What is your favourite type of travel? Well whether you’re a ‘lazy beach day’ kind of person, or you’re more into jamming every excursion under the sun into a few days, the Istarian paradise may just be your next adventure.
Rovinj is home to a fishing port, situated on the West Coast of the Istrian Peninsula. It’s veins are narrow, winding cobbled streets which occupy residences as well as sweets and souvenir shops. There is plenty to choose from when picking out something to bring back for your mum.
But, I’m getting ahead of myself. The beginning seems like the most appropriate place to start. I’d only ever been to Croatia once before, to attend one of the many music festivals which frequents their shores, but I’d never immersed myself in the culture. Naturally, I was excited to set off and see what the rest of Croatia had in store.
Where To Stay:
We flew into Pula airport in early July. We didn’t get there until around 8.30pm, so we got a 20-30 minute taxi transfer to Rovinj, which cost us around £50, it would have been less if my boyfriend, Jamie had listened to me and booked earlier, but I’m not going to hold that against him and neither should you. We’d decided early on we wanted an apartment to ourselves, rather than a hotel room, and after days of searching AirBnB (put off only by the £43 booking fee) Booking.com, Trivago etc we finally found somewhere which ended up being perfect.
We stayed at Apartment Sonja and were greeted by Tony and his wife, an older couple who really could not do enough for us. They welcomed us with a red liquor after they had stayed up half an hour past check-in time to ensure we could check in with ease. We were given bikes free of charge, to get around Rovinj with and they were always on hand to anser any questions. The perfect hosts: around but not under our feet. I could not recommend apartment Sonja enough. The rooms all had a TV and aircon free of charge, they were spotless and comfortable, as well as being a 5/10 minute walk from the beach and a 15 minute walk from the center. What more could you ask for?
Things To Do:
While Rovinj is a small town, it has anough to fill the week we were there. I’ll give you the warning I wish I had: prices go up during the tourism season (duh!) but everything was still affordable, even on a student budget. The excersions ranged from a boat ride around the islands, to a fishing trip in the ocean. Due to getting mortally drunk most nights, we never arose from our slumber early enough to get onto the fish picnic, which is basically all excursions in one. We did, however, manage to get on the sunset dolphin tour. At this point, I’d link you up to the one we went on, but in all honesty, all the excursions were the same, you just had to pick which boat to give your money to. Either way, it was as magical as you’d expect. You’re not always guaranteed to see dolphins but we did! For an hour and a half we followed the amazing creatures in their natural habitat and sipped on the free wine given out by the crew.
If you prone to being a bit sea sick, there’s plenty of opportunity to dive into the history and culture of the city. Rovinj Heritage Museum is a dream of a place to absorb everthing you could ever want to know. At the time of our stay, they were holding a Joan Miró art exhibition. Admission to the museum itself was low, but the price to get into that exhibition was as to be expected.
If none of this tickles your fancy, we found three (count them, 1, 2, THREE) beaches to call base on our lazy/hungover days. It’s the mediterranean, so of course the water was crisp, blue and gorgeous in every single way. But, if you’re expecting a comfly place to lay your sun lounger, there isn’t one. If Croatia is known for it’s pebble beaches, then Rovinj is known for it’s boulder beaches. It really isn’t a problem though and perfect for rock pooling!
Food & Drink:
If you’re looking to party, don’t bother. The large clubbing complex is now being transformed into an even larger hotel. Whie there were plenty of places to get drunk, it was heavily Italian influenced, so more often than not, if you wanted a drink you had to be buying dinner too. There were a few places to sit and get drunk, such as Havana Cocktail bar but we couldn’t afford to drink there every night. On our second night, we found our saving grace, Art irish Pub. It’s tucked away, down a small alley so you do have to look out for the sign, but the staff are friendly, the drinks are cheap and there’s live music once a week. Now, I am the kind of traveller that follows her stomach rather than her head, so I was really excited to see what food Rovinj had to offer. There is a choice of 3: Pizza, fish or grill. That was everywhere. In all honesty, even the sea food left something to be desired. We treated ourselves to a fish platter on two seperate occassions, in two seperate establishments. Everything was exactly the same, just grilled fish. Was it fresh and tasty? Yes. Would I eat it more than once? No (well yes, because I love it) there was no sauce or flavours added to it. Not a dollop of tartare to be seen. Despite the slightly dissapointing sea food, the pizzas could not be argued with. Made fresh infront of you, they were gorgeous. Of course, there were veggie options available too, but it didn’t seem too progressive in it’s vegan menu. By ‘didn’t seem progressive’ I mean there was little to no vegan menu.
Overall, it was a lovely week away and I would return to Rovinj. Perhaps not for the week though, we’d pretty much exausted everything in a week.