Official Kvarner County Tourism Office website




Culture, History and the Beginnings of Tourism

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 the walls of their forts have been preserved until today. The Greeks, Romans, Eastern Goths, Slavic peoples, 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. The interested ones read the history of this region from those monuments and works of art just like from a book.

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 Opatija. 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.

Geographic Position and Connecting Routes

Kvarner is located in an exquisite geographic position with good connecting routes considering that it represents the closest gateway to a warm sea to the greater part of Central Europe. This is where Europe turns into the Mediterranean and the hilly area with its forts, castles and Baroque-style churches turns into a Mediterranean landscape with elite coastal towns, ports, beaches, islands and stone houses.


  • Opatija Riviera: Opatija, Lovran, Mošćenička Draga, Medveja, Ičići, Ika, Matulji and Volosko
  • Hrvatsko primorje: Crikvenica Riviera (Crikvenica, Selce, Jadranovo, Dramalj) and Vinodol Riviera (Novi Vinodolski, Povile, Kelnovica, Drivenik, Grižane, Bribir, Tribalj)
  • Krk Island: Krk, Omišalj, Njivice, Malinska, Punat, Stara Baška, Baška, Vrbnik, Dobrinj, Šilo, Klimno
  • Cres Island: Cres, Osor, Punta Križa, Valun, Lubenice, Beli, Martinšćica
  • Mali Lošinj Island: Mali Lošinj, Veli Lošinj, Nerezine
  • Rab Island: Rab, Kampor, Supetarska Draga, Barbat, Banjol
  • Gorski kotar: Čabar, Delnice, Fužine, Lokve, Ravna Gora, Skrad, Vrbovsko,
    Mrkopalj, Brod Moravice
  • City of Rijeka and its surroundings: Rijeka, Kastav, Kostrena, Bakar, Kraljevica, Hreljin, Čavle, Jelenje


The destination’s excellent geographic position and connecting routes make the foundation for comfortable enjoyment of the road, railroad and air traffic network of Central Europe, as well as the sea traffic.

  • regular and fast ferry lines from the mainland to the islands:
    - from Brestova to the islands of Cres and Lošinj
    - from Jablanac to the island of Rab
    - cross-island lines from Valbiska (Krk) to Merag (Cres)
    - a line from Valbiska (Krk) to Lopar on the island of Rab, and
  • a bridge from the mainland to the island of Krk
  • regular airlines, low-cost carriers and charter

KVARNER AIRPORTS: Rijeka on the island of Krk (international), Mali Lošinj (sport), Grobnik (sport)

OTHER CLOSEST AIRPORTS: Zagreb, Ljubljana, Pula, Trieste, Venice

Railroad traffic rests on two rail tracks of international character in direction Ljubljana and Zagreb, whereby the Zagreb-Rijeka railroad constitutes an integral part of the Budapest-Zagreb-Rijeka international traffic corridor.

The Rijeka-Zagreb highway is part of the European route E65 and the Pan-European traffic corridor Vb, and is exceptionally important for the development of tourism and economy and, considering the traffic volume, the most profitable Croatian motorway. With the completion of construction works on sections of the A6 Rijeka-Zagreb highway in full profile, as well as the works on the last section of the A4 Zagreb-Goričan highway and the M7 Budapest-Letenye highway, the construction of the 496.2 kilometer long Rijeka-Zagreb-Budapest highway, that belongs to the Pan-European traffic corridor Vb, was completed. Hungary: 232.5 km. Croatia: 263.7km. The duration of the journey was reduced to about 5 hours.
The full-profile section of the Rijeka Roudabout (Riječka obilaznica) from junction Škurinje to junction Diračje, in the total length of 5.2 kilometers, has recently been opened to traffic, including the newly built junction Rujevica. At the end of 2009, the last 4.5 km-long section of the Rijeka Roundabout was completed in full profile.

Distance from Rijeka:
Berlin 1120 km
Frankfurt 920 km
Munich 519 km
Salzburg 400 km
Vienna 460 km
Zuerich 777 km
Venice 250 km
Zagreb 184 km
Trieste 80 km


Thanks to its location, i.e. the combination of the Mediterranean and the mountain/plain climate, Kvarner is classified as the mildest part of the Adriatic in terms of climate. It boasts an excellent and beneficial climate.

Interesting Facts


Bora: a dry, cold wind, mainly north-eastern, usually brings cold weather
Sirocco: a moist, warm south-eastern wind, brings rain
Maestral: a typical daily wind blowing from the west or north-west bringing nice, clear weather and making summer heat bearable.

The sea quality is better than in other parts of the Adriatic (poorly inhabited area with almost no industry), so that many of the beaches are the proud holders of a Blue Flag – a symbol of cleanliness, quality of service and ecologically preserved environment.

Ecology, Flora & Fauna – A region of an exceptionally high biological significance

Kvarner represents in miniature what the nature of Croatia means to Europe, a diversity of plant and animal species on the smallest stretch of land: the flora of Kvarner includes more than 2,700 species (the most popular and most important in terms of their aromatic properties are the sage, rosemary, basil, laurel, myrtle, mint, palms, agaves, chestnuts, figs, olives, wild fruit, etc.), making this region one of the richest parts of Europe in terms of the plant life. Most of the 114 species of birds considered endangered at the European level nest in this area (Golden Eagle, Gray Falcon, Griffon Vulture, Bonelli’s Eagle, Short-toed Eagle, black-cocks, owls, snipes…). The island of Krk is the richest island in terms of the number of plant species (about 1,500), while the islands of Cres and Rab, next to the island of Krk, are, proportionately to their size, the richest islands in the Mediterranean in terms of the number and species of mammals. The forests of Gorski kotar are home to lynxes, bears, wolves, wild goats, mouflons, while the fast river currents abound in trout proven to be the largest trout in the world. The Kupa River valley is also known as the Valley of Butterflies (Dolina leptira). Only a few steps separate you from the sage on the coast and the pines on the mountain tops!

The following facts speak visibly about the level of preservation of the natural heritage, the most significant tourism resource today: Kvarner is proud of its ecological cleanliness and good, drinkable water that can be consumed directly from the tap. Recognitions awarded by international ecological and educational organizations count among some of the most significant results of ecological and educational projects, so that, in accordance with the assessment made by the European Judging Committee of the Foundation for Environmental Education in Europe (FEEE), there were 38 Blue Flags recorded on the territory of Kvarner in 2009, of which 35 awarded to beaches and 3 to marinas.

In Brief

  • Kvarner – one of the richest parts of Croatia in terms of the plant life with more than 2,700 various species
  • Kvarner – the habitat of numerous bird species considered endangered in Europe
  • About 140 dolphins live in the waters surrounding the island of Cres and Lošinj
  • The islands of Krk, Rab, Lošinj and Cres are, proportionately to their size, the richest islands in the Mediterranean in terms of the number and species of mammals and all large European predators
  • There are 499 butterfly species in Gorski kotar

Look for our theme brochure ‘Protected Natural Heritage’

Kvarner, Discover your story Rijeka 2020 - European capital of culture