Where true diversities come together.
Perhaps you imagine an ideal holiday, one where you can set off from the shore towards sunny islands, and then sail back to seek the peace and quiet of a mountain peak.
In the process you dream of a sun-bathed Riviera that can, should you so wish, be replaced within a span of 10 km by ascetic peace and fresh mountain air where you are in the company of eagles, wolves and bears, and where your lungs are filled with forest scented air. Discover Kvarner and Gorski Kotar - areas that are so different, but so close.
Where to go
Routes of fragrant rivieras and islands
An encounter with different worlds is just a mild comparison to what one can see and feel in the majestic Opatija and Crikvenica, the maritime Rijeka and stone-carved island of Krk. The diversity does not end there. It continues to our other islands Krk and Cres, the healing island of Lošinj, the sandy Susak, the flower-covered Ilovik and the wooded island of Rab. What is the common theme to all of them? Long ago in the 19th century, this was recognised by the European aristocracy, who chose this particular area, blessed with a mild climate and lush Mediterranean vegetation for their holidays. It is thanks to them that the first luxurious villas and hotels came to be built, and the foundations of the first Croatian resorts were laid: Opatija, Crikvenica, Novi Vinodol... The illustrious members of the nobility were not the only global travellers; the mariners of Lošinj also sailed all over the world, bringing back over 80 species of exotic plants from their voyages. The gardens of small towns are filled with flowers, the landscapes are resplendent with forests and olive groves; shrubs of sage, rosemary and lavender are all around you, wherever you go. Welcome to the fragrant gates of the Adriatic.
Fužine is a famous place with a very long tourist tradition that dates back to 1874 when the first organized trip in history was recorded and guests arrived by special trains from Sušak, Rijeka.
Lubenice is a small, stone-built village perched atop a 378 metre-high ridge, and makes a scenic viewpoint not only for visitors but also for the permanent residents of the island of Cres – its griffon vultures.
Mošćenićka Draga, the jewel of Kvarner at the foot of the Učka Mountain, has carved itself into the rocky ravine. Its autochthonous Mediterranean architecture, history, coastal tradition...
Opatija is a fashionable Adriatic tourist resort. In the past it was a summer and winter destination for the Austro-Hungarian nobility because of its mild Mediterranean climate, and today it is a place of luxury hotels.
Under the watchful eye of the Trsat fortress and the oldest sanctuary dedicated to Our Lady in Croatia is the maritime and cultural centre of Rijeka, which is also home to a Franciscan monastery, a church and the famous Chapel of votive gifts.
The town of Rab, with its four Romanesque bell towers and three main streets – Gornja, Srednja and Donja (upper, middle and lower) – is also home to precious medieval churches and patrician palaces.
Then, allow the elegant villas and hotels, lush gardens and parks to lead you towards Rijeka, the metropolis of the littoral and today the largest trading and maritime centre of the northern Adriatic. Sitting under the watchful eye of the magnificent fortification of Trsat, with the oldest Marian sanctuary in Croatia, together with a Franciscan monastery, St. Vitus Cathedral and the famous votive chapel, Rijeka is a fascinating city, not just as a maritime centre but also one of enviable cultural and artistic life, and home to the greatest carnival event in Croatia.
If you are yearning for the silence of the wide blue expanse and the charm of the islands, then set off into the Kvarner Bay, ringed by the mythical Absyrthian islands from the legend of the Argonauts: Rab, Krk, Cres and Lošinj. Apart from enjoying the epic sights of bora-bleached cliffs, coves and inlets reaching deep into the sea, small sunbathed towns with stone-built houses, abandon yourself to the intoxicating fragrances of lavender, sage, myrtle and umbrella pines, and the 2,700 unique plant species.
These islands will also reveal themselves as the habitat of an enviable number of animal species. Strolling through the towns of Lošinj, Osor on the island of Cres, or Vrbnik on Krk, will open up their nooks and crannies, revealing numerous remains of a rich heritage, like the famous Baška Plaque - a carved stone monument of the Croatian language dating from the year 1100. A climb to the peaks of cliffs will allow you to observe the habitat of rare griffons, and in the waters beneath them enjoy the magical play of dolphins and Mediterranean monk seals. All those seeking clean air with special medicinal properties should continue their journey in the direction of the Crikvenica-Vinodol Riviera which, in 1906, was officially declared a climatic health resort, and where the Therapia Hotel - one of the most beautiful hotel buildings along the entire Croatian coast - was built in 1895.