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Wikipedia | Google | Google Images | FlickrThe town of Rovinj, located on the north side of the Adriatic Sea, on the coast of Istria's peninsula is a colorful town with pastel-shaded buildings and terracotta-tiled roofs shading the narrow, cobbled streets. For centuries, part of the Austrian Empire, between 1919-1947, this peninsula exclusively belonged to Italy, whose influence remains very much apparent. Its Venetian car-free old town with elegant piazzas, spreading out across a magnificent oval-shaped peninsula, offers some of the region’s best scenery, and little artist workshops make this a thriving cultural hub.
One of Rovinj’s most appealing streets is Grisia, a narrow lane that sneaks north from sea level up to the church of St. Euphemia . The harbor of the town should not be missed as it is a picturesque place with nice views and lively cafés. South of the harbor lies the beautiful landscaped park of Zlatni Rt with its age-old oak and pine trees, offering numerous secluded coves for bathing. The offshore waters are dotted with 14 islands and islets, several of which can be reached by boat.
After dark, the best bar crawl is in the tiny streets at the bend of Obala Alda Rismondo and in Joakima Rakovca, a little street near the harbor. For more late-night parties, head to the Monvi Center, south of town. The summer season lasts from April until October, when the town starts to cool down for a mild winter. The winding cobbled streets get much busier from late June to early September, so if want to avoid the crowds head to Rovinj in spring or autumn.
What to DoStroll around the town’s streets and catch sights of Venetian architecture and Baroque buildings, or head to the beach and have a dip in the sparingly clear Adriatic. The coastline is also brimming with numerous water sport opportunities, from windsurfing to snorkeling and water skiing. There are plenty of opportunities to take boat trips to neighboring beaches and national parks or even the Brijuni Islands. Be sure to visit Poreč, which has one of the most important Western Byzantine churches outside Italy, and Pula, one of the best-preserved Roman amphitheater in the world.
Church of St. EuphemiaThe monumental Baroque Church of St. Euphemia, which dominates the old town from its hilltop location in the middle of the peninsula, was built in 1736. The church has a typical Venetian bell tower topped by a gleaming bronze figure of St. Euphemia which is mounted so it moves according to wind direction. For some of the best panoramic views, climb to the top of the bell tower, above the roof of the church.
Balbi's ArchBalbi's Arch was built in 1680 and is located at the spot which was once the entrance to Rovinj. The arch contains the coat of arms of the noble Balbi family and the Lion of Saint Mark, a symbol of the Venetian Empire.
City Heritage MuseumClose to Balbi’s Arch, in a Baroque palace which once belonged to a family of Italian aristocrats, this museum opened in 1954. The museum operates as a city gallery and a place where more valuable items from the rich museum collection are permanently exhibited which includes archaeological exhibition, maritime section, collection of works by old masters, contemporary Croatian art and Alexander Kircher’s room.
Food & DrinkFrom simple, typical taverns, grills with delicious Istrian specialties to trendy bars, attractive cafés to star rated gastronomy, you will find yourself spoilt for choice. The pricier ones located in the harbor offer wave-side seats, however, all serve respectable seafood and excellent pizza and pasta. But
if the food on the plate takes priority over a sea view, there are plenty of classy maritime and Italian options in the narrow streets of the Old Town. Traditional meals include fresh fish, crabs and shellfish, Istrian's cured ham, truffles or wild asparagus.
While tasting traditional meals, have a glass of Istrian Malvazija.
Where to stayAccommodation in Rovinj is a little pricier than in other places along the Istrian coast. The most desirable places to stay in Rovinj are in the Old Town and on the foot of the Zlatni Rt forest park. The town has very few hotels in the city center and not many in the surrounding area, so renting a simple, private room in the Old Town can be a great way to enjoy Rovinj.
Stop at any tourist agency, some of which set up kiosks on the road into town to book a private room on arrival. Not only will these agencies find you a place to sleep, but they also will lead you to it so you can inspect the rooms before paying.
Getting AroundThe town is small and the best way to explore it is on foot. As Rovinj isn't large, it’s well worth hiring bikes and cycling along the coast. You can go at your own pace but you’ll see more than you would if you were just on foot.
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Author: Ayda. Last updated: Apr 11, 2015