The Dawn of Tourism in Croatia: Photos from the Adriatic

By , 13 May 2017, 13:12 PM Lifestyle
Split around 1910 Split around 1910 Skyscraper city

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There are treasure troves of vintage photographs to be found online, depicting towns and villages on the Croatian coast in a time when life used to be a bit more laid-back. I set out to select a couple of photos, wishing to share some images of coveted tourist destinations before the tourists came along, but as it turns out, there aren't many.

The Austro-Hungarians very well knew how to benefit from the natural resources they had at hand, and the tourism industry had already been on the rise in some parts before the first cameras found their way to our shores. Of course, this was not a general rule and some destinations developed quicker than the others owing to various circumstances: Opatija has seen the first overnight stays as early as 1844 and all further urban planning was devised to turn the place into a resort town. Multiple hotels used to operate in port cities like Rijeka and Split at the turn of the century, followed by a growing number of restaurants and cafés.

Instead of Croatia before tourism, we'll have to settle for Croatia at the dawn of tourism. Following images show scenes from everyday life on the Adriatic, ranging from popular resorts to quiet island villages.

Here's a boat taking passengers from Opatija to Rijeka around 1910:


Café Quarnero in Opatija:


The port in Rijeka with the Grand Hotel Europe in the background, 1900:


Taverns, always a favourite destination of locals and tourist alike - here's one on Rab Island with ladies and gents enjoying some wine:


Archduke Charles Stephen of Austria with his family and the crew on yacht Ossero, Mali Lošinj, 1898:


Sunbathing at Mali Lošinj in 1914:


Local ladies obviously gossiping in Šibenik:


The port in Split:


And finally, a rare sight - streets and walls of Dubrovnik almost completely empty, around 1950:



Image source: Skyscraper city

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  • Traffic is of medium intensity on most Croatian roads, towards the coast, and the inland. Traffic is occasionaly heavy on the island of Krk, along the D8 Adriatic road, and in the vicinity of tourist centers. There are queues on the Island of Krk, towards the Krk bridge, approximately 4 km Today until 11PM the traffic ban for freight vehicles with maximum total weight exceeding 7,5t is in effect on major state roads. There is no ban on the motorways and on the D1 state road. Sections of the roads closed due to roadworks: -on the DC1 state road in Lučko (Zagreb) between Gornji Stupnik and Svetonedeljska street -on the state road 29 from Novi Golubovec (crossroad DC29, DC35) -on the DC502 Smilčić-Pridraga state road. Traffic is regulated by traffic signals/one road lane is free only: -on the DC1 state road in Knin until 31st July; -on the DC1 state road at Mostanje and on the section Sučević-Otrić. -on the DC8 Adriatic road on the section Zaton Doli-Bistrina; -on the DC66 Pula-Most Raša state road. With the sunny and dry weather, more and more cyclists and motorists are on the roads. Other vehicles (such as cars or trucks) should look carefully for bicyclists before turning left or right, merging into bicycle lanes and opening doors next to moving traffic. Check your mirrors and be aware of blind spots before turning. While at a stop sign or red light, make a complete stop in order to let bikers pass, and check for unseen riders. Respect the right of way of bicyclists because they are entitled to share the road with you. Cyclists are not immune to traffic violations: pay attention to red lights and practice arm signaling!
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