The Kvarner islands will enchant you, each in its own way. The island of Krk, home to the Baška tablet - the oldest written example of the Croatian language, will spoil you with its fine food and rich cultural and historical legacy which bring to life the spirits of a bygone era. You will also love the island’s untamed nature and the picturesque fishing villages of Valun, Cres and Osor. The town of Lubenice, perched on an impressive cliff, will take your breath away. All of these destinations...Show more
The Kvarner islands will enchant you, each in its own way. The island of Krk, home to the Baška tablet - the oldest written example of the Croatian language, will spoil you with its fine food and rich cultural and historical legacy which bring to life the spirits of a bygone era. You will also love the island’s untamed nature and the picturesque fishing villages of Valun, Cres and Osor. The town of Lubenice, perched on an impressive cliff, will take your breath away. All of these destinations are much beloved by sailors. The fragrant island of Lošinj is a place of vitality and life in harmony with nature. Visitors in search of solitude in unspoiled nature will be smitten by the isolated Unije, an unusual limestone island covered in low Mediterranean vegetation, as well as by the unique sandy shores of the island of Susak.
The Opatija Riviera
Protected by the slopes of the magnificent Mount Učka and the islands of Kvarner, the heart of Kvarner beats in one of the most famous and most attractive Croatian tourist destinations, the Opatija Riviera. Since time immemorial it has served as a refuge for many of Europe’s royalty. The shore, famed for its unspoiled nature, beautiful pebbled beaches and clean sea are home to magical places such as the former fishing villages of Mošćenička Draga and Volosko; the pebbled beach of Medveja, which according to local legend was named after the Greek sorceress Maedea; Lovran, home to luxurious and breathtaking summer residences; and last but not least, the fabulous Opatija herself, the queen of Croatian tourism and the location of the first hotel on the Adriatic coast. Its 12 kilometre long coastal promenade, called the Lungomare, is a pleasure for all the senses.
The tastes of Kvarner will remain with you for a long time, just like its beautiful nature and rich cultural and historical heritage. The traditional cuisine here is one based on fresh fish and seafood, the most famous of which is the Kvarner shrimp. Prepared in numerous and imaginative ways, but most frequently in a garlic, tomato and white wine sauce, shrimp is one of the most revered delicacies of Mediterranean cuisine. This unique gastronomic experience is completed by the fragrant Lovran chestnut, delicious cherries, wild asparagus and, of course, a few drops of olive oil. The long tradition of haute cuisine reaching back to the Austro-Hungarian era places Opatija at the top of the Croatian gastronomic offer and the famous restaurants Plavi podrum and Le Mandrać are places every true hedonist must not miss.
The fascinatingly rich and diverse flora and fauna is another of this region's famous attractions. The protected parts of the country which serve as home for many types of plants and animals also offer true inspiration to visitors. The most famous winged tenant of these parts is the endangered white-headed vulture – one of the largest birds in the world, whose wingspan reaches up to 2.8 meters. The ecological research centre Caput Insulae in the town of Beli on Cres, with its many volunteers, ensures that this beautiful bird will continue to spread its impressive wings over the island of Cres in the future. The islands of Cres and Lošinj are also home to almost 200 other endangered species of bird which make them the perfect destination for birdwatchers. Sailing in the Kvarner archipelago is always full of surprises, including the company of one or more of the 160 dolphins that reside there. Should you wish to help increase their number, visit the Lošinj dolphin reserve, Plavi svijet, and adopt one!
After an entire day of enjoying fresh air, nature lovers and avid hikers will be rewarded with a magnificent view of Kvarner, whether they decided to climb to the top of Mount Učka above Rijeka or Osoršćica on the island of Lošinj. Cyclists will enjoy exploring the countless coastal paths, vineyards and fields on the island of Krk. Apart from its beautiful beaches and tranquil coves offering a respite from sailing adventures, Kvarner is also perfect for divers. Skiing enthusiasts come here in the winter months to the Platak ski resort which offers skiers a view of the sea, while car and motorsport aficionados love to test their driving skills on the Grobnik racetrack.
The Carnival – the fifth season of the year
According to folk legend, Kvarner’s prosperity is the result of peculiar groups of people that can be encountered during the Carnival season making rounds in their hometown and neighbouring villages: these groups are called zvončari. Apart from the loud ringing of their bells, you can also recognize them by their sheepskin garb and their unusual masks, most often featuring an animal skull motif. This unique folk tradition is believed to chase away the spirits of winter and awake the fertile soils of the area. The tradition remains active to this day, and has earned a place on UNESCO's Intangible Cultural Heritage list. The importance of the Carnival in the life of Kvarner is plain to see from the traditional International Carnival which has made the city of Rijeka one of the most famous Carnival destinations in the world. Every year, it is visited by an increasing number of people from all over the world to whom it offers a chance to be anything they want to be, if only for a short while.
The hills and mountains in the Kvarner hinterlands are a green paradise. The home of lush plant and animal life and exceptional natural beauty like that found in the nearby Risnjak National Park, in the Bijele stijene, Samarske stijene and Zeleni vir reservations, the numerous forests, rivers and lakes as well as on countless hiking trails. All of these provide plenty of opportunities to relax and enjoy the fresh forest air. This region offers a year round respite from everyday life, be it the cool shade of the summer or the pristine white snow of winter. Observed from the peaks of the Vojak, Hahlić, Kamenjak or Tuhobić hills, the panoramic view of Kvarner and its archipelago is a sight that will make one fall in love with this magical place over and over again.
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