Nestled between the mountains and the sea on the Istrian peninsula, Opatija is a world-renowned 19th-century wellness resort. It drew countless celebrities and VIPs from across Europe during the belle epoque, and visitors today will find countless treasures to discover. There are gorgeous beaches, picturesque parks, majestic mansions, and historic monuments. The Lungomare, a seaside promenade, is a highlight with its stunning views of the coast on one side and grand mansions on the other.
Opatija’s Walk of Fame may not feature Hollywood stars, but you will find many legendary Croatian names with the symbolic tribute to those who have contributed significantly to the promotion of the country, from sporting to artistic, cultural, and scientific endeavours, including inventor Nikola Tesla, poet Tin Ujevic, and tennis great Goran Ivanisevic. This sophisticated destination also offers a thriving dining scene that’s made it one of the most important gastronomic hubs in Croatia.
Opatija hosts some of the finest accommodation you’ll find on the Adriatic coast, with many stylish luxury hotels, although there are some budget-friendly options too, with the best found among private apartment and room rentals available through local families. Many come with sea-view terraces and swimming pools. The Volosko neighbourhood to the north of the city centre along the road towards Kastav and Rijeka is one of the most scenic with its photogenic harbour as well as offering multiple outstanding restaurants that serve fresh seafood.
While Opatija’s Walk of Fame may not come with the names of glamourous Hollywood stars, it’s no less interesting. Launched in 2005, it honours many legendary Croatian names as a symbolic tribute to all those whose cultural, artistic, scientific or sporting endeavours have contributed significantly to the promotion of Croatia around the world. Just of few of the names that have been honoured include inventor Nikola Tesla, tennis great Goran Ivanišević and poet Tin Ujević.
Enjoy the Views, Beaches and Mansions Along the Lungomare
The shaded promenade that follows the rocky coast for 7.4 miles is a must-visit. Even if you don’t have time to walk the entire length between Volosko and nearby Lovran, you’ll want to take advantage of at least a short trek, to enjoy the enchanting views with towering mansions and villas, some abandoned with others transformed into luxury hotels, along with stretches of beach and the beautiful sea views in an area where the riviera is at its best.
Visit the Museum of Croatian Tourism and Its Breathtaking Surroundings
Villa Angiolina was once the heart of the high society crowd that came to visit in the 19th centuryth-century, built in 1844, with guests like Emperor Franz Jozef himself. Today it serves as the Museum of Croatian Tourism, preserving memories of its fascinating past. The building itself is one of the grandest in the city, with remarkable frescos, gilded mirrors and geometric floor mosaics. It showcases a permanent collection of posters, brochures, postcards and old photos that trace the history of tourism.
When to visit Opatija
The best months to visit Opatija for a beach holiday are July and August which bring the warmest temperatures, ideal for soaking up the sun and swimming in the enticing clear blue waters with average daytime highs in the upper 20s. If you’d like to enjoy a mix of sightseeing and beach time without the biggest crowds of the year, you’ll want to come in June or September with the water warmer in late summer/early fall.
Pietro Our Croatia Expert
How many days do you need in Opatija?
It’s possible to experience the highlights of Opatija with a two-day visit, including the Walk of Fame, Lungomare, one or two of the beaches, and perhaps the Museum of Croatian Tourism, but ideally, you’ll have at least five days. That will provide enough time to enjoy a day at one of your favourite beaches, take a long walk on the seaside promenade with stops for the many photo-ops, and visit nearby places with this town an ideal base for a variety of tours and excursions, including day trips to Plitvice Lakes National Park.
What is the best time to visit Opatija for swimming and sunbathing?
As a glamourous beachside resort town, many visitors come to take advantage of the beaches for swimming and sunbathing. If that’s your primary reason for coming, you’ll want to plan your visit between June and September, however, swimming is possible in May and October, though the sea temperatures may be a bit too chilly for some at just under 20 degrees Celsius. To avoid the biggest crowds, and enjoy the most pleasantly warm weather and comfortable water temperatures, aim for around mid-June or the latter half of September.
What are the essential sites to see in Opatija?
A walk along the Lungomare promenade is something every visitor should do, although you don’t have to walk the entire 7.4 miles. The stretch between Volosko and Lovran is the most impressive, ideal for an evening walk after dinner. The Walk of Fame reveals a look at some of Croatia’s greatest contributors like Nikola Tesla, while a selfie next to the town’s most famous statue, the Girl with a Seagull, is really a must as a symbol of tragedy on the Kvarner Gulf, honouring a local Count who lost his life in a storm.
Is Opatija worth visiting?
Opatija is a definite highlight on the Adriatic Coast as one of the towns most worth visiting in the Kvarner Bay region. Visitors come from across the globe to this magnificent seaside resort that offers a rich history to explore, with many majestic buildings, a fabulous nostalgic ambience, gorgeous beaches, and numerous possibilities for excursions and day trips, including boat tours and visits to famous Plitvice Lakes National Park.
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