Opatija, the main Croatian tourist destination in recent history, has many things to offer. Previously favorite winter destination for aristocrats and important people such as politics, artists and writers, today one of the most popular summer destinations for all generations. Families, couples, young people and seniors, everyone can find something of their interest in Opatija.
The town was first discovered by Iginio Scarpa, a merchant who built Villa Angiolina in the center of Opatija in 1844 which was the beginning of Opatija tourism.
The first hotel in Opatija was hotel Quarnero, today known as hotel Kvarner. It was built by the director of the Australian Southern Railway Company. That company also built the famous coastal promenade Lungo Mare that connects Volosko to Lovran.
Opatija was officially declared a climatic health resort in 1889 and it offered numerous sanatoriums and promenades where people could relax and enjoy. This launched Opatija to the European’s top health resorts, along with big cities such as Nice and Cannes. Opatija was a perfect sanctuary because of its mild climate and great location by the sea, in the center of the Kvarner Bay.
Many famous people were visiting and staying in Opatija on a regular basis: emperors Franz Joseph and William II, the ballet dancer Isadora Duncan, Queen Elizabeth of Romania that wrote poems under the name Carmen Sylva, the Empress Sissi, the writers A. P. Chekhov and James Joyce, to only name a few.
If you want to learn more about the history of Opatija, you can visit Croatian Museum of Tourism which is located in Villa Angiolina, Juraj Šporer Art Pavilion and Swiss House.
Image source: Visit Opatija.