Tourism in the Corona Age: 10 Virtual Ways to Discover Opatija

May 1, 2020 - Tourism is on hold, but most of us have plenty of time. So let's look at the virtual resources available to explore Croatia virtually. We continue our new Virtual Croatia series with the tools to discover Opatija.

A few weeks ago I wrote that being a tourism blogger in the corona era was about as useful as being a cocktail barman in Saudi Arabia. I feel less useless now, a few weeks later, and I am encouraged by the number of Croatian tourism businesses who are contacting us wanting to start thinking of promoting post-corona tourism. 

One of the challenges of writing about tourism at the moment is that there is nothing positive to write about. With people confined to their homes and tourism in Croatia currently not possible, many have decided to go into hibernation until it is all over. 

I think that this is a mistake, and I have greatly enjoyed the TCN series by Zoran Pejovic of Paradox Hospitality on thinking ahead to tourism in a post-corona world.  You can find Zoran's articles here.

Way back on March 14 - several lifetimes ago - I published an article called Tourism in the Corona Age: 10 Virtual Ways to Discover Zagreb. The way I saw things, now was an OUTSTANDING opportunity for tourism promotion. People have time, they yearn for their freedom and former lives, so give them the tools to thoroughly research and enjoy your destinations, and you will have then longing to be there. And when they do come, they will have a deeper understanding of the destination due to their research. 

South Africa and Portugal were the first to do their post-corona tourism promotion videos several weeks ago (Post-Corona Tourism Planning: Lessons from South Africa and Portugal), a trick which has been followed by other tourism countries, the latest being Croatia with the national tourist board campaign, #CroatiaLongDistanceLove, going live yesterday.

But while these campaigns create longing and market presence, they don't really educate. People now have time to really get into destinations. And dreams of escape to somewhere more exotic are high on the list of priorities of many. 

So TCN has decided to help with that education with a new series called Virtual Croatia, where we will be helping you discover many of Croatia's destinations with all the best virtual tools available on your self-isolating sofa at home. 

We started last week with Tourism in the Corona Age: 10 Virtual Tools to Discover Hvar.

After this, we put our a press release (which you can read here in English and Croatian) offering a free article to any local tourist board in Croatia who would like the free promotion in our Virtual Croatia series

The Sinj Tourist Board was the first to respond, and now you can see just how rich the tourism offer is in this proud Alka town - your virtual tools to Discover Sinj.

Next up, Zeljka Stasic from the Opatija Tourist Board, who sent me some virtual tools to help us 'Dream Today, Visit Opatija Tomorrow.' 

Let's begin! 

Dream Today, Visit Opatija Tomorrow 


The current message and latest Opatija Tourist Board video release - Dream today, visit Opatija tomorrow.


Some more intro videos - Opatija, Queen of the Adriatic 


Opatija, Be Charmed. 

Opatija from the air.

Discover Opatija as It Once Was


A look at how life and tourism used to be in this beautiful Adriatic destination. 1984.  




The 1950s. 

Opatija, an event destination throughout the year

There is a LOT going on all year in Opatija - you can take a tour with the official tourist board events page for the latest. Some highlights below. 

RetrOpatija is a musical time machine in which swing, rockabilly, rock, jazz and electric disco music merge together to create a fantastic party dedicated to the key decades and musical styles of the twentieth century. This retro festival brings together excellent Croatian and foreign musicians, pin-up models, dancers, jugglers, street musicians, makeup artists and hair stylists, and presents vintage cars and motorcycles, such as Vespas, Tomos and Fiats. Dance at the hot ‘party of the century’ beneath a large disco ball together with thousands of other visitors.

Liburnija Jazz Festival. 

Liburnia Film Festival 

Viennese Ball. 

Hedonist Gourmet and Wine Festival. 

Advent in Opatija. 

Opatija Chocolate Festival. 

The warmup for the Eurovision Song Contest representative from Croatia - Dora is an annual institution in Opatija.  

Step aside, Monaco. Opatija used to host one of the most famous motorcycle races in Europe - the Adriatic Grand Prix, held on a 6-kilometre track from Preluk to Opatija between 1939 and 1977. As the region was ruled by Italy in the 30s, the track was first known as Circuito di Abbazia (Opatija Circuit) and Circuito del Carnaro (Kvarner Circuit). It became internationally popular after the Italian team decided to compete in Opatija instead of participating in the French Grand Prix in Rheims. The rest is history, as they say - read more here

When the Grand Prix fame died down, Opatija didn't allow for racing to go out of style, instead introducing a peculiar manifestation named Balinjerada. The race features hand-made vehicles running on ball-bearings (balinjere in Croatian) which zoom past the delighted audience gathered along Opatija's main street. Both the drivers and their vehicles don themed costumes, giving the entertaining race an air of a next-level carnival. 

And when you have had enough events, take the Opatija Walk of Fame.

Romantic Opatija, the perfect wedding destination

Thinking of tying the knot? Why Opajita may be a great option to consider. 

The birthplace of tourism in Croatia, and a health, wellness and congress tourism destination today

The first holiday home in Croatia was built in Opatija in 1844 - 174 years ago. While we can't exactly speak of organised tourism at that point in time, Villa Angiolina hosted famous historical figures since it first opened its doors, including Emperor Franz Joseph I, Empress Maria Anna and the Croatian Ban Josip Jelačić. Owing to the line of renowned guests who stayed at the villa, the year is considered to mark the beginning of tourism in Opatija. 

Opatija's tourism has always included an element of health tourism, with its excellent healthcare and temperate climate. Opatija clinics are competitive with the very best in Europe, and one cannot complain about the location either.

The pleasant climate mentioned above has always been one of Opatija's most attractive features, and it makes no surprise the town grew to become a famous wellness destination. Franz Joseph I declared Opatija a spa town in 1889; from the 19th-century elites gathering in Opatija in colder months of the year to the current impressive offer of wellness services in Opatija's most distinguished hotels, the town has remained a desirable destination for those who want to relax and recharge their batteries while getting pampered in well-equipped facilities.

Opatija is also one of the Adriatic coast's strongest destinations for congress tourism. You can learn more about Opatija's congress facilities here.

A beach and sailing destination, with the oldest sailing club in Croatia

How could a holiday town on the coast not have a long history of sailing to match? In 1877, an Austrian cartographer and writer named Heinrich von Littrow founded the first sailing club on the Adriatic coast in Opatija, naming it Union Yacht Club Quarnero. More than a century later - in 1990, to be more precise - ACI Marina Opatija was opened in the nearby town of Ičići as the 18th marina in the prestigious Croatian network.

And if you prefer to laze the day away on the beach instead, there are plenty of options. 

The Lungo Mare

One of Opatija's most beloved features is the seaside promenade that spans from Volosko town all the way to Lovran, with Opatija standing as the centrepiece. Officially named the Franz Joseph I Promenade, the lovely trail is commonly referred to as Lungomare and measures around 10 kilometres in length. The northern part from Volosko to Opatija was built in 1889, while the second leg to Lovran was completed in 1911. On weekend mornings, you'll find plenty of tourists and locals taking a relaxing walk in the fresh air, every now and then stopping to take a photo of the stunning scenery.


Andrija Mohorovičić, a Croatian meteorologist and seismologist, was born in the small town of Volosko near Opatija. An earthquake near Zagreb in 1909 led Mohorovičić to discover the boundary between the Earth's crust and the underlying mantle, which is nowadays referred to as 'Mohorovičić discontinuity', Moho for short. The scientist is considered one of the founders of modern seismology; take the Lungomare to Volosko to see his place of birth and read more about Moho here.

Klapa Opatija

No Adriatic destination would be complete without those beautiful male a capella voices - meet Klapa Opatija.  

A 360 Panorama of Opatija


Take a 360 panoramic tour.

Official Opatija Tourist Board and 25 things to know about the Old Dame of Kvarner

Discover Opatija via the official Visit Opatija website.

For even more detail on Opatija, get to know the destination through TCN's 25 things to know about the Old Dame of Kvarner

THIS. IS. OPATIJA. When can we expect your visit? 

To discover more of virtual Croatia, you can follow this series in our dedicated section, Virtual Croatia

If you are a local tourist board in Croatia and would like your destination featured in this series for free, please contact us at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. Subject Virtual Croatia (and destination name)