Kvarner is an area which has been developing tourism for over 160 years because of it diversity – from climate conditions, vegetation and the combination of the coastal area, islands and mountains to the architecture and culture. This used to be the summer and winter resort of the Habsburg dynasty members, who spurred the growth of exclusive tourist centres such as Opatija, which got its first summer residence – Villa Antigona, in 1844.

Hotel Kvarner, the first on the east coast of the Adriatic was opened in March of 1884. As soon as 1885, the first tourist visited Mali Lošinj. It was a famous Austrian physician Dr.Conrad Clar, who brought along his sick son. The child’s health improved and the reputation of Lošinj as a climate health resort grew stronger.

While Emperor Franz Joseph fell in love with Opatija, his brother Joseph opted for Crikvenica, which got its first public beach in 1888, followed by a hotel.

The first inhabitants of Kvarner were Liburni, who developed their influence and trading connections here. Greek sea men and Romans were the ones who had the most influence on this area. There are many cultural trails and historical monuments that speak of the mighty Roman influence. Baščanska ploča one of the most important monuments to early Croatian literacy dating from around the year 1100 speaks of the history of Croats in this area.

This is one of the most valuable monuments of early Croatian literacy. It was found in the church of St. Lucija in Jurandvor, close to Baška on the island of Krk, in mid 19th century. The writing on it belongs to the transitive period from the older, rounded ‘glagoljica’ (glagolitic alphabet) to the more angled writing.

The cities of Kvarner

The tourist image of the town of Rijeka, third by its size in Croatia, is determined by its geographic position. It marks the point where a passer by, travelling by road or railway, will first set eye on the sea. The entrance to Rijeka is extremely attractive, from the west as well as the east. The most attractive view of Rijeka is when arriving by boat. Rijeka is the most important Croatian port and a large industrial centre.

Its location is enriched with natural and cultural values, the Mediterranean climate, and the closer and broader mountainous surroundings. Rijeka can boast its numerous historical sites.

A tour of Rijeka traditionally begins on Trg Riječke Rezolucije (the Square of Resolution) located in the south west corner of the Old town. The square is dominated by a baroque church front of the once Augustine and now Dominican monastery of St. Jeronim. It was built as part of the Augustine monastery, as a foundation of Rijeka`s masters and counts.

Located in the centre of the square is a stone pillar for the town`s flag, the so called “stendardac”, with a relief portrayal of St. Vid, the patron saint of Rijeka, who is holding a model of the town in his hand. It was put up in the 16th century as a sign of gratitude of the Austrian emperor to the people of Rijeka for their help in the fight against the Venetians.

The building of Radio Rijeka is one of the sites which stand out, built in 1848 as a gathering place of the town`s elite. This building was the centre of cultural and political life in Rijeka. Today, it holds the People`s library and the exhibition space Mali Salon, while Radio Rijeka is on the upper floor. The Resolution of Rijeka, after which the square was named, was made in the hall, overlooking the square, in 1906.

Tourists are also recommended to climb up the steps of the hill Kalvarija, visit the cemetery Kozala, the church of Uznesenja Blažene Djevice Marije, the ruins of Trsat, the city wall, the baroque palace that was once a sugar refinery, the Kapucin Lourdes Church of Our Lady and the Turkish house.

Opatija is located at the foot of the nature park Mount Učka and makes an excellent choice for a summer as well as a winter vacation. The beautiful nature, its parks and the Austro-Hungarian villas, the walking paths and beaches make it an elegant tourist destination with the longest tourist history in Croatia. It was built in the transition from 19th to 20th century and has kept its harmony with nature up until this day. The whole of Opatija is a large stage, woven with villas and numerous hotels located on the sea front with the town`s main promenade only a short walking distance away, making the whole area calming and invigorating.

One of the sites that should definitely be visited is the church of St. Jakov, most probably built around 1420. The whole town was later named after this abbey. Today it has kept very little of its original state. In 1506, the abbot Šimun built or refurbished the church, as stated on the sign above the portal and at the end of the 18th century it was completely renovated, only to be significantly extended in the 1930s.

Kept in the church is the replica of the graphic Piet, made by the famous Croatian sculptor Ivan Meštrović. Also interesting is the fountain of Helios and Selena, located in one of Opatija`s beautiful parks, just opposite the Hotel Imperial, in the vicinity of St. Jakov`s church. The fountain represents the sun and the moon, a character personification of the mythological brother and sister.

Modelled on the Hollywood Walk of Fame, marble stars have been inserted into the pavement of Opatija`s famous promenade, in honour of the individuals who have contributed to the promotion of Croatia with their sports, scientific, artistic and other accomplishments.

The big church of Navještenja Blažene Djevice Marije belongs to the most beautiful part of Opatija’s panorama. With its outer beauty and impressiveness it decorates Opatija and gives it the shape of a complete city.

The Museum of tourism has been situated in Villa Angiolina- the oldest and perhaps the most beautiful villa in Opatija- since 2007.

Opatija is famous for its 12 km promenade along the coast called Lungomare. Its renewal started in 1885 and it was extended to Lovran in 1911.

The Opatija Riviera

Ičići is a picturesque, intimate, coastal town, located on the most beautiful part of Kvarner, where the gentle slopes of Učka descend towards the sea. It grew along the beautiful and famous Opatija and Lovran. The large beach in the centre holds a Blue flag which guarantees clean waters.

Lovran is a town of long and rich history with a hundred year old tourism tradition. It was named after the bay trees which grow in abundance in the town and its surroundings. Lovran has kept the medieval urban concept of its historic core. The good climate, the rich Mediterranean vegetation and the favourable geographic location enabled the strong development of tourism during the transition from 19th to 20th century, when numerous villas and summer houses were built.

Mošćenička Draga
One of the most beautiful pebbled beaches on the Adriatic is situated in the town of Mošćenička Draga located 15 km from Opatija. The town lives from tourism and stands out with its hospitality.

Matulji, also known as the ‘Gate of Kvarner’ began rapidly developing in 1873, when a train from Vienna arrived at the newly built railway station. This place connects Kvarner to the mountainous hinterland, so guests can enjoy the chilly evenings as well as cycling and hiking. The closest beach is located less than 2 km away.

The whole town of Crikvenica is actually a Riviera consisting of a string of urban, almost joint tourist towns: Selce, Crikvenica, Dramalj and Jadranovo. It is located 35 km from Rijeka. The Austrian and Hungarian authorities had been leaving a Central European trail, for centuries. It is still noticeable today, especially in hotel architecture. Crikvenica attracts with its exclusiveness which reminds of the times of kings, dukes and baronesses. It equally attracts with its exquisite beaches, clean sea, comforting greenery and quality fresh air. A 15 km long Roman trail and the town`s museum stand out as attractions.

A town in a lively bay, in the vicinity of Crikvenica is a rounded urban unit with characteristic architecture of a small coastal summer resort. The mild climate enables it to be visited at all times of the year, which also makes Selce a famous health resort. The town has managed to keep an image of a typical coastal place, while its surroundings are full of sandy beaches.

Because of its easily accessible beaches and many sports and recreation contents, Dramalj is extremely suitable for a family vacation as well as for lovers of active holidays. It is not unknown to naturists either, so a part of the beach in the untouched natural surroundings is intended exactly for them. Swimmers in search of peace will also find a place for themselves, as will the wind surfers, sailors and water skiers in search of speed and movement.

Jadranovo is an attractive tourist resort suitable for a quiet holiday, which enchants with its beautiful surroundings, untouched nature, many bays and romantic, secluded natural beaches. The coastal walking path has been renovated, while the entangled forest paths are ideal for walks and recreation.

Novi Vinodolski
This town was the fortified centre of the Frankopan knights in the Middle Ages, situated in the fertile Vinodol valley Vallis Vinearia, where the famous Vinodol statute book was re-written in 1288. This is one of the most important documents of Croatian Medieval law. The physiognomy of the town is characterized by coastal architecture of white fronts and red roof tops. It is recognizable by its old town core which ascends from sea level to the church and tower on the hill. The town and its surroundings-without industrial pollution- and the forest hinterland are suitable for hunting tourism, while the sports and recreation facilities, the crystal blue sea and the abundance of culturally entertaining events (one of which is the International Summer Carneval), all offer an unforgettable holiday.

Senj is one of the oldest towns in northern Adriatic. It was founded in pre-Roman times and is mentioned in the works of Greek and Roman geographers and historians. Its title comes from the name Senia or Sen, which means `old place`in the Ilirian language. Today Senj has the form of a medival town. Senj is a town of history, parish, glagolitic alphabet, typography and poetry. The most famous resident of Senj is Bura (strong, norteastern wind). Perched above it is the fort Nehaj, which was partly built on the foundations of the church of St. Juraj, the patron saint of the town. It was built in 1558 under the supervision of the Vojna Krajina general Ivan Lenković and is the largest fortified building on the Adriatic. The Nehaj tower and the brave Uskoks are the symbol of the fight for freedom and resistance to foreign authorities. The history of Senj, the use of glagoljica in the Senj parish and the writers from Senj, largely contributed to Croatian history, language and ethnicity. The biggest and oldest summer carnival on the Adriatic is held in Senj. It also has a long tradition of a Shrovetide winter carnival, at which the everyday lives of the citizens of Senj are shown through satire and under masks.

The ancient town of Kastav rises on a high hill above Kvarner. It is said that no town in this area has such a tradition and identity as Kastav, which was historically the administrative, economic and cultural centre of Central Istria and Primorje.

The natural attractions of Kvarner

1. The island of Cres
The island of Cres was already inhabited in the early Stone Age. The continuity of life on the island has left a rich historical and cultural heritage: from a multitude of Liburnian ruins, remains of ancient cities, early Catholic churches scattered across the island, a monastery and remains of the town`s heritage from the Venetian period to the monuments of today.

Located in the small village Beli is the eco-centre Caput Insulae, whose main assignment is to take care of the survival of the endangered white headed vulture. Hurt, exhausted, poisoned or very young vultures who fall into the sea during their first flights, recuperate until they are released into the nature in the Recuperation centre. The eco-centre has also opened two feeding points where up to a hundred tons of food is delivered to the vultures each year.

The town of Lubenice tells a special story on the island of Cres. This is a stony medieval town, with an unbroken 4000 year old tradition. The fort that rises at the top of a 378 metre cliff is a jewel of Croatian rural architecture. This small place is famous for its Summer Music Nights festival which has hosted some big names from the classical music scene.

2. The dolphins of Kvarner
It is a known fact that dolphins can be found in clean sea waters. Such water can be found around the islands of Cres and Lošinj where there are around 120 resident dolphins. “The Adriatic Dolphin Project” was founded in 1987and has since then acted on the protection and research of dolphins. The Day of the Dolphin has been held as a manifestation since 1993 in Veli Lošinj, every first Saturday in August.

3. The waters around Lošinj
The waters around Lošinj have long been recognized as an ideal diving area. Its depths hold sunken ancient ships. They can be found at several locations close to the islands of Susak, Unije and Ilovik. In 1999, at a depth of 45 meters, an ancient bronze statue of the athlete Apoksiomen was recovered. Only seven preserved statues of Apoksiomen exist in the world. The two thousand year old statue was recovered from the depths of the sea and restored in detail. After it was brought back to its formal glory, the statue of Apoksiomen was permanently exhibited at the Kvarner palace in Mali Lošinj. Motivated by this important archaeological discovery, Days of Apoksiomen have been organized by the people of Lošinj, where various events are held and the importance of its recovery as cultural heritage is emphasised.

4. Košljun on the island of Krk
Košljun is a must see destination for the visitors of the island of Krk. The history of this island goes back to pre Christian times. The historical importance of Košljun became more visible after the founding of the Benedictian Abbey during the 11th century. The island holds a museum with a valuable collection of objects used by the fishermen and farmers of Krk as well as the island`s national costumes and for children, there is an especially interesting zoological collection and library.

5. The cave Biserujka on the island of Krk
The existence of this cave, located at Rudine above the Silvanj bay, has been known for over a hundred years. The 16 thousand year old remains of a cave bear have been excavated here. With its length of around 110 m and the vastness of its underground space, the cave exhilarates with its beauty. The cave is lit and the paths and passages are accessible to everyone.

6. The forest Dundo on the island of Rab
The largest forest complex is located on the peninsula Kalifronta and its most famous part is the forest Dundo or Dundovo, which was proclaimed a special reserve of forest vegetation in 1949. It is one of the rarely preserved forests on the Mediterranean and the most significant on the island of Rab.

7. The walking path Carmen Sylve in Opatija
The walking path completed in 1901 passes through an area above Opatija, through bay leaf and chestnut forests, rich with wild asparagus.

8. Kuntrep, the island of Krk
In 1969 it was proclaimed a special ornithological reserve and it stretches across a thousand acres in the area of Baška. This is the residence of the griffon vulture as well as the short toed eagle, the grey falcon, the long eared owl, the sea swallow, the cuckoo and many others.

8. The ‘Dolphin Way’ walking trail in Mali Lošinj
The island of Lošinj has many walking trails and one of the most famous ones is the network of walking trails under the name ‘Dolphin way’, which encircles the south part of Lošinj. Walking across it one can very frequently see dolphins in the sea and that is how the path got its name. The waters of Lošinj are a natural dolphin reserve and dolphins are the biggest attraction of this area.

9. The Vrtara Mala cave in Dramalj
The Vrtara Mala cave is around 30 meters deep and a home to a very rare species of an underground cave shrimp and prawn, which are completely white and have no eyes. The Vrtara Mala cave is a protected monument of nature.

The Tourist Board of the Primorsko-goranska County

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