports activities, take some time to explore the Golden Cape Forrest Park. It will take you about 20 minutes to walk from Rovinj’s old town to the park, which is located on the peninsula that protects Rovinj from the south. The peninsula also includes the picturesque Škaraba Park Forest, and Montauro and Punta Corrente capes. There are several walking, running and cycling trails in the park as well as several beaches and coves. You can also go rock climbing in Punta Corrente.

Dinner with a view in Rovinj restaurant
Delicious food in Rovinj restaurant
Dinner with a view in Rovinj restaurant
Fresh sea food salad in rovinj croatia

Exploring the Rovinj Archipelago by Yourself or with a Boat Tour

Rovinj Archipelago stretches from St. John’s Cape to Barbariga and includes about 20 islands and islets, out of which the Red Island and St. Catherine Island (both of which are car-free) are the largest ones with beautiful beaches, coves and tourist facilities. You can catch a ferry from Rovinj Port to get to St. Catherine Island and the Red Island (5-15 minutes). The Red Island actually consists of two islands, Maskin Island and St. Andrew’s Island, which are artificially connected and offer walking trails and pebble and rocky beaches. The most popular beaches are next to Istra Hotel where you’ll be able to rent sunbeds (if you arrive early) and buy some food and drinks at the bar/restaurant. If you want clearer water and fewer crowds, go a bit further away. St. Catherine Island (or St. Katarina Island) offers similar beaches, but it is smaller. You can rent sunbeds from the island’s Hotel Katarina, and you can eat lunch and buy drinks at their bar/restaurant. You’ll also be able to enjoy beautiful views of Rovinj from the hotel. If you want to go island hopping, you can opt for a boat tour.

Going Wine and Olive Oil Tasting or Truffle Hunting

The Istrian Peninsula is known as a foodies heaven. We are talking about award-winning olive oil, locally produced wine and of course, the jewel in the crown, it’s truffle-lovers paradise. There are many wine shops and bars all over Rovinj, where you can taste the local Istrian wine and shop for locally produced olive oil. Personally, we suggest you embark on a gastronomy foodie tour of Istria either with an organized tour or by yourself. There are many wineries and olive oil groves all around Rovinj. Just outside of Rovinj, we visited the family-owned olive oil grove of Chiavalon located at Vodnjan, about 30 minutes by car from Rovinj. It’s a fascinating experience and we’ve learned so much about olive oil and the Istrian way of life, not to mention we got a chance to taste and buy some of their award-winning olive oils. During the season you can go truffle hunting in certain areas in Istria, but during your visit to Rovinj, you’ll have enough opportunities to devour delicious Istrian dishes made with local truffles and you’ll have plenty of opportunities to buy truffles and truffle products in town.

Looking for the Best Restaurants in Rovinj

For foodies like us, finding the best places to eat in Rovinj is part of the experience. So here are our recommendations for where to eat in Rovinj:

  • La Puntulina – This is a well-known restaurant with a bit of a pricy menu. However, they have one of the best locations in Rovinj’s old town, and the dishes we had were absolutely wonderful, from the plating to the concoction of flavors and textures – we would go back there in a heartbeat. We had the scallops a La Puntulina, the baked fish in olive crust and for dessert, the Gibanica (strudel with apples, nuts and cheese). Everything was delicious, the service was excellent and you can’t ask for a better setting for dinner (ask for a table with a view)! You should make a reservation at least 1-2 days in advance.
    Address: Ul. Sv. Križa 38  |  Tel: +385 52 813 186
 
  • Bookeria – We stumbled upon this little gem by accident. On our way to photograph the old town, the quirky design got our attention and so did the dishes that were served to the tables outside (yes, we always take a peek at people’s dishes, it’s a great way to know what to order and to find great restaurants). Well, we came back after our photo session and were delighted by the dishes we got. We had an assortment of small dishes, which were a feast for the eyes and palate. We tried the octopus carpaccio, the sesame tuna and a platter of local cheese with fresh fruits. Their desserts are amazing as well, from the apple and plum crumble to the pistachio souffle. We haven’t tried their breakfast, but judging by our dinner, we’re sure they have amazing breakfasts as well.
    Address: Trg G. Pignaton  |  Tel: +385 91 219 0007
 
  • Adriatic Brasserie – One of the most well-known restaurants in town is located at the stylish boutique hotel, Hotel Adriatic. The restaurant is open for breakfast, lunch and dinner, but we recommend reserving a table for dinner if you want to enjoy a special dining experience. The decor is modern and chic, with artworks covering the walls of the restaurant. The menu offers a mix of seafood, meat and cheese-based dishes that are also plated beautifully as little works of art. Their seafood platter is wonderful and if you have a sweet tooth then you must order their dessert tower. You’ll get an elegant dessert stand filled with elegant and delicious desserts from profiteroles to lemon pies and macaroons! 
    Address: Obala Pina Budicina 16  |  Tel: +385 52 803 520

Day Trips from Rovinj

One of the great things about Rovinj is the fact it’s quite close to so many of Istria’s attractions. If you rent a car for a few days, you can go on day trips from Rovinj all over the Istrian Peninsula. There are some options for public transportation, especially to the main towns or you can opt for a tour if you’d rather not rent a car. We are going to write a whole post about day trips from Rovinj but in the meantime, here are some of the best day trips from Rovinj:

Lim Fjord

Just a bit north from Rovinj, you’ll find Lim Fjord, one of the most beautiful sights in Istria. The fjord stretches out to about 10 km, and you can visit it by a short car-ride (20 minutes) or taking a boat tour of the fjord. There is also a very challenging bike trail along the Lim channel.

Porec

If you continue north after visiting Lim Fjord, you’ll find a few lovely towns, including the charming Porec. Porec has a lovely old town, beaches, shops and restaurants.

Pula

Pula is the largest city in Istria, which serves as the gateway to the Istrian Peninsula, thanks to its international airport. Pula’s most famous sight is the Roman amphitheater (one of the best-preserved Roman ruins outside of Italy). Other than that, you’ll find here great beaches and restaurants, and from Pula you can explore the beautiful Cape Kamenjak.

Brijuni National Park

Brijuni natural park consists of 14 islands and islets. You can visit the zoo, archeological sites, olive tree groves, and beaches and learn more about the rich flora and fauna of the islands.

Motovun and Grožnjan

One of the most well-known towns in Istria is Motovun. It’s a charming little town located in the Mirna River valley with a breath-taking setting of olive groves and wineries all around it. Not far from Motovun, you’ll find the lovely Grožnjan, a small village where you’ll find plenty of cobbled streets, breath-taking views, art galleries and a small café which offers the best cappuccino in Croatia!.

Venice

This would not be our first choice since it will take you about 3-4 hours to get to Venice. However, if you are keen on seeing Venice, during the season, there are ferries from Rovinj to Venice.

Alleys in rovinj istria
Restaurants in rovinj Croatia
La Puntulina
Rovinj beaches in the Istrian Peninsula
Monte Beach

Rovinj Festivals

When planning your visit, see if there are special events or festivals in the area. Here are some festivals Rovinj is known for:

Grisia Art Exhibition

As we’ve already mentioned, every year on the second Sunday in August there’s a one-day open-air art exhibition that takes place along Grisia St. On that date, the street turns into a unique open-air art gallery. Artists showcase their works along the walls and cascading staircases of Ul. Grisia. It’s a great opportunity to buy artistic artifacts and paintings from Croatian artists.

Rovinj Jazz festival

Every year Rovinj hosts its famous Jazz festival which attracts jazz players from all around the world. The festival usually takes place sometimes between May – July. 

Rovinj Wine Festival

In the fall around September, you can experience the wonderful wine festival which aims to put the spotlight on the local wine industry and highlight the indigenous wine varieties of Istria.

Other than these festivals, there are monthly events all around Istria and Rovinj, for more information, check out the event calendars for Rovingo and Istria.

Where to Stay in Rovinj, Croatia

When you choose your accommodation in Rovinj, you should take into consideration parking if you are planning on renting a car. Since we did, we opted to stay at a hotel in Rovinj’s new area, about a 15-minute walk from the old town. If you are not planning to rent a car, you can stay inside the old town, right at the heart of the lively area.

We stayed at Residence Rovinj and if you’re looking for a budget-friendly hotel with free parking, Residence Rovinj is a great choice. The hotel is quite small, with stylish and very clean rooms, friendly staff, lots of restaurants around it and a great breakfast.

For luxury, you won’t go wrong with any of these stunning hotels which are located on the south side of Rovinj Port, very close to the Golden Cape Forrest Park: Hotel Lone, Hotel Monte Mulini and Grand Park Hotel Rovinj.

For more of a boutique-style luxury hotel have a look at Spirito Santo Palazzo Storico. It’s located on the northern part of the peninsula, just next to one of the best viewpoints in Rovinj. They do have parking but not on the hotel’s grounds (very close though). The staff will happily help you with the luggage and anything you need.

If you want to stay right at the heart of the old town check out the stylish and budget-friendly The Melegran or the luxurious boutique hotel, Hotel Adriatic in which you’ll find one of the best restaurants in town.

Rovinj Viewpoint #2

Final Tips for your Rovinj Weekend Getaway

  • Indulge in the local gastronomy – from olive oil to wines and truffles. You must order a glass of wine with every meal.
  • Take a day trip from Rovinj – there’s no doubt Rovinj is lovely, but there are so many things to do and see around Rovinj, choose at least one of our suggested day trips during your vacation.
  • Bring your beach shoes – if you intend to visit the beaches (and you definitely should) bring some sea shoes with you because some of the beaches are very pebbly and rocky.
  • Parking – If you’re renting a car, make sure to stay at a hotel/apartment with free parking.  When traveling with the car you’ll find a few parking spots next to the old town and the park.

Rovinj is truly one of the hidden gems of Croatia. It's the perfect destination for a weekend getaway. Its location on the west coast of the Istrian Peninsula ensures you'll have plenty of things to do from stunning beaches and water sports, to exploring fishing villages or medieval towns and taking gastronomy tours.

Don't forget to pin it for later!

Pictures of the port and houses of Rovinj, Istria.
Rovinj Old Town from the best viewpoint in Rovinj Croatia.
Rovinj Old Town and Rovinj Port - Croatia photography spots.

Check out some of our other city guides!

Best views of Dubrovnik Old Town in sunrise

Things to Do in 2 Days in Dubrovnik

Visit the beautiful Dubrovnik and discover all the hidden gems of this magnificent city, including the best photography spots.

The viewpoint of upper town in Zagreb Croatia

Zagreb Croatia - Walking Tour & Tips

Check out our self-guided walking tour of Zagreb's upper and lower town. Where to find the best photography spots and more

colorful graffiti in madrid

Madrid's Coolest Neighborhoods

From tapas bars to graffiti, churches and trendy markets - top attractions in Madrid's trendiest neighborhoods.

24 thoughts on “Best Things to Do in Rovinj, Croatia – Weekend Guide to Croatia’s Rising Star”

  1. After our recent visit to the Slovene Riveria and Piran in particular, I can understand why you loved this northern part of Croatia. Istria is just a beautiful coastline and Rovinj certainly has a similar feel to Piran. We would definitely put this on our list when we visit Croatia.

    1. Chasing Lenscapes

      Yes, we’ve also seen pictures of Piran and it’s very similar. We’d love to visit it as well since we really love these sorts of places.

  2. What a beautiful city. I love exploring places like this so it has definitely been added to my must visit list for out Croatia trip. Thanks especially for the hiking trail tips.

    1. Chasing Lenscapes

      Our pleasure, Lisa. You’d love Istria and there are so many hiking and cycling trails all around the Peninsula.

  3. I love to read that there are still charming little towns in Croatia that aren’t overrun with Game of Thrones tourists! Hopefully they can maintain their authenticity as long as possible!

    1. Chasing Lenscapes

      Yes, we know what you mean, Carly. Dalmatia was very touristy though there are some places that still have an off the beat feel to them but Dubrovnik was especially crowded so I’d recommend visiting it off-season…

  4. Jenn | By Land and Sea

    I am really excited about this post because we will be visiting Rovinji next year! I don’t know much about this beautiful spot yet so this post is super helpful. Thanks for sharing!

    1. Chasing Lenscapes

      Our pleasure, Jenn! Istria is just so lovely, we’ll have many more posts on this beautiful Croatian treasure!

    1. Chasing Lenscapes

      Thanks so much, Ruth. We tried to do and see as much as possible and there are still things we haven’t had enough time to do in the region.

  5. Alice | Girl with a saddle bag

    What a fantastically comprehensive guide! I love your recommendations for the best viewpoints in Rovinj, and for so many activities to explore beyond the port. I’ve not visited this part of Croatia (although I’ve longed to) and your guide brings this city alive – I feel like we need to think about booking flights!

    1. Chasing Lenscapes

      Thank so much, Alice! We really try to capture the vibe os a city with our photography. You should definitely go back to Croatia, even just to explore Rovinj and the Istrian peninsula!

  6. Croatia is so high on my bucket list of places, but I’d never heard of Rovinj before, so thanks for sharing I saved it for later 🙂

  7. Paula Martinelli

    I have been wanting to go to Croatia for a while now, and you just made me want to go NOW! What a great guide and the pictures are just stunning. Thanks for putting this together, I am saving it for my trip to Croatia.

  8. I didnt get to see much of Croatia, and it had never been on my radar so I was surprised by how nice it was! Comprehensive post!

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published.

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Scroll to Top