Opatija – the pearl of the Kvarner Riviera

Opatija Croatia

April 27, 2015 • Locations

The city of Opatija is located on the eastern coast of the peninsula of Istria, found in the north-western area of Croatia, in the Primorje-Gorski Kotar County. Because of its favourable climate Opatija has always been a true tourist resort. The mountains of the Učka make sure that the city is protected from cold northern winds. The boardwalk along the coast of Opatija is about 11 kilometres long and is full of flowers and tropical plants. You can enjoy good restaurants and homey terraces with a spectacular view of the coastline. It’s a beautiful city, marked by numerous impressive pastel-colored villas and old hotels that exude a Habsburg grandeur. In addition, the city is rich in historical buildings, including classical and baroque style.

In the 19th century, Croatia became part of the Austrian-Hungarian Empire. The Austrian-Hungarian aristocracy then discovered the beautiful nature of the Opatija Riviera and its mild climate. The locals noticed the interest and recognized the opportunity to initiate tourism. Many wealthy aristocrats settled in Opatija. A noteworthy aspect is that you couldn’t just build a house there, it had to meet certain conditions. These conditions were done in order to defend the city against the attacks of potential pirates, who made the coast of Croatia unsafe until the 19th century.

Villa Angiolina

Villa Angiolina (by: Georges Jansoone JoJan, Wikipedia)

The remarkable Villa Angiolina, located in the Angiolina Park in Opatija, was built in 1844 by the wealthy merchant Iginio Scarpa. His guests were pleased by the climate in this area and took some friends along on their next visit. Thus, the tourism arose in this formerly small fishing town. The villa is surrounded with a wonderfully landscaped park of more than 3.5 hectares with plants from around the world. Scarpa was a great lover of nature and took plants from his travels with him to flourish in his garden.

You’ll find a beautifully landscaped beach resort with descending concrete plateaus and terraces and a swimming lagoon safe for children in the city. On a small peninsula beside it, a park was installed. In front of the park there’s a sculpture of a maiden with a seagull that has become the symbol of Opatija. Into the sea beyond, beyond Grand Hotel Kvarner, there is a beautiful park with a botanical garden, with a lido and an outdoor theatre. During summer times, there are performances almost every weekend in this outdoor theatre.

Opatija beach CroatiaThe city has some other big advantages as a tourist place. In the winter there is the carnival, a bit smaller but equally exuberant as the great carnival of Rijeka. Around 150 dolphins (bottlenose dolphins) live in the Kvarner Bay, especially around the islands of Cres and Lošinj. In Opatija’s hinterland you’ll also find the mountain Učka, where you can take beautiful hikes. While up there, enjoy your view of the coastline and take deep breaths – let the fresh air clear your mind and let the nature imprint itself into your memory.

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