Travel Thursdays: Picturesque Rovinj

by Karisa

For those who haven’t been following these travel posts, I visited Croatia as part of a 9 1/2 week mini sabbatical I took back in 2018. It’s taking me quite some time to get through all the info there is to share (because life!), but hopefully you’ll bear with me… Before Croatia I explored Portugal. You can check out my Portugal posts here: Lisbon, Tavira, Faro, Albufeira, Lagos, Coimbra & Porto. And then my first stop in Croatia was Zagreb, which I wrote about in my previous post over here.

So my very good friend Dax (he from joined me for this leg of the trip. He flew into Zagreb from London & we met at the Zagreb airport where we rented a car & headed out to the Istrian peninsula. First stop? The drop dead gorgeous town of Rovinj.

This place is so pretty, it almost feels unreal. To prove my point, let me share a few pics of our very first Rovinj sunset:

That’s me! #ProfilePictureGoals 😉

Rovinj is an active fishing port situated on the western coast of the Istrian Peninsula. It has a population of only about 14000 people (according to stats from 2011) who speak both Croatian and Italian.

The old town area, which is situated right on the harbour’s edge, is lined with beautiful cobblestone streets & colourful buildings.

And around every corner, you’ll stumble upon the most incredible details like these:

And the prize for the most beautiful little dress shop in the world goes to…

There aren’t a lot of “tourist sights” in the formal sense. There is the
Church of St. Euphemia:

Which is lovely to see… but the bigger draw card are the views from this location… (see below)
Not too shabby hey…

But mainly its down to roaming around, maybe going for a swim, eating & drinking and enjoying those breathtaking sunsets.

Rovinj has a pretty vibrant food & drinks scene. We had a lovely seafood platter for 2 at very quaint little restaurant called Mali Raj.

This cost 290 Croatian kuna (or approx R480) – which we thought was quite good. The fish & the prawns were the standout items on this platter. The calamari was a bit rubbery & bland. But overall a lovely dinner experience.

Of course no dinner is complete without some gelato for dessert:

And luckily Rovinj has a good couple of these cute gelato stands, so you have plenty of flavours to choose from.

Of course we also had to hit the “bar scene”… which in this instance was a luxe coctail spot called Valentino Bar, which happened to be perched right on top of the rocky edge toward the water:

This tiny drink may have cost me R200, but hey… look how happy I am 🙂

Now if you’re wanting to get out of town a bit, there are some easy day trips one can do. Istria is well-known for its olive oil production, so we headed out for some olive oil tasting in Vodnjan (about a 30min drive from Rovinj), followed by a wine tasting which was also in the area.

Chiavalon is regarded as one of the top 25 olive oil producers in the world. Their olive oils are truly beautiful, so if you ever see this brand, snap one up.
The people at Chiavalon then recommended a wine tasting at Wine Babos. We tasted a lovely prosecco-style bubbly as well as some delicious muskat. Both highly recommended.

Another quick day trip is the city of Pula (about a 45min drive from Rovinj). It’s mainly famous for the Pula Arena – the only remaining Roman amphitheater to have four side towers and with all three Roman architectural orders entirely preserved. (source: Wikipedia)

As much as it is impressive to see, if you’ve been to Rome, you’re probably not going to be too wowed by this one. So just keep that in mind.

That’s my friend Dax.

If you do end up heading this way & want to stop for lunch as well, I can recommend a glass of wine & a bowl of seafood risotto at the Amfiteatar Restaurant (at the Hotel Amfiteatar) just down the street:

This was a really lovely dish. The other pasta we ordered wasn’t anywhere near as good though. So stick to this one for sure.

And last, but certainly not least, another nearby town we visited was Fažana (about a 30min drive from Rovinj). It’s a super cute coastal village with lovely little beach bars, pebble beaches & seaside eateries.

Chupacabra Beach Bar – a lovely spot for drinks.
It takes quite some time to get used to these pebbles as they’re murder on your feet… most Croatians hit the beach with slip-on rubber booties. If you’re not worried about the “sock tan” or what you look like, I’d say definitely get yourself a pair. Sandy beaches are (sadly) not a thing in Croatia.

While in Fažana we had lunch at Konoba Pansion Feral – a recommendation from the lovely guys at Wine Babos. They promised us that it would be a more traditional Croatian experience, which it was, with the highlight being the selection of cold seafood snacks we had to start (see photo on the left below).

In the middle was their seafood risotto – sadly not as good as the one we had in Pula. And then the last photo was a selection of deep-fried items including some deep-fried sardines. Seafood is definitely big in this area.

So there you have it – a quick summary of all the things you can see & do in and around Rovinj. Having your own car is definitely recommended as it makes exploring the area so much easier. Accommodation wise we stayed in an Air BnB, but it wasn’t a great one, so I’m not going to recommend it. But I’d say anything close to the old town will be a win.

To see lots more photos & videos of Rovinj, check out my Instagram accountctmylove.  I created story highlights for each city that I visited during my trip which you’ll find on my profile.  Scroll through these and select the one called “Rovinj”.

Next stop: Zadar– home of the Sea Organ!


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