Rovinj is the laid-back seaside town in Croatia’s underrated region of Istria. This Adriatic gem is home to a unique historical city center and brilliant blue water you can enjoy from its many beaches. Add to that loads of culture, good connections to the rest of the Istrian Peninsula, and nice restaurants, and you will get a town that pretty much embodies everything that makes the Mediterranean a great vacation destination. Indeed, your one day in Rovinj will be something very special.
What’s the Best Time to Visit Rovinj?
The best time to visit Rovinj is in the summer months. By day, the sea is glistening beneath the sun, perfect for a beach trip or cycle through the many parks along the water. At night, the Old Town comes alive as vacationers flock to the center for aperitifs and seaside dinners.
In July and August, Rovinj hosts its own summer festival where performers play live music in different areas of the Old Town.
Mind you, early fall is also a nice time to visit since there are much fewer tourists around. At the same time, the temperatures in early September still remain fairly high.
A Few Facts About Rovinj
The region of Istria in which Rovinj is located is known as one of the best wine- and olive oil-producing regions of Croatia. The Istrian Peninsula has a unique history when compared to the rest of Croatia, as it was once Italian territory. Because of this, you will see a lot of Italian influence in Rovinj, including the locals speaking Italian and road signs having both Croatian and Italian names for towns. Most notably, when you look at Rovinj Bell Tower, you’ll notice that it is modeled on Venice’s St. Mark’s Campanile.
The Old Town of Rovinj is the historic center, constructed upon a hilled peninsula overlooking the Adriatic. The neighborhoods on the outskirts are peaceful and perfect for easy-going vacationers wanting to experience a bit of slow travel.
One Day in Rovinj Itinerary
Bike Ride Through Cuvi Park
To start your one day in Rovinj, join in on the popular way to get around – bike riding! Many vacation rentals provide bikes, or you can rent a bike while in Rovinj. The scenic Cuvi Park is perfect for a morning bike ride through the trees alongside the seashore.
You can also bike through the casual neighborhoods of Rovinj which are peaceful and quiet, something that is completely refreshing in comparison to the popular and busy cities such as Split or Dubrovnik.
Head to the Beach
One day in Rovinj is not complete without going to the beach. With striking blue waters to boast in its bay, Rovinj is the ultimate relaxed beach town. There are many beaches to choose from including Cuvi Beach, Lone Bay Beach, Mulini Beach, and Golden Cape.
Lone Bay Beach has the best views of the Old Town peninsula. Here, you can lay out in the vast park area or get right up to the shore for easy access to swim.
You could also take a dip from the tip of the Old Town peninsula at Balota Beach, but this place only has rocky shores, so it’s not as comfortable or as easy to reach as the others.
Explore the Old Town
By mid-day, stroll into the Old Town to explore. The streets of Rovinj are narrow and winding, creating a labyrinth of pathways leading from one place to another. Even though the Old Town is small, the maze effect of its many passageways makes it feel like a huge arena to explore.
Upon entering Old Town, grab a refreshing gelato from Gelateria Italia and stroll down to the marina before making your way uphill and through the narrow streets.
Eat Lunch at La Puntalina
Taking advantage of the terrain of the peninsula and the unique views it offers is La Puntalina. This restaurant uses the Old Town’s mildly steep and rocky cliffside to place diners right at the edge of the Adriatic’s lulling waves.
It’s also one of the best spots to taste the wide array of seafood that comes fresh from your dining setting.
Trek up to Church of St. Euphemia
At the very top of Old Town’s hill is the main church of Rovinj, the Church of St. Euphemia. While the decoration of the church is plain, the majestic view it has overlooking the Adriatic, at the peninsula’s highest point, underscores the spiritual significance of the building.
Next to the Church of St. Euphemia is Rovinj Bell Tower, which you can climb to the top for a unique perspective and panoramic views of the town center.
There are also beautiful side streets cascading down from the church with vibrantly painted doors to give you all the feelings of a Mediterranean oasis.
Taste and Experience Istrian Wine Culture By Dining at Tipico Green Garden
To end your day in Rovinj, drive or bike along the outskirts to Tipico Green Garden Restaurant. You’ll have to take a scenic gravel road roofed by trees to reach this hidden oasis.
What you’ll discover is a rustic stone building in the middle of a vineyard, with picturesque trellises and hammocks between the rows of grapevines.
You can dine on the patio or in the vineyard itself surrounded by twinkling fairy lights while drinking the famous Istrian wine made from the grapes growing around you.
This fairytale dining experience is the best way to end one day in Rovinj.
Where to Stay in Rovinj
Grand Park Hotel Rovinj
A. Smareglia 1A, 52210 Rovinj, Croatia
Grand Park Hotel Rovinj is a luxury hotel in every sense of that word. It has an outdoor swimming pool, a wellness and spa center, and even its own marina. Not to mention that it looks absolutely amazing. The suites and the rooms here are exceptionally comfortable, fantastically equipped and boast mesmerizing view. Coming here is a dream come true.
Luje Adamovica 31, 52210 Rovinj, Croatia
Hotel Lone is located in a natural park called Golden Cape, which immediately tells you that you can expect a wonderful location. It has a great spa center, a sushi bar and even a nightclub, so you can have a great time without ever leaving the hotel. But the best thing about its location is that it’s about a minute’s walk from the sea and just 15 minutes away from the center of Rovinj.
Obala Vladimira Nazora 4, 52210 Rovinj, Croatia
Hotel Delfin will provide you with an amazing view of the Rovinj Peninsula, so you can get to the Old Town easily on foot. The rooms are modern and well equipped and even come with an iPod for your convenience. Pets are also allowed, just contact the hotel and emphasize that you’re bringing one when you’re booking a room. A vacation here is will be great for the whole family.
Grote 25, 52211 Bale, Croatia
Villa Lav will delight you with what it has to offer for its prices. An outdoor pool with a pool bar, homemade delicacies, fantastic and comfortable rooms. A family-run hotel, this place will allow you to recharge your batteries completely. Do keep in mind, though, that the place is located in Bale, a small town slightly outside of Rovinj.
Day Trips from Rovinj
In only a forty-minute drive, you can reach Pula, one of the main cities in Istria.
Pula is a must-do stop on any Istria itinerary for its historical charm and Roman architecture.
Upon entering the city center, you are greeted by the imposing Pula Arena, one of the best-preserved Roman Amphitheaters in the world. It’s so similar to the Coliseum in Rome that you may forget you are in Croatia!
Other special Roman sites in Pula include the Arch of the Sergii and the Temple of Augustus.
Motovun is a dreamy walled city on a hilltop in northern Istria. The drive is only 30 minutes from Rovinj. From the city’s Medieval walls, you can see far and wide the wine vineyards and olive tree farms that Istria is known for.
For those willing to do longer day trips, Zagreb is the capital of Croatia. It too has a historic Old Town which you can reach by walking or cable car.
The vibrantly tiled St. Mark’s Church and the unique Museum of Broken Relationships are must-sees in Old Town, meanwhile in the city center below you must visit Zagreb Cathedral and Dolac Market. Other beautiful locations include the three main parks – Zrinjevac, Strossmayer Square, and Tomislavac – and the Zagreb Botanical Garden, which is free to enter. Since you’ve made it to Zagreb, drive five minutes outside the center to visit one of the most beautiful cemeteries in Europe, Mirogoj.
Another day trip from Rovinj is Croatia’s most beautiful national park, Plitvice Lakes. No visit to Croatia is complete without seeing the striking milky blue reservoirs and waterfalls of Plitvice. Spend a day hiking the grounds, exploring the caves, and renting a wooden boat to paddle around the falls. Make sure to bring your own lunch and wear comfortable shoes – and don’t forget your camera!
Extra Tips for Visiting Rovinj
– Rovinj is a very walkable, small town that is easy to get around. Nonetheless, wear comfortable shoes for navigating the uneven cobblestones of Old Town.
– If you have a car, staying in the outskirts of Rovinj as a hotel or apartment stay that includes parking is advised, as cars are not allowed in the Old Town. There is parking close to Old Town, but it is an extra fee and spots can be hard to find in the busy summer months.
– While Rovinj has a laid-back vibe, there are also things to do for adventure travelers, including scuba diving over shipwrecks or rock climbing near Golden Cape.
Rovinj is the perfect destination for those looking to go a bit off-the-beaten-path on their trip to Croatia. One day in Rovinj is plenty to experience the best parts of the town, from the historic town center to the beautiful beaches!