Rovinj – a star in Istria
Istria is triangular in shape peninsula, usually separated into three regions. The top vacation spots in western side Istria are Porec, Rovinj, Pula and the Brijuni National Park. White Istria has the central plateau of karst or limestone with small parts of oak, pine and ash trees; the other part of Istria includes a line of eroded limestone with fertile soil, suitable for vines and olive trees.
Is Rovinj worth visiting?
Rovinj (Rovigno in Italian) is on the Istria’s coast a great attractive point for travelers. Although it can get crowded with visitors during the summer season, which means a lot of new accommodations and leisure spots are built every year, it continues to be one of the last genuine Mediterranean fishing locations.
Fishers carry their catch into the harbor early in the morning, accompanied by a horde of gulls, and repair their nets before the lunch break. Prayers for a first-rate catch are sent forth at the great Church of St Euphemia, having its 60m-high tower hovering over the peninsula. Wooded hills and hotels are around the old town, rich in steep, cobbled streets and piazzas.
The 13 green, nearby islands of the Rovinj archipelago allow for an enjoyable afternoon out of the city, and you can swim from the rocks in the sparkling water below Hotel Rovinj.
Rovinj is a traveler’s heaven, with many locations to discover on its narrow, twisting streets. Rovinj is also a pleasing treasure, as its charm is instantly apparent from far away and near, too. Almost all of the places worthwhile checking out are in the Old Town, but there are some locations away from center worth checking them.
The town, built on an island, was fortified in the Middle Ages. In the Eighteenth century, the narrow channel separating it from the rest of Istria was filled, and the town growth extended outside the walls. Thus the Old Town, restricted to a tiny peninsula presided over by a hilltop cathedral, stays unspoilt: in fact, it is probably Istria’s most interesting port town. The numerous centuries that Rovinj lived under Venetian leadership are apparent in the Venetian-Gothic house windows and the St Mark lion pattern that crops up through the entire town.
Brief History of Rovinj
It is unclear when exactly the town was founded. It was first mentioned as the Castrum Rubini in the 5th century, when it was under Roman rule. After invasions by Huns and Ostrogoths, it was under Byzantine from 539 on. It changed many rulers and suffered invasions while struggling for autonomy. In 1283, it became part of the Venetian Republic, Rovinj gradually developed and flourished in the 17th and 18th century. After the fall of the Venetian Republic (1797), the town was briefly under Austrian and the rule of Napoleon.
The Austrians took over again in 1813 and Rovinj developed further. Cement production, a tobacco factory and, a sardine canning factory and a host of other buildings were built. Following WW I, Rovinj became part of Italy and was under German occupation from 1943-45. In 1947, Rovinj became part of the Yugoslav Republic of Croatia.
The Language in Rovinj
The inhabitants of Rovinj speak a very specific language, one you can’t really call a dialect, as everyone seems to have his/her own version of verbal communication. A sentence is often begun in Italian, continued in Istrian dialect and finished in Croatian. In-between, there is the occasional German word. Officially, as the whole of the Istran peninsula, Rovinj is bilingual and the languages spoken are Croatian and Italian. Unfortunately, the Rovinj specific dialect has found a place in the UNESCO “Red Book of Seriously Endangered Languages”.
Rovinj is Croatia’s Top Tourist Destination
With a total of 3.3 million (2015) overnight stays, the small town (some 14,000 inhabitants) of Rovinj is Croatia’s tourism champion, ahead of Dubrovnik, Poreč, Medulin and Umag. This fact shouldn’t scare you away, as the old town and the whole centre of Rovinj has succeeded in remaining a wonderfully romantic, uniquely charming and authentic small town and it is only in the months of July and August that you might have a hard time finding a nice spot to enjoy the sunset with a nice cocktail.
St. Euphemia Church
Citizens of Rovinj made St. Euphemia a tutelary saint of the city along with St. George after the stone sarcophagus including her body inexplicably appeared on their coast line right after its disappearance from Constantinople in A.D. 800.The baroque church devoted to Rovinj’s patron saint is the 3rd replica of the shrine put together to pay tribute to her. When the saint and her sarcophagus showed up in Rovinj at the beginning of the 9th century, they were stored in a church near the Church of St. George.
A hundred years and a half later, a larger church devoted to both saints was made to take on pilgrims who steadily streamed into Rovinj to pray to Euphemia. Eventually, today’s church was made on the very same place on Rovinj’s biggest hill during the early Eighteenth century. The nearby bell tower was constructed 50 years earlier and is one of the highest campaniles in Istria. It is capped with a copper statue of St. Euphemia that is made up of palm and a wheel, signs of her martyrdom.
Rovinj: what to do?
In easy reach of Rovinj’s hilly Old Town is a great deal of options for active travelers. Just a brief boat ride away (every half-hour from the boat dock) is Crveni otok (Red Island), a vacationer popular spot for its many swimming coves, many of which are accessible to naturists, and for snorkeling and sunbathing. The crystal clear waters out of Rovinj are a magnet for scuba-divers, in particular those wanting to investigate the wreck of the Baron Gautsch, an Austrian ocean liner sunk in 1914. The wreck in 40m of water is not allowed to be seen alone with the exception of divers in organized groups.
Back on land is Zlatni Rt-Punta Corrente, a wonderful protected natural environment on the southern side of Rovinj. Cypresses, Douglas firs, cedars and stone pines provide shade for a relaxing walk across the landscaped promenades. Too sedate? Go vertical. A Venetian quarry on the park’s seaside has many rock-climbing routes, ideal for all levels of climbers.
OK, peeps, 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
Rovinj actually has very decent beaches for Istria (Istria is generally not famed for its beaches). Beware that many of beaches in Rovinj are clothing optional.
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 Club, and Lone Beach. The last two are open to public (like all beaches in Croatia), but deck chairs are reserved for hotel guests, while general public pays a lot to use them.
The Punta Corrente forest park hides lots of small coves, and pebbly beaches, as well as rocky coast.
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 Valdaliso, Amarin, and Valalta resorts. Here you’ll also find Punta Kriza, the naughtiest beach in all Istria (we’ll not talk about that).
Hotel Angelo d’Oro
Vladimira Švalbe 38-42, 52210 Rovinj, Croatia
This luxury hotel occupies a restored 17th-century bishop’s palace in the Old Town. The design is imaginative but still respects the traditional setting. All the rooms are individually furnished with antiques, and there’s a very charming courtyard garden.
The green-shuttered façade on the Via Svalbe street is typically Venetian and inside, vaulted ceilings and exposed stone walls create intimate spaces for dining and relaxation. A tiny rooftop loggia offers stunning views over the rooftops. More information…
Luje Adamovica 31, 52210 Rovinj, Croatia
This five-star design hotel brings a sleek modern look to the depths of the Zlatni Rt forest park. Smartly furnished rooms are spacious and have balconies from which take in the forest views.
There’s an indoor pool and spa too. 2 minutes walk from the beach. Inside the Golden Cape Natural Park, Hotel Lone features a terrace and a spa area. The hotel is 197 m from the sea and a 15-minute walk from central Rovinj.
L. Adamovića bb, 52210 Rovinj, Croatia
Hotel Eden is 2 minutes walk from the beach. Surrounded by lush vegetation and overlooking the bay and beach, Hotel Eden enjoys a peaceful location on the edge of the 100-year-old Zlatni Rt park forest in Rovinj. It offers outdoor and indoor pools and free beach chairs and parasols in its own bay.
The completely renovated Wellness & Spa area has 4 treatment rooms and 1 spa suite for couple treatments, as well as a relax zone, modern fitness area and a Vital bar. The thermal zone features a Finnish and infrared sauna, Turkish bath and a relax room. More information…
Hotel Monte Mulini
A. Smareglia bb, 52210 Rovinj, Croatia
A member of the Leading Hotels of the World, this five-star luxury hotel is a more intimate version of its neighbor Hotel Lone (also owned by Maistra). Its contemporary rooms have terraces with views of the Zlatni Rt forest park, and guests can use the Lone’s spa if they want a change from the Monte Mulini’s own excellent wellness facilities.
Hotel Monte Mulini is 1 minute walk from the beach. Hotel Monte Mulini is a 10-minute walk away from Rovinj’s town centre. It is surrounded by a lush, centuries-old protected nature park and overlooks a bay. More information…
Map: you can check Rovinj to Pula or Rovinj to Zagreb