We are sure that many of you have never heard of Rijeka, as the first association of Croatia are Dubrovnik, Split, Zagreb, Plitvice, etc.. and many other tourist destinations.
Rijeka isn’t a classic tourist destination, has never been and will probably never be. It was once a great industrial town that used to produce paper, sugar, playing cards, diesel motors, torpedoes and flour, and all of these goods were exported from Rijeka all over the world. Today, the city is trapped somewhere between industry and tourism. I know that at first sight this doesn’t look like a city you would want to visit, but I’ll show you that it isn’t like that.
So why Rijeka?
Rijeka has a great geographical location at the Kvarner Bay and is well connected to the Croatian inland, and south.
It also has good connections to Central Europe. In a circle of about 150 km from the city center there are 5 airports: Rijeka (Krk), Pula, Zagreb, Trieste and Ljubljana and they are connected to more than 1000 worldwide locations.
Beside that city is around 600 km away from several major European city: Budapest, Belgrade, Vienna, Bratislava, Munich and Milano.
In only two hours drive from the city, you can visit 4 of 8 Croatian national parks (NP Brijuni, NP Risnjak, NP North Velebit and NP Plitvice lakes), 4 big Croatian islands that are connected directly with the Port of Rijeka (Krk, Cres, Lošinj, Rab) and many, many small ones such as Susak, the only ‘’sand’’ island in Croatia.
After leaving largest Croatian port feel touch of Mediterranean just few kilometers away in Volosko and Opatija. In addition, you can explore region of Istria and go wine tasting or truffle hunting. There are more than hundred ideas for a day trip from Rijeka.
HISTORY / HERITAGE
Rijeka is most likely a city that changed most countries and regimes (7) in the World in last 100 years. Beside that there are monuments from Roman time (gates, Principia – defensive headquarters), medieval period (Trsat fortress from 13th century), and from period of great industrialization (many factories, sites of 1st modern torpedo ever produced and launched, harbor), and remnants from WW2 such as underground tunnels and huge number of bunkers.
Beside those best known sites you can also find out some secrets like why cannon ball is inside of cathedral wall, or why the narrowest street is bearing bats name, what is “Dead channel”, and much more.
During the whole year, but especially during summer, there is lot of festivals in Rijeka or very close.
Among the most popular ones are Opatija Jazz Festival, Liburnia Film Festival, Kastav Guitar Nights, Kastav Blues Festival, Ri Rock Festival, Dark “O” Metal Festival, Hartera Music Festival, The International Small Scenes Theatre Festival , Malik Fest – Festival of myths and legends of Istria and Kvarner, Rijeka Stairs-for fashion lovers, Rijeka Summer Nights – theatre, Summer on Gradina (Trsat). Rijeka is known as city of Rock ‘n’ Roll, so music enthusiasts will definitely enjoy their stay here. The most famous is Rijeka’s Carnival – the 3rd largest in the Wolrd, just after the carnivals in Rio de Janeiro and Venice.
BEACHES & CLEAR SEA
The sea is clear in the whole Croatia and with an approximate temperature of 25 degrees during summer. The swimming season can start in late May for the brave ones. There are 10 hidden beaches within walking distance from the city center in the Pećine city district.
There are nice places in the suburbs, too; on the south, there is Kostrena with a 3 km long Lungomare along which there are plenty of restaurants, beach bars, a scuba diving club, and also a dog beach.
And on the west side in the Costabella/Bivio city district, there are lots of nice places to swim, too, and there is also a beach for people with physical disabilities.
Kvarner food is a combination of seafood and meat specialties from hilly suburbs. There is notable influence from neighboring countries like Italy, Austria and Hungary but also lot of local impact.
Base is Mediterranean food based on olive oil, seafood, a lot of spices, famous scampi and Istrian truffles. It is well known all over the world and under the protection of the UNESCO’s list of intangible cultural heritage. The World Health Organization listed this diet as one of the three healthiest diets in the world, and it is highly recommended to eat this way in order to prevent a lot of modern-day health conditions.