Rovinj (to the Croatians), or Rovigno (to the Italian minority of this town), is a gorgeous village on the western coast of the Istrian peninsula on the Adriatic Sea. Our team of four arrived mid-afternoon when the fishing boats are harbored for the day and the cafes are abuzz with people engaged in casual conversations, enjoying the warmth of the late October sun.
From the center square of the town, a turn to the left takes you along the docks where small to midsize boats for adventures like fishing, snorkeling, sunset cruising, dolphin watching, and sailing can be found. A turn to the right takes you along a wide walking path that gently climbs the coastline up to the Church of St. Euphemia and some of the best views to be found along the Adriatic. We opted to walk in both directions, more than once.
The inner streets of town feel intimate and enclosed, with multi-colored, tall buildings lining narrow, steeply inclined walkways. I was glad I had on hiking shoes with good tread as we descended over the smooth and shiny stones. Along the way, we ducked in and out of local artisan shops and galleries. In addition to the usual magnets and t-shirts one would expect to find in a tourist market, Istria offers a lot of locally produced art and locally grown food products like truffles, olive oil, wine, and cheeses.
The highlight of the evening was watching the sunset over the Adriatic, and for this event our group split up. One of the team members took a sunset cruise around the outlying islands, one sat along the sea wall at the lower level of the town, and others climbed up to the higher ground of St Euphemia’s perch. When we re-grouped and compared notes, we confirmed that from every vantage point, it was a spectacular show.
After a good night’s sleep in a room with a view of Old Town Rovinj, Dawn rented a bike and explored the peninsula further south. Gentle trails along the coast into the Punta Corrente Forest Park and the Golden Cape give access to beaches lined with aged oaks, cypress, and pines. At that time of the morning, local fisherman bring in their bountiful catch, evidenced by the trail of hungry seagulls following them in to the harbor.
It was again hard to leave this venue. We could picture ourselves here for many more days, lazing in the sun, poking around in the shops, and sipping coffee in the seaside cafes.