Jane Foster, The Daily Telegraph, June 19, 2013
Helen Williams, Gloucestershire, writes
My husband and I would love to try Croatia for a week’s holiday in early September. We like old towns with pretty buildings, good food and the sea. Do you think Rovinj might be a suitable place to base ourselves?
Jane Foster, Croatia expert, replies
Yes, Rovinj ( tzgrovinj.hr ) certainly seems to meet your criteria. The car-free old town is made up of Venetian-era pastel coloured houses built around a pretty fishing harbour and overlooked by a hilltop church. South of the old town, Zlatni Rt park is planted with pines and cypresses, and criss-crossed by pathways leading to a series of pebble coves where you can swim. The food is pretty good too, with local cuisine influenced by the region’s affinity with Italy. Monte ( monte.hr ), close to the hilltop church, is widely recognised as Rovinj’s top gourmet restaurant - it does a five-course degustation menu so you can try a selection of their beautifully presented Creative Mediterranean dishes. For something more traditional, Giannino (Augusta Ferrija 38), near the harbour, serves typical local specialities such as tagliatelli mare e monti (pasta with shrimps and mushrooms) and barbequed fresh fish. For pre-dinner drinks, try Puntalina (Sv. Kriza 38), with tables and cushions arranged on the rocks overlooking the sea, and fantastic sunsets. There’s a good range of places to stay, from the big modern 5-star Hotel Lone ( lonehotel.com ) Croatia’s only member of Design Hotels, located on the edge of Zlatni Rt park, to small romantic boutique hotels furnished with antiques, such as Villa Valdibora ( valdibora.com ) and Casa Garzotto ( casa-garzotto.com ), both in the old town. Nearby places to visit include the coastal town of Porec ( to-porec.com ), with its glistening golden Byzantine mosaics is the UNESCO-listed 6th-century Euphrasius Basilica, and in Inland Istria the lovely medieval hill-towns of Motovun ( tz-motovun.hr ) and Groznjan ( tz-groznjan.hr ).
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About Jane Foster
Based in Athens and Dubrovnik, Jane has written guidebooks on the Balkans, Croatia and Greece and writes regularly for The Daily Telegraph.