One of Istria's larger and more sophisticated resorts, Rovinj has grown up around a charming, Venetian-built old town, set on a headland overlooking a picturesque harbour, whose entrance is guarded by St Katerina Island. The centre – with its web of narrow medieval streets, stone and terracotta houses and 19th-century villas – is dominated by the hilltop landmark of St Euphemia church and its 200-ft bell tower. More recent development has extended 1 ml E, parallel to the waterfront beyond the animated quayside, which is liberally lined with colourful cafes and bars.
Buses ply the main road behind the seafront hotels connecting with the main market square. Daily connections to Pula, Porec and Vrsar. Ferries to the islands of St Katerina and St Andrea leave regularly from the harbour.
Location: In the extreme W of Croatia, midway down the W coast of the Istrian Peninsula. 15 mls SE of Vrsar. 25 mls NW of Pula and its airport.
Position: The old town occupies a small promontory opposite a harbour and several small islands just offshore, with Valdibora Bay to the N and St Katerina Bay to the S; backed by farmland and rolling countryside. Forms part of an archipelago encompassing many inlets and 22 islets.
Dialling Code: 52
Tourist Board: www.tzgrovinj.com
Very poor to nonexistent close to town; merely a succession of patchy, narrow rock and stone supplemented by a series of concrete bathing platforms and small boat jetties. Countless pebble and stone coves on some outlying islands and along the coast.
Daytime: exploring the old town including local museum (art and archaeological exhibitions), aquarium, St Euphemia church and Franciscan monastery; boat trips to local islands and resorts along the coast for alternative sunbathing, shopping and barbecues; water sports including water-skiing, windsurfing, parascending, sailing and pedalloes; fishing (permit available from tourist office); tennis; horse riding; bowling; gym. A number of regattas are held annually and there is an art festival in July.
Nightlife: relaxed and informal, with most hotels offering organised programmes that include local bands and dancing; classical concerts.
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