By Iva Ralica
Situated on Croatia’s northern Adriatic coast, Rijeka is the 3rd largest city in the county after Zagreb and Split.
Home however to the biggest port in Croatia, Rijeka is sometimes referred to as Fiume, its old Italian version, and offers interesting touristic tours as well as a variety of clubs and cafes for seaside relaxation.
There is so much to see and do in the alternative rock town, but here is a list of a few spots you should visit to experience Rijeka to the fullest.
Korzo and its unusual promenade full of cafés and bars is a perfect way to start exploring the city. Sitting on a simple bench in front of the fountain, walking around the shops with authentic souvenirs such as the little “morčić” or discovering surrounding narrow streets will bring the spirit of the city on the surface. Interesting facades show the rich history of the city and in front of them a display of modern events take its place.
2. Kaštel Trsat
A lookout on a hill 138 meters above the sea level, the Trsat Castle guarded the city since 1288. Even before, this site was a Liburnian observation which had also served to the Romans as their defense system. The early medieval town also offers the magnificent view over the city, sea and the ruins on the opposite hills.
There is also a visual arts gallery and during the summer theatre performances and concerts will make the visit all more unforgettable! There is also an interesting trail, “Promenade along the Rječina River” from Trsat to the spring of Rječina.
3. St. Vitus Cathedral
The construction of the only Baroque rotunda (of monumental proportions) in Croatia started in 1638 and lasted a century. Built around the area of a smaller church, its history is surrounded with many legends. It guards a beautiful mixture of the baroque arts. The gallery near the cathedral displays interesting collections of books, paintings and religious objects.
4. The City Tower & Old Town
Today the medieval Tower is a symbol of Rijeka. Settled in the central part of Korzo, it leads into the old part of the town. Beautiful palaces that surround it, the Old gate that leads into the headquarters of the late Roman empire Tarsatica – Tarsatica Principa forum, then St. Jerome’s church and Dominican monastery, as well as Adria Palace and Casa Venetiana will take you back through time.
5. The Governor’s Palace & Capuchin Church
The Maritime and Historical Museum and the beautiful Palace it is settled in are great reasons to visit this spot.
Nearby you can also see The Capuchin Church of Our Lady of Lourdes, built from 1904 until 1929 in neo-Gothic style. Because of its beautiful facade it is an impressive sight.
6. The Shrine of Our Lady of Trsat
This is the largest pilgrimage centre of Western Croatia. Its oldest parts are from the late Gothic era. An altar built in 1692 dominates the sanctuary. To the monastery lead the Stairs of Petar Kružić. The walk around the wide green area of the centre is a nice way to spend some quiet time.
7. Beaches & the Breakwater
Many nice beaches around Rijeka are a great way to get to know Rijeka’s seaside. Visit Ploče and Kostanj, Preluk as a perfect getaway for surfers or Glavanovo with a green belt above the blue sea. The Breakwater “Molo longo” is the located in the main port and is 1707 meters long. It is a passenger terminal as well as a beautiful promenade overlooking the sea, ships and the city.
One of the more unique stadiums, not only in Croatia but in Europe. It is located between the seashore and cliffs in the Kantrida neighbourhood of Rijeka. The beautiful surroundings created by the old quarry that was made into the football field in 1913.
The stadium is not in use at the moment as a new state-of-the-art stadium is to be built at the same location. NK Rijeka plays their matches currently at a new purpose-built stadium which also has a great view.
The beautiful small town of Kastav is just a ten-minute drive away from Rijeka. Located on a hill, this was once a fort with nine towers called Castua in the Roman period. Authentic houses and historical sites as a great way to feel the atmosphere outside Rijeka.
10. The Carnival
Every year in February this well known Carnival in Croatia is a must-see. It was even named as one of the most important events in Europe – in the Top 500 Events. “Die, but never give up” is its famous motto! Carnival dates back many years – there was a prohibition document from 1449 that forbid the masks on the faces. The authentic masks from the surrounding villages are “bellmen”.