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Rijeka

By Amy Adejokun Amy Adejokun Section editor

Our Editorial team's advice

Kvarner Bay is located between the two peninsulas of Istria and Dalmatia, north of Croatia. It includes the Opatija Riviera on the east coast of Istra, the coast at the foot of the Velebit massif, the mountains of Gorski Kotar and the islands in the Gulf of Kvarner.
The first seaside resorts and spas were created on the Riviera in the 19th century for the Danube Austrian nobility, who knew how to enjoy the Mediterranean climate and the mild temperatures, especially in winter. Some luxury hotels and villas have preserved their high society coastal architecture. Opatija, the oldest and most renown spa resort, with beautiful parks and villas and its 7.5 mile promenade along the beach, and Rijeka, cultural centre, university and industrial town, are among the most popular destinations nowadays.
The bay is full of small coastal communities, most of which have been adapted to tourism and which are worth a visit. The many islands, both inhabited and not, are also part of this region's special charm. They are especially known for being holiday and diving destinations thanks to their many small coves, their modern ports to accommodate yachts, their beaches, and the good weather conditions throughout the year. Each of these islands is different and beautiful in its own way.
What is different about holidaying in Kvarner Bay is the unusual range of activities available, including a large choice of well-being offers in the fashionable resort towns of Opatija and Rijeka. For a more active activity, a pleasant bike tour will let you discover a multitude of small coastal communities. The excursions to explore the various coves or islands of the Riviera are also worth a try. You can try your hand at various water sports, or for those seeking quiet and solitude, go for a hike in the lost mountains of Gorski Kotar in the backcountry or the national parks in the Velebit massif.
The Bay of Kvarner is located between the two peninsulas of Istria and Dalmatia, north of Croatia. It includes the Opatija Riviera on the east coast of Istra, the coast at the foot of the Velebit massif, the mountains of Gorski Kotar and the islands in the Gulf of Kvarner.
The first seaside resorts and spas were created on the Riviera in the 19th century for the Danube Austrian nobility, who knew how to enjoy the Mediterranean climate and the mild temperatures, especially in winter. Some luxury hotels and villas have preserved their high society coastal architecture. Opatija, the oldest and most renown spa resort, with beautiful parks and villas and its 7.5 mile promenade along the beach, and Rijeka, cultural centre, university and industrial town, are among the most popular destinations nowadays.
The bay is full of small coastal communities, most of which have been adapted to tourism and which are worth a visit. The many islands, both inhabited and not, are also part of this region's special charm. They are especially known for being holiday and diving destinations thanks to their many small coves, their modern ports to accommodate yachts, their beaches, and the good weather conditions throughout the year. Each of these islands is different and beautiful in its own way.
What is different about holidaying in Kvarner Bay is the unusual range of activities available, including a large choice of well-being offers in the fashionable resort towns of Opatija and Rijeka. For a more active activity, a pleasant bike tour will let you discover a multitude of small coastal communities. The excursions to explore the various coves or islands of the Riviera are also worth a try. You can try your hand at various water sports, or for those seeking quiet and solitude, go for a hike in the lost mountains of Gorski Kotar in the backcountry or the national parks in the Velebit massif.
The Bay of Kvarner is located between the two peninsulas of Istria and Dalmatia, north of Croatia. It includes the Opatija Riviera on the east coast of Istra, the coast at the foot of the Velebit massif, the mountains of Gorski Kotar and the islands in the Gulf of Kvarner.
The first seaside resorts and spas were created on the Riviera in the 19th century for the Danube Austrian nobility, who knew how to enjoy the Mediterranean climate and the mild temperatures, especially in winter. Some luxury hotels and villas have preserved their high society coastal architecture. Opatija, the oldest and most renown spa resort, with beautiful parks and villas and its 7.5 mile promenade along the beach, and Rijeka, cultural centre, university and industrial town, are among the most popular destinations nowadays.
The bay is full of small coastal communities, most of which have been adapted to tourism and which are worth a visit. The many islands, both inhabited and not, are also part of this region's special charm. They are especially known for being holiday and diving destinations thanks to their many small coves, their modern ports to accommodate yachts, their beaches, and the good weather conditions throughout the year. Each of these islands is different and beautiful in its own way.
What is different about holidaying in Kvarner Bay is the unusual range of activities available, including a large choice of well-being offers in the fashionable resort towns of Opatija and Rijeka. For a more active activity, a pleasant bike tour will let you discover a multitude of small coastal communities. The excursions to explore the various coves or islands of the Riviera are also worth a try. You can try your hand at various water sports or for those seeking quiet and solitude, go for a hike in the lost mountains of Gorski Kotar in the backcountry or the national parks in the Velebit massif.

To see

Opatija is a lovely vacation spot where, thanks to the Mediterranean climate, you can admire lush vegetation in the many parks and explore the elegant villas and hotels of the late 19th century. It's not for nothing that this city is called the 'Nice of the Adriatic'. A good tip: visit park 1. Maja with the Villa Angiokna, its exotic plants and busts of famous figures.
In Rijeka, the old town, the Castell Trsat, the shrine to the Virgin Mary, the promenade and the parks are all must sees.

To do

Make the most of the climate and the fresh air by taking long walks on the promenades or in the parks.
We also recommend going horse riding or cycling in the surrounding hills.
Many cultural events are held in Rijeka.

pros

  • +  The numerous islands
  • +  The lush nature

cons

To think about

The peak season is summer, but the region is also worth a visit in winter, as nobles of the 19th century already knew how to enjoy the mild temperatures.
Each year in Rijeka, from mid-January to late February, a large carnival with numerous processions takes place.
Remember that all diving excursions must be reported to an authority (the tourist office, the police or the port office).

To avoid

Remember not to swim in the port or outside the limits, which is no more than 100m from the shore, and don't swim without beach shoes because the bottom can be rocky and their are often sea urchins.
The seabed can quickly become deep in some places so make sure that children stay in sight.
Rental cars are very expensive so it is better to bring your car by train (tickets can be purchased from the ADAC) or take advantage of the extensive bus network, and explore the rest by bike.

To try

On the coast, the cuisine is typically Mediterranean and mostly influenced by Greek and French cooking. Fish and seafood are part of the daily menu, seasoned with typically Mediterranean herbs and accompanied by fresh vegetables and olive oil. Typical regional dishes include 'File od oslica sa povrcom', a fillet of Colin with vegetables, and 'Brodet', a fish soup from the island of Mljet.
There is also a large choice of wines, marcs, and liqueurs, as well as cold-pressed olive oil.

To bring back

Purchase meat, fish, vegetables, fruit, and cheese at the daily markets; the goods are fresher and cheaper than in the supermarket. A reminder of the old Venetian domination over the Kvarner region.
Tablecloths and fabrics from Hrvatsko Zagorje, the tip of the island of Pag, and jewellery from Dalmatia make great souvenirs.
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