A Complete Travel Guide to Rovinj, Croatia

In this comprehensive Rovinj Travel Guide, we share the best tips and advice on things to see and do, places to eat and stay, and other info you need to plan a trip to Rovinj, Croatia.

Rovinj Croatia Travel Guide, Illustration

We love Rovinj for its picturesque old town, cobblestone streets, and alleys, colorful houses, charming town's squares, art galleries, a lively harbor full of small pleasure and fishing boats, seafront bars, and restaurants. We also visit it often for the yummy food and the best gelato in Istria!

The town is small and walkable. The old town is set on a hilly peninsula and it is car-free. The St. Euphemia Church, built at the top of the hill, is the town's most dominant symbol.

Rovinj is one of those towns where you never feel bored. You feel good just by walking through and getting lost in a maze of its narrow cobbled streets.

Location on the map

Below you’ll find a map of Rovinj. You can click on the icon and read our posts about the town's most popular landmarks, things to do, restaurants, etc.

Best time to visit

For me, September is the best time of the year to visit Rovinj. There are far fewer people, the sea is still warm for swimming, and accommodation prices are more affordable. If you can't make it in September, then try to visit in spring, or early and late summer.

The main season is from late June to mid-September, with peak time from the last week of July to mid-August. These three weeks are, along with winter, the worst times to visit the town.

In winter, many bars, restaurants, and commerces are closed. The weather is cold and rainy, and there aren't many people in the town. A peak season, from the end of July to mid-August, on the other hand, is hot, busy, and crowded.

Reasons to visit

Rovinj is simply a must-visit place in Croatia. It should be on every visitor's itinerary, even for the first-timers. It is the second most visited town in Croatia, right after Dubrovnik. It's well known and loved by European travelers. However, many overseas visitors don't consider putting this part of Croatia on their Croatian itinerary.

Here we'll try to give you enough reasons to change that!

Romance, baby!

There are places you simply need to see in your life, and for us, Rovinj is one of those places. The only way to really understand it is to experience it.

The old town evokes nostalgia, and it's absolutely romantic. You'll have lots of photo moments while exploring it.

Cosmopolitan vibe

While the old town is romantic, and it gives you an immediate sense of dolce vita, the town's hotels are urban and cosmopolitan.

Experience top-notch design of hotel Lone, the luxury of Monte Mulini and Grand Hotel Park, and artistic scene at the hotel Adriatic. Seriously, these hotels are worth a visit to the town. And we don't ever recommend visiting any town for its hotels.

Lovely restaurants

Whether you decide to taste sublime cuisine of Monte, dine al fresco while enjoying wonderful views at Puntulina, taste yummy fisherman's pie at the Maestral, feel like royalty dining at the La Serra restaurant within the Castle Lanterna, or indulge in tasty creations of Barba Danilo, you simply can't go wrong with restaurants here.

Beaches

OK, peeps, you won't find miles long sandy beach here. But if you were after them, you wouldn't have chosen to come to Croatia in the first place.

Going south from the famed Lone Bay beach, through beaches of Golden Cape forest, across Punta Eva, all the way to neighboring Bale, you can enjoy many lovely beaches.

Things to do

Boats and colorful houses in town's harbor

This charming coastal town has a lot to offer whether you are in search of relaxing beach time, adrenalin-filled activities, or best local wine and dine experiences. Add to that a perfect location to explore the rest of Istria, and do even a couple of day trips to neighboring Slovenia and Italy, and you'll see that you can easily spend a week or two in this lovely town.

Rock climbing at Punta Corrente forest park

A wonderful forest park Punta Corrente is located just a 15-minute walk from the old town. Today it provides relaxation, but it's also popular cycling, jogging, and swimming spot. This park was constructed between 1890 and 1910.

The rock climbing site is made of sharp and hard limestone rocks. It stands only 20 m from the sea, in a former quarry. Routes are bolt-fixed and suitable for beginners.

A local agency, Adistra, offers guided climbing with all the equipment provided. A tour lasts 4-6 hours and costs 450 Kn per person.

Adistra | m: +385 95 838 3797 | e: [email protected] | Website

Romantic Batana ride

Batana is a traditional small fishing boat. It's a 4.5-8 m long wooden boat with a flat bottom, and a sail. Today, very few people go fishing in Batana, but a few enthusiasts try to preserve Batana, as a true symbol of the town.

In such an effort, a few years ago local museum House of Batana, started offering a program to visitors that includes a ride in a traditional Batana around the old town at dawn, and a traditional dinner in spacio (tavern in a local dialect).

It's a nice experience, and we highly recommend it.

House of Batana | t: +385 52 812 593 | Website

Scuba diving

Scuba diving is a popular activity here due to many shipwrecks that can be found in waters around. The most popular shipwreck, the Baron Gautsch, is perfectly preserved and the most visited shipwreck in all Croatia. This steamer sunk in 1914. Today the wreck lies at depths of 28-40 m, 12,5 NM off the coast.

Many local diving centers offer organized dives on the Baron Gautsch site. A single dive with a boat trip costs 45 € per person.

Explore the old town

The old town lies on a small peninsula, with houses tightly lined one to another, and some of them rising directly from the sea. The town is charming and full of hidden gems at every corner.

Cobbled streets lead up to the church of St. Eufemia, standing at the top of the hilly peninsula. Enjoy the views from the bell tower, Venetian-style architecture, artsy vibe, quaint little shops, and different alleys to wander.

What to see

Molo grande in Rovinj
Molo grande in Rovinj, Croatia

Grisia

The town's most popular street, La Grisia is hard to miss. The widest of all cobbled streets leading up to the church of St. Euphemia, La Grisia is full of art, jewelry, and souvenir shops, as well as a couple of restaurants.

The church of St. Euphemia

There is a legend surrounding the town's patron saint, St. Euphemia, or Fuma as locals call her.

Euphemia lived in Chalcedon, in Asia Minor, and was a devoted Christian. At the age of 15, she was captured, and after she didn't want to give up Christianity, thrown to lions who eventually killed her but never devour her body. Long story short, as a martyr, her body was preserved and eventually, the sarcophagus was kept in Constantinople until 800. The legend says that same sarcophagus with remains of St. Euphemia floated on the seas all the way until Rovinj where a small boy with a help of his two cows managed to get the sarcophagus up the hill.

The sarcophagus is on display behind the main altar. St. Euphemia's Day is on the 16th of September.

A church's bell tower is an exact replica of St. Marco in Venice, but it's smaller. You can climb the bell tower, and enjoy awesome views of the town and the sea from the top.

Old town

The old town is a little gem waiting to be explored. It's located on a small, hilly peninsula, full of narrow cobbled streets, Venetian-style houses, interesting courtyards, art galleries, cozy restaurants, and buzzing bars.

Batana House

A small museum devoted to preserving the town's traditions is located near the Molo Grande. The name of the museum comes from a traditional wooden fishing boat typical for the area.

Punta Corrente Forest

Punta Corrente is a protected forest park, located just a 15-minute walk from the old town. Set on a small peninsula, Punta Corrente offers many walking and jogging trails, rock climbing sites, wonderful emerald sea, and small pebbly and rocky beaches.

Food and Restaurants

Some of our favorite restaurants include Barbar Danilo, serving yummy and creative seafood dishes; Maestral, a simple restaurant with an extensive menu, busy summer terrace and great views over the town; a fine dining restaurant Monte offering multiple-course tasting menu; no-frills restaurant Jure with their hearty dishes; and many more.

Best places to stay

Rovinj panorama, Illustration

From urban and chic hotels, cozy vacation rentals, to campsites, Rovinj offers a variety of accommodation for every budget and style.

If you decide to stay here, you need to know that accommodation is generally more expensive than in other Istrian coastal towns. The price you pay for staying in the prettiest town in Istria.

Located at the town's main square, overlooking the fishing harbor, the hotel Adriatic is THE place to stay. Artsy and hip, Adriatic features 18 rooms and suites, gorgeous brasserie, and a bar.

One of the very few 3star properties, hotel Katarina is located on the island of the same name, just a 5-minute boat ride from the old town. The hotel features 120 rooms in main and annex building, an outdoor swimming pool, and a lovely sunset bar.

The best design hotel in Croatia, Lone simply makes you feel good (and cool!). All major Croatian designers left their mark in Lone. The hotel features 248 rooms (some with a private hot tub at the balcony), an awesome wellness center with an indoor pool, a large outdoor pool, and a lovely pebbly beach.

Beaches

Lone Bay Beach

Lovely seafront promenade stretches south of the old town, from the hotel Park, along the Lone Bay, to the Punta Corrente forest park. Here you'll find three beaches: town beach, Mulini beach, and Lone Beach.

The Punta Corrente forest park features lots of small coves, pebbly and rocky beaches, and it is a popular place for a swim among tourists and locals alike.

Further south, you'll find Villas Rubin resort beaches, campsite Polari with its lovely Punta Eva peninsula (clothing-optional area), Vestar and Kuvi (the southern you go, the less crowded it gets).

North of the old town, popular beaches are within Amarin, and Valalta resorts. Here you'll also find Punta Kriza, the naughtiest beach in all Istria (we'll not talk about that).

Bars, Clubs & Nightlife

Outdoor terrace at the seafront

Rovinj is famed for many things, but nightlife isn't one of them. You'll find lots of cafes, wine and cocktail bars, perfect spots for a pre- or after-dinner drink, but not an intensive clubbing scene or nightlife.

San Tomasso is right at the seafront with views over a fishing harbor and the old town. A good place to taste wines from local wine producers, including their own San Tomasso brand.

OK, the truth is that no locals go to Valentino because it serves over-priced drinks and the service isn't always friendly. But, the bar has an awesome location by the seas. If you are here for the first time, maybe you can go there once to sip a drink while cooling your feet in the sea.

Located just next to Valentino, Mediterraneo is the “new Valentino” just with friendlier service, and cheaper drinks (not cheap, just cheaper).

Circolo is a cocktail bar located at a small square, just off Carerra Street, the main shopping street in the old town. It has a lovely outdoor terrace.

Events

People on the traditional Batana boat in Rovinj

For ten consecutive years, Salsa Festival takes place from mid-June for two weeks. Dancers from all over the world take over the streets, squares, popular resorts, and bars. The series of events include pool, beach, and boat parties, workshops and salsa classes, competitions, and more.

St. Lawerence night, celebrated on the 10th of August, is famed for shooting stars activity, also known as a “rain of meteors”, or “tears of St. Lawerence”. Every year on Saturday closest to the 10th of August, all public lights go off, and instead, the town is lighted with torches and candles. Local establishments do the same. A series of concerts take place in multiple locations in the old town.

The town's patron saint, St. Eufemija, is celebrated on the 16th of September. The series of events include an important mass and concerts in the town's square, while the restaurants serve a traditional dish – sour kraut with sheep meat.

Full event list here!

Traveling to Rovinj Croatia

A panorama of Rovinj from the sea

Traveling by car is by far the most convenient way to reach Istria. Roads in Istria are excellent. The Istrian motorway connects Istria with a Slovenian border and with Rijeka. From Slovenia to Pula, and to Pazin, this is a multi-lane road; but from Pazin to Rijeka (Ucka) it’s a single carriageway road. Road tolls apply.

Pula Airport, a small airport, located 5o km south of the town, and it is the closest airport. Many lowcost airlines fly into Pula from May to October from a handful of European destinations, like Berlin, Frankfurt, Hamburg, Koeln, Bruxelles, Oslo, Stockholm, Helsinki, Rome, London, Leeds, Manchester.

You can also fly into Krk, Trieste, Treviso, Venice, Ljubljana, and Zagreb airports. They are all up to three hours' drive.

Brioni – Fils operates a shuttle service from and to the airport. A one-way ticket costs 150 Kn. Consider taking a shuttle from Pula Airport to Pula main bus station (30 Kn), and then catch a regular bus to Rovinj (additional 35 to 45 Kn). The Getbybus website is a good place to check the bus schedule and buy your ticket online.

It’s easy to reach Istria by bus, from Pula, Zagreb, Rijeka, and Trieste. Buses depart throughout the day, and more frequently during the summer.

The cost of a one-way bus ticket from Rovinj to:

  • Pula:  35 to 45 Kn
  • Zagreb: 150 Kn
  • Rijeka: 110 Kn;
  • Trieste: 90 Kn

The most popular bus companies are Arriva, Brioni, Fils, Flixbus.

The town's bus station is located in the center of town, just 200 m away from the old town. It's really small, with only a single stop for all buses. The traffic here gets jammed often.

The Venezia lines operate a hydro boat between Venice and Rovinj, from the end of April until the beginning of October. Starting in May, the boat departs four times a week, and in July and August, it sails daily. A one-way ticket costs 60 to 85 € per person, depending on a season and a sailing day.

Liberty lines operate a passenger boat between Trieste and Rovinj daily (except on Wednesday) from the end of June to September. A return ticket costs around 35€.

Public transport

The town is small and can easily be explored on foot. The old town, located on a small peninsula is a car-free zone.

If you decide to stay in the old town, double-check with the property where you stay if they provide parking at the nearby parking lots, and a free transfer to the hotel. The hotels in old town usually use golf carts to transfer their guests from the parking to the hotel.

Holiday resorts, located north and south of the old town, like Amarin or Villas Rubin, offer, for an extra charge, shuttle buses, and boats to and from the old town.

Boats also connect St. Catherine and Red Island with the old town. They depart hourly throughout the day. Find the detailed schedule here!

If you stay outside the old town, you can also reach the town by bicycle. However, once you reach the old town, you'll need to park your bike, as the hilly old town full of stairs can't be explored on bicycle.

Taxis are expensive.

Car rental

There are lots of car rental agencies in Rovinj. Rentalcars.com is a good starting point to check the car rental offers and prices of different car rental companies. The website offers an excellent choice of cars to rent.

Please, keep in mind, that cars rent quickly for the high season (July, August), and the prices go up as the season approaches. Book your car rental as early as possible to secure the best deal.

However, if you prefer to rent a car directly through a local company, below you'll find contacts for a few local car rental agencies.


Oryx is the largest Croatian car rental company with offices all around Croatia.

Contacts | a: Šetalište vijeća Europe bb | t: +385 52 814 259 | e: [email protected] | Website

Working hours | Mon-Fri: 8 am-8 pm | Sat: 8 am-2 pm | Sun: 8 am-noon


Vetura is a local Istrian car rental company with offices in all major Istrian towns.

Central Office Contacts | a: Šetalište vijeća Europe bb| t: +385 52 815 209 | m: +385 91 730 44 08 | e: [email protected] | Website

Working hours | Daily,  8 am-9 pm


Uni-rent is a national car rental company with offices in 12 locations throughout Croatia, including Rovinj.

Contacts | a: Ante Starčevića 35 | t: +385 52 841 040 | e: [email protected] | Website

Working hours | Mon-Sat: 8 am-8pm | Sun: 8 am-noon


Parking

A map with parking zones in Rovinj
Photo credit: Komunalni servis

Rovinj has two designated parking areas close to the old town, and street parking as well.  North of the old town, you'll find Valdibora, the largest parking lot in Rovinj. It's also the closest parking to the old town.

Rovinj's old town is located on a car-free peninsula. Thus, the only way to explore it on foot. The good thing is that the town is small and basically very easy to walk through. Valdibora is a big parking, located just north of the old town, a 5-minute walk from the center.

Prices per hour |  mid-Oct-March: 2 Kn | Apr.-June, Sept.-mid-Oct.: 5 Kn | June: 7 Kn | July-Aug.: 9 Kn

You can also park your car in the designated areas in the streets of Rovinj. Street parking is divided into zones 1 to 4; zone 1 being the closest to the old town. Parking in zone 1 is limited to a maximum of three hours at once.

  • Zone 1 | year around:  6 Kn
  • Zone 2 | mid-Oct.-March.: 2 Kn | April-June, Sept-mid-Oct: 5 Kn | July, August: 8 Kn
  • Zone 3 | mid-Oct.-March.: 2 Kn | April-June, Sept-mid-Oct: 5 Kn | July, August: 8 Kn
  • Zone 4 | mid-Oct.-Apr. free | May-mid-Oct. 2 Kn

Shopping

A cute souvenir store
A cute souvenir shop

Don't expect to find large shopping malls here or high-end brands. You'll rather find small, artisan shops selling handmade jewelry, interesting clothes, artworks, and souvenirs. On the other hand, Carrera street is a place for cheap clothes and tacky souvenirs.

Large supermarkets are located at the entrance of the town, on a road to Bale. In fact, you'll find here all large supermarkets – Konzum, Lidl, and Plodine; Jysk, a Danish retail store selling household goods; DM, a drugstore selling toiletries, and alike.

The green and fish market are located in the northern part of the old town, not far from the Valdibora parking lot. Here you'll find fresh fruits and veggies, as well as a catch of the day at the fish market. But the market is expensive. Locals rather buy their fruits and veggies at a few other spots in town. Near Konzum there is a local lady selling her own produce during the summer months. Also, family Dobravac sells their own produce in front of their family home just above the Mirna factory, a few-minute walk from the old town.

Interesting souvenirs, paintings, jewelry, and bags, you can get at few stores in town, like Koza, a store offering hand made leather goods; Prostor, a concept store located in the hotel Lone, offers cute and quirky stuff made by Croatian designers; Parfumes of Rovinj, indeed, offers original scents of Rovinj through their perfumes, body, bath, and home products.

Money and ATM

Croatian currency is Kuna, although some things you can pay in Euro, like meals in restaurants, road tolls, accommodation, and gas. The exchange rate is around 7,6 Kn for 1 euro. You can exchange money at many places in Rovinj: exchange offices, banks, hotel receptions.

ATM machines are also very everywhere; near every bank, at prominent places in town, and at many hotels. ATM machines have an option for different languages, so they are easy to operate.

When paying with a credit card (or withdrawing money at the ATM), you'll be offered to be charged either in local currency or in the currency of your home country. This is a kind of tricky as intuitively you might be tempted to choose the currency of your home country. However, don't do this because you will end up paying more. When you choose the currency of your home country, the banks use dynamic currency conversion that more often than not (read: always!) is less attractive than the market exchange rate at the moment. Just calmly opt for local currency even if this means doing some math in your head to better understand the item's value in your money.

Internet

There are free WiFi hot spots throughout the town. Many bars and restaurants also offer free WiFi. However, you’ll need to ask for a password in order to connect. Private accommodations come with free WiFi, as well as Rovinj hotels, and even campsites.

Rovinj Travel Guide: Related articles

We hope our travel guide to Rovinj Croatia helps you better plan your holidays in this charming Istrian coastal town. If you have any comments, suggestions, or questions, please leave them below. 

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23 thoughts on “A Complete Travel Guide to Rovinj, Croatia”

  1. Hi, we will be staying very close to Rovinj at the end of October. I am in a wheelchair, would I be able to get around the old town in my wheelchair?
    Thanks!

    Reply
  2. Is it possible to buy your Rovinj travel guide as an electronic copy that can be downloaded to my Kindle? I have checked Amazon without success.

    Reply
  3. We are planning to travel from Trieste to Rovinj on July 7. Then we want to travel from Rovinj to Cres on July 10. I am having trouble finding solid info on public transportation. Here are my questions:
    Can I take a boat/ferry from Trieste to Rovinj? I know I can take a bus.
    What is the best route from Rovinj to Cres? (It seems like there are many connections to Cres town and I am considering skipping Cres for Krk). Any advice on that?
    Your website is so helpful in planning my monthlong trip to Croatia this summer.
    Many thanks
    Dianne

    Reply
  4. Would like to visit Istria I September next year ,Rovinj sounds very nice.One question though .will it be possible to visit The Plitivice Lakes on an organised day trip.

    Reply
  5. We will be driving in to Rovinj from Italy for lunch in early September, on our way to Plitvicka. Could you recommend a good mid-range restaurant where we can park close by?

    Reply
  6. We are planning to be in that area on a 60th birthday (or we may be down in Dubrovnik) its November. Should we be up north? Or is it too cold and dead? Anything great to do like winemakers dinner, birthday is Nov 11th. drive to hilltowns etc…

    Or do we just reverse the trip and end up down south?

    Reply
    • Hi Louisa,
      well, November is slow in north and south. But I believe that you still have more to do in Istria, then in Dubrovnik in winter. You can visit many wine makers, olive oil producers, lots of restaurants are still open (especially inland).

  7. Do people live on boats, houseboats or small yachts, in Rovinj, or anywhere in Croatia? If so, any ideas on cost, safety, and practicality?

    Reply
    • Hi Angel,
      it’s not very common in Croatia to have people living on boats, houseboats or yachts. In fact, I’ve never seen anyone.

  8. Frank your blog is very helpful. I have a bit of a unique question. I am looking to stay in Rovinj for a wedding, I’m looking for a kids playground/ park type setup. I know there is one in the Zlatni Park. Are you aware of any in the centre of Rovinj or any other locations. Thanks

    Reply
    • Hi Allan,
      thanks for reading! Where are you staying? Zlatni Rat is a big natural park within 15-minute walk from the old town. However, except beaches, there isn’t much to do for kids. There is just some fitness equipment not far from Eden hotel. There is a small kids playground near the green market. The best set up for kids, you’ll find in new family hotel Amarin. The hotel is 3 km away from the center, and hotel offers shuttle bus, and boat connection to the town. Hope this helps. Frank.

  9. In your opinion, what’s the best place to get coffee in Rovinj? My husband and I have a hobby of comparing coffee everywhere we visit and we plan to make a stop here.

    Reply
  10. Hi I’m seeing if there is a sailing cruise that tours around istria around 6 7 8 July . I’m looking at some sailing trip I’m staying in Rovinj prior, let me know please thanks .
    Tina

    Reply
  11. Thank you for this helpful post Frank! We are travelling to Rovinj from South Africa in Sep 2016. Would you say it is worthwhile for us to bring along snorkeling equipment? (We will also be visiting Trojir, Hvar, Korcula and Dubrovnik) Do you think it will be warm enough for swimming etc? Thanks for your help!

    Reply

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