Nestled in the top of the Kvarner Gulf of Croatia is the small town of Opatija. As the history goes, it was founded as a resort town and has been that ever since it’s creation. But, it’s not a tacky resort like a lot of places that you see in the US. It’s a place that has been founded with old-world buildings that have a class and charm that has long been forgotten in newer buildings. The architecture for the most part is what they call Hapsburg Era in style. Whatever the case, the hotels are very nice there. And that’s probably one of the strangest things about it, in that it’s mostly a town of hotels. But, like I said before, this isn’t a terrible thing, since they are very nice looking buildings, which lend the town its style.
All of the hotels fight for a view of the sea, which comes up to the doorstep on most of them. It is a magnificent, stretching expanse of watching that caresses a promenade that skirts along the shore for many, many miles.
As to what there is to do in Opatija, the selection is decently limited. I would classify the place as being somewhere that you would go to just relax. There is a nice public garden and many shops that line the main street, but overall it is designed for relaxation and they handle it well. Of course, with that in mind, most people want to relax when the weather is nice. That being the case, if you’re there in the off season (late September through mid-May) you’re bound to be rather isolated. Not a bad thing if that’s what you’re seeking and the weather is agreeable. Just make sure that you don’t go in April, as that is true rainy season for the area.
Nearby is Volosko, which we mistakenly got off the bus in. But, it ended up being fortunate, since it is a lovely, quaint town that embodies all the charm that small European towns have. Naturally, most of the excitement has drifted next door to Opatija, but if you’re looking for a simpler town that embodies that older feel of Croatia, then Volsko is probably a place you’d want to visit.
Off to the West are Pula and Rovinj. Both of which are a jumping off point from Opatija and even more so, to Rijeka. From the pictures you can find around, such as www.rovinj.hr I’m sure that you’ll agree it’s a lovely spot.