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Rovijn or Istria countryside?

My husband and I are travelling with our three teen/adult kids next month. I have a reservation at a B&B in the countryside out side of Porec that has a pool, but not much else around it, which is fine. We knew we would be doing day excursions. As I was finalizing some plans yesterday, I randomly looked at Rovinj accommodations, which have been booked for months, and usually twice as much as where we we are now staying. It is in the heart of town. I booked it, since it was clear someone must have just cancelled - and it's effectively the same cost.

Now I am stuck. Which would be a better base? I want to cancel one of these soon to give it to someone else. On one hand, Rovinj is on the water, we can walk around town, go biking, and there would be access to several different restaurants. All this might be harder to do with just a day trip. But will it be relaxing since it is so touristy? We are leaving in 3 weeks, so not quite the worst of the season yet. Our B&B may be more relaxing with a pool, but otherwise there isn't much to do there.

This is the very beginning of our vacation. I originally looked because I didn't want to do too much driving the first day after we got there, so though Rovijn might be nice just to walk and hang around the first day. I am so stuck! I guess I want to make sure it's relaxing and not like a little Venice with crowds and crowds of people all the time. I guess that changes at night?

Any thoughts would be greatly appreciated.

Posted by Andrew H.
Portland, Oregon
2965 posts

I didn't go to Croatia to swim in a pool, so that wouldn't be a factor for me - I'd rather swim in the Adriatic if anything. It would not even be a choice for me - I'd go for the Rovinj B&B in a heartbeat. I absolutely loved the town. Yes, during the day it's going to be pretty busy, but at night it will be much quieter in the morning and at night, and you'll be able to walk to restaurants, enjoy evening and morning strolls, etc. During the day you can go somewhere else - like Pula or the hilltowns while tour groups are clogging up little Rovinj, then enjoy how peaceful it is at night when you come back and they have gone.

Posted by Marie OP
San Francisco
93 posts

Haha. Well if you put it that way, then I would have to agree. I usually push my family hard on a trip, so I have been "selling" the place with a pool so they know there will be some down time. But better in the natural water! I know it's pebbly there, so will have to look into places to go. It's stressful to change 1/3 of my trip just a few weeks before we leave!

Posted by Andrew H.
Portland, Oregon
2965 posts

Don't sweat it. Rovinj may be one of the highlights of your whole trip - I know it was of mine! I can't imagine staying out in the middle of nowhere needing to get places by car say just for dinner.

I think I enjoyed my morning walks the most in Rovinj. I walked around (below, by the sea - Rovinj used to be a little island) a few mornings, and I would see fishermen getting their boats ready to go out - and stray cats. Not too much else going on in the morning. It is a REALLY small town that isn't itself much of a destination, because you can explore it quickly. It's more about having a charming place to come back to at night or to be in the mornings. I hope you get to see the sun set into the ocean from here! I got to see it only once due to weather.

Posted by daniel
56 posts

+1 on Rovinj;

We also stayed walking distance from Groznjan in a farm based apt for 6 days as a base.

Both are great - really depends on the experience all would like. I would agree with the others that swimming in a pool .... blah.

The kids could be more self sufficient in Rovinj. We were there in mid Sept - crowds were light and even nicer at night. Nothing like Venice!

Posted by Emily
Vienna, Austria
2872 posts

I have two kids and we go to Istria every Easter for a week. We always stay in the countryside in a villa with a pool. Much nicer with kids to have some room. Wandering through the rural villages is a highlight for me. Rovinj is beautiful, but really holds the attention for just a couple of hours. So many more hidden gems in Istria. Be sure to take your kids to Kamenjak Park for the day and have dinner at the entirely unique Safari Bar. So my vote is to stick with the B&B!

Posted by Barbara
Brooklyn, NY
861 posts

Stay in Rovinj If you were 100% satisfied with your first choice you would not have been looking at Rovinj. We booked a place in old town Dubrovnik but the places I wanted were already taken. I knew I wasn't 100% happy so I checked every week for months till bingo, my number one place opened. For a short visit, it is always better to be In The heart of a town IMO, especially if it will be your only visit there.

Posted by Marie OP
San Francisco
93 posts

Thank you all. We decided to stay in Rovinj for our home base.

Posted by jk.baum
9 posts

We just returned from Slovenia and Croatia. Rovinj was a highlight for me. It was oozing with beauty and charm. It is true you will not need more than a day to wander around the old town. With your kids I would recommend taking a short little ferry ride over to St. Katarina's Island to swim at the very nice beach. The food was amazing in Rovinj - we ate at Sidros and Vili Joze.