The First Croatian Gem, Opatija | Travel Research Online


The First Croatian Gem, Opatija

Sitting at the foot of the Učka Mountain, the city of Opatija has been a seaside resort since the late 1800s. With the Adriatic Sea shining along an almost 8-mile coast, and Kvarner Bay hosting relaxing beaches. Though there was some decline in the state of the city following the 19th century golden age, it has returned to a gleaming example of the gems that sit along the coasts of Croatia.

Opatija from the sea is an experience of how stunning the Croatian coasts remain to this day. The sparkle of the sea meets bright villas and, further, a slow-rising mountain of green; creating a scene sought after for the sheer excitement of simply being there. This is one of the reasons that Opatija was officially declared by the imperial government to be a climatic health resort in 1889, making it popular for health and wellness tourism.

Town of Opatija and Lungomare sea walkway aerial panoramic view, Kvarner bay of Croatia
Town of Opatija and Lungomare sea walkway aerial panoramic view, Kvarner bay of Croatia

This seaside city is also home to the first hotel along the Adriatic, built in 1884, Hotel Kvarner. This historic four-star hotel is said to have been the starting point for all tourism in the Adriatic area, as well hosting famous figures such as Austrian emperor Franz Joseph. Even if none of the 18 rooms are available, the traditional elegance of this hotel is worth a look.

Of course, no journey through a city like Opatija is complete without a taste of the local food. The traveler can partake in a Croatian cheese called Grobnički sir, often served with a local ham. Or an unsmoked and sea wind-cured prosciutto that tastes of rosemary, bay leaf, and pepper. Then there’s the fresh pasta, recently caught scampi, and a wide selection of Croatian wines.

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One of the sites travelers will return to often on an Opatija getaway is the stone promenade along the seafront called the Lungomare. Perfect for sunrise and sunset views of the Adriatic Sea, this walk is one that all ages and abilities can enjoy. Cafes and restaurants along this walk add plenty of spots to sit while enjoying the tastes of Croatia. Beaches along the path also provide the traveler with sun, sea, and swimming. With a total length of 7.4mi, there’s more than plenty to do and see.

Then there’s the surrounding area. For the nature lovers out there, trails wander up the Učka Mountain… aptly named the Učka Nature Park. These trails range from easy to hard. Also, just outside of Opatija is Moscenicka Draga, a smaller and even more relaxing town on the coast.

There are many reasons this resort city has been a hotspot for centuries, evolving with the times to be a mature getaway. And, as with most destinations along the Adriatic Sea, cruises are one of the most efficient and fun ways to see as much as the traveler can. Katarina Line, a premier cruise specialist with a fleet of over 50 vessels in 6 categories and a headquarters situated in this magnificent town, offers a variety of small-ship cruise itineraries. With Opatija and so many more Mediterranean destinations available, Katarina is ready to take the traveler to some of the most sought-after coasts in the world.

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