Rovinj, Istria, Croatia by Littleaom, ShutterstockRovinj’s Venetian old town sits on the waterfront © Littleaom, Shutterstock

Rovinj is the pearl and the envy of Istria. Favoured by the Venetians when it was ruled by the Republic of Venice, it was also a favourite of the touristing classes of the Austro-Hungarian Empire.

For many, Rovinj is the pearl and the envy of Istria. Favoured by the Venetians when it was ruled by the Republic of Venice, it was also a favourite of the touristing classes of the Austro-Hungarian Empire. The colourful hues of Rovinj’s houses hail from these influences, especially the dominant Venetian red. Often overwhelmed with visitors in the height of summer – when it’s popular with tours from Poreč and Pula, where it is easier to get accommodation – in the winter it is almost deserted. The tightly packed houses of Rovinj’s old town form some of the narrowest of cobbled streets, which pop out atop the hill of the once-upon-a-time island to a magnificent vista from the generously wide courtyard of the equally generously endowed St Euphemia Church. Being so popular, the town understandably has a couple of Istria’s best restaurants, festivals and enviable bars.

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