My dynamic duo of visitors wanted to see Croatia, but I was a bit skeptical about booking our trip to Rovinj. While most people swoon over the Croatian coast, I was lukewarm about its charms. I found Trogir to be charming but too small as a destination unto itself. Dubrovnik was overpriced, overhyped and overcrowded. Fortunately, Rovinj was the perfect middle ground: not too big, not too touristy, but just right.
We drove up to our hotel without seeing the Old Town and unsure of what to expect. Then we opened the curtains and saw this:
Lingvista exclaimed, “I feel like George Clooney’s girlfriend!”
Rovinj (Ro-VEEN-je) is on the western coast of Istria, a northern Croatian peninsula. Though some Serbians and Croatians claim that the “true” Croatia is found along the Southern coast, I’m happy to disagree. Rovinj, like many coastal Croatian towns, has a significant Italian history. The peninsula was under Venetian control from 1283 to 1797 and fell under Italy once again from 1918-1947 until it became part of the Yugoslav Federation. The result is Venetian architecture, delicious Italian/Croatian seafood dishes, and loads of Italian tourists. George Clooney would definitely approve.
Rovinj’s Old Town can be covered in two or three hours, though you could spend a day or two exploring the narrow, hilly streets. Though tourists were ever-present (it’s August, after all) I didn’t see the throngs of cruise ship guests that Dubrovnik receives.
Most of the town is centered around tourism, but a fishing industry still exists in Rovinj. The laundry handing from windows and small boats in the harbor were a nice reminder that Rovinj was not just for the ultra-rich or lucky (thanks, booking.com!) tourists.
Of course, the owner of the yacht anchored by the harbor may disagree. Maybe there was hope of being George Clooney’s girlfriend after all…if Muz doesn’t object, that is.