8 Best Sights in Rovinj, Istria

Crkva Svete Eufemije

Fodor's choice

Inside this 18th-century Baroque church, the remains of Rovinj's patron saint are said to lie within a 6th-century sarcophagus. Born near Constantinople, Euphemia was martyred in her youth, on September 16 in AD 304, under the reign of Emperor Diocletian. The marble sarcophagus containing her remains mysteriously vanished in AD 800, when it was at risk of destruction by iconoclasts—and, legend has it, it somehow floated out to sea and washed up in faraway Rovinj. (Note the wall engraving just to the right of the entrance of St. Euphemia holding Rovinj in her arms.) On September 16 of each year many people gather to pray by her tomb. There is no better place to enjoy 360-degree sunset views of Rovinj than from the church bell tower. In summer, concerts and art shows take place in the piazza in front of the church.

Trg Svete Eufemije, Rovinj, Istarska, 52210, Croatia
sights Details
Rate Includes: Free for church; €4 for campanile, No tours Nov.–May


When its residents abandoned Dvigrad's "two towns" suddenly in the mid-17th century—fleeing the combined misfortune of plague and attacks by Uskok raiders—and established nearby Kanfanar, surely they didn't foresee that more than three centuries later, tourists would delight in what they left behind. If exploring ruins is your (or your child's) thing, this is the place for you. Along an isolated road 23 km (14 miles) east of Rovinj, outside the sleepy town of Kanfanar (a short detour if you're headed north toward Poreč, Motovun, or Grožnjan), this huge maze of dirt paths surrounded by high stone walls makes for an adventuresome, imagination-stirring walk. Indeed, just enough restoration has been done to let your imagination "reconstruct" the rest: some of the walls are vine-covered, and much of the place is overgrown with vegetation. Nor is there a single explanatory sign in any language. All this combines to give you the sense that you are discovering this eerie ghost town of a fortress city, even if a few other tourists are also wandering about. The battlements are impressively intact, and toward the center of the fortress you will find the remains of St. Sophia's Church, replete with depressions in the ground that contained the crypts of very important persons. To get here, take the main road east out of Rovinj toward Kanfanar. Just before you cross the railroad tracks and enter Kanfanar, you'll see a sign pointing to Dvigrad, which is to your left; from the sign, the ruins are about 4 km (2½ miles) down an isolated scrub-lined road. A Medieval Fair takes place in May, complete with historical theater, music, jousting, food, and drinks.

Kanfanar, Istarska, Croatia
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Rate Includes: Free

Galerija Sveti Toma

Today a public art gallery, St. Thomas was previously a small bright-yellow church dating to the Middle Ages but was rebuilt in 1722. It's on your way back down the hill from the main cathedral, and right after you pass by it, you will pass under a lovely arched hall some 50 feet long with a wood-beamed ceiling. On your left, you'll notice a small courtyard encircled by pastel-painted houses with green and blue shutters and colorful flowers in the window. St. Thomas is part of the Heritage Museum of Rovinj.

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Kuća o Batani

Devoted to Rovinj’s batana (traditional wooden boat), this small museum in a typical multistory house has a permanent exhibition of boats and fishing tools. It also hosts various cultural events and educational programs, and during the summer the museum organizes gourmet evenings on Tuesday and Thursday in a spacio, a typical Rovinj tavern or wine cellar. These start with a batana ride from the Mali mol around Rovinj's Old Town to the tavern, where guests taste typical dishes like salted anchovies or marinated sardines and local wine.


With vineyards in the northeast, Matošević Winery welcomes visitors for a tour and tasting at their top-notch cellars in Krunčići, near Sveti Lovreč, a village not far from Rovinj. Their Malvazijas Rubina and Alba bear international renown and are served at many Michelin-starred restaurants.

Krunčići 2, Kruncici, Istarska, 52448 Sv. Lovreč, Croatia
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Rate Includes: Closed Sun.

San Tommaso Winery

This small family-run winery in Golaš, a small village in Bale, just 17 km (10½ miles) south of Rovinj, is housed in a beautifully restored 150-year-old farmhouse with exposed stones and large wooden beams. The property features a wine cellar, a tasting room with a big open fireplace, and a small ethnographic museum displaying old family photos and equipment that once was used in the wine-making process in Istria. Don’t let their Malvazija Istarska fool you–although the wine is fresh, easy to drink, and sweet, it is still 14% alcohol. They also produce a few reds, a rosé, and the sweet dessert, Muscat Žuti. If the owner, Janja, happens to be there, ask her to let you taste her raisin wine, which isn't for sale. You can also stay in the winery's modern pension.

Golaš 13, Bale, Istarska, 52211, Croatia
sights Details
Rate Includes: Closed Mon., and Nov.–Apr.

Trg Maršala Tita

Standing on the Old Town's main square, you can't help but notice the Balbi Arch, which at one time was the gate to Rovinj's fish market. Notice the Venetian lion with an open book (a symbol of acceptance of Venetian rule without a fight) and a Venetian head on one side and a Turkish head on the other, the symbolism of which hasn't yet been explained. A Latin epigraph is at the top between the two Balbi coats of arms. Also quite prominent on the square is the city's pinkish-orange watchtower, whose base houses the tourist agency. Although it looks Venetian, the tower was erected in 1907. That said, the winged-lion relief on one side is from the 16th century.

Wine Cellar Krunčići

A first-class spot to get a tour of Istrian vineyards and taste the local wine, Wine Cellar Krunčići has tastings on a stone patio attached to a farmhouse. Owner Ivica Matošević is usually on hand to tell you about his vintages, including the Alba wine, an Istrian Malvasia considered one of the region's best. Call ahead to arrange tastings.