We have a new favourite place in Croatia. Rovinj is located in northwestern Croatia, on the Istrian peninsula. Istria has switched between Croatia and Italy a number of times and has always had a mixed Croatian and Italian population, however, following Italy’s defeat in WW2, the region was officially given to Yugoslavia. Unfortunately, due to the ill-treatment of Italians by the Communist leaders of Yugoslavia (which most Croats were opposed to) many Italians fled to Italy in what is called the Istrian Exodus. Since independence from Yugoslavia, the area has remained part of Croatia and is now officially bilingual, with all official signs and information provided in Croatian and Italian.
The old town of Rovinj was built on a small island which has since been connected to the mainland and continued to grow. Being under Venetian rule for so long, you can definitely see a resemblance with Venice in the architecture of the place, yet the crowds are a lot less intense. The entire vibe of Rovinj is very laid back and would suit almost anybody looking for a relaxing holiday.
Where We Stayed
This AirBnb is by far our favourite we have ever stayed at. It is located in the old town and the hosts were extremely accommodating and helpful.They gave a number of suggestions for food, which were all amazing (see below) and even followed us to the car rental company to drop the car off and give us a ride back to the apartment.
Where We Ate
The pizza at “Da Sergio” is a must. They have over 50 different pizza types and definitely live up to the expectation we got from the line outside waiting to get a table. They have everything from traditional style pizzas, to modern/alternative takes (yet still prepared in the traditional manner, of course).
“Maestral Restaurant” is an amazing place, overlooking the old town from across the port, serving Istrian cuisine. We highly recommend the Buvette Maestral (pasta) and any of the seafood which was all incredibly fresh.
There are numerous other restaurants throughout the old town, some of which are very well located on the edge of the water. We did not have enough time to try any, but definitely wish to return to do so.
What We Did
After exploring the old town, including the Sveta Eufemija/Santa Eufemia church on top of the hill, we devoted the majority of our time going to various beaches that surround the town.
The island of Sveti Andrija (sometimes called Crveni Otok) was a short 20 minute boat ride from the town port. The island has a large hotel with numerous small bays and, like most of Croatia, crystal clear water. The hotel staff provide various water activities from stand-up paddle boarding to windsurfing (on non-existent waves) to obstacle courses on the water. Otherwise, you could do what we did and hire some beach chairs and lay by the water.
Favourite Thing About Rovinj
Todd: The food, the beaches and the old town.
Brodie: Sveti Andrija Island