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Things to do in Rovinj

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Palud Ornithological Reserve
Eight kilometres south of Rovinj on an area of ​​about 20 hectares in the rainy periods and two hectares in periods of drought, near the sea and the bays Cisterna and Gustinja, it is located the only ornithological reserve in Istria, the "Special ornithological reserve Palud - Palù" whose trademark is the Water Rail (Rallus aquaticus). Palud was a freshwater swamp that the Austro-Hungarian army connected to the sea in 1906 by digging a channel with the hope that the increased salinity of water would stop the development of mosquito larvae and thus prevent malaria. They didn't manage to suppress malaria but as a result of the mixing of fresh and saltwater in the swamp, mullets and eels, fish that prefer brackish water, found their habitat.
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Dvigrad Ruins
Only a few kilometres west of Kanfanar, the remains of the mediaeval town of Dvigrad are located, which still dominates the Lim Fjord. During Illyrian times, two colonies existed which later, in early mediaeval times, became two towns, Parentino and Moncastello. The former quickly became extinct, whereas the latter, in the ownership of the Aquileian patriarch, developed further under the name of Duecastelli. Lateron, like the most part of the Istrian coast, Dvigrad fell under Venetian power. In the mid 17th century malaria and the plague were rifing in Istria, which didn't spare the citizens of Dvigrad either. Thus, in 1631 most of the 700 hundred inhabitants left the town, and the remaining three families left in 1714 when the church of St.Sophia was abandoned as well. The relics and the pulpit from the 14th century were transferred into the church of St. Silvester in Kanfanara, where the inhabitants of Dvigrad had moved as well. The town is very well maintained since it hadn't been destroyed in the wars that were ravaging through Istria, but rather because it was abandoned by the inhabitants of the town. The town gates still exist, as well as two circles of the town walls, some of the defence towers are maintained, as well as the most part of the 200 houses. The St. Sophia Church was an early Christian church with three naves which dominated the town and which was built on solid rock. Unfortunately, because the church wasn't being maintained, it decayed in the 19th century.
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Monte Beach
On the west side of the Old Town core lies the Monte beach. For those who find accommodation in the Old Town, this beach will only be a few minutes walk away. This is also the ideal place for visitors who start touring the Old Town – they can find relief from the heat in the Rovinj sea. Although the beach is about 150 meters long, the locals divided it into several parts. The Big and Little Guguliera are small beaches, suitable for bathing small children, while Baluota (or Balota) and Lanterna are beaches favoured by the older population (you get into the sea by climbing down or diving from the rocks). Many cafes and restaurants are a few dozen meters away from the beach, while the XL café and Monte restaurant are situated at the foot of the St. Euphemia church (about 50 meters from the beaches). The beaches are rocky, with no natural shade, so we recommend bringing along some refreshing beverages and headcovers. When the gale gets strong, the waves will make it even more difficult to get into the sea or out of it, so it is better to go for the beaches in one of the numerous Rovinj coves when it is windy.
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Red Island
Red Island (Crveni otok), one of the most renowned tourist locations in Rovinj. Actually, it consists of two artificially connected islands: St. Andrew’s Island (Otok Sv. Andrije) and Maškin Island (Otok Maškin). Red Island is a fifteen-minute sail away from the town center. Taxi boats arrive from and depart for Red Island every hour, from a small pier on the main town square, and from Delfin pier. The sail to the island is very pleasant, passing by Katarina Island, Lona and Zlatni rt bays that will surely enchant you with their beauty. Dense Mediterranean underbrush and old coniferous forest are predominant on the island, and there are cultivated flower parks with paths near the hotels and annexes. In 2002, Red Island was hit by a heavy storm, almost entirely destroying the 100-year-old pine forest, which has been providing shade and shelter from summer heats for numerous tourists. The biggest damage was caused on Maškin Island. A lot has been done towards cleaning and renovating the island since last year so that you could enjoy its beauty and intimacy again. You can find a really large number of beaches on the island. They are mainly stony beaches with typical coves covered with pebbles. The most frequented beaches are the ones situated on the south side of St. Andrews Island, near the hotel and the annexe. Numerous services are offered nearby, namely: a restaurant, a pool, miniature golf courses, a diver centre and others. A small part of the shore near the little port has been covered with gravel, making it suitable for children and seniors.
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Church of St. Euphemia
A small church of St. George used to be situated where the Church of St. Euphemia is located today. When St. Euphemia's sarcophagus was brought to Rovinj, the Church of St. George became too small for all the pilgrims. In the 10th century, the people of Rovinj started building a new, bigger church. It was a three-nave church with three projected apses and wooden statues of St. George and St. Euphemia. At the beginning of the 17th century, a new gold-plated stone statue was erected which until this day remains on the altar of the Saint. The church itself required with time more and more reparations, and the town population grew so that the people of Rovinj decided to build an even bigger church. The building process started in 1725 and lasted until 1736. Three main altars were built in 1741, and the organ was installed in 1754. The façade was designed and built in the second half of the 19th century. Many altars and paintings enrich and embellish the church from within.
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Civic Museum Rovinj
Located in the baroque palace of the XVII / XVIII century of the Count Caliphs, the museum was founded in 1954 on the initiative of some artists of Rovinj. Their idea was to gather the rich cultural heritage of the city in a single exhibition space. The museum serves as a town gallery and exhibits its precious collection to the public in a permanent exhibition. In its half-century of life it has gathered a rich collection that includes sections of contemporary art, old masters, archaeological, ethnological, books, documents and photographs on the activities of the partisan battalion Pino Budicin and more. The Museum houses one of the most important collections of ancient masters in Croatia, in particular the Italian masters from the fifteenth to the nineteenth century. The Renaissance is represented through works by artists from the circle of Giovanni Bellini and Bonifacio de Pitatija (Adoration of the Magi), while the most important exponents of Baroque are Marco Ricci (On the road to Emmaus), Antonio Zanchi, Jerome Romanin, Nicola Grassi, the school of Guido Reni and Bernardo Strozzi and others.
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Forest Park Golden Cape
The forest park Punta Corrente (Golden Cape) is one of the most important natural attractions of Rovinj. At the end of the nineteenth century, Georg Hütterott bought four Rovinj islands (St. Andrew, Maskin, Sturag and San Giovanni) and began cleaning up an area of about 90 hectares on the Golden Cape to build a spa. His premature death interrupted the realization of this ambitious project, but his vision remained and contributed to the development of tourism in this area. The uniqueness of Punta Corrente has been recognized in 1961 and declared a nature park. Golden Cape is ideal for various sporting activities such as running, cycling, gymnastics. The old quarry has been transformed into a paradise for lovers of free climbing. The park is perfect for a leisurely stroll. The whole area is closed to traffic from motor vehicles. The beaches of Punta Corrente are worth a visit. As in the rest of the coast, there are rocky capes and pebble bays suitable for children. In several places along the coast there are beach bars where you can refresh.
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Franciscan Monastery Rovinj
Rovinj represented an exception among the cities on the west coast by the lack of a Franciscan monastery during the first period of the existence of the order. Only at the end of the fifteenth century, the Diocese of San Geronimo decided to build one on the island of St. Andrew (Red Island) near Rovinj, upon the site of the Benedictine hospice and the church from the sixth century. According to tradition, the monastery was founded by St. John of Capistrano, a famous missionary engaged in the fight against the Turks. His body is kept in the Franciscan monastery of Ilok, in eastern Croatia. In 1807, after nearly four centuries after its foundation, the monastery of Saint Andrew was closed by Napoleonic authorities. In the early eighteenth century, the St. Anthony's Franciscan reformers built a new monastery in the north, in the continental part of the city, which was not yet connected to the mainland. In 1696 the City Council invited the Franciscans to come to Rovinj to erect a new hospice. The approval of the Doge Alvise Mocenigo arrived in 1700 and two years later, in 1702 the construction of the church and hospice began. On that occasion, for the first time explosive was used in Rovinj to derive rock tanks for rainwater.
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Geological Park Fantazija Monfiorenzo
Near the road Rovinj-pula, about 2 kilometres far from the centre of the City of Rovinj, in the locality of Monfiorenzo, is situated the quarry phantasy, a geological park of remarkable beauty and importance. According to the expert opinion of numerous scientists, it is one of the most significant natural monuments in the world in the perspective of the karst phenomenon. The lime-stone of the quarry phantasy, like the open book pages, illustrate the history of the evolution of the terrestrial crust. Various layers give evidence of the existence of the fossilized meadows consisting of sea-weeds, which, blended with lime-stone silt, were drifted on the shore by strong currents during the last 130 million years. The quarry phantasy will reveal to a more careful visitor a considerably big number of furrows made of black and white dolomiti layers. Furthermore, there are fissures formed by tightening and exsiccation of the silt that had been squeezed into the previously created sediment. The lower part of these stony layers was formed below the sea level, while the upper part is the result of the high-tide.
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Porton Biondi Beach
The Porton Biondi Beach is located north of Rovinj, beneath the Camping Porton Biondi. From the direction of the old town of Rovinj, the beach can be reached on foot in about 15 minutes. If you arrive by car you have two parking zones: one is a small parking place located near the Fish Processing Factory Mirna, and the other, slightly larger, next to the rowing club Arupinum. The coast in this part of the predominantly rocky and difficult to access, but besides the camp are made concrete piers are designed for swimmers between which is applied to gravel. This has greatly embellished and facilitated entry into the sea or remaining on the beach. What beach Porton Biondi makes it particularly attractive for guests is a beautiful view of Rovinj peninsula which certainly contributed to the whole of the coast has become a very well visited in the last few years.
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Scaraba Beach
Beach Balzamake just after Kurent cape, Small and Big Scaraba bay divided by cape Scaraba are reachable by foot with a thirty minutes walk from Rovinj town center or by bicycle. The nearest car park is just after Monvi Entertainment Center and is free of charge but it can also be very crowded in July and August. From the car park, Scaraba beach is a few minutes walk like any other beach within the Golden Cape Park Forest. The coast is rocky with a few inlets covered with pebbles. The rocky beach Balzamake is suitable for sunbathing because of big flat stones. Scaraba cape offers more privacy and less people on a rocky coast not recommended for elderly people or families with small children. This kind of beaches are frequently visited by naturists that are not a rarity in Rovinj. The pebble beach in Big Scaraba bay with its pier is a favorite place for swimmers and divers.
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Church of St.Thomas Rovinj
St. Thomas church is situated 4 kilometres north of Rovinj, next to the old railway line that led from Rovinj to a small place Kanfanar. This edifice has a cross ground plan lately completed by a church tower placed on its north side. There is a six metres high apse, semicircular on the inside part and polygonal on the outside part. Lateral windows are enriched by semi-circular apses as well, although being constructed of smaller size. These apses are connected with the central nave by a high semi-circular passage. In the north part of the church, the original paving was discovered along with the preserved stand of shrine partition with several niches for pilasters. Above the central part, the remains of arches that upheld the retracted construction high above the roofing are still visible. A radical constructional intervention was undertaken on the church in the 16th century, changing completely its original form. Since the lateral arches were walled in the whole edifice got one nave. The west part of the edifice was significantly shortened and altered by a new forepart with two square windows.
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Monkodonja
The fort of Monkodonja is located about 5 km south-east of Rovinj, and was discovered in 1953 when the first excavations were carried out. Since 1997, detailed research and a partial architectural reconstruction of the site is being conducted. The town, surrounded by walls, built with blocks of stone with the dry technique is located on a hill and its side terraces that are created with stones quarried and crushed from the hill to give space to the village. The casteliere was inhabited in the period from 2000 until 1200 BC.
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The Old Town
The Old Town is where life started on what used to be an island secured by medieval walls. The city had seven gates, three of which have been preserved to this day: The Gate of St. Benedict, The Portica and The Gate of the Holy Cross. The first archeological traces of life date back to the Bronze Age, and the old city started developing in the 3rd century. The limited space conditioned the construction of narrow houses, narrow streets and small squares. It's an unique place to visit. The town clock and a small fountain are located on the main town square. The town clock once represented the tower on the south corner of the former town walls. Built in the 12th century, the tower was extended several times. The town clock with its Venetian lion, the symbol of Serenissima dating back to mid-19th century, was situated on the town gate fort near the Califfi Palace.