You’re planning your Rovinj itinerary and now you’re looking for the best things to do in Rovinj, Croatia. Well, look no further!
Having spent over a year living in Croatia, I made it my mission to see as much of the country as possible and Rovinj is actually one of the first places I visited and wow did it blow me away!
If you’re wondering whether Rovinj is worth visiting, look no further than this guide for the top things to do in Rovinj, what to do in Rovinj during your stay and also places to visit near Rovinj, Croatia.
Read on for the top 10 things to do in Rovinj Croatia (plus a bonus few that I couldn’t resist including!)
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Need to start planning your trip to Rovinj ASAP?
Below are some of the top rated tours, hotels and recommendations for visiting Rovinj. Make sure to book ahead of time to ensure availability!
Top Hotels and Accommodation in Rovinj:
1) The Grand Park Hotel (Famous for being on the BBC Amazing Hotels show!)
2) Maistra Select Island Hotel Katerina (Unique stay on an island close to the mainland)
3) Apartment City Center (where I stayed for a budget-friendly self-catered apartment)
Top 10 things to do: Rovinj Croatia
1. Climb the tower at the Church of Euphemia
I’m going to caveat this by saying that the view from the top of Rovinj’s Church of Euphemia is stunning, but I wouldn’t recommend climbing the church tower if you’re afraid of heights!
It costs around 6 euros to climb the tower but the stairs are more like wooden ladders laid at a 45 degree angle to climb up the tower. Some of the steps are so worn that it’s terrifying to think about how many people are walking up them! And the gaps between the steps mean that you can see straight down through 6 floors with no safety nets or precautions - being able to see through the steps is what unnerved me and I’m not even afraid of heights (or I didn’t think I was!)
However the views from the peak of the Rovinj old town peninsula are spectacular, you can see the whole “island” of Rovinj and the causeway connecting it to the mainland. The coastal views are stunning and the colourful town below really does make for some epic scenery.
It’s up to you to decide if the views are worth the climb up - check out my pictures from the top below!
2. Explore the old town
The Italianate architecture and distinct Venetian influence on Rovinj’s streets is stunning to see and a reminder of how close you are to Italy!
Yet Rovinj is significantly less busy and cheaper than Italian hotspots and you have a variety of activities on your doorstep.
But despite the range of activities, leave some time to similar wander and explore the charming old town, minuscule alleyways, cobbled streets and colourful buildings full of character.
On the peninsula of the old town at the far end, furthest from the mainland, you’ll find old bunkers and panoramic viewpoints for stunning coastal views and rocky cliffs to explore.
The old town has plenty of tucked-away restaurants and bars, independent shops and cafes and as you wander around the peninsula of the old town, you’ll spot a swimming spot or two that you might want to visit for a morning swim or sunset dip. This leads me to my next recommendation for things to do in Rovinj…
3. Swim at Plaza Balota
Along the harbour side of the peninsula you’ll reach Plaza Balota, a public beach area that’s right off the main walking route around the old town.
Beaches in Croatia, of course, are mostly stone and pebbles and this is a rocky outcrop with no sand or pebbles, but instead plenty of rock platforms to sunbathe and steps into the water to enjoy a dip.
You’ll find plenty of people going here to enjoy the sunset or cliff jumping. The water is stunningly clear and calm - perfect if you’re looking for an early morning or sunset dip in the old town area.
4. Go island hopping
Did you know that the Rovinj archipelago is made up of 14 islands?
And there are countless boat trips on offer to explore many of them!
This full day boat trip is one of the most popular boat trips in Rovinj and takes you to the famous Lim fjord, a 12km long channel, as well as two swimming spots, plus food and drink is included throughout the day.
If you prefer a more active excursion in Rovinj, this 4-hour kayaking tour takes you to 4 islands around the Rovinj archipelago and includes a stop at the famous Red Island.
Alternatively, if you prefer a slower pace, This sunset dolphin spotting cruise might be right up your street!
5. Take a food and wine tour inland in Central Istria
Istrian cuisine is some of the best and most underrated cuisine in Croatia and if you’re in Rovinj for long enough, I highly recommend experiencing some of the inland Istrian gastronomy.
This Istrian food tour is absolutely incredible value for money and includes a food and walking tour of the stunning town of Motovun. A walking tour of Groznjan, entry to the city walls of Motovun, tasting of Istrian truffles, a visit to Pazin and Lim Fjord - one of the best places to visit near Rovinj, Croatia.
6. Go walking, cycling or swimming on the Golden Cape
The Golden Cape is a park area just south of Rovinj town, where the famous Lone Bay beach is. However there’s also a beautiful trail around the Cape with cycling and walking routes as well as plenty of swimming spots, cafes and incredible views of the coast and islands.
Whether you’re looking for a relaxing day at one of the beaches in Rovinj, or a more active day out in Rovinj, the Golden Cape is great for escaping the crowds in town and finding some lush walking trails, swimming spots and nature to explore.
7. Take a day trip to Venice
Yes, I couldn’t believe it too, but you can actually get to Venice by boat from Rovinj!
If you’ve always wanted to visit Venice but have perhaps been put off by the price or the crowds, staying in Rovinj and taking a boat ride over to Venice is one of the best things to do near Rovinj.
The boat ride takes around 3 hours and there are a few options available.
This Rovinj to venice boat trip is one of the most popular and well-reviewed. You can book a return trip or a one-way trip in either direction - so this option is great if you perhaps want to spend one night in Venice to explore, before heading back to Rovinj.
If Venice has been on your bucket list for a while, this is a great way to visit on a shorter trip to Venice without breaking the bank.
8. Go Dolphin spotting
Did you know you can spot dolphins in Rovinj?
Take an evening sunset cruise, with optional sunset swims and dolphin spotting. This sunset dolphin spotting cruise is one of the most popular tours in Rovinj for good reason! Seeing dolphins is absolutely magical and this is definitely one of the top things to do in Rovinj!
9. Visit Lim Fjord
When you’re looking for what to do in Rovinj, you will no doubt come across Lim Fjord, or the Lim Channel - one of the best places to visit near Rovinj. This is a unique protected landscape where fish, animals and plant life thrive as the freshwater Lim Canal meets the sea.
Because the area is protected, you can’t take a motor boat on the actual canal, but you can visit the mouth of the canal, see the fjord-like landscape, disembark to visit caves, go climbing and cycling along the canal path and there are two restaurants in the woodland on the trails there too.
Many island hopping boat trips such as this one will include a visit to the Lim Fjord as one of the top things to do in Rovinj.
10. See Postojna Cave and Predjama Castle in Slovenia
Another option for places to visit near Rovinj, Croatia and another day trip to a neighbouring country! This is why I love travelling in Europe and now Croatia is part of the Schengen area, which means easy border crossings!
Predjama Castle is the only preserved cave castle in the world, while Postojna Cave is one of the only caves in the world that can be explored by electric train.
This is also a great option for what to do in Rovinj when it rains as you’ll be underground a lot of the time!
11. Take a day trip to Vrsar or Pula
The nearby towns of Vrsar or Pula are a great, easy day trip from Rovinj, with plenty of day tours and local bus connections as well as boat trips to get you there.
Both are bigger than Rovinj so you’ll also find plenty of beaches, more restaurants and more day trip options if you choose to spend longer there.
See the colourful streets and ancient fortified town in Vrsar.
In Pula, don’t miss the stunning Roman amphitheatre which is actually better preserved than the colosseum in Rome!
Bonus Recommendations - best restaurants in Rovinj!
12. Eat at Restaurant Maslina
A recommendation by a local we met during our time in Rovinj. If you’re looking for an authentic option for places to eat in Rovinj, Restoran Maslina is away from the old town into the main town of Rovinj and is highly rated and recommended.
The cuisine is Mediterranean and the seafood, pasta and grilled meat options are incredible!
13. Eat at Konoba Kantinon
We discovered this place by accident on our first night in Rovinj which was in February when almost everything was closed!
Kantinon has a tapas-style menu with fresh seafood, local meats and cheese, homemade focaccia bread and other local cuisine so you can taste them all in small plates.
We had a wonderful welcome here by our waiter who was so friendly and chatty and we loved the decor in here too! If you visit in the season, they have outdoor seating with a gorgeous view of Rovinj, it was just a bit chilly for us in February!
14. Get breakfast at Hotel Adriatic
Breakfast or brunch with a view at the classy Hotel Adriatic is a must! While it’s a bit pricier and probably not worth going if you already get breakfast with your hotel booking, their menu has loads of choices, the interior is chic and sophisticated and they have a great view.
Definitely great as a treat on your visit to Rovinj.
15. Dine with a view at Maestral Restaurant
If you’re looking for seafood with a view, look no further than Maestral. Situated opposite the Rovinj peninsula, looking across the harbour, you have incredible views to enjoy with the daily catch - especially at sunset!
Summary: top things to do in Rovinj Croatia
I hope this guide gives you plenty of inspiration for your trip to Rovinj, whether you’re visiting Rovinj for one day or a week, there is so much to do in the town and the surrounding Istria region. The area is an outdoor lovers paradise, with so many activities from cycling to fishing to boat trips to wine tours. The gastronomy and day trips on offer make it easy to spend several days in Rovinj and you’ll still want to stay for longer!
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