Opatija Riviera: history, culture and beautiful landscapes

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Morning on the Opatija Riviera

Opatija: The heart of Kvarner Bay

The Opatija Riviera is located on the northwestern coast of the Kvarner Bay in Croatia. As soon as we enter the city we feel the flair of the imperial era, when the place was still called Abbazia and was a popular travel destination for Austrian summer visitors. Our first view of the sea after exiting the motorway tunnel immediately shows why Opatjia developed into a holiday resort for the Austrian Imperial and Royal Monarchy. The city stretches over the hills that rise steeply from the coast. Amidst the lush vegetation of oleander bushes, fig, olive and laurel trees, the city's houses are nestled in the greenery. It's a feast for the eyes as we drive down the hills into town. It doesn't surprise me that this view also appealed to representatives of the Austrian nobility, who triggered the first tourist boom here in the second half of the 19th century.

Discover the Opatija Riviera for connoisseurs


Why the Opatija Riviera?

The long beach promenades of the Opatija Riviera, lined with palm trees and Opatija's Art Nouveau architecture, are in themselves a reason to visit this place. Museums, concerts and festivals enrich your stay here. And if you're looking for relaxation, the region's parks and gardens offer plenty of opportunity to relax.

There is so much to do outdoors on the Opatija Riviera. A boat trip along the coast, a dive into the local underwater world or a yoga class on the beach - you can find it all here.


Park in Opatija
Park in Opatija


History of the Opatija Riviera

In Old Slavic mythology, the gods who inhabited the mountain slopes of Učka chose the region. Later the monks came. However, the Opatija Riviera only became known in the 19th century, when the European elite used it as a health resort. The development of the region was strongly influenced by the construction of the first hotels and villas. These buildings still stand today and add a touch of nostalgia to the Riviera.

Famous visitors

Over the years, the Opatija Riviera has attracted many famous personalities. These include writers, artists and even members of royalty. One of the most famous visitors was the Austrian Emperor Franz Joseph I and his wife Kaiser's Sis (even if she only accompanied him briefly on a state visit). His influence can still be felt today in the region's architecture and culture. But the place also later attracted famous guests from all over the world. Kirk Douglas and Robert De Niro were just a few of them. Hollywood star Keanu Reeves was recently in Kvarner Bay. The fan of fast motorcycles particularly liked the winding roads, of which there are many in the region.


Map created with hiking log, at Travel Planner we iOS and Android


Geographical location of the Opatija Riviera

The Opatija Riviera stretches along the northwestern coast of Kvarner Bay in Croatia. It is located about 13 kilometers west of Rijeka, one of the largest cities in the country.

How to reach us

If you are coming from the north, the fastest route is the A7 motorway. The best way to reach the Riviera from the south is via the D8 coastal road. The approach via the A7 motorway is particularly impressive when you leave the tunnel near Jušići from the north and the backdrop of the Kvarner Bay and Opatija suddenly appears in front of you. If you're coming from the south, Opatija's one-way street system will take you around the city center.

Surrounding cities and towns

The Opatija Riviera is also known for smaller towns such as Lovran and Mošćenička Draga. Lovran is worth a visit for its old town and chestnut forests, while Mošćenička Draga is particularly valued for its fishing tradition. In Mošćenička Draga we watch a fisherman preparing his boat. However, he is one of the few who still makes a living from their traditional crafts. Tourism has now become the most important source of income for its residents in these places. We hear this more often from locals we talk to during our travels. Quite a few of them mention this with a tear in their eye, because the income from tourism often ends up in the coffers of foreign or state-owned companies.



The main attractions in the city of Opatija

  • Villa Angiolina is one of the first buildings built in Opatija for tourists. Today it houses the Croatian Museum of Tourism.
  • The Lungomare is Opatija's seafront promenade. This coastal path connects Opatija with the surrounding towns.
  • The Church of St. Jacob dates from the 15th century.
  • The Sveti Jakov Park is right next to the Church of St. Jacob.


Try fish on the Opatija Riviera
You should try fish on the Opatija Riviera


What you can do on the Opatija Riviera

Hiking on the Opatija Riviera

The Opatija Riviera is surrounded by green hills and forests that are ideal for hiking. The most famous hiking trail is the “Lungomare“, a coastal path that connects different places. There is also one for mountain lovers Učka Nature Park, which offers numerous hiking and cycling trails.


From sailing and windsurfing to diving and snorkeling, the options for water sports are diverse.

Cultural events

Opatija is also a center for culture and art. There are events throughout the year, from music festivals to art exhibitions.


Fresh squid
Fresh squid


Culinary discoveries on the Opatija Riviera

Fish and seafood

There is fresh fish and seafood in abundance. For example, in the coastal restaurants you can try dishes such as grilled fish, squid and scampi.

Truffles and olive oil

The hills surrounding the Opatija Riviera are known for their truffles as well as their olives. Many restaurants offer dishes with freshly shaved truffles or use locally produced olive oil.

Wine and spirits

The region is also known for its wines, especially the white wines Malvazija and Graševina. If you prefer something stronger instead, try the local liquor called “Rakija”.


Accommodation on the Opatija Riviera

  • Luxury hotels on the Opatija Riviera

If you want to pamper yourself, the Opatija Riviera offers luxury hotels such as this Hotel Miramarwhere we stayed. More hotels in the region* You can also find it via this link.

  • Holiday apartments and holiday homes on the Opatija Riviera

If you're looking for more privacy and independence, one could Holiday apartment* or a Holiday home* be the right choice.

  • Campsites on the Opatija Riviera

There are also some for nature lovers Campsites along the Riviera*.

You can also find and book hotels and holiday apartments that are currently available using this map:

Travel tips and advice for the Opatija Riviera

Best time to travel to the Opatija Riviera

The high season on the Opatija Riviera is from June to September. During these months the temperatures are warm and the weather is mostly sunny. However, if you want to avoid crowds, spring and fall are better alternatives.


The nearest airports are in Rijeka and Pula. From there you can take a bus or taxi to Opatija. If you prefer the freedom for excursions, one is Rental car a good option. However, in Opatija itself, parking spaces are rare during high season and parking fees apply. We arrived in our own car. During our stay it remained in the hotel garage, which was included in the nightly rate. We only got around the city on foot. The region is also well connected to the bus network, making day trips easier.

Local customs

The locals are known for their hospitality. A simple “Hvala” (thank you) is always appreciated. You should also know that some smaller towns do not have ATMs, so it is advisable to always have some cash with you.


Northern Croatia - Kvarner Bay

Opatija Riviera travel guide as well as for the surrounding area

The Northern Croatia Travel Guide is the most detailed travel guide about the region from the Kvarner Bay through central Croatia to Slavonia. The author Lore Marr-Bieger has been traveling to the region since 1983 and has excellent knowledge of the region. This travel guide is therefore suitable for anyone who wants to get to know the region in detail. Not only will you get travel tips about tourist centers like Opatija, Rijeka, the Plitvice Lakes or the islands of Croatia, but also helpful information about the small places that are hardly mentioned in other travel guides. With this travel guide you are well prepared to plan trips to the small towns in the area. Order here*.

If you purchase via a link marked *, we receive a commission, which we use to run this blog.


Opatija Riviera Guide
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Source: own research on site. We visited the Hotel Miramar on a press trip. Our opinions definitely remain our own.

Updated on 04.04.2024

Text: © Copyright Monika Fuchs and TravelWorldOnline
Photos: © Copyright Monika Fuchs as well as TravelWorldOnline and Wikimedia Commons
Videos: © Copyright Petar Fuchs and TravelWorldOnline

Opatija Riviera: history, culture and beautiful landscapes

Monika Fuchs

Monika Fuchs and Petar Fuchs are the authors and publishers of the Slow Travel and Enjoyment travel blog TravelWorldOnline Traveller. You have been publishing this blog since 2005. TravelWorldOnline has been online since 2001. Your topics are Trips to Savor and wine tourism worldwide and Slow Travel. During her studies, Monika Fuchs spent some time in North America, where she traveled to the USA and Canada - sometimes together with Petar Fuchs - and spent a research year in British Columbia. This strengthened her thirst for knowledge, which she pursued for 6 years Adventure Guide for Rotel Tours and then for 11 years as Study tour guide for Studiosus Reisen tried to breastfeed all over the world. She constantly expanded her travel regions, but curiosity still gnawed at her: “What is beyond the horizon? What else is there to discover in this city? Which people are interesting here? What do you eat in this region?” These are the questions she is now trying to answer as a freelance travel journalist (her articles have appeared in DIE ZEIT, 360° Canada, 360° USA, etc.), among others. travel writer and travel blogger answers in many countries around the world. Petar Fuchs produces the videos on this blog as well as on YouTube. Monika Fuchs from TravelWorldOnline is below Germany's top 50 bloggers in 2021 Other Information about Monika and Petar Fuchs. Recommendations on LinkedIn from tourism experts Further recommendations from cooperation partners and tourism experts Professional experience Monika on LinkedIn

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