Opatija - detail

Only an hour and a half drive from the capital, a few kilometres north from the city of Rijeka, bordered with the blue Adriatic sea on one, and the magnificent mountain Učka on the other side, lies Opatija Riviera. It carries the touch of glamour from the past days when Austro-Hungarian aristocracy used to spend  their holidays there, leaving their trail in its beautiful hotels, Venetian-style villas and exotic gardens. For its beauty and rich tourist history it can be compared to the French Riviera.

Villa Angiolina

The beginning of  tourism in Opatija, as well as the whole Croatian coast, was connected to the building of the villa Angiolina in 1844. The villa with its beautiful exotic gardens was the favourite holiday place for the Austro-hungarian aristocracy. In 1884 the first hotel on Croatian Adriatic coast, the Grand Hotel Kvarner, opened its doors to the public and hosted famous guests like Austrian emperor Franz Joseph I and famous dancer Isadora Duncan. Today the hotel is well known for its Crystal Hall, the largest ballroom in Opatija and the terrace, situated above the Lungomare promenade, the perfect spot for glamorous outdoor events,  with its magnificent sea view.

Grand Hotel Kvarner

Another famous attraction is Lungomare, a twelve kilometre  long promenade that connects Opatija Riviera - Volosko, Opatija, Ičići, Ika and Lovran. The promenade was constructed between 1885 and 1889 and it is the best way to get to know Opatija Riviera. On your walk, you will pass by the famous Opatija park, St Jakob`s Church and see the statue of the Maiden with Seagull which became the landmark of Opatija.

Among  other places in Opatija Riviera I would definitely mention Lovran which I would describe as "little Opatija". In Lovran you can also see beautiful old villas and gardens but with a little more peace and quiet. 

Among the beaches, the Medveja beach stands out for its beauty, as well as the two beaches in Mošćenička Draga that will not leave you indifferent.

Maiden with Seagull - view from Lungomare

Those who like hiking should not miss the Nature Park Učka.  At the summit, a belvedere in the form of a medieval tower offers a breathtaking view in all directions: the Istrian peninsula, the islands of the northern Adriatic, the mountains of Gorski Kotar, Venice, the Italian Alps...

I still didn't  say anything about my favourite place in Opatija Riviera. That I will do in my next article.

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