Kvarner, Gorski kotar and Lika – the magnificent symphony of blue and green

Opatija Riviera

A blend of coast, islands, mountains and forests is what gives this region its uniqueness. Kvarner is a region that brings the touch of glamour from the past days when Austro-hungarian aristocracy spent their holidays at Opatijska riviera leaving their trail in its beautiful hotels, venetian style villas and exotic gardens. On the other hand, the pure simplicity of Gorski Kotar and Lika with its mountains, forests, lakes, rivers, the diversity of its flora and fauna and the crown jewel of Plitvice lakes offer a different kind of experience. Islands tell a story for themselves with its historical towns, picturesque villages and some of the most beautiful beaches in Croatia.

You shall experience the best of this region exploring the intoxicating beauty of Plitvice Lakes, walking the seafront promenade and colourful gardens of Opatija, hiking the beautiful mountain of Risnjak. Sailing the magnificent Lošinj archipelago, enjoying a great meal with the spectacular view from the medieval fortress Mošćenice at the gate of mysterious mountain Učka... You shall experience its best walking the white pebble beaches of Baška or Mošćenićka Draga, feeding the orphan bear cubs in a bear refuge Kuterevo, enjoying the scents of lavander, rosemary and pine in the Lošinj scent gardens, playing on the sandy beaches of Rab or exploring the fascinating old city walls. Having a glass of famous Žlahtina wine in the historical town of Vrbnik with the magnificent sea view...

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Kvarner, Gorski kotar and Lika are situated in the western Croatia and geographicaly can be divided into three main areas: highlands, coastal and island area. The largest city is Rijeka with around 190.000 inhabitants. The highest mountain peaks are Velebit (Vaganski vrh 1.757m), Risnjak (1528 m), Snježnik (1506 m), Viševica (1428 m) and Učka (1396 m). The largest islands are Krk, Cres, Pag, Rab and Lošinj. The longest rivers are Kupa, Lika, Dobra and Gacka. The largest lakes: the Vrana Lake on the island of Cres with a surface of 5.5 km2; Krušćica (surface 3,9 km2), Lokve lake covering 2.1 km2;  te Plitvice lakes(2,0 km2), Bajer Lake with a surface of 1.2 km2


Coast and islands: mediterranean climate with hot summers and mild winters. Highlands: moderately continental and in higher areas mountain climate with moderately warm summers and cold winters 


Due to its protected and attractive geographical position, the Kvarner Bay has from ancient times been an interesting target of numerous conquerors. Already in 1200 BC, an Illyrian tribe of Liburni inhabited the coasts of Kvarner where they traded in amber. The remnants of their forts have been preserved until today. The Greeks, Romans, Eastern Goths, Slavics, Francs, Byzantines, Hungarians, Venetians and Austrians came afterwards. All of them left inerasable traces of their civilizations. There are today in the Kvarner region 276 protected monuments of culture, of which 177 historic units and 161 historic buildings. 

Tourism Development

1844 – Rijeka patrician Ignio Scarpa set the founding stone for the development of tourism in the region by building his Villa Angiollina summer mansion in Opatja. At that time, Opatija was a small fishermen’s village inhabited mainly in the area surrounding the Benedictine Monastery, i.e. the Church of St. Jacob (Crkva Sv. Jakova).

1878 – The Merzeljak Family built the first wooden bathing area in Novi Vinodolski.

1884 – With the opening of the Kvarner/Quarnero Hotel in Opatija, the first modern hotel was put in operation.

1885 – The first tourists, Dr. Conrad Clar and his sick son, visited Mali Lošinj (Lošinj Island) where the son was cured.

1889 – On March 4, Emperor Franz Josef proclaimed Opatija a health resort.

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