Today, Rijeka handles most of Croatia’s imports and exports, as well as passengers to the coastline and islands. There is an extensive bus terminal near the port and an airport on the nearby island of Krk. However, it pays to ask a local for tips on getting around—transportation can be a challenge, with poor rail service and bus and ferry schedules that change or stop altogether depending on the season.
Although small by global standards, Rijeka is nonetheless a gateway for products and outside influences, so open attitudes in culture and design can be found living side by side with old traditions. Rijeka has the honor of being named a European Capital of Culture for 2020, alongside Galway, Ireland; it is the first in Croatia since the EU began the program in 1985. But by far the biggest event of the year is the International Karneval Parade, when Korzo explodes with a full day of music and celebration, culminating with the evening arrival of the otherworldly Halubje Zvončari (bell-ringers with animal heads), and the burning of the human-like pust to purge the sins of the year—you’ll just have to experience it to believe it!