In the morning we arrived at the train station, housed in the original complex built in 1873. We were warmly greeted by representatives of the City Hall and the Rijeka Tourism Board, as well as local journalists. The hospitable hosts immediately invited us to the luxurious tables, set right on the station square, and offered to taste local delicacies, wines and stronger drinks, for example, the Medica brandy. The meeting was a success – that’s really true Croatian hospitality!
Rijeka is the largest port city in Croatia, the third largest in the country after Zagreb and Split. It is located in the north of Dalmatia, next to the Istrian peninsula.
Rijeka can be considered the most suitable city for those who want to combine a comfortable beach holiday with an intense cultural program and local sightseeing.
There are a lot of various architectural and historical monuments, theatres, museums and churches.
This pedestrian street and the nearby old alleys are rightfully considered the center of tourist life and at the same time the historical center of Rijeka.
Here are the best restaurants with excellent cuisine, the most popular discos and night bars, there are good shops and boutiques.
While walking in Korzo, you can see many beautiful old buildings with unique architecture from different eras. This street is a favourite walking place for both tourists and townspeople.
It is no coincidence that the main attraction of Rijeka – the “City Tower” – is located exactly on Korzo. Initially, it was part of the city gate complex and served as the entrance to Rijeka from the sea. The tower looks like a rounded structure, decorated with hour dials: in the middle there are clocks with Roman numerals and openwork hands, and on both sides of them – with Roman numerals and standard hands.
The lower foundation of the building is decorated with elements containing images of the coats of arms of the Austrian kings Leopold I and Charles VI.
Noteworthy is the magnificent building of the Croatian National Theatre named after Ivan Zajc.
The project of this building was developed by the famous architects Fellner and Helmer, who are responsible for over 45 public buildings in European countries. The theatre in Rijeka, like the rest of their creations, is a magnificent architectural monument that successfully combines the Renaissance and Baroque styles.
The name of the conductor and composer Ivan Zajc was given to the theatre in 1953. In 1991, the theatre received the status of ‘National’ and added to the list of four similar buildings in Croatia.
Trsat stands apart in the list of attractions in Rijeka, and in Croatia as a whole. This part of the city was once a separate settlement and now unites a number of interesting objects. Trsat is a famous place of pilgrimage for Catholics.
The fortress rises on a 138-metre hill above the city. Here you can see not only a well-preserved castle of the 13th century, but also the ruins of ancient fortifications. After the tour, you can go to the observation deck, which offers breathtaking views of the city, the sea, the island of Krk, the canyon and the river below.
You can climb to the top of the hill, to the castle, along the famous stairs consisting of 538 rather steep steps. The staircase runs through a steep gorge, along with small chapels to various saints. Built in 1531, it was supposed to facilitate the path of pilgrims to another attraction on this hill – the Basilica of Our Lady of Trsat. It has the honorary status of “minor basilica” – only seven churches in Croatia have such a title.
One of the oldest shrines in Rijeka was built in the 15th century on the place where, according to legend, a miracle took place and the house of the Virgin Mary arose.
Behind the basilica there is an unusual recreation of the way of the cross of Jesus Christ. The symbolic sculptures reproduce the procession of Jesus up the mountain with the cross, and when descending the hill, you can watch the scenes of the descent from the cross. These scenes are captured in modest monuments in the churchyard. There is also a monument to Pope John Paul II, who visited the shrine.
In 2009, the only center of this kind in Croatia was opened in the building of the old fortress – an observatory and a planetarium work here at the same time.
Various interactive programs are held for visitors, lectures are given, films are shown about the solar system and the history of the creation of the telescope. It is believed that the best panoramic views of Rijeka are from this center.
The central market occupies several Art Nouveau buildings decorated with patterned reinforced concrete and glass weaves.
The market has a huge assortment of meat and dairy products, a lot of fresh fruits and vegetables.
A special abundance is presented in Ribarnitz – a huge number of the freshest fish and seafood of different types are exhibited here. It is best to come shopping early in the morning, when freshly caught products are brought. As a rule, by noon, all trading ends.
For lunch we were invited to the Knoba Fiume fish restaurant. The family tavern is located close to the market and we got the impression that the seafood we were treated to was delivered directly from there. We happily tasted fried shark, squid and stingray dishes, as well as “king” prawns from the Adriatic. Everything was amazingly delicious!
Despite the fact that we spent only a day in Rijeka, we had a very good impression of what we saw. No wonder, last year Rijeka had the prestigious title of “European Capital of Culture 2020”. However, due to the pandemic, many people were unable to come here, and some of the events were postponed to the year 2021. Therefore, we strongly recommend visiting this amazingly hospitable, interesting and tasty city!
The editors would like to thank Dubravko Miholić, director of the Representative Office of Croatian National Tourist Board in Czech Republic and Slovakia, for the invitation and well-organized trip to Croatia!
Special Thanks to Dino Matešić, Head of Information and Marketing Research of the Rijeka Tourism Board and Sandra Bandera, a wonderful city guide, for a great individual program and interesting excursions!