Five Reasons to Visit Kvarner in Autumn

Lauren Simmonds

kvarner in autumn
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October the 27th, 2023 – We’ve explored Dalmatia, Istria, Lika and northern Croatia, but what about the beautiful Kvarner region? From Rijeka to Opatija and from Cres to Krk, here are five reasons to visit Kvarner in autumn.

Opatija’s chocolate festival

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Opatija’s much loved chocolate festival is held every autumn, and it brings the lovers of dark temptations and all things sweet to the town crowned as Croatia’s first lady of tourism many decades ago. This charming seaside town is a stone’s throw from Rijeka and boasts magnificent Austro-Hungarian architecture at every turn. Grand palaces constructed back during the Austrian Empire have since been converted into hotels, each as impressive as the next, and all of them unique. Opatija’s popular chocolate festival is Croatia’s biggest and oldest festival dedicated entirely to the sugary snack we all struggle to resist. If you need to feel better about consuming your weight in chocolate, then the unrivalled atmosphere of beautiful Opatija will certainly provide a boost.

Visit Rijeka – 2020’s European capital of culture

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Rijeka was crowned as the European Capital of Culture for the pandemic-dominated year of 2020, and owing to the unprecedented public health crisis that broke out that year, it was somewhat of a flop. That doesn’t mean Rijeka is, however. Kvarner in autumn is beautiful, and Rijeka is a town that offers much more than sunbathing and swimming even during the summer. An autumn day in Rijeka is very well spent visiting the Governor’s Palace and the Rijeka City Museum. Rijeka invented the torpedo, and the city’s Whitehead factory earned global fame as a result of their torpedo-adorned submarines, despite only a handful of them having been produced. Another must visit location in Rijeka that is absolutely perfect to do during the colder months is to visit Trsat castle. This remarkable thirteenth century construction is believed to stand on the exact place a Roman and Illyrian fortress, since lost to the cruel hands of time, once stood. Offering panoramic views of Rijeka and the surrounding area, this strategically built castle has withstood the test of many, many centuries, and having a wander up and around it is enjoyed best when the heat has died down and the sun has packed its bags.

Visit Cres and its incredible Griffon Vulture rescue centre

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Cres, which is an island in Kvarner’s waters, is often referred to as one of the most unique and stunning in all of Croatia. I know, all of them are incredible in their own way, but Cres is usually the one that stands out in most people’s minds. Boasting remarkable diversity, the southern end of the island is markedly different in comparison to the northern part. The northern end of Cres is densely forested and perfect for walking and cycling, while the southern part boasts stunning beaches, olive groves and a few degrees more on the thermometer. Inhabited since the Stone Age, there’s always plenty to do and see on Cres, and in autumn, much of it is made easier. What makes Cres stand out perhaps most of all is that it is home to a very special bird. This island is one of the very last remaining refuges for the endangered Griffon Vulture, boasting a population of around 80 pairs. The Beli Visitor and Rescue Centre for Griffon Vultures is dedicated to the preservation of these incredible birds, and visiting when spending time in Kvarner in autumn is a ”must do”.

Visit the place that separates Kvarner from Istria – Učka nature park

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If you’re a nature lover who enjoys a good hike through beautiful terrain while getting a good lung full of fresh air, then this beautiful nature park is for you. It is situated on Mount Učka, and separates Kvarner from nearby Istria. Its geographical position has resulted in quite a unique climate, and as such, quite specific types of flora. Hiking, free-climbing, mountain biking and more is offered here, and the panoramic views over Kvarner Bay are absolutely worth paying it a visit. Canyons and strictly protected types of plants call Učka home, and one such canyon (found when hiking the Vela Draga trail), has been listed as a geomorphological monument of extraordinary importance. Programmes and workshops for children are also offered by this park, the peak of which is Vojak, boasting an old stone tower that has become synonymous with the entire region. Hang-gliding, mountain biking, hiking and spending hours on magnificent trails is much more enjoyable in the cooler temperatures of autumn, and the colours as the leaves change from green to shades of red and gold will make every step up to the Vojak tower 100% worth the effort.

Head to gorgeous Krk – without the heat or crowds

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The beautiful island of Krk is always popular, and in summer, when the temperatures reach dizzying heights and the crowds just keep on coming – you can be easily prevented from seeing all it has to offer. This beautiful island in Kvarner boasts a stunning fifth century cathedral, Frankopan Castle. Having been ruled over by many a power, from the Frankopans to the Venetians, and from the Austrians to 20th century Italian occupation, Krk is absolutely steeped in history. Taking all of it in during the steamy summer months when all you want to do is find shade, drink litres of water and dive in the inviting sea is somewhat difficult. Come autumn, all that changes, and the crowds have very much thinned out. Visiting Kvarner in autumn isn’t complete without a bit of out of season island hopping, and we can’t let Dalmatia take all of the spotlight in that regard. Cycling and hiking are on offer on Krk throughout autumn, and as it’s harvest time – the island’s much loved Žlahtina grapes are being picked, ready to be turned into irresistible wine.


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