Across the Kvarner Gulf from Rijeka is Opatija, a lovely seaside resort with a rich history of tourism, wellness, and gastronomy dating back more than 170 years. Located at the foot of Mount Učka and protected by the islands of Krk and Cres, Opatija enjoys a mostly mild Mediterranean climate year round. It’s no surprise that this ideal location has been visited by queens, kings, czars, and celebrities.

Camellias and gardens, Opatija, Istra-Kvarner

Today, visitors from all over the world stroll among Opatija’s ornate, colorful villas and lush botanic gardens. Opatija owes much of its architectural beauty to the Austro-Hungarians, who built homes, hotels, gardens, and walking trails to enjoy the healthy climate and surroundings. The first holiday home, Villa Angiolina, was built in 1844 and hosted a who’s who of European dignitaries.

In 1873 the Austrian Southern Railway built a direct rail link from Vienna, paving the way for tourism to Opatija, and in 1884, the railway director opened the first Adriatic hotel and health resort, Hotel Quarnero. Opatija was established as the playground of the Austro-Hungarian aristocracy and the birthplace of Croatian tourism. Villa Angiolina still stands proudly among the opulent buildings of times past, set amid the seaside botanic garden that bears her name; today the villa welcomes guests to Hrvatski Muzej Turizma, Croatia’s only museum dedicated to tourism.

Opatija is an idyllic setting for walkers. Not built around a tight, defensible medieval core as is often seen in European towns, Opatija was laid out along the sea for health and enjoyment. In 1911, the 12km Lungomare was completed, a walkway along the edge of the sea from fishing village Volosko to historic Lovran. The 7km Carmen Silva trail runs parallel to the sea from up in the hills, traversing Opatija on forest trails. In between the two paths run paved stubišta (stairways) and šetališta (walkways), winding between villas and around gardens. Already a lovely tourist town on the surface, Opatija also rewards those who take the time to dig deeper and explore.

Lungomare at sunset, Opatija, Istra-Kvarner

We’re happy to carry some beautiful products designed in Opatija, home of ornate villas and opulent gardens.