Rijeka is the third-largest city in Croatia located on the Kvarner Bay and the country’s major seaport. Although often in the shade of more hype touristic destinations like Dubrovnik or Split, Rijeka surely possesses its own charm and may give you a glimpse of more “real” atmosphere of a Croatian city, together with lots of beautiful monuments, sights, and places to visit. Due to its tumultuous history, the inhabitants of the city speak not only Croatian but their unique dialect as well, called “fiumano”.
What to visit
The city’s most popular street, that became almost a symbol of Rijeka is Korzo. It is more than just a street, however, Korzo is a place where people gather daily, sip their morning coffees while reading newspapers, do business, hang out or enjoy an evening glass of wine while making new acquaintances. After experiencing the Korzo’s contagious energy, take a deep breath as you’re up to some real sightseeing.
The first on our list is Trsat Castle, a lookout on a hill 138 meters above sea level dominating the city. From its plateau, you can enjoy an amazing view of the ruins situated on the opposite side (Katarina and Kalvarija) and the whole area of the Rijeka’s Old City. That’s not all! The Castle has been enriched by new facilities during the past years, so there are many open-air summer concerts, theater performances, literary evenings, fashion shows, art exhibitions, shortly – something for everyone!
Rijeka hosts the only Baroque rotunda of monumental proportions in Croatia – the St Vitus’ Cathedral. The church was designed by the model of the famous Venetian church Santa Maria della Salute. The City Tower, built in the Middle Ages, dominates the central part of Korzo and represents one of its main symbols recognizable in all of the country. Passing below the City Tower, you’ll find yourself in Rijeka’s Old Town. Don’t miss the opportunity to buy some fresh produce or simply experience the atmosphere of the City Market where local fishermen daily bring fresh seafood.
Don’t miss to visit the Old Gateway or Roman Arch which was the main entrance of the ancient town on whose ruins the medieval Rijeka was built.
Another beautiful place to visit while in Rijeka are its cemeteries – Kozala and Trsat – that are protected historical and cultural heritage and make part od the Association of Significant Cemeteries of Europe.
If the weather allows you to, go take a dip at one of the city’s beaches known for its clear blue sea and large diversity among them: there are those large and noisy, as well as the hidden ones; rocky, sandy, pebbly, concrete… You will surely find something that suits your preferences.
In Rijeka, there are numerous interesting museums you can visit like the Maritime and History Museum of Croatian Littoral Rijeka (Governor’s Palace), Natural History Museum, Peek&Poke – Computer Museum, Peek&Poke – Childhood Museum or Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art.
Sport and Recreation
Being the town on the seashore, you can try pretty much all of the water sports: diving, swimming, windsurfing, kayaking, you name it. Further on, Rijeka and the surroundings have a well-developed bike route, so you can rent one and explore the place on two wheels. For the mountains lovers, there is a nearby Ucka Nature Park, a perfect place to go hiking, free climbing, horseback riding, skydiving, caving and much more, so don’t worry about getting off the wagon fitness-wise during your visit to Rijeka.
The menu of the region is composed mainly of seafood, fresh fruit, vegetables and local essential herbs. Dishes vary depending on the season in which you find yourself in the city, but you can be sure that the skills of local chefs will amaze both you and your taste buds.
Thanks to its geographical position, you can go on many interesting day-trips from Rijeka. Just 18 kilometers from the city, there’s Klana, then Grobnik and Platak, take a boat trip to the Lošinj Archipelago, go see one of the oldest towns in the Northern Adriatic – the town of Bakar or treat yourself with a relaxing day in Opatija or Moscenicka Draga.
Surprise your loved ones at home with some of the local handicrafts, a jar of organic dried figs or mini bottle of the regional olive oil. Rijeka’s Tourist Association has created two labels so you can choose good quality souvenirs “Riječko izvorno” (Rijeka Original) and “Osobita kvaliteta” (Special Quality).