Opatija is a real gem in Croatia. Not only is it the first touristic town in Croatia, it is a place with many high class hotels, excellent restaurants and plenty of things to do.
1. The Maiden with the Seagull
There was actually a fish in the seagull’s mouth when the statue was first made, but it mysteriously disappeared, and they don’t know exactly how. It’s believed that it was either stolen, or washed away by the sea. I think it was probably stolen, what do you think?
One very interesting thing is that they have a selfie camera facing a bench with the Maiden statue in the background, so you can easily get a picture with this famous landmark. It’s free, you just have to press the red button, the photo will be taken, and then it will be uploaded the next day on the website listed on the sign.
It’s also interesting to note that here where Maiden stands, there was once the sculpture of Madonna del Mare (Virgin Mary), made in memory of Count Arthur Kesselstadt who died in the storm.
After his death his family erected the sculpture to take care of his soul and preserve his memory. However, the waves, rain and wind slowly but surely corroded the sculpture. They decided to move it to safer grounds and restore it. It now stands right next to the Church of St. James, very close to the promenade where it originally stood.
2. The Lungomare (The Seaside Promenade)
The promenade continues for about 12km, and connects two other villages on either side of Opatija - Volovsko and Lovran.
There are many beautiful little bays that shape the promenade and it’s great to breathe in the fresh sea air! There are many little look out points with benches to stop and take a rest and enjoy the views.
3. Hotel Kvarner
Opatija as a city wanted to be known as a health tourism destination, so when this hotel went up, many other luxury hotels and guest houses started to be built. Hotel Kvarner was really what sparked tourism in Opatija, which then sparked tourism throughout the rest of Croatia.
It’s also interesting to note that the famous Crystal Hall (one of the most famous halls in Opatija) is located in Hotel Kvarner! It still hosts many events and balls, such as the Vienna Ball, and other graduation/prom parties.
Many famous musicians also performed on the terrace of the Hotel Kvarner, including the legendary Croatian singer Ivo Robić. There is now a statue of him placed in the hotel in his memory.
Today, this four-star hotel is called the Grand Hotel Kvarner-Amalia, as it consists of the main hotel building along with the annex of Villa Amalia.
4. Villa Angiolina
This gorgeous villa was built in 1844 and is an extremely well-preserved country complex consisting of a main building, outbuildings and a beautiful garden that is featured in many post cards of Opatija.
The garden is beautifully and uniquely landscaped with green hedges that create a stunning design which is filled in with many different kinds of vibrantly colored flowers. Definitely worth a picture or two!
5. St. James’s Church
Opatija even got its name from the Abbey, because abbey in Croatian is actually the word “Opatija'' so that’s how the city got its name. In 2008, the city of Opatija officially proclaimed St. James as its protector.
6. St. James’s Park
7. Hotel Milenij
Great views of the sea, beautifully designed and decorated, and they also have delicious cakes and coffee! It’s really the best place in town for a quick stop while you’re exploring Opatija.
8. The Chocolate Museum in Hotel Continental
In fact, there is one horse statue featured in the museum that was sculpted down from a block of 400kg (almost 900lbs) of chocolate! It’s really an incredible work of art! You can also watch how chocolate is being made and book yourself for a sampling time!
We really had a lovely day in Opatija. It really has so much to offer, and we thoroughly enjoyed ourselves! We come here once in a while when we need a break from Zagreb and a dose of the sea, because it’s just a quick 1.5-2hr drive.
Whether you’re in the mood for a stroll along the promenade, a coffee and slice of cake at Milenij, sampling chocolate at the museum, or admiring the most beautiful gardens at the Villa Angiolina, we’re sure you’re going to love the city, too!
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