Last weekend TLE had the opportunity to visit one of Croatia’s finest coastal towns; Rovinj, located in the Northern Istria coast of Croatia. This largely unspoiled medieval town is one of the countries star attractions for tourists and after visiting TLE can clearly see why.
With three luxury hotels – Lone, Eden and Monte Mulini (and a 4th called Adriatic on the way too). Delicious restaurants and cafes serving locally produced food and fresh fish and a laid-back safe atmosphere makes this town a must visit for a complete chill-out break.
Rovinj dates back to the Roman Empire – when the town was originally an island next to the coast. In the 1700’s it became connected to the mainland and today the town looks like an egg shaped peninsula jutting out of the land. The image below shows the original gates to the island town.
From the 13th to 18th century the town was governed by Venice (which is only 70km as the crow flies) and by 1797 Rovinj became part of the Austrian Empire. Between 1918 and 1947 it became part of the kingdom of Italy and then following Croatia’s independence in 1991 it has grown to become one of the countries most popular tourist hotspots.
This rich history of country ownership of Rovinj has given the area a unique DNA – not only is Croatian spoken, but so is Italian (and also English and German for tourists). Food is heavily influences by Italian culture as well.
Where To Stay
Rovinj has learnt that luxury brings in the customers and the Maistra group of hotels have 3 luxury properties clustered around the bay of Rojinj next to the Golden Cape forest. We experienced the Lone and Monto Mulini on the trip.
Hotel Lone – Listed as a Design Hotel the Lone is surprising in more ways than one. Designed by 3LHD studio in Croatia it is the first and only design hotel in the country. The Lone cuts through the forest like a cruise ship with its completely futuristic design both inside and out and bespoke finishes across the entire hotel are nothing short of fabulous! We loved it and you can read the full review.
Visit the Lone website
Hotel Monte Mulini – The Lone’s next door neighbour offers luxury in a more traditional format to the Lone. As a Leading hotels of the world property (read our Centara review for another LHW property) the Monte Mulini has left nothing to chance and takes luxury to a whole new level and we are insanely impressed by it. Read the full review.
Visit the Monto Mulini website
What To Do
We had a long weekend in the town, which is a perfect length of time to explore what’s on offer. Rovinj is small so can easily be navigated on foot, in fact most of it is pedestrianised so you couldn’t drive even if you wanted to.
We started our Saturday off lazily and chilled out at the Monte Mulini pool and then made our way down to the beach which is a 2 min walk from all three of the Maistra properties.
At lunchtime we meandered into town, which is literally a 15 minute walk; if you like speed then the hotels all have bike hire so you can peddle your way along the pretty pedestrian area and past the marina overflowing with yachts.
The town is a seafood eaters paradise – daily catches are still caught and brought into the harbour each morning so you can be guaranteed a good seafood dish. I am veggie so didn’t partake, but we did find a lovely little outdoor cafe on the harbour that was buzzing with diners for lunch and offered a good range of lunchtime mains.
After lunch we continued our walk along the harbour and made our way into the town. We didn’t have time but there were a number of cruise charters that offer trips around the bay circling the many smaller islands that are dotted around the coast, there is also a sunset cruise as well.
The town is small and built in a oval shape so you literally can’t get lost. There is one main key attraction in the town and that’s the 18th century Saint Euphemia Cathedral. This baroque church is a beacon to the eye and sits perched at the very top of the peninsula and can be seen for miles around. Walk anyway up the town’s hill and you will come to it. There is a bell tower at the top of the church can be climbed and offers views across the Rovinj landscape.
Being a pedestrian town, walking about is easy. Spend a few hours exploring the little lanes and streets that run all over the town. They are packed with little independent shops selling everything from the usual tourist fare to beautiful pieces of art work.
Whilst the hotels have fabulous restaurants (read our reviews) the town is peppered with lovely restaurants up side streets and around squares. The main marina area is packed with restaurants and is perfect for lunch or an evening meal.
Little tip to get that perfect photo of Rovinj, head to the right hand-side of the town, which has uninterrupted views looking across to the peninsula. We sat down and just enjoyed the moment looking out at the town and sea.
On the way back to the hotel we spied an ice cream shop beside the marina, which sold the most delicious ice cream. There are any number of ice cream shops in the town so don’t worry about finding this particular one, they all looked good.
Rojinj is as pretty at night as it is during the day, if you like sunsets then head to the Monti Mulini beach club for a great view of the sun setting on the sea.
Rovinj is simply stunning, if you are coming to the town for a party, then you are in the wrong place, it is definitely for relaxation. A weekend is a good length of time, but you will probably want to give yourself an extra day or two to relax at the hotel’s complex. I am a beach/pool fanatic so love spending the whole time sunbathing and doing nothing else and both the Lone and Monte Mulini are perfect for this type of activity.
Whilst the hotels are all family friendly the focus I would say is on couples, come here to relax with a loved one and unwind.
The currency in Croatia is Kuna (not the Euro as I originally thought). Most currency exchanges in the UK stock it, but the hotels also have a cash machines and there were plenty of ATM’s in the town.
English is spoken widely in the town so there is no barrier to making yourself understood.
When we were there which was May the temperature was about 26 during the day and cooled down at night. Wear shorts and tshirts and for the evening and have a jumper in case it cools too much.
Getting To and From Rovinj
We flew from Edinburgh to Venice with jet2.com (£192 return). The hotel picked us up and drove us on the stunning 2.50 min drive to the town through Slovenia and Italy which was wonderful. You can also fly directly to Pula the nearest city and it is a convenient 30 minute drive from there.