You can’t get more picturesque than Rovinj, Croatia, the charming fishing port on the western coast of the Istrian peninsula. Its official name is Rovinj-Rovigno, a Croatian-Italian mash-up that reflects the town’s bilingual culture and complex history. Explore the quaint, car-free old town and its surrounding medieval walls, and climb to the top of the Church of St. Euphemia for panoramic views of Croatia and the crystal clear Adriatic below.
Once settled by the Venetians, Rovinj was then captured by the Romans, usurped into the Byzantine Empire and then taken over by the Frankish Empire. After a stint in the Austrian Empire, the town was given over to the Kingdom of Italy until 1947, when it was ceded to SFR Yugoslavia. Finally, after Croatia gained independence in 1991, Rovinj became one of the most important towns Istria County, west Croatia.
Just try not to fall in love with Rovinj after walking through the medieval old town and sampling some local fare from one of the food markets. You'll definitely want to check out the vendors selling truffles, a specialty that's unique to this part of Croatia. (When you go out to eat, expect to see truffles and truffle seasoning on nearly every menu!) The other two things they do well here are olive oil and wine.
To get the best views in town, climb the belltower of the Baroque-style St Euphemia Church, which dominates the old town from its location on a hilltop. It's 60 metres up and costs 15KN to enter.
The closest airport to Rovinj is Pula, which has direct flights from London's Stansted airport. Pula is about a 45-minute drive from Rovinj.
You can also drive from Rijeka, the third largest city in Croatia.