It is little wonder Rovinj is known as the ‘blue pearl of the Adriatic Sea’, as this old Venetian town sprawls out across a sublime oval-shaped peninsula. Located on the Western coast of the Istrian peninsula, Rovinj has become a hugely popular luxury destination and a thriving cultural hub. The ancient romance language of Istroit is still spoken by some of the 14,000 residents who call this picturesque setting home, with Croatian and Italian the official languages. From the little artist workshops to the fine-dining restaurants hidden away on steep narrow streets, and from the trendy waterside bars to the stretches of white sandy beach, Rovinj is truly a unique paradise.
The Venetian Old Town/Tower of St. Euphemia’s Church
Rovinj was originally an island before being connected to the mainland in 1763 by means of filling in the channel. It was home to the Illyrian tribes before the Romans captured it and then continually changed hands until it was ceded to Croatia after the Second World War. The Venetian Old Town was the centre of life throughout the ages and archaeological discoveries have found evidence of life from the Bronze Age, with the development of the city beginning around the 3rd Century. During the medieval period it was one of the most important towns of Istria and became heavily fortified. Remains of this fortification can be seen at The Gate of St. Benedict, The Gate of the Holy Cross, and The Portica.
The most impressive structure in the Venetian Old Town is the Church and Tower of St. Euphemia which was restored between 1725 and 1736. This Venetian Baroque building features a bell tower which is a replica of the Church of St. Mark in Venice. A large copper statue of St. Euphemia stands on top of the tower, looking out over the town. Access to the tower is granted through the church and offers an incredible view.
Lim Fjord and the Archipelago
The coastline of Rovinj is dotted with stunning natural features including Lim Fjord and 19 islands, inlets, and rocks. Lim Fjord is located 20 minutes from the Venetian Old Town and stretches 10 km through steep mountain rises. It has been granted protected landscape status meaning the use of motor crafts, fishing, and diving in the fjord is prohibited. The archipelago can be visited by liner or private boat with Red Island, St. Catherine Island, and the island of St. John the most popular destinations.
Rovinj is an ideal travel destination for exploring both on land and at sea, with the most popular activities including:
The narrow streets and stunning coastline make bike riding a popular activity in Rovinj. There are many places to rent a bike and explore the coastline or if you prefer to have an itinerary planned, bike tours take place daily to visit sites of interest.
The clear blue waters of the Adriatic Sea are perfect for scuba diving with many locals offering lessons and providing scuba sessions for both beginners and the more experienced. It is well worth diving down to see the wreck of the Baron Gautsch which sunk two years after the Titanic.
It stands to reason that sailing is a favourite pastime in Rovinj. While exploring the archipelago, some boating companies offer the chance to learn the ropes (so to speak) and try your hand at steering the boat, providing an unforgettable experience.