Kvarner Bay - Where the Mediterranean Meets Vienna And Budapest

By 19 August 2020
Kvarner Bay - Where the Mediterranean Meets Vienna And Budapest
Istria, Rijeka | Photo by Romulic and Stojcic

August 19, 2020 - If you thought that the entire Croatian coast is about easy-going life, with antique remnants and hot-blooded people who sing all the time under the olive oil tree - you haven’t seen Kvarner Gulf. Kvarner Gulf is also a Mediterranean region in the Adriatic sea and is somewhat similar to Dalmatia, but its culture is totally different. Think the Mediterranean with Austro-Hungarian moderation, diligence, and attention to details.

Kvarner Gulf is bordered by Tuscan-style Istria in the north, a petite arcadia of vineyards, lovely woods with truffles, pleasant coastal towns, beaches, and charming hamlets on the rolling hills. In the south, Kvarner Gulf borders Dalmatia, a region where natural beauties and amazing cultural heritage co-exist with architectural atrocities, traffic mess, and a dose of chaos here and there.

Between rustic Istria and hot-blooded Dalmatia, Kvarner lives its quaint, diligent, and neat life with tourism that was conceived in the glory days of the Austro-Hungarian Empire. In Dalmatia - there are ancient houses and entire towns made of stone and marble. In Kvarner, you will see narrow houses with colorful facades, villas from the belle epoque built as summer residences of a European aristocracy, and lovely houses of Kvarner’s captains with palms and exotic plants they brought from all over the world.

Dalmatia is pretty - for the most part. Yet, its turbulent history heavily influenced by the Ottoman Empire created a culture that sometimes misses keeping all things pretty, neat, and organized. This part of the Mediterranean inclines toward loud emotions that can slightly fog rational thinking, creating a charming dose of chaos and slothfulness (google: fjaka). And that’s why we love it.

Dalmatian chaos gave birth to amazing arts - klapa singing is beyond beautiful and the legendary Malo Misto TV series can stand side-by-side with Jirzi Menzel’s and Fellini’s depictions of small-town life.

But, if you want to experience another kind of Mediterranean - less dramatic and loud, visit Kvarner. The history of Kvarner was somewhat different than Dalmatian history - while Dalmatia was dealing with the attacks of the Ottoman empire, more civil rule of the Venice and Austria defined the largest part of Kvarner area, leaving good infrastructure and carefully tended gardens in front of the lovely houses lining the orderly streets of the neat colorful towns.

Colorful facades of Kvarner vs stone houses of Dalmatia