Day 1 in Rijeka
Welcome to Croatia! Upon arrival, you will go through customs and immigration. Should you opt to purchase a transfer to your hotel, a representative will be waiting for you as you exit immigration. Otherwise, make your way to Rijeka and arrive at your hotel. Check in and do not give in to jet lag! There is so much for you to see and do!
Spend the remainder of your first day in Rijeka by going to the most popular tourist site in town, Trsat Castle. It is located northeast of the Old Town by about two-thirds of a mile, on a hill about 450 feet above the city and to the east of the Rjecina River Gorge. It was built by the Frankopan family in the thirteenth century and protected the town for centuries, before being transferred to the ownership of an Irish-Austrian field marshal, Laval Nugent, in the nineteenth century. He built the Greek-style mausoleum, Mir Junaka, and also had Venetian architects and designers renovate the castle`s various interior rooms as it became Nugent`s home. Have lunch or an early dinner at the restaurant inside the courtyard, and afterwards make your way down Ulica Petra Zrinskog and visit the Sanctuary of the Mother of God in Trsat, a beautiful church that is one of Rijeka`s oldest, dating from the late thirteenth century like Trsat Castle. Return to your accommodations at the end of the day and rest up for a busy day tomorrow!
Day 2 in Rijeka
Start your day by a walk along the tied island called Molo Longo, accessible from the Riva by Ulica Riva Boduli and the Lukobran. On the weekends, this area buzzes with local vendors and tourists. During the week, it is a nice and scenic walk that gives you great vantage points of the waterfront area called the Riva. Once you are done exploring Molo Longo, visit the Rijeka Main Market, one street off Ulica Riva Boduli, and grab something to eat for breakfast. You can sit in the nearby park to eat, and afterwards you can view the beautiful Neoclassical Ivan Zajc Croatian National Theatre. Note the statue of the famous Croatian composer (1832-1914) in the square directly in front of the theatre.
Afterwards, walk along the Riva and admire the buildings along the waterfront as you pass by the Port of Rijeka and the Jadrolinija ferry main offices. Where the Riva meets the road called Zabica, you will find the Capuchin Church of Our Lady of Lourdes, one of Rijeka`s many historic churches. It is newer than many of the churches in town, dating from 1904, but its striped Neo-Gothic facade with twin staircases is photo-worthy to say the absolute least. The road behind the Capuchin Church leads eastward to the Korzo, the pedestrian-only shopping avenue home to such stores as ZARA and H&M, as well as such sights as the Rijeka Town Hall and the City Clock Tower, the latter of which dates from 1659 and was given to the town by the Austrian Emperor Leopold I.
Make your way to Ivan Kobler Square, which sits to the north of the City Clock Tower. Once called the Placa, it has been the focal point of daily life in Rijeka for centuries. Have some lunch at a restaurant or café on the square. From there, you can walk through the Old Gateway Roman Arch, which was once the entryway into the Old Town from Trsat Castle and the city cathedral, St. Vitus Cathedral. Explore the Baroque rotunda-style cathedral (a rarity in Croatia) dedicated to the patron saint that has been believed to have protected Rijeka for centuries. If you have time in the evening, return to the Ivan Zajc Croatian National Theatre for a show; they offer every type of performing arts show you can think of, from movies to musicals to operas. (Most performances are given in the Croatian language so inquire beforehand if there is accommodation for English speakers.) Return to your accommodations at the end of the evening.
Day 3 in Rijeka
Begin the third day with a relaxing morning taking in the paintings and other works of art at the Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art. Then, head northeast to Riccardo Zanelle Square, where you will find the Maritime and History Museum of the Croatian Coast. Spend the early afternoon there, learning about Rijeka`s seafaring history and how it has shaped Croatia`s third-largest city into the bustling metropolitan area it is today. Stop at the café across from the museum, located inside Nikola Hosta Park, which was once part of the grounds of an 18th-century villa. Nearby you will also find the Rijeka City Museum and the Rijeka Natural History Museum if you want to learn more about this wonderful city.
If fun in the sun is what you`re after, southeast of the city center you will find the intimate and semi-secluded Sablicevo Beach, which is popular with locals and tourists on summer weekends. Nearby is the Tower Center Rijeka, if you want to enjoy some shopping or grab a quick bite to eat after your beach excursion. If you want to enjoy Rijeka`s nightlife on your last night, you will find many bars and clubs near the Petar Kruzic stairway which leads to Trsat Castle. Return to your accommodations at the end of the night.
Additional Days in Rijeka
Here`s a fun fact: In 1884, the first luxury resort on the eastern coast of the Adriatic opened in Opatija, then known as Abbazia. It grew to become the premier health spa for the Austrian imperial house and the kings and queens of Europe. Over 100 years later, Opatija is still recognized the world over for luxury, relaxation, and wellness. Better yet, it is located just eight miles west of Rijeka! While you`re there, stroll the Lungomare, the seaside promenade, and go back to a time and place where life was just a tad more gilded.
Krk Island is one place you should not miss if you are visiting Rijeka. It is located southeast of the city and is connected to the mainland by the Krk Bridge. Rijeka`s international airport is located on the northern end of the island. With a population of 20,000, Krk is the most-populous island in the Adriatic Sea. The largest town on the island is Krk, on the southern coast. Krk is home to the Baska tablet, one of the oldest written examples of the Croatian language, dating from 1100. In addition to Krk and Baska, other noteworthy towns and villages on Krk include Vrbnik, Malinska, and Omisalj.
One city people love to visit while in the area is Pula, the largest city in Croatian Istria, located about 50 miles southwest of Rijeka. Pula is one of the oldest cities in this part of Croatia, having been settled since the Bronze Age over 3,000 years ago. The Romans, capitalizing on Pula`s location on a safe harbor, quickly built the settlement into a cultural center called Pietas Julia. A number of beautifully-preserved Roman buildings survive and stand today amongst 20th and 21st-century buildings. The best-preserved Roman monument in Croatia, the Pula Arena, is located here. Other noteworthy sights include the Temple of Augustus, the Gate of Hercules, and the Arch of the Sergii.
Your Last Day in Rijeka
Depart your hotel and head to the airport for your return home. If self-driving, please return your rental car to the place noted on your reservation (usually the airport, but double-check to make sure). If you are purchasing a private transfer, a representative will meet you at the hotel in time to take you to the airport for your flight out. We hope you enjoyed the sights of beautiful Rijeka!