We have often been asked if Rovinj is worth visiting and makes for a good holiday destination in Croatia. I have to admit that there are so many destinations to choose from when you’re planning a trip to Croatia but I would say not only Rovinj but all of Istria is definitely worth the time.
Rovinj in Croatia is a must for a meaningful Croatian trip. We highly recommend it for its medieval charm, truffle delights, olive oil, wines, and beaches. In our opinion, your Croat experience is not complete without a visit to Rovinj.
Istria itself boasts of some of the most beautiful old medieval port towns like Rovinj and Pula or mountain perched villages like Motovun, Poreč, and Grožnjan. The northern part of Istria is blessed to be one of the places in the world with the highest density of truffles. Not only this, you even get a chance to visit some of the famous wineries producing great quality artisan wines.
Why should you visit Rovinj?
Rovinj is the loveliest destination in all of Istria and an all-time favorite with tourists. Rightly so as it has so much to offer and was definitely the highlight of our visit to Croatia.
Charming old town
Rovinj is undoubtedly the most romantic and charming town in all of Istria. The old town is beautifully preserved and it is a memorable experience to stay here. You can spend balmy summer days wandering about the old town, biking along the coast, or just by the beach.
As you wander about the streets of Rovinj old town, you will come across reminiscences of Renaissance and Baroque architecture. One cannot compare these to the grandeur of Renaissance charms in the rest of Europe but the monuments certainly add to the charm of this old port town. The Church of St. Euphemia, standing like a guiding light over Rovinj, is the largest baroque building in Istria. The church houses several Gothic style sculptures and 15th-century paintings which are definitely worth exploring.
All of Istria is known for its delectable truffle dishes generously dressed with indigenous oils. And this is not it, this gastronomic experience gets better with the freshest seafood, marvelous wines and homemade delicacies.
Perfect location for Day trips
Rovinj is centrally located to all other cities/ towns that you might visit in Istria and make great day trips. You can easily visit Pula, Porec, Motovun and Hum from Rovinj. Read more about our experience of visiting Pula and Motovun !
A number of famous wineries in Istria are located close to Rovinj. Find out more about some of the must-visit wineries in Istria and wines tasting tours around Rovinj in our next post.
The beaches near Rovinj are one of the prettiest in Istria. While in Rovinj, you can find plenty of secluded beaches with great options for swimming and snorkeling. Bear in mind that most of these beaches are rocky instead of being sandy which makes the water exceptionally clear may not be of liking for a few.
The best sandy beaches in Croatia are located off the coast near Split, though.
Rovinj, Pula, or Poreč – Which is better?
If you are heading to Istria then you are probably wondering which is better – Rovinj, Pula, or Poreč. If you are looking for a quaint small-town feel along the seaside then head to Rovinj. Pula is known for its architectural charms and day trips to islands off its coast. Head to Poreč if you prefer a modern city with some luxury resorts. Out of the three, we preferred to stay in Rovinj and made day trips to other cities.
It is by far the most charming, quaint cities of these three and our preferred destination. Located centrally in the Istrian peninsula, you can base yourself in Rovinj and still cover the rest of the cities over day trips. But bear in mind that Rovinj is not connected by air to major other cities in and outside Croatia so the easiest way to get here is to drive yourself or via a ferry. It is accessible by bus from other Croatian cities but the journey can take long. The best way to move around Istria is through a car rental or organized trips.
This is the only city in Istria with an airport and is very well connected to cities in and outside Croatia. It is also a big port town which makes it an easy choice if you plan on visiting the many islands in this bay. Known for the largest Roman ruins outside of Italy, Pula is an amalgamation of Italian heritage and Croatian culture. Most tourists visit Pula to soak in the charms of the Pula arena, one of the six Roman amphitheaters in the world with its four sides intact. You can even head to Cape Kamenjak near Pula which offers lovely swimming spots.
It is situated about 40kms from Rovinj and well connected by buses. Poreč is generally more urbanized and known for its several luxury hotels and resorts. A lot of tourists head over to Poreč to visit the famous Euphrasian Basilica and Bishop’s Palace. These are some of the most historic sites of Croatia and boasts of striking Byzantine architecture. But all over Poreč, you will find buildings and sculptures which are reminiscent of the Roman era. You can easily cover most of these sites within a day and then head over to scores of cafes and restaurants that dot the city for a sumptuous meal.
How do you get from Split to Rovinj?
You can choose to get to Rovinj from Split either by car, bus, or flight.
The quickest way is to take a flight from Split to Pula, and then travel by car or bus to Rovinj. You could also consider flying to either Zagreb or Zadar and then take a bus to Rovinj. The cheapest way is to take a direct bus to Rovinj from Split, which can take about 11 hours.
If you have the time in hand and want to visit other cities like Zadar on the way then driving yourself is the easiest option. There are several car rentals available in Split. Having your own car rental is also recommended to move around Istria if you are looking to do day trips to other towns and famous wineries.
The only challenge with car rentals is that you will have to pay extra to drop the car in a city different that the one you pick it from. There is one exception to the rule – car rental companies do not charge extra if you pick the car in Zagreb and drop it off in Dubrovnik. We picked up our car in Zagreb and drove all the way down to Dubrovnik (~600 kms) and it was worth every penny.
To read more about the car rental service we chose, visit RentalCars.
How to get from Zagreb to Rovinj?
You could either take a bus (5 hours) or rent a car and drive to Rovinj (3.5 hours). The cheapest way to get to Rovinj from Zagreb is to take a direct bus, which takes about 5hrs and costs about 95 kn – 360 kn. The most convenient way is to drive yourself from Zagreb to Rovinj. There are plenty of car rentals available at Zagreb airport and even the main city where you could rent a car.
We highly recommend going for a rental car because it gives you a chance to explore day trips around Rovinj. But bear in mind that parking is scarce near the old town Rovinj so suggest checking on parking options in case you are staying in the old town.
Parking in Rovinj
Rovinj offers 1 large parking lot called Valdibora and 3 parking zones with on-street parking.
Parking rates in Rovinj
|Rovinj parking site||Parking cost||Distance from city center||Payment method|
|Valdibora parking||5 kn per hr||400m||Cash/credit card at the exit gate|
|Zone 1||8 kn per hr||400m||SMS 708525|
|Zone 2||4 kn per hr||700m||SMS 708526|
|Zone 3||2 kn per hr||800m||SMS 708524|
|Free public parking||0||1.1km||Completely, totally free!|
Where to park in Rovinj old town?
Sorry, you cannot park in the old town of Rovinj. However, you could park in any of the 4 designated parking sites and explore the old town on foot. Rovinj’s old town is relatively small. You could comfortably roam around the perimeter in about an hour.
Overnight parking in Rovinj
You can park your car outside a B&B that offers free on-street parking. Else, you could use a secret public parking space that only the locals know about. Scroll down to know more.
Can you find free public parking in Rovinj?
Ohh yes! It’s in a safe residential area, 1.1 kms from the city center and its open to everyone! Very few tourists know about it. We used local help to find it and did not spend a penny on parking during our three days in Rovinj 🙂 We parked our car throughtout day for all 3 days and saved hundreds of kunas in parking charges.