OPATIJA FAQ'S

How do I get from the airport to my hotel?

Many tourists visiting the Opatija area will fly into Rijeka Airport (IATA code RJK), located on the island of Krk, 10 miles southeast of Rijeka and 25 miles from Opatija. It is the largest airport by size in the far west of the country, and flies approximately 140,000 tourists a year, mostly in summer. If arriving out of season, you may be flying in to Zagreb Airport (IATA code ZAG), 115 miles away from Opatija, or Pula Airport (IATA code PUY), 57 miles away from Opatija. Pula Airport is the busiest airport on the Istrian Peninsula, serving over 500,000 tourists in 2017.

Driving directions from Rijeka Airport: Take the 102 road out of the airport. At the roundabout at Jadranska Magistrala, keep right and take the first right onto the A7. Stay on the A7, which will be labeled as the E65 after Exit 10 near Bakar. Near Trsat, take Exit 8 for Orehovica and keep left onto the E61. Get on the E751 after exiting on Exit 4 for Matulji. Make a left on Kvarnerska cesta, which will lead to Nova cesta. Turn right on Nova cesta and drive 2.5 miles to Opatija.

Driving directions from Pula Airport: Take the D401 road out of the airport by turning left. After about 0.9 miles, make a sharp right onto D66. Stay on the D66 until the town of Vozilici, and then make the third turn on the roundabout. At this point, make sure you are on the D64 and not the D66. After 2.5 miles, keep right and join the D500; don't stay on D64. After about 11 miles, join the E751 in Ucka Nature Park. For about 12 more miles, the E751 will take you through Ucka Nature Park and west of Opatija until emptying you onto Nova cesta on the northern side of Opatija.

Driving directions from Zagreb Airport: Proceed onto Ulica Rudolfa Fizira and turn left. Follow signs for the E65/E70/E71. Merge onto the E65/E70/E71. At Exit 4`s interchange (Lucko), follow signs for the E65/A1. Drive for approximately 80 miles and merge onto the E61 at Exit 8 (Orehovica), with signs for the A7/E61. Take the exit labeled Pula/Pazin/Opatija. Make the left to Kvarnerska cesta, which will lead to Nova cesta. Turn right and drive 2.5 miles to Opatija.

Taxis queue outside the arrival halls of all three airports. Expect to pay at least 250 kuna from Rijeka Airport to Opatija and 750 kuna from Pula Airport to Opatija. While it is possible to catch a taxi from Zagreb Airport, the price may be prohibitive if the transfer is not reserved in advance.

How do I get from the train station to my hotel?

Opatija-Matulji train station is located in the village of Matulji, about 2.5 miles north of Opatija. It is the closest station to town and trains connect Opatija with Rijeka, Zagreb and Ljubljana (Slovenia). A bus leaves the train station during the week every 90 minutes during business hours; timetables are subject to change and you can find more information by asking the information office at the train station. Do not expect taxis to queue at the station. Call in advance for your cab.

How do I get around Opatija using public transport?

Basic bus service connects the towns from Volosko down to Moscenicka Draga with Opatija. Rijeka`s Autotrolej bus system has five routes that connect the towns (32, 34, 35, 36, 37). The main bus station in Opatija is located at Velog Joze 1, three hundred feet from the Lungomare in the center of town. There is also a bus stop where the Lungomare meets Slatina Beach which is serviced by Route 35. Buses begin running around 5 a.m. and end close to midnight during the week (last routes run between 9 and 10 p.m. on weekends and during holidays). To see timetables, visit www.autotrolej.hr/linije/ (website in Croatian; timetables in Croatian, German, English and Italian).

How do I call/hail a taxi?

Opatija`s taxi company is called Hallo Taxi Opatija (hallotaxi.opatija.net, +385 51 704 100). You can reserve taxis by calling, sending an e-mail, or ordering online. Hallo Taxi operators are required to speak at least one foreign language so it should not be difficult for them to find a driver who speaks English and will drive you. Taxi fares begin at 20 kuna, with each segment of 0.6 miles priced at 5 kuna for trips shorter than three miles, and 6 kuna per 0.6 mile for trips longer than three miles. Wait time is priced at 54 kuna per hour. There is a 30% increase in fares after 10 p.m. and before 6 a.m., on weekends, and on holidays. Expect to pay at least 250 kuna to get to and from Rijeka Airport, 400 kuna if you want to travel to Krk, and 700 kuna to Pula.

I will have a car in Opatija. Where can I park?

Travelers have let TripMasters know that parking is at a premium in Opatija. Most hotels have private parking for their guests, but there is usually a fee to be paid (the equivalent of 75 kuna, or possibly more). Ask about parking when reserving your hotel during the booking process. We were informed of a free parking lot behind the Hotel Imperial, but since it is a rare find, it is very busy; if you want to park there, arrive early in the morning.

Is Opatija a dangerous area? Are there any places I should avoid?

Opatija is a town with low crime in a country with similarly low levels of crime. With that said, you should keep your eye on your valuables in case of petty theft, and make sure no valuables are left in your rental car. Either store them in your hotel`s safe or conceal the valuables on your person. You should not have issues walking day or night, especially in high-trafficked and well-lit areas like the Lungomare. Make sure to return from Ucka Nature Park early enough so you are not left on a hiking trail at night.

Can I pay/tip in U.S. dollars?

The currency of Croatia is the kuna (divided into 100 lipa) and U.S. dollars are not an acceptable form of payment. Croatia is part of the European Union, but as of 2018 it is not part of the Eurozone, meaning that Euros (legal tender in neighboring Slovenia and Italy) are not universally accepted in Croatia. You will find a few shops that will accept Euros, but the exchange rate will be determined by the shop owner and it most likely will not be in your favor. You will be better off paying in Croatian kuna.

Credit and debit cards are widely used in Croatia and you will find most businesses accept them. Bank and currency bureau hours are usually 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. weekdays, with an hour break for lunch typically taken at noon or 1 p.m. ATMs are widely available in Croatia; many of them do not charge fees themselves, but note that your home banking institution may charge a fee for withdrawing money abroad.

I don't speak Croatian. Will many people speak English?

Croatians are some of the most multilingual people in Europe. It is estimated that 81% of adults can speak English at least conversationally, by far the most popular foreign language. On the Istrian Peninsula, the numbers are even higher, since the region welcomes so many tourists; 95% of adults speak English here. If you cannot communicate with someone, show them this sentence and they will most likely happily assist you: Da li itko ovdje govori Engelski? (Does anyone here speak English?)

Are there any basic Croatian customs or etiquette tips I should be aware of before arriving in Opatija?

If you are going into an area that isn`t primarily geared toward tourists, try not to dress too skimpy or revealing. Croatians will consider this inappropriate. Casual dress is fine, but not too casual. If you pass someone on the street, nod, smile, or say a quick hello. Croatians respond very favorably to greetings, even from strangers. Croatians love coffee (kava), so if you make friends here, you will most likely be called to someone`s house or a cafe for a coffee date. Please be on time, though; Croatians value promptness!

If visiting a home, bring a bottle of wine or spirits, or possibly a bouquet of flowers. (Note: A bouquet with an even number of flowers is considered taboo, as even-numbered flower bouquets are reserved for presenting to the dead at the cemetery. Make sure the bouquet has an odd number of flowers.) Even if you are not feeling hungry or thirsty, happily accept any refreshments offered by the host; it is rude not to. Croatians will fill plates and glasses once they are emptied, so if you are full, tell your host `nema vise`. It means `no more`.

With Croatia being a very Catholic country, you will find that many people say grace before beginning a meal. As a foreigner, you aren`t expected to know how to say prayers in Croatian, but a nice bow of the head is respectful, even if you are not personally Catholic or Christian yourself. Finally, keep your hands on the dinner table; it is considered indecent to keep them folded in your lap. (This rule is not as stringent when seated around a coffee table.)

Note: Do not refer to the Croatian language as `Serbo-Croatian`, don`t refer to Croatians as `Yugoslavians`, and don`t call Croatia `Yugoslavia`. Many reminders of the former Yugoslavia are evident all over Croatia, which is not surprising considering Marshal Josip Broz Tito was a Croat. However, the Croatian culture and identity have undergone their latest resurgences in the years since independence in 1991, and reminders about `the time before` could sit quite awkwardly with people to whom you have just become acquainted (especially older people). Unlike in Slovenia, where their war of independence lasted a handful of days, Croatia`s was protracted and lasted four-and-a-half years. If a newly-acquainted person brings the topic of Yugoslavia first, be respectful, listen, and ask questions but not rude or prying questions. Some people miss the life in Yugoslavia, some do not, and many are now not even old enough to remember it. It is a sensitive topic.

What time do Croatians usually eat? Do I need to make reservations to fancy restaurants in advance?

Croatians eat four meals a day. The first meal is usually very light, such as coffee or brandy (rakija) with bread, and eaten very early, as Croatians go to school and work early (usually beginning on or before 8 a.m.). For those who work or go to school early, a smaller version of lunch is served, called either gablec or marenda. The main meal is lunch (rucak), which is eaten anytime between 12 and 3 p.m. Traditionally this includes a salad course and a dessert in addition to the main course (meat, potatoes or noodles, and a vegetable). Dinner (vecera) is eaten late, beginning around 8 p.m. If dinner is a social occasion, you will find that Croatians love to share tapas, cheese plates and a charcuterie platter. Establishments open for dinner are called konobas and restorans: a restoran that is well-recommended in Opatija will most likely require a reservation, which you can request via telephone. As far as snacks are concerned, Croatians love coffee, and their cafes are usually within close proximity to (and sometimes in the same building as) a pastry shop or ice cream shop, two other establishments Croatians love to visit on a regular basis.

Note: Smoking is forbidden in restaurants in Croatia, but in bars and cafes, smoking is permitted as long as the establishment has met ventilation guidelines with regard to cigarette and cigar smoke. In Opatija, like in the rest of Croatia, cafe windows will have a green sign if you can smoke inside; red signs mean that smoking is not allowed.

Are there any special foods that the Istrian Peninsula and Kvarner Bay are known for?

The Istrian Peninsula is well-known for their delicacies, in particular their prized wild asparagus (sparoga), truffles (tartufi), oysters (ostrige) and cured ham (prsut). The Istrian Peninsula is also known for its production of red wines and brandy (rakija, flavored with either honey, medica, or mistletoe, biska). A culinary delight for visitors to Opatija in the springtime is a wild asparagus omelet (fritaja). Other popular dishes associated with the Istrian Peninsula or Kvarner Bay are: Kvarner scampi shrimp (grilled, served with sauce, or prepared in risotto), Kvarner cherries, and sweet chestnuts from Lovran.

Where are the best areas for shopping?

There are a number of places in town that offer traditional Croatian souvenirs, many of them handmade. The Villa Operetta, for the time being, operates a small shopping mall inside, which may have some unexpected finds. Two highly-recommended souvenir shops in Opatija that you should visit are Manufaktura (Ulica Marsala Tita 112, +385 51 210 500) and Kredenca (Ulica Marsala Tita 146, +385 91 544 7294).

Where can I rent a bicycle in Opatija?

Some hotels and resorts offer bicycle rental services; inquire when you check in. In town, the most prominent bicycle rental shop is Alpi Bike Rent (Setaliste Marsala Tita 128, +385 91 315 7777, www.alpirent.com).