My husband and I occasionally visit Opatija when we want to have a small getaway from the crowdy Zagreb to breath some fresh sea air. This year’s Easter holidays we did the same.
Opatija is a beautiful small tourist town located in Kvarner (the North of the Adriatic coast), near to Rijeka which is the third largest city in Croatia and about two hours by car from Zagreb. This Croatian Adriatic Sea’s pearl (how many like to call it) is more special than other Croatian cities because of its greenery and Austro-Hungarian architecture buildings which can be seen all the way to the nearby town Lovran.
Opatija became a tourist place in the late 19th and the beginning of the 20th century when the elite buildings were planned by the top Viennese architects. At the same time, it was the favourite resort place for that time’s Viennese aristocracy. Luxurious villas surrounded by gardens, hotels, promenades and beaches put Opatija on the top place when it comes to Croatian tourism. Every time I visit this lovely town, even for just a little, I always have a cup of coffee with a cake on the terrace of the great hotel Millenium. I especially enjoy a cake by the name of Opatijska Dama, my recommendations are to try it if you ever go there.
What I’m fascinated by the most are the wonderful parks that amaze every visitor with their beauty. I could even say that those are some of the most beautiful parks on the Adriatic coast area. Two of them are under protection as monuments of botanical architecture. The bigger one is separated into two parts - Southern part with exotic plants and lawns and the Northern part with laurel, pines and cedar. The most interesting things about that park are Japanese camellias, bamboo and bananas. This park is located near the promenade Lungo Mare and thereby is visited by almost everyone who visits Opatija.
This wonderful town is known for the beautiful flower camellia. All the city’s gardens have different types of camellias. Different varieties of camellias can also be seen in private home gardens.
During my latest visit to Opatija, my husband and I witnessed the 10th jubilee exhibition of camellias which took place in the arts pavilion. We truly enjoyed looking at each flower. The kind chairwoman of the Camelia Lovers association, whose name is Katica, told us everything about the work of the association and some interesting facts about the beautiful flower. If you are planning to visit Croatia, my advice is to definitely visit Opatija. I know you would fall in love with the town just like I did.