Opatija, Croatia: Travel Guide & Things to Do!
Opatija in Croatia is a real highlight on the Adriatic coast and certainly one of the places most worth seeing in Kvarner Bay. Already a trendy resort back in the 19th century, this pretty coastal town near Rijeka is once again in vogue today. Every year, tourists from all over the world come to spend their vacations in this historically so important seaside resort. During a visit you will enjoy a wonderful nostalgic ambience with beautiful buildings and villas, whose history goes back to the Habsburg period. Unique and probably one of the most beautiful attractions in Opatija is the Lungomare, the picturesque waterfront promenade, where numerous beautiful beaches invite to sunbathe, swim and relax.
In this travel guide, we provide all the important info and tips about Opatija in Croatia. In addition, we show you the best things to do in Opatija, the most beautiful beaches, lovely pictures, excursion & day trips and where to find recommended accommodations.
General information about Opatija
Opatija is located in Kvarner Bay, about 14 kilometers from Rijeka and 7 kilometers from Lovran. The coastal town is famous mainly for its historical charm and unique ambience, which is truly unique in Croatia. Often called the Nice of Croatia, Vienna by the Sea, the Pearl of the Adriatic or the Old Lady, Opatija already bears countless affectionate nicknames. During a walk through the center and along the Franz-Josef Promenade, the so-called Lungomare, you will enjoy enchanting coastal scenery with fairytale villas and at the same time explore the most beautiful attractions of Opatija on foot.
Opatija had its beginnings as a tourist resort in the 19th century, when the first villa was founded almost 180 years ago. At that time, the architecture of the many beautiful villas was created, which can still be admired along the coast, well renovated. Most of these historic buildings are now B&Bs, apartment houses or hotels, where you can spend dreamlike vacations.
Things to do in Opatija
During a vacation in Opatija you can enjoy a whole range of attractions worth seeing. Most of the sights are located directly along the promenade, which can be explored on foot. However, there are also many highlights to discover in the immediate vicinity. So that you don’t lose the overview, we have summarized the best things to do in Opatija at a glance:
The center of Opatija
The must-see in Opatija is definitely the historic town center. Together with the main beach Slatina, it forms the lively tourist center of the resort. Slatina Street is always very lively because the motto is: see and be seen. Strolling along the vigorous promenade you will discover some of the most magnificent buildings from the imperial period and on top of that you will enjoy a terrific selection of restaurants, cafes and ice cream parlors in addition to beautiful boutiques to do some shopping.
Below the promenade is beach Slatina, a long bay with concrete sunbathing areas and a small sandy beach. This beach comes with the blue flag, the seal for the best beach and sea quality.
Beautiful is the dreamlike Franz-Josef promenade. On a length of about 12 kilometers you can visit numerous attractions of Opatija just passing by. Walking by the sea, you will explore beautiful gardens and parks, picturesque harbors and dreamy bathing bays that invite to jump into the cool water. The most important landmark of Opatija – the statue “Girl with a seagull” – is located directly on this picturesque waterfront. The sculpture was created in 1956 by the sculptor Zvonko Car and today it is probably the most popular photo motif along the entire Riviera!
Walk of Fame
Another interesting place to visit in Opatija is the famous Walk of Fame. Created only in 2015, this Croatian street of fame resembles the famous Walk of Fame in L.A. This art project honored Croatian celebrities who had made a name for themselves in the past, especially in sports, science, art or culture. Currently, there are 32 marble stars on this enchanting street, which is definitely not to be missed during a visit to Opatija.
Villa Angiolina & Botanical Garden
The beautiful Villa Angiolina is one of the main attractions in the seaside resort. Built as a summer resort house in 1844 by the merchant Iginio Scarpa from Rijeka, he laid the foundation for tourism in Opatija at that time. Today, this historic mansion houses the Croatian Tourism Museum, which was founded in 2007. In the big saloon, various exhibitions take place regularly. Also worth seeing is the rear part on the first floor, where the restored original of the “Madonna del Mare” can be seen. Until 1951, this work of art could be found on the spot by the sea where the “Girl with the Seagull” is now located.
Next to Villa Angiolina you should also visit the Botanical Garden. It is now the central city park and open to the public free of charge. On an area of about 3.7 hectares, one discovers over 150 different, partly exotic flowers and plant species, which come from different continents. Another attraction is the Wall of Fame, a graffiti artwork worth seeing, where celebrities who have visited Opatija have been immortalized.
Really cool and another reason why Opatija is such a popular vacation destination are the many cool beach clubs and the partly really nostalgic beach pools. Recommended is the exclusive Lido beach club, which pampers its visitors with a beautiful infinity pool and delicious drinks. Although it belongs to Hotel Bevanda, it is also freely accessible to non-hotel guests. Another great beach club is Angiolina Beach Club, located right next to the swanky Hotel Kvarner, still exuding plenty of historic flair.
Restaurants & Cafés
Another must-do during your vacation in Opatija is to try the terrific gastronomic offer. The coastal town is famous for its exquisite restaurants, hip bars and cozy cafes that invite to enjoy delicacies and linger. Here, a lot of emphasis is placed on regional ingredients and good wine, which means you will find truffles, wild asparagus and Kvarner scampi on almost every menu.
The beaches of Opatija
The beautiful beaches in Opatija are unique in Kvarner Bay. Above all, the many nostalgic villas and buildings from the imperial era that line the entire Riviera add an extra dose of charm to the magnificent bays. From the center to the north of Volosko, countless beaches and small bathing places are lined up, all of which can be easily reached on foot along the coastal promenade. Most of the beaches are well-kept concrete, rocky or pebble beaches. The main beach is Slatina beach in the center. This is definitely the busiest. Especially beautiful are Lipovica beach and Tomasevac beach.
Hidden in the northern part of Opatija is picturesque Volosko, a small romantic fishing village that has now become a popular vacation destination over the years. Here you can expect a very special charm, because the dreamy little town is still a bit quieter and cozier than the center of Opatija. Along the harbor promenade there are some typical traditional konobas and small cafes where you can enjoy the beautiful old town scenery. Beautiful and a landmark is the Church of St. Ana with its two towers built in 1708.
A real insider tip in Opatija is the beautiful American Garden, an oasis of peace and relaxation. It is one of the few attractions that are not located directly at the coast, but a little above the town. Perhaps that is why only a few visitors find their way to the garden. It’s a pity, really, because on a tour through the almost 100-year-old area there are many beautiful things and a magnificent plant splendor to discover. Unique is also the enchanting view over Kvarner Bay, which can be enjoyed from the terraces of the garden.
Where to stay in Opatija
For a vacation in Opatija you can find a phenomenal offer of different accommodations. These are mainly 4-5 star hotels, but also vacation apartments and small B&Bs. If you are looking for a lovely place to stay in Opatija, then we can give you these accommodation tips on the way…It’s worth a look!
- 5-star Hotel: The exclusive 5-star hotel Amadria Park Hotel Milenij is one of the best hotels in Opatija. Here you stay at the sea on the promenade Lungo Mare, enjoy a great wellness area and a noble ambience.
- Apartment with flair: The Apartment Kamelija is a large, beautiful vacation apartment in Opatija. Great is the location not far from the center and the beach. Also a parking lot is ready for guests!
- Guesthouse: The Guesthouse Katarina convinces with beautiful, clean apartments with an amazing view. The beach, the city center as well as the nice quarter Volosko are not far away.
- 4-star Hotel: The Hotel Miramar is one of the absolute top hotels in Opatija. The perfect location by the sea with private beach, the beautiful spa area and the fantastic culinary offer are convincing.
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