Opatija – Queen of Tourism
Opatija is small town with population around 12.000 people and it is located in the Kvarner Bay, beneath the southern slopes of the mountain Ucka and around 15 km from Rijeka, Croatia’s third largest city.
The centre of the Opatija Riviera, Opatija town is surrounded by great number of small towns and villages, from Volosko to Lovran, linked by a seafront promenade Lungo mare.
Opatija is very reachable; this Mediterranean resort is now closer to Central Europe than ever before thanks to its road network. However, you can choose other types of transportation – a train station, airports and harbours are easily accessible within a 40 kilometre radius.
Opatija is well known under names such as “The First Lady”, “Pearl of the Adriatic”,”Sankt Jakobi”, “Abbazia”, “Old dame”, “Queen of Tourism”. Surrounded by a backdrop of densely-wooded hills, it sits where the Istrian peninsula meets the Kvarner Riviera.
Avoiding the Austrian’s winter cold, the Hapsburg nobility of the Austro-Hungarian Empire set the fashion in the year 1844. Attracted by the mild microclimate, Opatija’s splendent guest list included crowned heads, composers, novelists, and other celebrities of the day. They all gathered in Opatija to take in the sea air, recover their energy in hot baths, cold baths, and the sanatorium; and to dance or gamble until late night hours. Other famous visitors included Chekhov, Puccini, and Gustav Mahler – who came to convalesce here after a case of tonsillitis. Writer James Joyce regularly took tea on the Hotel Imperial’s terrace, Isadora Duncan danced to the swaying fronds of a palm tree outside her balcony in the Villa Amalia, an annex of today’s Hotel Kvarner.
Handily placed benches invite you to sit and contemplate the Adriatic where the islands of Cres and Krk loom in the shimmering blue of Kvarner bay. Opatija retains an air of dowager duchess opulence: grand hotels with crystal chandelier ballrooms; Viennese-style pastries slathered in cream; visitors sporting old-fashioned finery. Beauty and elegance are passed on to each guest, and many tourists keep coming back every year for the rest of their lives, claiming that they simply feel wonderful in this place of elegance, luxury, wellness and natural beauty.
Visiting Opatija you can feel ambience of the 19th century everywhere and amongst grand hotels with elegant facades you can easily visualise past visitors from Austria’s Hapsburg dynasty, such as the Emperor Franz Joseph, or a long list of world dignitaries who have over the years chosen this gem of Croatia’s Adriatic coast as their holiday destination. And what Opatija has preserved and certainly has today is a holiday destination of elegance and style!
Summer holiday of your dreams, choose Croatia’s famous tourist destination of Opatija. After enjoying the sun on the beach, you are invited to visit some of the numerous cultural events in town. During the summer, Opatija becomes a Mecca for culture and the arts: multimedia events, film, literature, concerts and theatrical performances in the summer turn Opatija into a stage without boundaries between artists and audiences.
For good evening ambience, it is recommendable that you visit the most beautiful terrace in Opatija – the terrace of the Hotel Kvarner, which was built in 1884 as the first hotel in the town. The newly refurbished terrace hosts attractive musical and stage performances. The terraces of other hotels also offer a variety of interesting musical and entertainment programmes. These include the Remisens Premium Hotel Ambasador, the Remisens Family Hotel Excelsior, the Remisens Family Hotel Marina All Inclusive Light, and the Hotel Palace Bellevue.
For jazz lovers, Opatija is the place to visit every year on the first weekend in July, because in that time since 2003, town plays host to the Liburnia Jazz Festival, with a programme tailored to meet the expectations of even the most demanding audiences. The distinctive feature of this festival is the Jazz Boat, where you can enjoy your favourite music on a trip along the coast of the Riviera on warm summer nights. There are also numerous concerts on Opatija’s terraces. The main programme takes place under a starry sky at Opatija’s Open Air Theatre.
Peak of high season, July and August, are ideal for sunbathing on a beach where you can soak up the summer sun and relax body and mind. Surrender to the magic of the sea and visit beaches that offer daily entertainment in their bars, karaoke programms and a wide range of excellent culinary specialities. In the evening, the town wakes up again, offering a lively nightlife to suit every taste.