Lungomare, a walkway along the sea in the length of 12 km, stretches from Volosko to Lovran. The construction of this walkway started at the end of the 19th and the beginning of the 20th century at the initiative of the Abbazianer Verschoenerungsverein (Society for Embellishment). Project leaders included Heinrich Gintl, Alfred Manussi and Konrad Rubbia. The first project phase, referring to the section from Volosko to Slatina, was completed in 1889, while the second phase (which included several sub-phases as well), i.e. the construction of the section towards Lovran, was completed in 1911 thanks to the efforts of Doctor Julius Horteanu.
Lungomare still offers the possibility of exceptional psychophysical recreation for all generations throughout the year. The lit chandeliers installed along the entire coastal walkway invite you to enjoy unforgettable evening and night walks. Without demanding ascents and descents, located at a distance from the roads and the hustle and bustle of the city streets, this walkway (promenade) offers not only the thalassotherapeutic, healing sea aerosol, but also reveals the history of the Opatija Riviera on every step. It can be read from the historicist and secession facades of hotels and villas, numerous monuments, gardens, gazebos and parks.
The parks of Opatija are considered one of the most famous monuments of park architecture in Croatia. On an area of 3.64 ha stretching between the main town road and the sea, there are 60 fields surrounding the most famous monuments of the history of Opatija: Villa Angiolina, Villa Amalia, Kvarner Hotel, Church of St. Jacob, etc.
Today this park complex is divided in two parts: the one next to a church which leads to the Park of St. Jacob (Park Sv. Jakova) and the other next to Villa Angiolina that leads to Park Angiolina. Park Margarita is a separate area located on a slope above Slatina.
It all started in 1844. This year marks the beginning of Croatian and Opatija tourism. Rijeka patrician and merchant Higinio Scarpa (1794 – 1866) built and tended a garden full of rare and exotic plants and trees in the memory of his wife. In 1882, the private Imperial Royal Company of Southern Railways from Vienna bought Villa Angiolina and the contract for park maintenance was awarded to Carl Schubert from Vienna, President of the Imperial Royal Company for the Construction and Embellishment of Parks and Gardens.
The original architectural appearance of parks has been mainly preserved. Two styles are obvious: the English style (wayward paths) and the French style (flower sections in accordance with the seasons of the year). The park complex is maintained on a daily basis. Although it is adorned with more than 150 plant species, it must be said that until fifty years ago the figure had even exceeded 220. Some of the more significant plant species are: bay laurel (Laurus nobilis), yulan and southern magnolia (Magnolia yulan, Magnolia grandiflora), windmill palm and European fan palm (Chamaerops excelsa, Chamaerops humilis), Nordmann fir (Abies nordmanniana), Serbian spruce (Picea omorika), cedar (Cedrus), Japonese pittosporum (Pittosporum tobira), pine (Pinus pinea), cherry laurel (Prunus lauricerasus), olive (Olea sativa), Sylvester date palm (Phoenix sylvestris), sequoia (Sequoia)... and camellia (Camelia japonica) that has become one of the symbols of Opatija.
A costumed event helping the visitors paint in their minds a picture of the days when Austrian Emperor Francis Joseph I, German Emperor William, Empress Sissi, Archduke Ferdinand, Swedish-Norwegian King Oscar II, Empress Maria Anna, Romanian King Carol and his wife Elizabeth, composers Gustav Mahler and Giacomo Puccini, Nobel prize winner Henryk Sienkiewiecz, and others strolled across Opatija. With the help of costumed members of numerous cultural clubs and children, you will be able to see James Joyce once again enjoying a cup of coffee at the terrace of the Imperial Hotel in Opatija as well as Anton Pavlović Čehov while writing or famous dancer Isadora Duncan whose dance moves were inspired by the palms in front of Villa Amalia. The main part of the event will be held inside and around Villa Angiolina, the construction of which marked the beginning of tourism development (1844), and in the oldest hotel of Opatija, the Kvarner Hotel. These venues will offer to passers-by an opportunity to hear recitals by famous writers, concerts at which the musicians will perform the works of composers who used to stay in Opatija, and the most curious ones are invited to attend the gatherings were the noblemen will be resolving the political matters of the then Monarchy, signing charters and studying geographical maps, while enjoying cognac and cigars. The ladies with sunshades will be strolling along the famous Lungomare walkway, while the picture of the famous health resort will be painted by fitness instructors showing exercises resembling rowing that were considered a cure for the body and soul in those times. At the Lido bathing area, swimmers in original swimming costumes and hats will demonstrate comic scenes revealing the then style of swimming and bathing when non-swimmers tied themselves in fear to poles using a rope, and when gallants used to demonstrate the swimming techniques to the ladies.
CROATIAN TOURISM MUSEUM
The Croatian Tourism Museum is a national tourism museum established at the end of 2007. It engages in tourism history and heritage. The museum investigates, collects, stores, communicates and presents the material and non-material tourism heritage on the territory of the entire Croatia. The museum material is divided in tourism-related collections (guides, brochures, postcards and photographs, hotel inventory, beach equipment, personal tourist inventory, documents, scriptures, audio and video material, and other). The Museum is located in Villa Angiolina in Opatija and it also uses the space in the Juraj Šporer Art Pavilion (Umjetnički paviljon Juraj Šporer). Vila Angiolina is a historicism-style villa located in a Palladian-style landscape with a representatively decorated ground floor. The permanent exhibition entitled Opatija – The Golden Beginnings of Croatian Tourism (Opatija – zlatni počeci hrvatskog turizma) is set up on the first floor. It presents Opatija and the type of material that the Museum collects. The Museum exhibits a selection of tourist guides, brochures and films from other parts of Croatia as well. Villa Angiolina and the Juraj Šporer Art Pavilion are located in the exclusive center of the town, in the park zone alongside the coastal walkway.
UČKA NATURE PARK
Učka, one of the most beautiful mountain massifs in the coastal region, has been proclaimed a nature park in April 1999, which classifies it among the youngest Croatian parks, i.e. protected parts of nature. It encompasses the territory of the Učka Massif and part of the Ćićarija Mountainous Plateau making up a total area of 160 square kilometers with Vojak (1396 m) being its highest summit. It is rich in both plant and animal life, especially the hundred-year-old chestnut forests (maruni), various types of healing herbs and some endemic flower species. There are 50 maintained hiking and 8 mountain bicycling trails in the total length of over 200 km within the park.
The Učka Outdoor Program offers the possibility of organized engagement in the following activities:
- Free climbing
- Free flying with hang glider and paraglider
- Mountain bicycling
- Recreational horse-back riding
- Bird watching
- Adventurous races with professional commentary, interpretation and education.
More information is available at:
RIJEKA ASTRONOMY CENTER
The Rijeka Astronomy Center (Astronomski centar Rijeka), opened in April 2009, offers its visitors an interesting popular scientific program taking them on a journey across the night sky while discovering the universe together with them. A gaze at a starry sky, perhaps more romantic here on the Opatija Riviera than on any other place on earth, has now got a whole new dimension. The new programs, namely A Night Sky Guide (Vodič noćnim nebom) and The Universe: It’s up to You to Discover It (Svemir: na vama je da ga otkrijete) are intended for the wider public and are novel in that the program leaders professionally take you through the universe in addition to showing you a projection in the planetarium. The closest similar centers are found in Milan and Vienna, so that a visit to Croatia and Kvarner is an ideal opportunity to learn about the interesting world of astronomy.
The center stretches over an area of 500 sq m of closed and 325 sq m of open space and is excellently equipped and furnished. It therefore took only a short period of time for the Center to become an attraction to all those who wish to find out more about the secrets of the universe and the stars.
More information is available at:
LITTLE ROSE OF VINODOL
The Little Rose of Vinodol (Ružica Vinodola) is an event designed on the basis of an orally passed on story about a tradition dating from the past centuries when the Croatian noble family, the Frankopans, ruled this area. The story speaks about the end of a grape harvest in the Vinodol Valley when the most beautiful and diligent girl grape-picker was selected, who would get a vine laurel and would be taken to the town leading the parade and accompanied by the sound of old folk instruments. The last time this event took place, say the record-keepers, was in the 19th century; more precisely, in 1880.
The present-day Little Rose of Vinodol is a modern festivity inspired by Vinodol’s past. On the basis of the former selection of Ružica and on the model of old-fashioned types of entertainment, the games for the Ružica Competition have been designed and a fair offering contemporary ecological or handmade products organized. The event is accompanied by music and dance over a period of several days.
EYES OF VINODOL VIEW SPOTS
On the territory of Novi Vinodolski, in the Vinodol hinterland, there are six maintained and thematically associated view spots. The highest one is located at 781 m above sea level. The view spots are located at the point of contact between the Mediterranean and continental climatic regions, and offer the visitors the enjoyment of breathtaking and unforgettable views of the Kvarner Bay and the islands, the Velebit Channel, the Velebit Mountain, the Učka Mountain Massif, the Vinodol Valley and Novi Vinodolski.
Carnivals have a very long tradition.
One of the largest and most recognizable European carnivals, the Rijeka International Carnival (Riječki međunarodni karneval), is held in Kvarner in wintertime. The event gathers thousands of masked groups and individuals, troupes and allegorical groups, as well as about a hundred thousand spectators. One of the most attractive moments of the carnival-crazy Kvarner is the festival of bell bearers wearing ancient masks with bull horns in Matulji. Carnivals are held in almost all communities across the region, and the fun vibes are especially radiated by Balinjerada and the International Children’s Carnival in Opatija, the Carnival in Crikvenica and the Summer Carnival in Novi Vinodolski.
SUMMER CARNIVAL IN NOVI VINODOLSKI
The international summer carnival in Novi Vinodolski gathering over 50 masked groups with over 3000 masks offers a lot of entertainment and joyful experiences.
Date: first weekend in July
UNESCO - The Halubian Bell Bearers are included in the list of non-material heritage
The Halubian Bell Bearers (Halubajski zvončari) from the Kastav area, the famous masked participants without which the world famous Rijeka Carnival would definitely not be the same, are one of the seven more recent non-material cultural goods of Croatia that have been entered on UNESCO’s Non-material Heritage List.
UNESCO’s cross-governmental committee has recently entered as many as seven cultural goods from Croatia on the list of non-material cultural heritage. This exceptional recognition has also been awarded to the Halubian Bell Bearers (Halubajski zvončari) from Kastav that traditionally organize their famous Halubian parade under the masks during the carnival days.
More precisely, during the carnival days, regardless of the weather conditions, the bell bearers tour the villages of their region in large groups in accordance with the schedule set long before. It is exactly this tradition that has been proclaimed one of the most recent non-material cultural goods of Croatia under the patronage of UNESCO.
The bell bearers regularly appear as recognizable participants in the famous Rijeka Carnival where they represent a first-class tourist attraction with their impressive stage performance. During their carnival parade as part of the Rijeka Carnival they traditionally represent one of the loudest carnival groups as the sound of their bells is louder than the carnival noise spreading throughout Rijeka during the carnival days. The appearance, just like the sound of the Halubian Bell Bearers, is pretty impressive, even frightening. The bell bearers are wrapped in goat skin with large bells hanging from the lower part of their backs. They have stylized masks on their heads, strange-looking animal heads with a red tongue sticking out and horns. They wear white pants and sailor’s short-sleeved t-shirts. In their hands, they carry a balta or a bačuka, types of stylized maces. Their origin dates to prehistoric times and that is why they have been proclaimed the best keepers of folklore traditions and the municipal identity of Halubje and the Kastav region.
ASPARAGUS FESTIVAL & Gathering of Liburnija Accordion Players
In the month of April, at Trg slobode (Liberty Square) located in the old town of Lovran, Lovran hoteliers, restaurateurs and caterers offer delicious wild asparagus and asparagus dishes prepared according to old local recipes. The event includes a related program (fostering traditional music - the accordion of Trieste locally known as trieštinka, folklore, entertainment and dance). The festival is enriched with performances by accordion players held in hotel and restaurant facilities for the entire duration of the Festival. The closing festivity includes the preparation of vela fritaja (a large egg omelette) from 1000 eggs and 30 kg asparagus. Accompanied by guides from the mountaineering clubs, the visitors have a chance to participate in the asparagus harvest and preparation of asparagus dishes.
Days of Cherries
June is the month in which Lovran and the entire Lovran region become red as the fruits of Brtošinka, the unique Lovran cherry variety, start appearing. At that time, Lovran cafés, restaurants and numerous stands installed at Trg slobode (Liberty Square), located in the old town of Lovran, offer juicy cherries as well as cakes and other dishes prepared from cherries according to old local recipes. The event is spiced by a related program featuring folklore, entertainment and dance. A 10 meter long cherry strudel (štrudel od črešanj) is made at the closing ceremony.
The 37th Marunada (Chestnut Festival), the most famous Lovran gastronomy event, is a true feast for the gourmets including cakes, sweet delicacies and other dishes prepared from chestnuts (maruni) according to old local recipes. Since 1973, the event called MARUNADA has been traditionally organized in Lovran. With time, it turned into a real tourist attraction. For those uninformed, this is a folk festival related to the chestnut harvest that the forests of the Lovran area, part of the Opatija Riviera, abound in. Each year, the month of October is marked by chestnuts. The entertainment program organized in Lovran restaurants, cafés and streets of the old town is accompanied by a rich gastronomic offer of cakes and sweet delicacies made from chestnuts. Each year at the end of October, the cafés of the neighboring town of Opatija also live in the sign of chestnuts (maruni), offering a selection of sweet delicacies prepared from this delicious fruit. It is the time when Lovran hinterland lives in the sign of chestnuts (maruni) too, so that festivities last until the morning hours, besides in Lovran, in the villages of Liganj and Dobreć as well. Hot chestnuts are best served with medica, a homemade brandy (rakija) with chestnut blossom honey.
KANTRIDA POOL COMPLEX, RIJEKA
Under the town physical planning document, the coastal zone in the Kantrida neighborhood is envisaged for sports/recreational and tourism amenities.
The complex has been built on a parcel of 20,000 square meters in area. The five separate pools take up a total area of 9,000 square meters. The largest indoor pool is covered by a movable roof structure. A garage with 148 parking places has also been built as part of the project and the building complex also includes a fitness center, a tourist info desk and a food-service facility. As far as the pool complex is concerned, additional quality in terms of the use of space has been achieved by adding a sun-bathing area (550 sq m) next to the reconstructed old Olympic pool, a food-service facility next to the reception area with a terrace and a restaurant with a terrace at the level of the beach. Not less important, and definitely very attractive, is the new beach zone including a beach spreading over 7,000 sq m and a 350 m long walkway along the beach.