Sunday, 15 May 2022

Works by Salvador Dalí to be Exhibited in Opatija This Summer

ZAGREB, 15 May 2022 - After last year's exhibition of works by Pablo Picasso and Joan Miró, this summer the Juraj Šporer Gallery in the northern Adriatic town of Opatija will display works by Salvador Dalí.

The exhibition will be staged in collaboration with the Opatija Festival and the OPL Art company and will be open from 6 June to 20 September. Admission will be HRK 100 (€13).

On display will be about a hundred lithographs, copperplate engravings and other graphic works from a private collection of a collector from Bonn, IPL Art director Iva Piglić announced earlier this week, adding that she could not reveal the collector's name because they wanted to remain anonymous.

Opatija Festival director Ernie Gigante Dešković said that these exhibits, being from a private collection, were rarely displayed and that this would be a rare opportunity to see them.

He said that the exhibition of works by Picasso and Miró was among the most visited exhibitions in Croatia last year and that they hoped to surpass that result with the Dalí exhibition.

For more, make sure to check out our lifestyle section.

Friday, 22 April 2022

First Opatija Camellia Festival Paints the Town (PHOTOS)

April 22, 2022 - The traditional Camellia exhibition has now turned into the Opatija Camellia Festival, celebrating these colorful flowers in April each year. 

Again, these fragrant flowers in the first days of April beautified the already fabulous Opatija. The Association of Camellia Lovers organized the traditional 14th exhibition, which has grown into the Camellia Festival this year.


The J. Šporer Art Pavilion in the heart of Opatija was the scene of this unique event that is being talked about throughout the region. In addition to choosing the most beautiful camellia, a carousel of various events dazzled the city. According to Mira Shalabi, president of the Association, they have been thinking about the festival for the past years, but the coronavirus atmosphere prevented them from doing so.


"Many helped, from the City of Opatija to the Opatija Tourist Board and Kvarner and others. Angiolina Park also looks magnificent, and altogether it has completed the tourist offer," says Shalabi, emphasizing that they currently have about a hundred valuable members. 


Katica Dražić, a camellia expert at Opatija Kindergarten, presented a camellia bush and flower to the children. A workshop on camellia cultivation was held in the Angiolina Park nursery and the topics were agrotechnical measures, transplanting from cuttings, marcotting, protection, and care. Lectures were given by Jan Bernd-Urban, founder of the Association of Camellia Lovers and an expert in the history of camellias and Opatija, and Romana Lekić, advisor to the Dean for Tourism at Edward Bernays Zagreb in Villa Antonio, presented the symbol of love camellia and magic of Angiolina Park.




The musical performances at the opening featured Olga Šober, national champion of opera and maestro Nada Matošević Orešković with the aria "E strano" from the opera La Traviata, guitarist Natko Štiglić, the choir of the elementary school R.K. Jeret and young accordionist Dorian Rubesha.


"On Saturday, a guided walk through Angiolina Park was organized, a visit to the exhibitions in the Sporer pavilion, voting for the most beautiful camellia flower, and a presentation and tasting of green tea "Camellia sinensis" in the nearby town of Veprinac. The Zora ensemble delighted the audience with their dances, and Vivien Galletta, Goranka, and Marin Tuhtan from HNK Rijeka sang several popular arias," added Shalabi, thanking many members of FIJET, the Association of Tourist Journalists and writers in tourism on arrival.


The most beautiful camellias were awarded to Boško Lukić, Nada Grizilo, and Vesna Komadina.

All photos by Slobodan Kadic

For more, check out our lifestyle section.

Saturday, 19 March 2022

Opatija and Velika Gorica Have Highest Easter Bonuses for Croatian Retirees

March the 19th, 2022 - Two Croatian towns, one on the coast in Kvarner and one inland close to the City of Zagreb, pay out the highest Easter bonuses for Croatian retirees in the entire country.

As Poslovni Dnevnik writes, while the amounts for Easter payouts for Croatian retirees are mostly symbolic and depend on a rather low pension income threshold as a basic condition, these two Croatian cities still loosened up their purse strings in order to make Easter a little better for Croatian retirees living there, as reported by

The City of Velika Gorica will pay up to 800 kuna to Croatian retirees who are drawing a monthly pension of up to 2,000 kuna over Easter. Those who are receiving a pension of up to 1,000 kuna will also be paid an Easter bonus in the amount of 800 kuna, and Croatian returees who receive a monthly pension of 1,000.01 kuna to 2,000 kuna will be paid an Easter bonus in the amount of 400 kuna. Croatian retirees from Velika Gorica are also paid out the exact same amount for the Christmas period.

The picturesque town of Opatija close to Rijeka in Kvarner isn't lagging very far behind Velika Gorica either. It does have a slightly lower final amount, but a much higher threshold. Thus, all Croatian retirees drawing a pension of up to 4,000 kuna per month will receive an Easter bonus, and the amounts range from 500 to 700 kuna.

Croatian retirees with pensions of up to 2,000 kuna per month are entitled to an Easter bonus of 700 kuna, while those drawing a monthly pension of 2,000 to 3,000 kuna will receive 600 kuna on their bank accounts for Easter. 500 kuna is paid out to Opatija's resident pensioners who are drawing monthly pensions ranging from 3,000 to 4,000 kuna.

For more on retirement in Croatia, make sure to check out our dedicated lifestyle section.

Wednesday, 16 March 2022

Green Opatija: Kvarner Town Wants to Become "Green Event" Destination

March the 16th, 2022 - Could a ''green Opatija'' be on the cards as this beautiful Kvarner town in the Northern Adriatic region hopes to position itself as a ''green'' business destination? It seems so.

As Poslovni Dnevnik/Marija Crnjak writes, the Tourist Board of the City of Opatija has launched the project Opatija - Green Meeting Destination, which aims to direct this city, dominated by picturesque Austro-Hungarian architecture, towards the status of becoming a recognised sustainable business destination. If it succeeds, the new ''green Opatija'' would join the ranks of European cities like Gothenburg, Copenhagen, Zurich, Glasgow, and if we're looking much further afield - Sydney.

The green Opatija project includes proper education on key subjects of the wider congress offer, in which Croatia as a whole is being more recognised, as well as the creation and implementation of recommendations with criteria for achieving sustainability in the organisation of congress events.

“An increasing number of organisers are paying more and more attention to reducing negative impacts on the environment and on society. By creating an environment in which such responsible behaviour is encouraged and promoted, Opatija once again stands out as a destination that is developing in line with the world's leading trends.

In the realisation of this project, which started back in January and has a duration of six months, the Opatija Tourist Board has established cooperation with the Eventful agency, the only one in all of the Republic of Croatia which specialises in organising and implementing sustainable events,'' they explained from the Opatija Tourist Board.

As part of the project, an educational workshop was held for representatives of hotel companies, agencies and congress spaces, individual meetings with tourism entities will be organised, and the final project will be a pilot business meeting organised in accordance with all of the current, modern sustainability criteria.

For more, make sure to check out our dedicated travel section.

Friday, 11 March 2022

Racing on Opatija Riviera, From the Adriatic Grand Prix to the Women’s Auto Rally

March 11th, 2022 - Did you know that Rijeka once used to host an all-female car rally?

Rijeka and Opatija have a long tradition of motorsport racing, going back to the early 1930s when a race course named Opatija Circuit first started hosting auto races.

Also known as the Kvarner Circuit (Circuito del Carnaro), the race course was 6 kilometres long and had a starting point in Preluk bay between Rijeka and Opatija. The circuit used the streets of Opatija and its environs, offering splendid views of the Adriatic Sea.

The circuit’s claim to fame was the 1939 Adriatic Grand Prix, when the Italian team decided to compete in Opatija instead of the French Grand Prix in Rheims. Luigi Villoresi won the race driving a Maserati 4CL, essentially turning Opatija into a prestigious racing venue overnight.

It soon became apparent that the narrow roads along the coastline, complete with plenty of roadside obstacles, didn’t exactly make for safe driving conditions. On more than one occasion, races on the Opatija Circuit ended in tragic deaths of drivers; although the track remained popular for decades in spite of all issues, auto races were discontinued after the Formula 3 Gran Premio Adriatico in 1968.

The end of auto races kicked off a golden era of motorcycle racing, after the Adriatic Grand Prix became a round of the FIM Motorcycle World Championship.

The 1977 Grand Prix was held in spite of an order from the FIM to improve the safety of the track. No modifications were made prior to the event and the race ended up with 19 injured and 2 fatalities, prompting the FIM to ban all road races from the World Championship schedule. The Opatija Circuit fame came to its end, and a modern replacement circuit was created on the other side of Rijeka - the Automotodrom Grobnik.

A lesser known fact about racing on the Kvarner coast is that Rijeka also used to host an all-female car rally. Named Rijeka Women’s Auto Rally, the racing event was held every year from 1971 to 1999.

Back in 1971, as Auto Club Rijeka was celebrating its 25th anniversary, the club’s executive board decided to hold an all-female race in honour of International Women’s Day.

Held on March 7th 1971, the first rally drew a lot of interest, with 60 drivers registering to take part in the race. The 41 km circuit took the racers from the starting point in Preluk to Lovran, Jušići, Krnjevo, and back to Preluk.

preluk_02-1.jpgPreluk bay /

They competed in three classes: 850 ccm, 1250 ccm, and 1250+ ccm, won in the first year by Inga Kren, Radmila Valković and Vesna Grgurina respectively.

The Rijeka Women’s Auto Rally soon became an attractive racing event which, together with the international Zagreb rally, formed the basis for the establishment of the national championship for women.

Women were flocking to Rijeka from other parts of Croatia to show off their racing skills. Some of the notable winners were Sonja Kezele and Mirjana Bučić from Opatija with ten victories each, Nađa Cenov from Rijeka who won the race eight times, and Olga Bebić from Split who won seven times.

After a while, 41 drivers who had won in some of the classes or in the overall standings earned the right to compete in a racing event called the Champions’ Cup.

In 1996, Auto Club Rijeka marked its 50th anniversary with a grand 25th edition of the women’s rally, held under the motto ‘50 hours of rallying’ and complete with an entertainment programme that featured something new with each passing hour.

All-female rallies were held in Croatia until 1999. The last, 28th women’s rally in Rijeka was won by Auto Club Rijeka, represented by racers Palmina Alijanović, Smiljka Pavić, Luisa Božićević, Dajana Aračić and Ljiljana Kamenar.

Wednesday, 9 March 2022

Opatija Tourism Breaking Records Set Back in Pre-Pandemic 2019!

March the 9th, 2022 - The beautiful town of Opatija which is situated along Kvarner's dramatic coastline is breaking records it set back in pre-pandemic 2019, offering a more than encouraging insight into Croatian tourism recovery as a whole. Opatija tourism figures certainly don't have much to complain about so far in 2022 as we move forward.

Opatija tourism numbers are looking excellent for the month of February 2022, and this beautiful town which boasts stunning Austro-Hungarian architecture, beautiful views and an ease of connectivity to many places across the rest of the country, including Rijeka and Zagreb, looks as if it has a promising tourist year ahead of it.

As Poslovni Dnevnik/Marija Crnjak writes, after a record January, Opatija tourism only continued to record excellent figures during the month of February according to data obtained by the Opatija Tourist Board.

In the spirit of Valentine's Day and as a town that is undoubtedly romantic, Opatija tourism did very well. Opatija, sometimes referred to as Abbazia in Italian, attracted an impressive 14,413 guests who realised an even better number of 34,108 overnight stays, thus surpassing the pre-pandemic 2019 result. In February 2022, there was an increase of 11 percent in the number of overnight stays in Opatija, while compared to last year, this growth is at a very encouraging 141 percent.

The most numerous guests making up these Opatija tourism numbers were guests from the rest of Croatia, followed by tourists from Slovenia, Austria, the United States of America, Italy and Germany.

Back in February, Opatija's guests most often chose hotels for their holidays, and 86 percent of the total number of overnight stays registered were spent in hotel accommodation, with 12 percent being recorded in private accommodation.

For the second month in a row, Opatija was the most visited destination in all of the gorgeous Northern Adriatic region of Kvarner and among the most visited in all of Croatia.

For more, check out our dedicated travel section.

Friday, 25 February 2022

Opatija in 1932: Vintage Beachwear and Summer Parades [VIDEO]

February 25th, 2022 - The black and white footage shows tourists lounging around on Opatija’s beaches in the 30s

Today in our ‘old footage of the Adriatic’ section, we bring you a short video filmed in Opatija… in 1932!

Second only to Hvar, the Northern Adriatic town is one of the pioneers of organised tourism in Croatia. And while it would certainly be incredible to see what Opatija looked like in the late 19th century when it saw its first guests, footage from the 30s doesn’t come around every day either.

The video is titled 'Abbazia (Opatija): The Istrian riviera takes on its summer look'. At the time of filming, Opatija was part of Italy. 

Watch the holidaymakers splash around on Opatija’s beaches, followed by a special treat: footage of the summer carnival, featuring elaborate allegorical floats and creative costumes.

Video by Istituto Luce Cinecittà.

Sunday, 20 February 2022

Balinjerada: Small-Scale Costumed Race Held in Opatija, Main Event Pushed to Summer

February 20th, 2022 - Despite the official Balinjerada race getting postponed, an informal version of the popular racing event was held in Opatija

Balinjerada, the iconic costumed soapbox race held each year in Opatija during the carnival festivities, had a preview of its 2022 edition on Sunday.

This year’s event was toned down significantly in comparison with its usual scale, only featuring a handful of costumed racers who took their handmade builds for a spin down the main street in Opatija.

Just as the International Carnival Parade in Rijeka was rescheduled for the summer because of epidemiological measures, so has the regular edition of the popular race in Opatija. Balinjerada will be back in its full glory later this year, as reported by Novi list.

And yet, one cannot ignore tradition. There’s a local saying that warns it’s ‘better to bring down the village than forsake old customs’, and so a few fervent carnival lovers donned colourful attire and brought a smile to all faces in town when they showed up with their makeshift vehicles in Opatija earlier today:

Video: Novi list / Marko Gracin

It was a ‘light’ Balinjerada, an informal version of the popular racing event, to carry us over until June 11th when the real thing is supposed to take place.

Balinjerada is a costumed race featuring homemade vehicles that run on ball bearings alone; they’re called balinjera in the local dialect, hence the name of the event.

It’s a manifestation rooted in creativity and enthusiasm, with the hilarious fleet proving year after year that imagination really knows no bounds. From simple scooters and tricycles to shaky carts of elaborate design that fit a dozen people, the vehicles are known to elicit roaring laughs from the delighted crowd of spectators lining the street.

Naturally, it’s much more entertaining in its traditional format, one that features ambitious builds and numerous racing teams in themed costumes. Watch the video below, filmed at the 2016 edition of Balinjerada, to get a better idea of what happens in Opatija during the carnival season. If nothing else, it has to be admired that most of these didn’t crash at the first turn:

Friday, 21 January 2022

Opatija Again Named One of Most Romantic Destinations for Valentine's Day Getaways

January 21st, 2022 - With Valentine’s Day fast approaching, the tranquil coastal town in Croatia is getting featured in international media as a perfect destination for a romantic getaway

When it comes to romantic getaway destinations for Valentine’s Day, Opatija sure seems to be on everyone's minds. This time last year, Forbes magazine included the beautiful town in the Northern Adriatic in their list of the most romantic destinations in Europe.

With this year’s romantic holiday approaching, Opatija gets a nod from the travel magazine Trips to Discover, making it onto their list of 15 romantic travel ideas for a Valentine’s Day escape.

The feature presents Opatija as one of the best places to visit in Croatia and one of the most romantic destinations in all of Europe, with its contrast of turquoise Adriatic waters against the green mountainous backdrop. Among other highlights, Opatija’s grand historic villas and the picturesque waterfront promenade known as Lungomare, as well as the town’s famous chocolatiers - altogether a perfect setting for a holiday centered around romance.

The tourist town is ready to celebrate love this Valentine’s Day, setting the stage for romantic moments with ambiental music, lighting and decor in its pristine parks and along the promenade.

Opatija’s hotels have prepared a range of romantic packages for couples looking to visit in the month of February, reports RiPrsten. A weekend getaway with a loved one is the perfect time to unwind in Opatija’s wellness centres and enjoy a romantic dinner in one of the renowned restaurants in town.

‘If all we need is love, as The Beatles sang, then Opatija offers all we need and more this February’, said Opatija Tourist Board director Suzi Petričić.

‘Our town has a long tradition of a popular romantic destination, and we’re glad that renowned media in tourism have recognised that for the second year in a row. All our visitors can look forward to a truly unique Valentine’s Day atmosphere, where the only thing they need to do is relax and enjoy Opatija’s charms and wonderful moments in the company of their favourite person’, said Petričić.

Apart from Opatija, Trips to Discover’s list of most romantic destinations includes Quebec City in Canada, Iceland, Bermuda, Cape Cod, Strasbourg in France, Lagoa in Portugal, Curaçao, Colorado’s Estes Park, Kauai in Hawaii, Key West in Florida, the Italian town of Lucca, Charleston in South Carolina, and two destinations in Mexico, Merida and Los Cabos.


Tuesday, 28 December 2021

Enjoy the Holiday Magic in Opatija With a 360° Virtual Walk

Take a virtual walk around Opatija in its holiday gear, from enchanting parks and iconic hotels to the famous seaside promenade lungomare

Although Christmas has passed, cities all over Croatia continue to don their holiday gear for another week or so. While most Advent programmes typically last through the first week of the year, come January 1st, they somehow just don’t feel the same anymore.

That being said, the next few days leading up to New Year’s Eve are a perfect opportunity to enjoy the festive atmosphere in town while the lights and decorations are still up. 

Don’t fancy mingling with crowds (or getting off the couch) these days? We get you - thankfully, there’s a way to stroll around town without having to leave the comfort of your own home. 


Screenshot of Opatija Advent page, photo © Rajko Mrvos

Today, we present to you a lovely virtual tour of Opatija, the historic town on the coast of Kvarner Bay. Created by Rajko Mrvos in collaboration with Opatija Tourist Board, the 360° tour is composed of 30 panoramic photos showcasing the town in all its glamorous holiday glory

Set to a festive musical backdrop, the tour will take you from Opatija’s enchanting parks and iconic hotels to the famous seaside promenade lungomare. You can toggle between daytime and nighttime panoramas, or take a walk with 360 VR video footage:

Head to the Opatija Advent page to enjoy the splendid landscapes, and check out Rajko Mrvos's ZooM Studio Youtube Channel for more virtual tours of Croatia. 


Want to learn more about Opatija? Look no further than our Total Croatia guide Opatija in a page

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