Rovinj – A Picturesque Town in Istria
This year, I fulfilled two dreams with just one journey: I went to the Balkans for the first time and especially to Croatia, which has been on my bucket list for a long time. With my friend and dance partner, I did a three-week motorcycle tour, which started in Rovinj. And I was there for a dance festival that I heard my dancer friends rave about for almost a year: The Summer Sensual Days in Rovinj. You can read here how I liked the place itself and what you can expect when you plan your trip there.
How to get there?
Rovinj is located on the Pula peninsula and that is also the name of the airport you should fly to. Alternatively, you can also fly to Rijeka, Ljubljana, Trieste or even Treviso (like me), but if you like it as comfortable as possible, then Pula is the right place to go.
Otherwise, you can also travel by car or motorbike. That was actually my plan: I wanted to come with a friend and dance partner from Frankfurt to Rovinj on two wheels. Just a few days before we wanted to start our trip though, I had to change my plans because of a family matter and so I flew to Treviso, where my friend picked me up with his motorbike. There are buses from Venice to Rovinj, but not from Venice/Treviso airport.
And last but not least, there are long-distance buses to Rovinj. From Frankfurt, there are even three buses a day, two of which with a short stop in Munich and one in Ljubljana.
There are several large hotels in Rovinj (Lone, Eden, Park, Mulini), some of which even serve as locations for the workshops of the Croatian Summer Salsa Festival. They are all located close to the city center, but are quite expensive, especially during the festival times. So don’t say I didn’t warn you.
You get a much better price-performance ratio in the countless apartments, which are available in every size, price range and in the most diverse distances to the center. This year, I shared a flat with six other dancers. This is definitely a different feeling than living in a hotel room alone or with a friend.
If you decide to rent an apartment further away, you should consider renting a scooter or a bicycle. If you dance a lot, you don’t don’t want to walk a lot to get home after the party.
There are many restaurants and cafés in Rovinj and it can be hard to choose one. As in any port city, the closer to the sea you are, the more expensive the restaurant is.
We usually went grocery shopping and cooked in our apartment but there are two restaurants I can recommend.
On the one hand, the restaurant Lovor where I had excellent mussels. It is located directly at the marina with a beautiful view: The turquoise blue water on one side and the old town island on the other.
And secondly, in the old town itself, Veli Jože is highly recommended. It’s not particularly cheap, but particularly good.
And for all night owls who still want to fill their stomachs after the parties and recharge their batteries, there is the bakery with the name that says it all: Dan i noc – day and night. Open 24 hours a day, the bakery offers sweets and snacks for hungry dancers, tourists, and locals. The choice is not huge, but there are a lot of goodies and always freshly baked mini pizza (for 10 kuna ~ 1,50€).
Besides various small supermarkets (mostly Konzum) and kiosks, there are three large supermarkets on the outskirts of the city. A German discounter with four letters (no, not ALDI, which is called Hofer in Croatia as well as in Austria). It’s LIDL.
Beside the LIDL there is a big Konzum with a really good selection and behind it a Plodine, in which I haven’t bought anything yet. Unfortunately, by foot, they are not easily accessible. At least the LIDL is open 7 days a week from 7 am to 11 pm.
The Old Town
Even though it is very tempting to just lie on the beach during the day and relax from all the dancing, I can only strongly recommend spending at least one afternoon or evening taking a little walk through the old town.
Walking up to the church is rewarded with a fantastic view over the sea and the offshore island of Sveta Katarina. Whoever wants to can also climb the bell tower of the church. Unlike most other churches, you don’t even have to pay extra for it. The panorama is magnificent.
Besides the church on the summit of the Old Town peninsula and the daily small market on the north side, the charming, winding alleys are the real highlight of Rovinj. Here you can stroll for hours on the pavement polished by countless tourist shoes, escape the midday heat in the shade of the alleys and sweeten your day with a delicious scoop of ice cream.
Where to travel after Rovinj?
If you want to explore other places in Croatia, I can recommend the Plitvice Lakes and Zadar. Both are quite easy to reach from Rovinj. The routes there are really nice if you travel by rental car or, as we did, by motorbike.
All in all I really liked Rovinj and I am already looking forward to the Summer Sensual Days 2019, which I really want to attend again.
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