48 hours in Rovinj is an ideal amount of time for an introduction to this Croatian town. Looking for holiday inspiration? Read our guide to this Istrian harbour town.
Hands up if you’ve heard of Rovinj…
If you haven’t heard of Rovinj you soon will. Croatia’s popularity as a holiday destination continues to grow and savvy travellers are looking for new places to discover away from Dubrovnik and the Dalmatian Coast. Rovinj is on the western coast of the Istrian Peninsula in Croatia. Whilst describing it as a picturesque, charming, exquisite, and gorgeous town is accurate, finding superlatives to do Rovinj justice is no easy task! In fact, Rovinj is number 3 on Tripadvisor’s list of top European destinations on the rise and number 8 on its equivalent world list.
Until we started planning a two-week itinerary for Slovenia we hadn’t heard of Rovinj, but boy are we glad that our research led us to discover this stunning town. At this point some of you may be thinking, ‘hang on, Rovinj is in Croatia so why would Slovenia research lead you to it’? As the map above shows, Rovinj is very close to both Slovenia and Italy. Its position makes it ideally located for a European itinerary which includes both of those countries.
Click here to read our article on including Rovinj in a two-week holiday in Croatia, Italy, and Slovenia.
Proximity to Slovenian and Italian destinations
- 1 hour drive from the Slovenia border
- 1¾ hour drive from Trieste, Italy
- 2½ hour drive from Ljubljana, Slovenia
- 3 hour drive (or 3¾ hour ferry ride) from Venice, Italy
Whether you are visiting as a standalone city break or as part of a longer itinerary, 48 hours in Rovinj is perfect for an introduction to the town. Of course, you will wish you were staying for longer!
Things to Do
So, what is there to see and do in 48 hours in Rovinj? Read on for details of just some of the things you can do.
Wander the streets of the Old Town
The primary reason why so many superlatives apply to Rovinj is its beautiful Old Town and coastal location. Rovinj was an island until 1763 when it was joined to the mainland by the filling in of the channel. It was part of the Republic of Venice for almost 500 years until 1797 and the Italian influence, from both now and then, is strong (the town is known as Rovigno in Italian). After the fall of Venice Rovinj was part of the Austrian Empire until the end of World War I in 1918. At that point it became part of Italy until 1947 when it became part of Croatia.
The Old Town is pedestrianised and extremely well-preserved, making it easy to while away hours wandering its streets. Three of the original seven gates still exist and the winding streets wend their way to the top of the hill to the Church of St. Euphemia. If this Venetian Baroque building seems familiar it may be because the bell-tower is a replica of that of St Mark’s in Venice. If you have the energy you can climb the 60 metres up to the top of the tower for stunning views across the harbour. Equally stunning views can be had from the harbour itself.
Rovinj is in a region known for producing olive oil, wine, and truffles and you can make the most of this by visiting the lively market near the harbour. An alternative way to sample the local produce is to visit one of the many restaurants and bars. And to experience the Italian influence in the tastiest way visit one of Rovinj’s gelaterias.
For ideas on how to use your annual leave to get even more time off for work for experiences like this read How To Maximise Your Annual Leave.
Go for a swim
The water looks so inviting that it is impossible to spend 48 hours in Rovinj and resist the urge to swim. There are many pebble beaches and the average water temperatures in the summer are around 24°C. For example, Monte Beach is on the western side of the Old Town underneath St. Euphemia Church. Lone Bay stretches from Monte Mulini beach in the north to the entrance of Zlatni Rt nature park.
An alternative to the sea is one of the most stunning swimming pools we have ever seen. It is difficult to beat the view from the Delfin! This pool can be reached by walking along the harbour promenade from the Old Town.
Boat trips and other ideas
- Take to the water to visit the islands around Rovinj and Lim Fjord, go on a sunset cruise, go dolphin watching, go scuba diving, there is a vast choice of boat trips from Rovinj. Operators line the harbour so it is easy to arrange a trip once you’re there, depending on what you fancy. If you prefer to take to the water under your own steam hire a sea kayak.
- Hire a bike and follow one of the recreational cycling trails. Visit Istria-bike.com for ideas and route details.
- If wandering the Old Town has whet your appetite for the town’s history, visit one of Rovinj’s museums to learn more. At the Heritage Museum collections include archaeology, ethnography, and art. The Batana-Eco Museum is dedicated to Rovinj’s traditional wooden boat, an integral part of the town’s history. Alternatively, visit the Aquarium which opened in 1891 and is one of the oldest aquatic institutions in the world.
- Enjoy the fresh air and visit one of the Forest Parks within easy walking distance from the centre. Punta Corrente is a 15-minute walk whilst Golden Cape is a-20 minute walk. Make the most of the wonderful opportunities for cycling, swimming, hiking and rock climbing. Or take a picnic and relax.
- Those with longer than 48 hours in Rovinj may wish to see some of the surrounding area. Visit Pula to see the Roman amphitheatre, or other Istrian towns, such as, Porec, Buje, and Motovun. Alternatively, if you want to venture further afield, take the ferry over to Venice, Italy.
Where to Stay
You are spoilt for choice for excellent hotels in Rovinj. The easiest way to narrow down the selection is to decide whether you want to stay in the Old Town. Alternatively, are you looking for a resort-style hotel or a boutique?
Hotels in the Old Town are ideal for a short city break in Rovinj:
- Villa Tuttorotto is our hotel of choice in Rovinj. It is stunningly beautiful and housed in a renovated 16th century villa. With only seven rooms, it is a romantic boutique hotel with sea views. The service is outstanding and the hotel provides a shuttle from Pula airport (chargeable). We were lucky enough to stay in the suite, complete with a huge wrought iron canopy bed, a whole wall of wardrobes, and an enormous bathroom with stunning sea views! A stay here is worth it, without a shadow of a doubt.
- Spirito Santo Palazzo Storico is another boutique hotel in a renovated townhouse. In a quiet street in the Old Town it combines rustic charm with black and brass décor. There are seven rooms, some with sea views and terraces, and a bar. However, the narrow staircases and lack of lift make this hotel unsuitable for those with mobility difficulties.
- Rovinj Royal Apartments provide something different to a hotel stay. ‘Luxurious’ is definitely an appropriate adjective for these apartments. You can choose from the Royal Suite and the Royal Apartment Deluxe, both with sea views, crystal chandeliers, and muted grey and cream palettes.
The larger resort hotels are found outside of the Old Town. These hotels are likely to be more suited to those who are holidaying for longer periods than 48 hours in Rovinj:
- Hotel Lone overlooks Lone Bay, a 15-minute walk along the coast from the harbour. Based on a cruise ship concept, it has 248 rooms decorated in neutral tones, a spa, indoor and outdoor pools, tennis courts, and three restaurants.
- Hotel Monte Mulini is a 5-star sister hotel of Hotel Lone, also situated 15-minutes from the harbour. The 113 rooms and suites all have balconies and sea views, king-size beds, and luxurious bathrooms. There are four outdoor infinity pools, two restaurants, direct beach access, and guests can use the spa at Hotel Lone.
- Amarin Family Hotel is child-orientated. The hotel was designed with the intention of children learning whilst they play. With 24-hour childcare, a kids’ club, indoor and outdoor pools, a spa which includes children’s treatments, and full-board for all guests, it is the hotel of some parents’ dreams. Amarin is a 40-minute walk from the Old Town but there’s a free shuttle bus (and a summer chargeable boat).
How to Get There
The closest airport to Rovinj is Pula, a 40 minute drive away, and there is a bus between the two. There are direct flights to Pula from many European cities: the full list can be found here. This extensive list of connecting European airports means that Rovinj can be reached from worldwide destinations via indirect flights.
Alternatively, as mentioned above, Rovinj can be reached by ferry from Venice. It is well connected by bus to other Istrian coastal towns, such as, Porec and Rijeka. Overnight buses go to Zagreb and Dubrovnik. Buses also run between Rovinj and Trieste, Italy, and Ljubljana and Koper, Slovenia. For more details on buses to Rovinj visit the BusCroatia website.
Paying for Things
It is worth mentioning that only a few places in Rovinj accept debit/credit cards. The vast majority of transactions, including in a lot of restaurants, are in cash. There are numerous ATMs and foreign exchange facilities if you make the same mistake we did and arrive without cash. Whilst the Euro is accepted in some parts of Croatia, you will need Croatian Kuna in Rovinj.
Rovinj is a fantastic destination to explore no matter how much time you have. 48 hours in Rovinj is the ideal amount of time for an introduction. Its proximity to other European destinations makes it the perfect choice for inclusion in a longer itinerary. Alternatively, choose to visit for a short city break and you will not be disappointed!