Opatija – The city where it all started

Opatija, a harmonious city known by many names, such as – The Adriatic NiceThe Pearl of AdriaticThe Queen of TourismVienna by the Sea, or The Old Lady. Croatian tourism started in Opatija and the city rightly bears such names. The formation of the city and the tourist tradition began in 1844. If you walk through Opatija, you will surely feel the magnificent history and culture of the city. And maybe even hear the verses of the past.

This distinctive and charming coastal town rich in history and culture is an oasis of many beautiful locations, monuments, colorful parks, and idyllic hotels and villas. Opatija offers a special atmosphere of the unique sea and forest promenades and architecture from the Habsburg era located along the beautiful Adriatic coast on the one hand. And an impressive forest and mountain landscape in the hinterland on the other. Thanks to which the city abounds in beautiful vegetation, together with elegant and lush parks. Thanks to the picturesque panorama and mild Mediterranean climate, Opatija is one of the pearls of the Adriatic coast. It is special for its striking Habsburg influence and rich cultural heritage.

The formation of the city

Opatija has formed around the Benedictine abbey of St. Jacob. The first mention of Opatija was in 1449. It is assumed that this is why it got its present name (Opatija means “abbey”). The ideal position between the sea on one side and the lush greenery of the Učka mountain in the hinterland have made Opatija a desirable European destination at the very beginning of tourism in this area. A favorable geographical position has provided this most elegant and charming tourist lady from Kvarner, the epithet of a place with the longest tradition of tourism in Croatia.

opatija street architecture apartmants

History and heritage 

The history of modern Opatija began a little over 170 years ago. In 1844, the patrician of Rijeka, Ignacio Scarpa, built his mansion – Villa Angiolina. This event is considered the beginning of organized tourism in Opatija. The intensive growth and development of Opatija under the rule of Austro-Hungary will begin. Opatija was connected to Vienna by rail and there were no more obstacles to explosive growth. Hotels, swimming pools, a climatic health resort, a pavilion with an indoor swimming pool with heated seawater, a swimming pool with changing cabins. And one of today’s trademarks of Opatija – the Lungomare promenade is being to build.

opatija croatiaThanks to the mild climate and favorable location, the city soon became a favorite gathering place of the elite and aristocracy, especially the Austro-Hungarian nobility. One of the most famous guests of Opatija was the Austrian Emperor Francis Joseph I. In 1884, the Kvarner hotel was built as the first hotel on the Adriatic coast. In the years that followed, the construction of hotels and villas continued to meet the increased demand for accommodation in this coastal city. Opatija soon became a modern destination. That has not changed even today. The Austro-Hungarian influence is still visible on the facades of Opatija’s buildings, and the spirit of the past can be felt at every step.

Hotel kvarner hotel opatija croatia

What to visit in Opatija?

Opatija has a rich history and offers plenty of sights. The elegance and refined beauty of the first Croatian tourist destination are perfectly preserved for the new generation of guests who will enjoy it. A walk through Opatija will show you numerous monuments that testify to the glorious past of this city.

Promenade Lungomare

The promenade is a favorite among visitors of Opatija. A walk along the coastal route, undisturbed by traffic, is a real relaxation from stress and every day worries. The promenade was completed in 1889 when Opatija was declared a climatic health resort.

promenade opatija lungomare croatia

Girl with a seagull

The girl with a seagull is a symbol of the city and the entire Kvarner. An elegant statue on a rock along the coastal promenade Lungomare hides an interesting story and the identity of a girl who has been a secret for decades.

Girl with a seagull

Park St. James and Angiolina Park 

Colorful parks and fairytale promenades turn every walkthrough Opatija into a special experience. You can enjoy the extraordinary beauty of Opatija’s parks and the relaxing ambiance provided by the vicinity of the sea.

Park St. James and Angiolina Park

Villa Angiolina 

Villa Angiolina is the cradle of Opatija tourism. In Villa Angiolina you can still feel a touch of Austro-Hungarian history. And enjoy the various exhibitions of the Croatian Museum of Tourism, which is located in it.

Croatian Museum of Tourism 

Opatija is home to the Croatian Museum of Tourism, as the place of the very beginnings of Croatian tourism. The museum is located in two buildings – Villa Angiolini, where is a permanent exhibition. And in the Art Pavilion Juraj Šporer, where various exhibitions and events alternate.

Church of St. James 

The church of St. James, built in the first half of the 15th century as a Benedictine abbey. After which the town gets its name. Next to the church, there is a bell tower, a monastery, and a cloister with a well in the middle. Around the church is the park of St. Jacob, as well as the Lungomare promenade.

Croatian Street of Fame

On the one part of the promenade, there is a Croatian Hall of Fame modeled on the one in Hollywood. Some of the most deserving personalities from the world of sports, culture, art, and science got their stars.

Lungomare

Lungomare is a promenade by the sea, on the route Volosko – Opatija – Lovran. The best way to start your journey is from Volosko, a small fishing village north of Opatija. Known for its narrow streets, art galleries, the beautiful small fishing port of Mandrač, and prestigious restaurants. This symbol of Opatija stretches along the sea, which is why it has always been a favorite Opatija promenade. Walking along the promenade is first and foremost enjoying the fresh sea air, the beautiful coastal landscape, and its many bays, but also much more than that. It is also an opportunity to learn about local history.

A 12 km long coastal promenade and beautifully formed trails will take you to the most amazing beaches in Opatija. Famous sights such as the Park and Villa Angiolina, and the statue of the Girl with the Seagull. You can get to know the charms of magnificent old villas and see spectacular examples of top 19th-century architecture as you stroll along the sea. Explore this seaside promenade if you want to enjoy the stunning sights, hear the calming sounds of the sea waves. Feel the warmth of the sun and fresh air on your face or enjoy the view of thousands of stars as you walk with your loved ones. Lungomare after more than a hundred years with equal attraction calls for a walk and discovering its secrets, which will surely become part of your memories.

opatija promenade riva lungomare

Accommodation in Opatija

Quality accommodation in Opatija is easy to find. Guests have at their disposal hotel rooms with a sea view, pleasant romantic rooms, and spacious family apartments. All with the guarantee of an unforgettable vacation on the Opatija Riviera. From affordable family rooms to five-star apartments. Opatija has something for everyone. Thanks to its favorable geographical position, Opatija is easily accessible from many major European cities and airports. The mild climate makes the Opatija area a desirable destination in every season.

The vicinity of the sea and mountains provides countless opportunities for recreational activities and entertainment for all ages. Opatija has always been known as a destination for wellness, and today there are several quality wellness centers in the city. If we add to that the coastal promenade Lungomare, clean beaches, green parks, great restaurants, and plenty of cultural events. We get a city created for relaxation, full of activities and entertainment opportunities.

You can find accommodation in Opatija on Visitteo. Compare prices of hotels, apartments, rooms, studios, villas, and many other forms of accommodation.