Opatija is a popular resort town with a history of tourism dating back more than 150 years. At its center sit several grand pastel-colored villas and elegant buildings, with architectural styles ranging from classical to Baroque, Venetian and Gothic. Stroll along the romantic Lungomare coastal promenade, swim at Slatina Beach and visit famous seafood restaurants in Volosko.
This town was a sleepy fishing village until the mid-19th century when a rich merchant, Iginio Scarpa, built the lavish Villa Angiolina as a vacation getaway. Later, the railway arrived at Opatija and authorities began developing and promoting the town as an elite vacation destination for European nobles and aristocrats. As you explore, look for hints of its opulent past in the extravagant Austro-Hungarian architecture.
Trace the resort town’s history at the impeccably restored Villa Angiolina and various other longstanding tourist establishments, such as Hotel Kvarner and Hotel Imperial. Opatija’s main street, Maršala Tita, has additional examples of lavish Austro-Hungarian architecture.
Stop at Slatina Beach, where vacationers congregate to swim and sunbathe. Take a walk along the Lungomare, an oceanfront promenade stretching for 7.5 miles (12 kilometers). This attractive tree-lined trail leads past ornate oceanfront villas and offers access to scenic rocky coves.
North of Opatija lies the old fishing village of Volosko. Stop at its lauded seafood restaurants, which serve fish fresh from the harbor. In the center of town, museums and churches, including the Croatian Museum of Tourism in Villa Angiolina and the 15th-century St. Jakov’s Church, provide indoor entertainment for a rare rainy day.
For a more challenging outdoor adventure, hike up Mount Učka. The forested slopes of the mountain can be seen looming above the Opatija skyline. Follow one of several trails leading to its summit.
Opatija is about 9 miles (14 kilometers) from Rijeka. It is relatively small and best explored on foot. There is no train station in the village, so use regular bus services departing from Rijeka to get here.