Often called the Pearl of the Adriatic, Opatija is one of the oldest tourist destinations in Croatia. Located at the Kvarner Gulf, a short ride away from both Rijeka and Istria and easily reachable from neighbouring countries, the town represents a perfect place for a day trip, a weekend getaway or a longer vacation.
A central point of the most attractive riviera on the Adriatic, Opatija is situated on the part of the coastline overlooking the entire bay. Its famous promenade, widely known as lungomare, is part of the uninterrupted 12–kilometre walking route connecting Lovran and Volosko; the path gently curves along the shore and provides visitors with spectacular scenery every step of the way. Apart from delighted tourists, you’ll often find a lot of locals going out for a relaxing walk after a long work week, stopping for a coffee break at one of the many peaceful terraces on the waterfront.
Opatija’s tradition of tourism dates back to the middle of the 19th century, when the town became a mecca for guests from various parts of the Austro-Hungarian empire due to its appealing geographic position and favourable climate. Methodically developed to become a resort town, Opatija has seen its first guests as early as 1844, and continued to grow into a distinguished destination that maintained its prestigious reputation to the present day.
The appeal of Opatija rises from it being a seamless blend of historical imperial charm and top-quality hospitality services that are always up to date with current trends in the tourism industry. On the outside, the town is a display of perfectly preserved period buildings, counting numerous palaces and charming art-nouveau villas surrounded by lush gardens. It’s visually pleasant to such an extent it gives an impression of walking into an imaginary world designed after your own personal affinities, created with the sole goal of catering to your needs and ensuring you’ll have a dream vacation.
When you step into one of Opatija’s many hotels, the picturesque historical exterior transforms into state-of-the-art modern facilities. The guests have a wide selection of options at their disposal; depending on your personal preferences, you can choose between hotels that boast exceptional contemporary design, prestigious boutique hotels, as well as timeless classics that were carefully renovated to retain the luxurious ambience of accommodation in imperial times.
(Design Hotel Royal)
Owing to its relaxed overall vibe and the pleasant local climate, Opatija makes for a perfect destination to unwind and restore both the mind and the body. Even when you consider the vast wellness offer in Croatia, Opatija stands out: unlike other spa centres that are mostly manifestations of the contemporary wellness craze, it has a long history of health tourism going back 100 years. The outstanding tradition and experience continually keep Opatija at the top of the list of wellness oases in the country.
Multiple hotels dispose of luxurious wellness amenities and offer an array of revitalising spa treatments provided by professional therapists and trained staff. Milenij Hotels take the lead with two phenomenal facilities: their Royal Spa at Hotel Milenij and the Wellness Oasis at Grand Hotel 4 Opatijska cvijeta (4 Flowers of Opatija).
The first prestigious wellness centre opened in Croatia, the Royal Spa more than lives up to the 5-star rating of one of the longest-running hotels in town. The concept was inspired by the famous Austro-Hungarian empress Sissi, known as one of the first women of the modern age to start taking care of her appearance and physical well-being. The Wellness Oasis is in turn inspired by the Mediterranean natural treasures such as lavender and rosemary that are woven into the spa’s offer of treatments.
(Hotel Milenij Royal Spa)
Available wellness amenities in Opatija include Finnish saunas, Turkish baths, indoor and outdoor pools, icy fountains and relaxing beds at multiple spa zones overlooking the sea and Opatija’s lush green gardens. The only difficulty you might run into is having to choose from the rich offer of beauty treatments that are carried out using top-quality cosmetics. Most hotels provide an abundance of options, ranging from therapeutic massages and face treatments to couple packages for those who are visiting Opatija for a romantic weekend.
Opatija is also known as a prestigious MICE destination, owing to its favourable location and a large number of available conference halls. Leading hotels dispose of exceptional congress facilities including the latest technological equipment required at corporate events. Combined with spacious terraces for congress breaks and luxurious dining halls and bars, Opatija’s hotels make for a perfect destination for business events.
Hotel Milenij disposes of a multipurpose conference hall with a total capacity of 300 seats that can be divided into two smaller halls according to requirements of any given business event. Another attractive location is the Royal Hall in the 4-star Design Hotel Royal; the large elegant hall transforms into a ballroom, representing a perfect venue for corporate events followed by luxurious gala dinners or banquets.
(Conference Park 25/7)
The most innovative project undertaken by this leading hotel group is the recent renovation of its former congress centre in the Grand Hotel 4 Opatijska Cvijeta into an outstanding Conference Park 25/7, a venue composed of 9 multipurpose halls that are entirely adaptable to clients’ needs.The idea behind the concept is to provide the clients with multiple different environments going beyond the atmosphere of a classic workplace. Conferences, workshops and team-building activities can be held in well-equipped halls, on terraces overlooking the sea, by the pool or at the wellness centre, providing the professionals with unique memorable experiences.
This charming town is an unforgettable blend of fantastic scenery, culture, gastronomy and entertainment. Opatija is home to the Croatian Museum of Tourism located in the historical Villa Angiolina that boasts an attractive programme of exhibitions related to the history of tourism throughout the year. Come summer, visitors can choose from a rich schedule of events taking place at the Open Air Theatre, a hidden gem that’s tucked away from plain sight in the Angiolina park.
(Open Air Theatre)
Even if you don’t have enough time to visit any of the cultural institutions, you will find yourself immersed in the vibrant creative atmosphere just by walking around town. Local artists present their work along the promenade, live music performances take place on hotel terraces, and the whole town is constantly brimming with life. When you want to indulge in the Mediterranean cuisine, there are many exceptional options for fine dining, and the repeatedly awarded restaurant Plavi Podrum in Volosko is just a short ride away.
If you’re craving a taste of luxury and class in a remarkable, laid-back setting, mark Opatija as your next destination.
Image sources: Milenij Hoteli, Tourist Board Opatija