According to a new research based on volume of online searches and Twitter statistics, Rovinj is the hottest new holiday destination. I'm not surprised. Rovinj is one of those places you fall in love with at first sight. It's one of those places that just feels right.
You can just 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. There are not too many places that can charm you in such a way.
I live nearby and I visit Rovinj almost everyday. And I want to give you an overview of the top things to do in Rovinj.
List of top things to do in Rovinj
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.
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.
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
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
5 | Take an evening cruise on a traditional boat
During the summer, every Tuesday and Thursday, you can experience a special Batana evening. The evening starts with a cruise around Rovinj's old town in a traditional boat. The cruise departs from Mali Mol at 8.30 pm. Evening continues with a dinner in a typical local tavern.
Dinner is based on the local produce: fresh seafood, olive oil, local wine. Local singers bring entertainment with fishing songs during and after dinner. This is interesting way to experience local food and a way of life.
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@example.com | 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.
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.
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: firstname.lastname@example.org | 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.
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
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@example.com | 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: firstname.lastname@example.org | Website
16 | Sea kayaking
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@example.com | 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.
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: firstname.lastname@example.org | 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@example.com | 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: firstname.lastname@example.org | Website
Have you been in Rovinj? What's your favorite thing to do there?