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Rovinj: A Jewel on Croatia’s Istrian Coast

My first glimpse of Rovinj was of a large, whitewashed church close to the old town; a weathered nun, oblivious to the staring tourists, swept the church courtyard in a quick 1-2-3 motion. In the pastel chaos that is Rovinj, this black and white picture of serenity was a lasting one.

rovinjRovinj is a popular town on Croatia’s Istrian coast. It was once a part of the Venetian empire and the Italian influence is present even today. There is much to see and do in this colourful town, but if you are short on time, this is how your trip should unfold:

Walk the Streets

rovinj-gateThe charm of this town lies along its cobbled streets. Spend the day weaving in and out of Rovinj’s ancient gates, take in the architecture, the narrow lanes and by lanes, and the town’s Istrian flavours. Rovinj’s town is situated on an incline; the harbour and waterfront are at its foot and the towering Church of Saint Euphemia at its crown. Between the two are a number of Venetian homes, art studios, open air markets and colourful souvenir stores.

Diving for Wrecks

Even if you aren’t a beach bum, Rovinj’s coastline will entice you into a swim. These azure waters are shared by islands, marine life, fishing boats and swimmers alike. What’s more, if you enjoy the water, why not snorkel or scuba dive? The Adriatic is full of exciting wrecks; head for the spectacular Baron Gautsch wreck, an Austrian vessel from 1914.

Climb the Bell Tower

clutter-of-homes-and-the-bell-towerLegend says the Church of Saint Euphemia emerged from the sea. It doesn’t elaborate on how the massive structure ended up on a hilltop, though. The church and its bell tower are the focal point of Rovinj. While the church is beautiful in itself, its bell tower is a must see. For a nominal fee (10 Kuna), you can climb the wooden stairs of the tower. Be sure to fight vertigo and claustrophobia because the views from the top are nothing short of spectacular.

Fiesta and Fireworks

During the summer, all of Rovinj, Croatia is up for a party. Time is spent between summer festivals and fishermen’s fiesta. All festivities are peppered with traditional music, fresh seafood and a bright display of local arts and crafts. If you make your way here at the right time you can even catch the most spectacular display of fireworks over the Adriatic. Be sure to check local listing before your trip for an unforgettable cultural experience.

Under the Shade of Zlatni Rt

rovinj-old-townTaking a break from history, architecture and the beaches is the natural wonder of the Zlatni Rt Forest Park. This conserved park is rich with many indigenous and exotic plants. Lined with oaks, cedars, pines and cypresses, this Mediterranean haven allows for great hikes, rock climbing, biking trails and bird watching opportunities.

Eat, Drink and be Merry

When on the Istrian coast, it’s easy to lose yourself in food and drink. The Rovinj menu is loaded with truffles, seafood delicacies such as fish, shrimp, crabs and mussels, and a variety of the regions finest wines. If you’re looking for a simpler fare, try the Italian style pizzas or a plate of smoked ham and cheese. Find a spot on the waterfront and indulge your taste buds.

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