Rovinj is one of my favorite cities in the world. My connection with it dates back to my early years as my grandparents used to live there, and I used to spend my school holidays with them. I loved it then as much as I love it now, and some of my best childhood memories belong to that period.
The scenes are still vivid: sunny breakfasts on the terrace (with grandma's fresh tomatoes!), hours spent on the beach (and my first, unsuccessful attempts of diving), the excitement of attending the local feast called “Rovinjska noc” (Rovinj’s night), city walks with my mum (and inevitable visit to my favorite paper store), drinks in a bar on the rocks overlooking the sea…
The old part of the city is situated on the peninsula with a church on top which dominates the whole scene. Every angle of Rovinj is a beautiful picture on its own- colorful leaning houses, narrow streets with laundry hanging on the strings between the windows, lively fishing port and marine with luxurious yachts, beautiful sea view from the square in front of the church...
Few times a year we like to treat ourselves with a day trip to Rovinj, where we usually follow our favorite routine. Before taking a walk we grab something sweet (either ice cream or chocolates in the “Kraš” store). I like wandering through the narrow stone paved streets filled with workshops- some of them sell nice local souvenirs and jewelry, some of them are pure kitsch, but there’s something for everyone’s taste. We always climb up to St Euphemia church on the top of the city and enjoy the view and the sea breeze.
St Euphemia was a Christian martyr who lived in the city of Byzantium (nowadays Istanbul) in the 4. Century A.D. where she was tortured and died from injuries under the emperor Diocletian (the same one that had built the famous Diocletians palace in Split!). According to local legend, the sarcophagus with her remains disappeared from Byzanthium on a stormy night, and landed on the shore of the city of Rovinj. Since then, St Euphemia is a patron saint of the city, and the church tower bears the sculpture of the Saint depicted with a wheel (one of the instruments of her torture).
Last time we visited Rovinj, the tower was opened to the public, so we climbed up the steep and wobbly wooden staircase. The bird view of the orange rooftops, pine woods in the background of the city, dark blue sea dotted with little white boats, crowded port, and the islets of St Katherine and St Andrew was worth a climb!
Before we head to our favorite restaurant, we stop at the central beach. The water is clear, turquoise blue and when visited at night lightened by underwater lights which makes it a real treat both to the children and adults. If you like swimming at night, this is the perfect place!
The restaurant Veli Jože is situated in the street called Sv. Križa and is really easy to find. The restaurant got its name from a Croatian literary character- giant Veli Jože who lived near the city of Motovun. On summer days, we use to sit on the wooden banks on the terrace, eating seafood, enjoying local wine and a view of the street, the sea, or the passers-by. The interior of the restaurant is charming- overcrowded with pictures, photos, musical instruments, boat parts, antique objects, useless things, old Christmas decorations… It looks like someone poured out flea market all over the place!
For a dessert, we usually go to a bar on the "Trg Marsala Tita" square which serves tasty chocolate cake and which we discovered by accident once- on a cold, rainy day, looking for a place to warm up.
From there, we head to the boardwalk (in Croatian “riva”) to observe the boats, which is especially interesting in the summer months, when beautiful sailboats and yachts dock in the marine.
As the evening approaches, the “riva” becomes a hustling and bustling place, a central happening in the city, where tourists and locals come to see and be seen, the children to play and eat ice cream and the traders to sell day trips and knickknacks.
From Rovinj, you can make a day trip to the nearby islets of St Catherine and St Andrew- they are nice for bathing and soaking up the sun, but there are also concerts in open being held occasionally on St Andrew, which is a lovely experience.
When visiting Croatia, don’t miss the opportunity to take a walk through Rovinj’s pebble streets and admire its colorful houses and beautiful seaviews- I’m sure you’ll love it. If you’ve already been to Rovinj or plan to visit, please share your thoughts in the comments below!