If you’re a romantic, then consider visiting Rovinj. ❤️
It’s always pleasant when your travel destination exceeds your expectations. So far on this journey, it has happened to us a number of times. However, our hearts skipped a few more beats, when we discovered the charming seaside town of Rovinj. This small fishing town is on the west coast of the Istrian peninsula. We were blown away by its charm.
Istria is renowned for its food, wine, olive oil, and the world-famous truffles. Believe us, all of it so far has been addictive! We learned that this region has different types of soil which makes the land rich with minerals and conducive to growing grapes, olives and of course, that mysterious truffle. The only three places in the world where truffles can be found are France, Italy and Istria. Istria has both a variety of black & white. The truffle grows around oak trees. It’s a delicious delicacy and many here say, they are an aphrodisiac. We even heard that truffles are “sexy” mushrooms. Time will tell! 😊
They call Rovinj, “the pearl of the Adriatic Sea”. Yes, I tried on some beautiful pearl necklaces here!
After a very scenic bus ride from Split along the Dalmatian Coast, we arrived in Pula. We then made a bus transfer to the town of Rovinj, which became our home base for seven days. Here below is a complete view of this small old town. I took this photo when returning from a ferry boat ride to one of the nearby Islands.
When we arrived in the old town of Rovinj we felt a bit like we had turned back some pages in a book, to a few years ago, when we vacationed in Cinque Terre.
It’s definitely romantic and looks and feels more Italian than Croatian.
Italians who are now living here probably feel right at home, as most of the population is still bilingual, speaking both Italian and Croatian. Istria was under Italian rule from 1918 to 1945.
Early one morning, as we walked along the water’s edge, we saw a few fishermen bringing in their catch and doing some maintenance on their fishing boats. We learned that for many years most of the inhabitants of Rovinj owned a boat and all, in one way or another, were involved in activities related to fishing. Even though it’s not the case today over the last twenty years, much attention has been given to the revival of this industry.
When exploring the old town we just loved all the colourful maze-like alleyways with practically no pedestrian traffic!
Rovinj’s most popular street in the old town is, La Grisia. It’s the widest of all the cobbled streets that lead up to the church of St. Euphemia,
We never knew what we would find down those little alleyways. Cute! 🌺
One of our first tasks was to buy some truffles. So off to the Rovinj market to see what we could find. See that smile…found it!😊
While in Rovinj we always had our glass of wine and coffee in the company of the Adriatic Sea.
Rovinj has a great park, Punta Corrente which runs along a rugged coastline and has lots of small coves. You won’t find miles of long sandy beach here, however, if you were looking for them, you wouldn’t come to Croatia in the first place. Rovinj has a rocky shoreline with crystal clear turquoise water.
This is a great place to bike, walk or simply relax and enjoy nature. Great place for a picnic as well. I think la p’tite nappe quite enjoyed it this day!😊
We knew when planning this trip that we would probably be eating out more in Istria than anywhere else we’ve been too so far. We had understood by our research that Istria is known as the gastronomic region of Croatia. In Rovinj, we spent two amazing afternoons enjoying some great food, wine & olive oil. We would recommend both of these places below.
The first one, Restaurant Mali Raj. It was a beautiful day so we choose to sit out on the outdoor terrace. It was quiet, a covered patio surrounded by beautiful trees and flowers. They were playing great background music. This ambience itself was almost enough with a glass of wine.
The standard is to start your meal with Istrian olive oil and bread. We noticed that at every restaurant you could see a bottle of olive oil on the tables. I could have just gotten drunk on the olive oil itself! It’s so friggin’ fresh! We just kept pouring it on! So amazingly delicious! This with the wine will be a staple food in our airbnb’s until we leave.
What tempted me on the menu right away was the pasta with truffles and hubby had octopus. Truffles have a slightly garlicky, mushroomy taste with a deep musky aroma. It’s simply divine! The octopus was cooked to perfection as well.
Of course, you need to go all out, dessert, please!😊
Our next ultimate meal was at Puntulina. Here you pay more for the location as they offer a stunning view of the Adriatic sea.
It’s too bad they charge you more for the view as you will not be disappointed by the taste of the food here. At this meal, I enjoyed what they called, “fish in crusted olive oil” and Bernard had shrimps. And yes, we still couldn’t stay away from those desserts either.
Before coming to Rovinj we had read about a cocktail & champagne bar called, Valentino. What appears to be its appeal is that the seating is on lounge chair cushions situated directly on the rocks overlooking the water. ( This kinda sounds familiar, Dubrovnik’s Buza bar 😊). Unfortunately here in Rovinj at this bar, you need to pay an arm & a leg for this view and ambience. The average drink, an Aperol spritz, for instance, costs 100 kunas, so basically $20.00(CAN). Needless to say that we did not try this one specific bar but we did go walking down that area in the afternoon (see below) as they are only open at 6pm. Check out their facebook page to see how they make this cliff seating area come alive at night with candles and special lighting effects. So if you visit Rovinj and you want to splurge on drinks, this info was for you! However, we opted to go to the Mediterraneo Bar which is half the price for the same view. Click on the link which is their facebook page as they have an awesome video of Rovinj as well. For you guys reading this and know about our p’tite Lizzie, here at this Mediterraneo bar I was able to sport my new purchase which I’m calling my “p’tite Lizzie” hat! Ha!😊
Love all this freshness right at your doorstep! (See below)
There is a sunrise and a sunset every single day, and they are absolutely free, moving forward let’s take in as many as we can, they are so beautiful. 🌅
What we enjoyed about Rovinj –
There are places you simply need to see in your lifetime, and for us, Rovinj is one of those places. The only way to really understand it is to experience it. The old town brought back a bit of nostalgia, for our trip to Italy a few years ago. It’s absolutely romantic and it gives you an immediate sense of dolce vita!
It’s full of narrow cobbled streets, Venetian-style houses, interesting courtyards, art galleries, cozy restaurants, cafés and fiery sunsets. What’s not to like?
Still manageable to move around. There were not a million tourists!
What we didn’t find here –
A great apartment. It was spotlessly clean but the host is just a young guy starting off and the apartment lacked even the basics. Of all the Airbnb’ we’ve rented so far on this trip this one was not what we had expected. A note to others. Rovinj is not a big place so there are not tons of accommodations, yet. Book early!
Tomorrow morning we will be moving up the coast, 40 minutes further north, to a town called Porec. From there we will be renting a vehicle to go exploring the coastline & hilltop towns of central Istria.
See you at the next town!