Clustered with Habsburg-era villas, Opatija is a historic resort town overlooking the Adriatic Sea on Croatia’s Istrian Peninsula. Its legacy as a 19th-century holiday destination is explored at the Croatian Museum of Tourism while its also on the doorstep of one of Croatia’s undiscovered natural gems.
Things to do in Opatija
Housed within the 19th-century Villa Angiolina is the Croatian Museum of Tourism, which features exhibits detailing the history and impacts of travel on the country and its inhabitants. Learn about the bathing establishments of Kvarner Bay and the rise in health tourism in the late 19th century, as well as the landmark hotels that were built in Opatija during the period.
You can stretch your legs with a stroll along the waterfront Lungomare, which offers scenic views across Opatija towards the islands of Krk and Cres. Near the Juraj Šporer Art Pavilion is the “Maiden with the Seagull”, a statue by Zvonko Car that’s considered a symbol of Opatija.
Opatija makes an excellent base for exploring Učka Nature Park, a 160-square-kilometre protected area that’s considered one of Croatia’s best-kept secrets. You can hike to the top of the 1,401-metre-high Vojak peak for views that stretch to the Italian Alps and spot brown bears and roe deer. Alternatively, follow the Slap Trail leading through a rugged canyon of sweet chestnuts and oaks to a picturesque waterfall.
Getting around Opatija
Opatija is around 25 minutes’ drive from the centre of Rijeka and 40 minutes from Rijeka International Airport, which has flights to destinations across Europe. Buses are the main means of getting to Opatija while the centre of the town is compact enough to explore on foot.