Things To Do In Rovinj Croatia

Top things to do in Rovinj

Visiting Rovinj? Plan your activities and day trips with this guide on the best things to do in Rovinj Croatia!

Rovinj is one of the most popular places in Croatia, and an excellent destination for couples, foodies, camping enthusiasts, and artists.

It's Croatian version of St. Tropez before all the glitz and glamour, small, charming, laid back, and artistic. Yet, with the two top-notch 5star hotels that belong to the Leading Hotels of the World, and the highest accommodation rates in Croatia (along with Dubrovnik), Rovinj also attracts affluent guests but without feeling posh or pretentious.  Rovinj is one of those places you easily fall in love with; one of those places that simply feels right.

You can walk its cobbled streets, get lost within the old town, have a glass of wine by the sea, watch the world go by, and feel good.

Vera and I live near Rovinj and visit it almost daily. We share below all the things we love to do in Rovinj. We hope you'll find something for yourself.

List of top things to do in Rovinj

Have a gelato in the Gelateria Italia

This small ice cream parlor, run by an Italian family from Brescia, has the best ice cream in Rovinj. But for us, also, the best gelato in all of Istria. Their gelato is freshly made, natural, yummy, come in a variety of flavors, and it is crafted right there on spot, often in front of your eyes. Don't miss grabbing a scoop of a favorite Rovinj treat!

Taste fisherman’s pie at the Maestral

If you are into seafood, you can't leave Rovinj without tasting the fisherman's pie at this open-air restaurant at Rovinj's waterfront. It's Rovinj's version of Komiza pie, a kind of flatbread filled with tomatoes, onions, salty anchovies, and drizzled with olive oil.

Have a drink at the Mediterraneo

The quirky little bar just at the water's edge with lovely seating, some literally perched on the rocks. The place is colorful, has a chilled vibe, friendly staff, and reasonable prices. Just come for a sundowner and enjoy the views and the music!

Take a ride in a traditional Batana

The traditional Batana boat is a true representative of Rovinj's long fishing tradition. Don't miss a ride around Rovinj's old town in this traditional boat. The cruise departs from Mali Mol at 8.30 pm, every Tuesday and Thursday during the summer. A must-do!

Hear Rovinj’s traditional Bitinada singing

Bitinada singing is so unique, so interesting that it is a kind of polyphonic folk music from Rovinj traditionally performed by fishermen and farmers. An interesting way to hear this singing, to experience local food and a way of life is to book dinner at Spacio, a typical Rovinj tavern, where the local singers bring entertainment during and after dinner.

1  | Explore the old town

Rovinj is a gorgeous town with its cobbled alleys and colorful buildings. Located on a small peninsula, with colorful houses rising directly from the sea, the town will charm you at every turn you take.

Things To Do In Rovinj Croatia

Things To Do In Rovinj Croatia | Photo credit: Andreas März & FLickr

Head up to the Cathedral, enjoy Venetian style architecture and excellent atmosphere of this enchanting town. For the best views over the town, red-tiled roofs, sea and small islands, climb up the bell tower.

There are lots of quaint little shops, art shop displays and jewelry shops. Sit in one of many restaurants and bars and enjoy watching the world go by. Repeat! (OK, maybe not the “climb the bell tower” part; once is enough as there are too many steps to climb).

2 | Visit St. Catherine’s and St. Andrew’s Islands

St. Catherine and St. Andrew islands (Red Island) are just off the coast of Rovinj's old town. Both islands are car-free. St. Catherine Island is smaller of the two, and it is closer to the shore. It takes only 5 min by boat to reach it. The boat runs every half an hour in high season.

St. Catherine Island has beautiful gardens and parks, featuring over 450 different plants. Beaches are mostly rocky. The only hotel on the island is Hotel Katarina. The hotel is located in an old mansion, and surrounded by gorgeous gardens. It offers pretty views over the old town.

Things To Do in Rovinj: Church

Church on the St. Andrew's Island

St. Andrew's Island is the biggest island in Rovinj's archipelago. A short 15 minute boat ride is enjoyable and offers lovely views over the old town, and Golden Cape forest area. Also known as Red Island, it actually consists of two islets: bigger one St. Andrew and a smaller islet Maskin. The two are connected with a causeway. The island has some historical buildings, like never finished family mausoleum Huetterott, old Church, and a monastery that today houses classy Lanterna restaurant.

The islands vegetation is rich featuring over 180 different plants. There is only one hotel on Red Island. Hotel Istra is a beautiful 4* hotel featuring 326 rooms in the main building and 34 large suites in adjacent building.

Visit to Red Island and St. Catherine’s Island is a great way to spend a day out and one of the top things to do in Rovinj. The views from the sea over the old town are amazing.

3 | Cycling

Cycling in Rovinj is a great activity. Istria in general is a great cycling destination, and very popular among professional and amateur cyclists. Rovinj area has four marked cycling trails for recreational cyclists: Rubin Trail, St. Thomas Trail, St. Eufemia Trail, and the Captain's Morgan Trail. All of them pass by interesting natural and cultural sites.

4 | Visit Batana Museum

Things To Do in Rovinj: Visit Batana Museum

Things To Do In Rovinj | Photo Credit: Nicola Locatelli & Flickr

Batana is a traditional Rovinj boat. Batana is an integral part of town's history and its people. There is a museum dedicated to this traditional boat. The museum is relatively small, but it is certainly worth a visit.

Friends of Batana organize interesting evenings throughout the summer, where you are taken for the boat ride around the town, and later on for a traditional diner (keep reading we've got it covered in our next best thing to do in Rovinj).

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

6 | Visit ruins

Visit archaeological site of Monkodonjo. The site dates back to the Bronze Age. It is situated 5 km east of Rovinj. The settlement was encircled by 1 km long stone walls.

It consisted of the three parts: the central barrow, the crafts district and the living quarters. Over thousand people lived here. Today you can visit ruins of this once important settlement.

7 | Go bird watching

Palud, a swampy area 10 km away from Rovinj, is the only ornithological site in Istria. It's a great place for those who enjoy bird watching. Due to its geomorphology, this site is a home to many migratory and resident birds, turtles, eels, mullets, etc.

The site is open a year around, and it's free of charge unless you would like to be accommpanied by a professional guide. Professional guide is available on request. It costs 50 kn per person (for a group of 8), and it includes all bird watching equipement.

Over the year, more than 200 bird species visit this area.

Contacts | t: +385 52 351 520 | e: [email protected] | Website

8 | Hit the beach

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

Beaches In Croatia | Lone Bay Beach

Things to do in Rovinj Croatia | Lone Bay Beach

Rovinj has wonderful rocky, and pebbly beaches; 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.

At many beaches in Rovinj you you are permitted to swim nude.

9 | Eat local

Rovinj has a long lasting fishing tradition. So, please, when you are in Rovinj, sample some of the seafood offered in the local restaurants.

Also follow our recommendation on restaurants in Rovinj in order to avoid any tourist traps and mediocre places.

10 | Spend a day at the Golden Cape forest park

Golden Cape forest is a lovely nature park, located only 20 minutes walk from the center. The area is perfect for hiking, cycling, swimming, and rock climbing. There are many well laid out paths for both walkers and cyclists, and lots of coves, perfect for swimming.

The beaches are mostly pebble and rocky. The further you go within the park, the more peaceful (and less crowded!) it gets. There are few cafes along the way where you can chill out with a glass of wine, or a coffee.

Things To Do In Rovinj | Pin Me For Later!

Things To Do In Rovinj | Pin Me For Later!

11 | Rock climbing at Punta Corrente forest park

Punta Corrente (Gloden Cape) is a forest park just 15-minute walk from the old town. The park is popular for cycling, jogging, and swimming, but also for rock climbing.

The rock climbing site stands in the place of a former quarry, some 20 m away from the sea. The rocks are made of a limestone; they are sharp and hard. All routes are bolt-fixed. Many routes are suitable for beginners.

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

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

12 | Scuba Diving

Rovinj is a popular destination amog scuba divers. The shipwreck Baron Gautsch is one of the best preserved and the most visited shipwrecks in all Croatia. Sunk in 1914, this passanger steamer was 85 m long, and 12 m wide. Today it wreck lies at depths of 28-40 m, 12,5 nm off the coast of Rovinj.

Things To Do In Rovinj Croatia | Scuba Diving

Things To Do In Rovinj Croatia | Photo credit: Puffer Diving Center

Many local diving centers offer organized dives on the Baron Gautsch site. A single dive with a boat trip costs 60 € per person.

Diving Center Puffer | m: +385 95 902 55 43 | Website

13 | Sunset paddle

Things To Do In Rovinj Croatia | Sunset Paddling

Things To Do In Rovinj Croatia | Sunset Paddling

Go a bit different than a simple kayak tour. Take advantage of Adistria Sunset paddle tour. This 3-hour kayaking tour starts at the Punta Corrente, and you paddle your way around St. Andrew's and Maskin Islands, and back to the Punta Corrente. Tour starts at 6 pm, and it includes cheese, olives and wine.

Price is 26€ per person.

More info at Adistria website.

14 | Fishing tour

Abyss Fishing offers three types of fishing trips to visitors to Rovinj: big game fishing, bottom fishing, and night fishing. Big game fishing takes you 30 nautical miles from Rovinj for ten hours of fishing tuna, bonito, and sometimes swordfish.

Bottom fishing takes you 12 NM from Rovinj for a 4 hours of fishing for mackerel, sardines, and alike.

Night fishing takes you 12 NM from Rovinj for 5 hours of fishing (from 9 pm-2 am). Expect to catch sea break, horse mackarel, atlantic mackarel, and alike.

Abyss Fishing | m: +385 91 588 3470 | e: [email protected] | Website

15 | Horseback riding

A family-run Moncerlongo Ranch is located on the main road to Rovinj. Horseback riding is available all year.

Moncerlongo Ranch offers 1 to 3 hour horseback riding tours through Istrian countryside suitable for both, inexperienced and experienced riders. They also organize horseback riding classes.

At the ranch you can actually spend great day out, and have a simple meal made entirely of homegrown and locally sourced produce.

Contacts | t: +385 52 815 641 | m: +385 91 182 9048 | e: [email protected] | Website

16 | Sea kayaking

Things To Do In Rovinj Croatia | Photo credit: Adistra

Things To Do In Rovinj Croatia | Photo credit: Unsplash via Pixabay

Adistria offers a sea kayaking tour in Rovinj, but they also rent kayaks if you prefer a self-guided tour. The tour is 9 km long. It starts in Punta Corrente forest park. It takes you around St. Andrew, Maskin, Stursg and Sv. Ivan Islands, as well as around Sv. Ivan na Pucini Lighthouse.

This tour departs at 9.30 am, it lasts 5 hours with two stops on the islands for a picnic, and swimming.

The price is 38€ per person.

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

17 | Histria Aromatica

Histria Aromatica is nice place to visit (and we'll explain in a minute why).

The place is interesting, and we liked it a lot. We only had a problem with the fact that we actually never undestood what the true nature of this place is.

Architectually, the building is awesome, and very well blended with the natural surrounding. The views over the sea, archipelago, and Rovinj are great. There is a large fig tree that grows from the underground cave. There are also herb and veggie garden, olive groves and vineyards.

Things To Do In Rovinj Croatia | Photo credit: Histria Aromatica

Things To Do In Rovinj Croatia | Photo credit: Histria Aromatica

We haven't eaten at the onsite restaurant, but the menu was well-thought, and the interior was tastefully decorated.

There is a small souvenir shop selling essential oils, natural soaps, and other natural cosmetics, as well as candles, potpourries, and air fresheners.

If you are sucker for nice landscapes, interested in natural cosmetics and essential oils, visit this place. We bought there a good quality primorose oil.

Contacts | Pizanovac bb, Golas | t: +385 52 355 044 | e: [email protected] | Website

18 | Olive oil tasting

Some hotels, like hotel Lone, offer olive oil tasting to their guests. However, we highly recommend to you to visit Chiavalon Olive Estate while in Rovinj.

Chiavalon family produces the best olive oil in the region (for us at least). Besides, they are super friendly and passionate about olive oil. They'll teach you so much about this awesome food that you'll never again look at the olive oil with the same eyes. Trully great experience and highly recommended. If you would like to know more, check our full article on Chiavalon Olive Oil.

Chiavalon is located in Vodnjan, 20 km south of Rovinj.

Contacts: a: Vladimira Nazora 16, Vodnjan | t: +385 52 511 906 | m: +385 98 860 566 | e: [email protected] | Website

19 | Segway tour

Have you tried segway? I tried off-road segway, that's kind of the same like city one, except the wheels are different. And I loved it. We experience it at the Motodrom in Porec.

Segway Rovinj offers four type of segway tours: city, beach, free ride, and off road tour.

50 minute tour costs 69€, and 120 minute tour costs 55 €.

The agency is located in the campsite Polari.

Contacts | +385 95 82 30 240 | e: [email protected] | Website

Have you been in Rovinj? What's your favorite thing to do there?

Further reading:

35 replies
  1. Sarah
    Sarah says:

    Love your site! we have been to Southern Croatia a couple of times and are now considering Istria. We have two teenagers (17 & 15) who like a bit of nightlife. Is Istria a good option for us or would you recommend somewhere else? Thanks

    Reply
    • Frank G
      Frank G says:

      Hi Sarah,
      if you are just looking for a bit of a nightlife in Istria, then we suggest you to check accommodation options in Porec. I think that Porec is the best place in Istria for a nightlife (but don’t expect crazy nightlife, just a bit of it). Hope this helps.

  2. Linda
    Linda says:

    Hi Frank!

    We’re planning our trip to Croatia Aug 29-Sept 6. Rovinj sounds wonderful. Will there still be plenty of attractions open then?

    Thank you!

    Reply
  3. Duncan
    Duncan says:

    Hi Frank
    Great website you have!
    I am going away with my wife and 18month son in July. I’ve been to Dubrovnik, Split,Hvar and Vis – loved all of them. I was thinking of going north to Rovinj as looks quite toddler friendly? i.e we won’t be moving from one spot too much. They have nice beaches, the town looks lovely, plus aquarium etc.

    Do you think I’m on to a winner there or would you recommend somewhere different in Istria?
    Cheers
    Duncan

    Reply
  4. Vanessa
    Vanessa says:

    Hello there. great blog indeed. I am planning to visit Rovinj but am not sure if to visit in June or September? would it be still good weather early september for a one week stay and enjoy the beach and some sightseeing in the nearby towns??? I know there is no nightlife in Rovinj so relax vacation it would be I guess in such towns.
    Please let me know your feedback if september is non-rainy month for rovinj…. I will be visiting Italy so why not pass by croatia since it’s not that far from Venice passing by Trieste I suppose.
    Thank you … and any idea about hotel/apartment/room rentals in old town of rovinj (we are on budget).

    Reply
  5. Pamela
    Pamela says:

    Hi Frank!
    We’re deciding between Rovinj and Trieste during end November, and are worried Rovinj would be a dead town during winter. Would really appreciate your input! Thanks in advance 🙂

    Reply
    • Frank G
      Frank G says:

      Hi Pamela, it’s a bit dead. But it can be a great base to explore the rest of Istria. If you have a car, all wineries, olove oil estates, and top restaurants are still open. You can alos visit Trieste for a day.

    • Frank G
      Frank G says:

      Hi Lexie,
      thanks for stopping by. Istrian olive oil is of an excellemt quality, and olive oil tasting is a must-do when in Istria. Any plans to visit here soon?

  6. Kate
    Kate says:

    Hi,Frank! Thanks for an amazing blog! We are going to David Gilmour concert in arena Pula in September and then going to explore some towns nearby. Especially we are interested in cycling. Could you tell us if it is easy to rent a bycicle?

    Reply
    • Frank G
      Frank G says:

      Hi Kate,
      thanks for stopping by, and sorry for my late reply. It’s very easy to rent a bicycle in Istria, especially within tourists resorts. Have fun in Pula!

  7. Susan
    Susan says:

    Wow, great blog!
    I am arriving in Rovinj on 17th August for 3 nights for a suprise holiday for my husband. We are staying at the Hotel Lone, and I was hoping to visit a vineyard and other local food productions such as olive oil and truffles? I understood they were popular here- any suggestions?

    Reply
  8. Jerry Palma
    Jerry Palma says:

    Hi Frank. We’ll be renting a car and will have 5-nights of stays that are currently unbooked in mid-October 2015. Our plan is to drive the coast from Kotor, stop where we want and end up in Istria. Once in the Istrian area, what are your recommendations as to stays so we can visit all the little villages you’ve suggested? Should we look for an apartment/hotel in the area once it starts getting late or book a centrally located stay for ~4-nights and travel the Istrian area from there on day trip? Your insight would be very much appreciated.

    Reply
  9. Ester
    Ester says:

    Hi Frank,

    thanks for the informative blog! I know you wrote it a while ago but we are planning our vacation with 2 dogs and we were wondering if you have any tips for fun things to do with a dog in Rovinj. We love the city and cannot wait to see it! I was also wondering if the boat trips to the nearest islands are possible with dogs. Thank you again and have a lovely day!

    Reply
  10. Michelle
    Michelle says:

    Hi Frank! Love your blog. Very informative. Is Rovinj the best place to base yourself if you want to explore more of Istria? Do you have other recommendations? Thanks!

    Reply
    • Frank G
      Frank G says:

      Hi Michelle, thanks for stopping by. I would say that Rovinj is really one of the better places to base yourself in Istria. However, it’s is more expensive than other coastal towns in Istria. So if the budget is an issue, you might be better staying in Porec.

  11. Susan Johnston
    Susan Johnston says:

    Hi Frank,

    Love your blog. Great info. Out of interest, how safe are the cycle trails for running? I’m in the middle of half marathon training so need to fit in some running whilst we’re staying in Rovinj.

    Many thanks,

    Susan

    Reply
    • Frank G
      Frank G says:

      Hi Susan,
      plenty places for running in and around Rovinj. You have the Zlatni Rt forest within a walking distance from the town. Then you can also do it on any cycling trail. You can leave your car near Valalta and follow Basilica cycling trail. Or Limes cycling trail. Very nice trail is also from the village of Kloštar along Lim Fjord to Vrsar. Have fun in Rovinj and let us know if we can help with anything else.

  12. Susan
    Susan says:

    This blog is great! We’ll be in Rovinj next week. A few friends say we have to take a trip to Plitvice Lakes. Do you think it’s worth a day trip? Thank you!

    Reply
    • Frank G
      Frank G says:

      Hi Susan,
      It depends how long you’ll be staying in Rovinj. There are plenty things to do in the region, and to be honest Plitvice Lakes, although gorgeous, are quite busy in August. But if you don’t mind crowds, they’re sure worth a visit. Thanks for stopping by.

  13. damian smart
    damian smart says:

    Hi,

    Great website. My wife and i arrive in Rovinj on Sat but are unsure about whether to spend 1 or 2 weeks there. we will be wanting to mainly sunbathe (rock/beach/pool are all fine) with some cultural and sporty things thrown in. Is 2 weeks to long? Also how reliable is the weather this far north? i have spent lots of time south of split and adore it so I am sure we will love it. What is the evening temp like?

    Thanks

    Reply
    • Frank G
      Frank G says:

      Hi Damian, 2 weeks might seem like a long time, but if you are looking for some relaxing time too, you should be fine. One week you can chill out by the beach, and another week do some sightseeing in the area. Check new beach in Lone Bay. As for sport activities, there is an interesting zip line and high ropes park Glavani, near Barban. Also in Porec, you have a ski lift (basically you ski on the water but you are pulled by cable and not by boat). Then there is all the rest: tennis, kayaking, diving, etc… Let us know if we can help with anything else.

  14. Kirsten
    Kirsten says:

    Hi Frank

    Loving the local area guide and info on Rovinj! My boyfriend and I have just booked our flights to come along in July and we are so excited! We are hoping to hire a car and I wondered if you could reccomend any day trips we could do to explore a bit further afield? Any help you could offer would be amazing.

    Thanks
    Kirsten

    Reply
    • Frank G
      Frank G says:

      Hi Kirsten,
      Istrian inland is a must-visit. Hilltop towns like Groznjan, Motovun, Oprtalj, and abandoned village of Zavrsje are interesting to see. Visit to Chiavalon olive oil tasting room is a great place where you can learn about olive oil produvtion, how to taste and use olive oil properly. Chiavalon is one of the best Istrian olive oils. Basic tasting is only 50 kn per person. Wineries and wine tours are also very popular in Istria. Close to Rovinj you have San Tomasso winery (in a village Golas). We’ve just been there 2 weeks ago, and had a great time. Coastal towns of Novigrad, Porec and Vrsar are worth a visit. Have a drink in Novigrad at Vitriol bar (great choice of Istrian wine by glass, and international beers). Just few ideas. Let us know if you need more info.

  15. Marie-Michèle Doucet
    Marie-Michèle Doucet says:

    I’ve just discovered you blog and its exactly what I needed. We are planing on visiting Rovinj region in early december 2014. I know its a strange time to visit but I have a Conference in Venice at the end of November and thought, why not go to Croatia. We are from Canada, so the weather is not scaring us! We have reserved an apartment in Rovinj old town and we wanted to visit a outside the city (Pula, medieval towns, etc.). This brings me to my question: should we rent a car for the time we are there or will it be possible to travel by bus from one place to the other without to much trouble? Thank again for you great blog!

    Reply
    • Frank G
      Frank G says:

      Bonjour Marie-Michèle, thanks for stopping by. Bus transport in Istria is limited. While the coastal towns can teorethically be visited by bus, to visit the inland villages is impossible without the car. Since you are coming in December, I would definitely plan to visit the inland. The life is slow here in December (but still way better than in January when everybody goes skiing and most of the commerces close down). Anyway, if you are curious about local food and wine, you can plan to visit local olive oil producers (check Chiavalon in Vodnjan), great local taverns (we’ve reviewed the best ones on our website), and wineries (Kozlovic, Kabola, Trapan, Benvenutti are among the best). Combine this with lots of historical sites and you are set for great holidays. But do rent the car for the optimal experience. Give us a shout if you would like to meet up for a drink or something.

    • Marie-Michèle Doucet
      Marie-Michèle Doucet says:

      Thank you so much for your reply! It was so helpful! In the past few days, I’ve been visiting your site everyday, always finding new places we want to see and taking notes of restaurant we want to try. Like I said in my previous message, this is exactly the site we needed! We will certainly give you a shout out when we are there, we’d love to meet fellow Canadians!

Leave a Reply

Want to join the discussion?
Feel free to contribute!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *