Croatia’s third-largest metropolis after the capital Zagreb and coastal favorite Break up, underrated Rijeka is mostly ignored by vacationers, who are inclined to cross via en path to the islands. However amongst Croatians, this historic spot is well-known and cherished because the cultural capital of the nation.
A phoenix from the ashes, the town’s Hapsburg grandeur and industrial prominence had lengthy since light by the Seventies and Nineteen Eighties, when punk and new-wave musicians started utilizing its deserted warehouses for gigs and membership nights. Cash then poured in because it celebrated turning into Croatia’s first European Capital of Tradition for 2020 – alas, the identical 12 months that few vacationers would profit from the polish-up. However since then, with a lot of its elaborate Baroque structure restored and standing pleasure of place, Rijeka is flourishing, its music scene nonetheless pumping, maintained by the scholar and graduate inhabitants that calls the town residence.
What to do
Climb to the fort
Take the staircase that ascends from sea stage all the best way as much as Trsat Fort, a medieval fortress constructed by Frankopan kings. The courageous can be rewarded with show-stopping views over the town and Kvarner Bay past. Whenever you attain the world on the high you’ll be overjoyed to seek out out that inside the fort there’s a fantastic bar, Vintage Caffe. Time your go to for round 6pm so you possibly can mooch across the partitions and turrets of the rigorously restored lookout, earlier than having fun with a sundown drink at Classic accompanied by one of the best views within the metropolis.
Hit the seaside
There are a handful of fairly seashores only a quick bike experience away from the town centre. To the west, Plaža Kantrida is the busiest: a protracted stretch of small gray pebbles, it’s household and dog-friendly. To the east and inside strolling distance of the centre is Plaža Sablićevo, a small cove that will get very busy by lunchtime (irrespective of how early or late within the season), so rise up with the birds to wade into the life-affirming waters of the Adriatic earlier than everybody else exhibits up.
Plaža Glavanovo simply subsequent door is an analogous affair: it is advisable to ascend 100 or so steps to get all the way down to the crystal waters. It’s locals’ favorite Plaža Kostrena that takes the cake right here, although, having the cleanest water and most lovely setting with far fewer folks. It’s a 15-minute drive east of the town centre, however very a lot price it.
Try Croatian music
Rijeka has been the guts of Croatia’s native music scene for the reason that Seventies, when its atmospheric disused factories and warehouses lent themselves to many a raucous stay efficiency. Probably the most well-known survivor of these many years is Ri Rock competition, a two-day occasion that takes place each December. The organisation behind it additionally hosts gigs from all method of genres all year long – take a look at its website forward of your journey.
The place to remain
A modernist constructing within the coronary heart of the city centre, Grand Hotel Bonavia is an enjoyably stylish keep for followers of early twentieth century furnishings and old-school hospitality. Ask for a room on one of many higher flooring for sweeping views of the town and ensure to guide breakfast because it contains an impressively wide selection of high-quality meals to swimsuit all dietary wants. Doubles from £100; plavalaguna.com/it/lodges/bonavia
For one thing a bit completely different, examine in to Botel Marina, a surprisingly giant ship securely docked simply by Rijeka’s central bus cease. Now retired, the ship was constructed by the Danish navy within the Thirties and has a very fascinating historical past, having moved to Yugoslavia’s Adriatic coast within the late Sixties. There’s a restaurant and bar on the fourth deck and greater than 30 rooms of all sizes and shapes. Doubles from £70, dorm beds value £25; botel-marina.com
Additionally in downtown Rijeka, Teatro Suite & Rooms, so named as a result of they’re adjoining to the attractive outdated theatre, presents boutique lodging in lush rooms or an condominium. It’s a fantastic spot if you happen to like a couple of nightcaps too, for Teatro Lodging sits simply above one of many snazziest native hangouts, Teatro Lounge & Bar, the right place for an al fresco spritz. Doubles from £110, or £130 for the studio condominium; teatro.com.hr
The place to eat
There’s a heady Italian affect in Rijeka – geographically, traditionally and gastronomically – so that you’ll in all probability be tempted to go Italiano. In that case, one of the best of the bunch is Maslina in Ivana Koblera Sq., which has perfected its tackle Croatian/Italian fusion. Dine outdoors and watch the world go by over a shiny black cuttlefish risotto or one of many signature pizzas.
Rijeka is the fitting city for seafood, and Konoba Feral is high of the pile by way of grub and atmosphere. The maritime-themed, quirky decor is matched solely by its enjoyable workers, and the costs are very cheap. Test the chalkboard menu out entrance for the menu of the day – it varies in response to what’s contemporary out of the web.
In the event you’re in want of a fast, inexpensive chunk, swing by Braca Burek to seize a slice of everybody’s favorite Balkan quick meals, burek, a savoury pastry crammed with cheese, meat or spinach. Braca, which has been in enterprise since 1951, is the best baker of this greasy however insanely scrumptious pie.
Lastly, it’s not a visit to Rijeka with out grabbing dessert at one of many metropolis’s cute cake retailers, resembling Bonbonniere Kras. Each branches, on the pedestrianised Korzo boulevard, inventory a fantastic choice of treats and are enjoyable spots to cease and watch the world go by.
The place to drink
Book Caffe Dnevni Boravak (dnenvi boravak that means front room in Croatian) is likely one of the most occurring spots in Rijeka, any time of the day. Come in your morning espresso and skim considered one of its library books in Croatian or English; then come again and hang around at night time, notably for considered one of its open-mic comedy or jazz nights, often on Wednesdays or Fridays.
If it is advisable to begin your day with a severe espresso, take a look at the caffeinated items at Štriga, an excellent little kiosk in a small sq. simply by the Rjecina river earlier than it hits the ocean. It has largely outside seating however a really cosy inside too, ought to the climate insist. Simply over the street, Nemo Pub is one other favorite with the younger hipsters right here, for its costs, fab workers and river views.
There are additionally some good haunts up the hill within the Trsat space. There are native vibes aplenty at Monte Cristo Bar, with its eccentric however charming workers, or music lovers’ favorite Sabrage Bar subsequent door, which serves nice wine and Belgian beers till the small hours, in addition to internet hosting concert events by college students from the neighbouring music faculty.
The place to buy
Croatia is much less westernised than lots of its European neighbours and, by and enormous, cute unbiased boutiques are in vogue right here. Out there for a brand new swimsuit? Varteks has bought you lined. A Croatian chain, promoting high-quality tailoring since 1918, this department in Ivana Koblera Sq. has a retro really feel as a result of it’s been on this web site for many years. Additionally promoting sharp shirts and crisp attire, it’s undoubtedly price popping into.
For edgy, cool design take a look at Small Gallery V & V Bruketa, a showroom trimmed with high quality artwork and homewares promoting work, sculptures, ceramic lamps and plates. Or, on the alternative finish of the spectrum, there are some nice vintage retailers within the space: Antik Shop Morčić is a couple of doorways down on Užarska Road and sells some treasures.
By the waterfront, Dallas Music Shop is a delightfully grungy vendor of data and music memorabilia, together with T-shirts and books. A chocolate store with a splendidly onomatopoeic title, Deliiicije is predicated on the japanese finish of Korzo and is a good place to get edible souvenirs or items.
Rijeka’s metropolis clock tower on the Korzo is a lemony Baroque marvel. This incarnation dates to the seventeenth century, however there’s been an analogous clock-on-top-of-gate construction right here on the location since medieval instances, marking the doorway to the docks from the town behind it. A Rijeka icon.
Nuts and bolts
What forex do I would like?
What language do they communicate?
Ought to I tip?
10 per cent.
How ought to I get round?
Downtown Rijeka is walkable, however you possibly can cycle to the seashores.
What’s one of the best view?
Control the Visit Rijeka web site – final winter it gave free vacationer playing cards to anybody staying within the metropolis for 2 nights or extra, giving free entry to the town’s museums.
Attempting to fly much less?
You may get the practice so far as Trieste in Italy, through Paris, then take a bus onwards from Trieste to Rijeka. Alternatively, get the practice from Paris to Munich, from the place you possibly can catch a direct sleeper practice in a single day to Rijeka.
Wonderful with flying?
Croatia Airways and Ryanair each have direct flights from the UK to Rijeka’s airport; Pula is subsequent closest.