Adriatic Splendor: Visiting the Croatian Coast in 1955 (VIDEO)

By 29 January 2022
Rab island
Rab island PeriscopeFilm

January 29, 2022 - A travelogue filmed in 1955 takes us on a trip down the Croatian coast, featuring some of the most popular destinations on the Adriatic

We love coming across old footage of the Adriatic coast, but it’s a rare treat to see a video filmed in the 1950s - and a travelogue at that! Titled ‘Adriatic Splendor’, the 1955 video features some of the most popular tourist destinations in ex-Yugoslavia, with the bulk of the footage filmed on the Croatian Adriatic.

As introduced on the PeriscopeFilm channel: ‘This black and white 1955 travelogue documents seaside towns along the Adriatic Coast in the aftermath of World War II, showing natural landmarks, historic architecture, European tourists, and local peoples of diverse ethnic backgrounds from Croatia and former Yugoslavia’.



The Croatian Adriatic first makes an appearance at the 1:55 mark, when the video takes us to the Northern Adriatic town of Opatija. Described as one of the largest holiday resorts populated by bathers from all parts of the world, the town is also praised for its ‘several fine beaches’ and hotels with picturesque grounds - a succinct description of Opatija if there ever was one.

The footage also shows a group of campers who pitched their tents in the shade on one of the aforementioned fine beaches, and it’s quite interesting to see the early days of camping tourism in Croatia on film.

From there we head to Istria, rolling into the harbour town of Pula with a few snapshots of the Mediterranean as it once was, quite literally: a couple riding on a cart pulled by a mule, kids playing on cobblestone streets, fishermen laying out fishing nets on the waterfront. And a nod to the ancient Roman heritage in Pula, namely the fantastically preserved amphitheatre Arena and the Temple of Augustus in the city centre.


Fishermen in Pula

Making a short stop on Rab island, where we see a jam-packed ferry about to dock. A splendid view of sailboats cruising along the coast, then a stroll through an open market where fresh local produce is sold, allowing visitors to ‘prepare their own food should they so wish’. Experiencing the Adriatic, the authentic way!

And finally, a long summer drive through Dalmatia where we’re treated to spectacular vistas: a string of idyllic island landscapes, the Šibenik cathedral, breathtaking waterfalls of Krka National Park, the historic centre of Trogir, and the solemn Klis fortress, perched high on a hill northeast of Split.


The crew captured endearing moments throughout their trip: a wedding party on their way to the church, elderly gentlemen clad in traditional garb and engaging in ćakule, local kids thoroughly inspecting the daily catch. And perhaps the most fascinating part of the footage, a report from the Sinj Alka, with a huge crowd of spectators showing just how popular this traditional event has always been.

Though black and white, the dreamy seaside views featured in the video make us long for summer and carefree road trips down the Croatian coast. Interestingly enough, almost 70 years later, most things shown in the footage can still be experienced on the Adriatic. The landscape might be somewhat different, with hotels and holiday homes aplenty, but the essence remains unchanged: the Sinj Alka still draws a crowd, Krka waterfalls are still one of the most spectacular places to take a dip, and those charming cobblestone streets you’ll find all over the coast aren’t going anywhere. 

Watch the full video:

Apart from the Croatian coast, the footage also features the Slovenian lake Bled and Mostar town in Bosnia and Herzegovina.