The Croatian Adventure: The town of Opatija

I recently enjoyed a trip to the northern part of the Croatian coast.  I went on a boat cruise to see some of the northern islands of Croatia, a bit off the normal tourist path.  Our trip started in the harbor of Opatija, a resort town of old in the Gulf of Kvarner.  Traveling in the beginning of spring provided me with beautiful fresh green nature and blooms with gloomy spring showers setting the tone. Opatija5The drive from Zagreb airport surprised me with lush green forest views and through the mist it felt like I was led to a lost mystical land.  Croatian history is filled with turmoil with many European cultures influencing the architecture and cuisine.  Opatija has true old world charm filled with grand hotels and villas filled with the reminiscence of the Austro-Hungarian period, which led royalty and the rich and famous to its shores alike.  Opatija belonged to Italy before it was handed over to Yugoslavia.  I found the atmosphere quite contrasting with the big hotels and villas on the seafront and the huge ugly concrete apartment buildings with their tiny windows, built during the Yugoslavian period, peering through the background of the poorer areas of the town.  The bay of Kvarner provides calm seas with a promenade of kilometers meandering from the harbor along the seaside shops and hotels.  A visit at the beginning of spring provided few tourists with most of the clubs and seaside bars only opening in May or June.  Our hotel seemed to be left the same as it were two centuries ago, with grand decor and a dining hall of dreams.  The food I had during me trip to Croatia was truly some of the best I’ve eaten during my travels.  The buffet was filled with flavorsome meats, fish, pasta, vegetables, soups and salads galore with wine/beer on tap. Opatija14 Opatija3 Opatija4 Exploring the town on foot is easy.  The cathedral is up the hill but close and if you stroll down the promenade the city gardens, harbor and city center is easy to reach.  We visited to ‘Chocolate Cafe’s’ in Opatija which served delicious forms of liquid chocolaty goodness.  Had it not rained continuously, we would have enjoyed a relaxing swim in the Adriatic before boarding our boat for our cruise to the northern islands. I like the grandness of this old resort town and it is not expensive at all(partly because of using kunas and not euros!). Opatija1 Opatija13Opatija7             Opatija6 Opatija8 Opatija9 Opatija10Opatija11