20 April, 2017
Rovinj in the Istrian region of Croatia.
This picturesque Istrian fishing port on the western coast of Croatia is the jewel of the Adriatic Coast, which remains relatively undiscovered because it's a little tricky to get to. Offering some of the country's best scenery with colourful, rustic buildings lining the waterfront and not a car in sight, the promenade has a French Riveria feel to it, with traditional boats bobbing in the marina and seagulls soaring overhead. The narrow streets are as tangled as those of Venice and packed with buzzy restaurants, cafés and bars, while Croatia's first Michelin star has recently been awarded to Monte , a contemporary restaurant to put on your holiday hit list. Further inland, the rolling hills and bountiful forest produce olive oil, cured meats and local specialities which we recommend sampling in ample amounts when you're there and taking home as souvenirs.
When to go?
Croatia is one of Europe's sunniest spots with 12+ hours of sunshine a day between May and August, so if you're there to get your tan on this is the perfect time to visit. However, if you're after a more cultural experience and wish to pass the time sampling local olive oil and the renowned Istrian orange wine, come in spring or September, when you'll also benefit from lower prices and fewer people.
Who to take with you?
Croatia overflows with festival options during the summer. Why not visit with your friends for some downtime following a heavy weekend? It's also the perfect spot for a romantic long weekend.
Most likely to bump into?
Chic Italian tourists and local fisherman.
Get lost wandering through the archaic streets in the direction of the hilltop church of St Euphemia, with it's dramatic steeple towering over the whole of Rovinj - the climb to the top is worth it for that mandatory Insta holiday snap. If you want to chill out, find a rocky cove or hit up one of the beach clubs on the outskirts of town. But don't expect to relax on soft sand - its only pebbled beaches in Croatia. You'll be surrounded by crystal-clear waters though, with the added bonus of not getting sand in places it shouldn't be.
How to get there
Fly to Pula airport between March and October, a 40-minute drive from Rovinj. The largest international airport is in Venice, a three-hour drive from Rovinj (including a ferry).