I did not enjoy Croatia as a country to backpack in except for two places, Plitvice Lakes National Park and Rovinj. If you are staying in Pula and looking for a good day trip, Rovinj takes the cake.
It is a smaller, more charming coastal town than Pula and the fresh fish is legit.
After a tasty lunch fresh from the sea you can rent a bike a take a ride through Park šuma Zlatni.
Along the edge of the park there are rocky outcrops where you can take a nap or a dip, with or without clothing.
Before you get too excited about the romantic idea of a nude beach, let me pop that bubble right quick.
Most of the swimmers that elect to forego a swimsuit in favor of their birthday suit are well over the age of 50 and are no longer in top physical condition.
If you can ignore these occasional “mid-50s-flashes” the bike ride is well worth it.
Rovinj has a very artsy hill winding up its old town on the western peninsula. The steep, diagonal streets act as a permanent art bazaar, with hundreds of local studios to choose from.
Its not my thing – I’m not an art guy, nor a souvenir guy – but it might be yours. Plus, it would be mighty difficult to tote a painting around in a backpack for three months. If I buy any gifts at all while abroad, it is usually in the city I fly home from.
At the end of the art hike and at the top of the hill in Rovinj’s old town is Saint Euphemia’s basilica, a baroque church, which you can see in the upper left in the above photo.
At the end of the day while waiting for the bus and watching old men play chess in the central square I realized I would have rather stayed in Rovinj than Pula. If you’re thinking about making a trip to Croatia I would recommend you do the same.