Rijeka at a glance
Europe’s Capital of Culture for 2020 offers numerous historical sites as well as cuisine influenced by the nearby Italy and Hungary. With its many beaches and large harbour, it’s earned its reputation as Croatia’s gateway to the Dalmatian Coast and islands.
Korzo, Rijeka’s main walkway, is lined with cafes, bars and restaurants, many with terraces where locals and tourists enjoy long afternoons and evenings eating, drinking and shopping. Korzo is dominated by the City Tower at the entrance of the fortified old town.
You probably didn’t know
The first time a torpedo was ever fired was in tests done in 1866 and it was from the Rijeka harbour. 2016 was the 150th anniversary of this technological invention, which also marked the opening of a major exhibition: ‘First in the world - 150 years of Rijeka torpedo’, held in a depot on Žabica Square.
Missing Emily: Croatian Life Letters (Jodie Toohey, 2012)
- Population: 128,624 (2011)
- Annual visitor numbers: 319,605 (2015)
- January mean temp: 5.9°C
- August mean temp: 23.1°C
Things to do in Rijeka
Cuisine in Rijeka, which is situated right at the top of the Adriatic Sea, is influenced by Austrian, Italian and French cooking cultures. As a coastal city, the seafood is virtually guaranteed to be fresh, but Konoba Nebuloza, overlooking the Rjecina River, offers something special in terms of Istrian seafood cuisine.
Those who love grilled fish will find it hard not to be drawn to Gardens Restaurant on Rijeka’s waterfront. A charcoal barbecue is used to grill most of the daily dishes, which are complemented by a choice of soups, pastas and desserts.
For international flavours there are diverse options, like Restaurant Peking, a Chinese restaurant a few minutes’ drive from the city centre, and Mexican eatery Cantina Bodega, which brings spicy Mexican recipes to the heart of Rijeka.
Club Nina 2
There are more than 17,000 students enrolled at the University of Rijeka, so it’s no wonder the city has such a lively urban culture. As a seaside place, many of the most popular hangouts are in close proximity to water, like Club Nina 2. During the day it’s perfect for coffee but at night the dancefloors, as well as the indoor and outdoor clubbing areas, come alive.
Morski Prasac Beach Bar
An alternative option near the sea is Morski Prasac Beach Bar on Igraliste Beach in Kantrida, east of the city centre. Bar hopping is rewarding with some cool alternative tunes. During some evenings, management offer free fried fish to go with the cocktails.
City officials decided to build a roof over the main fish market near the harbour in 1866. The new “City Market” proved to be so popular with locals that two pavilions for selling other fresh produce were built by 1880. Today the market, simply known as “Placa”, offers excitement and many vocal vendors (open Mondays to Saturday from 6.30 am to 2 pm and Sundays from 6.30 am to Noon).
Tower Centre Rijeka
Tower Centre Rijeka is a modern shopping mall that wouldn’t look out of place in the United States, with eight megastores and 150 more smaller shops, restaurants and entertainment hubs (including cinemas and sporting halls).
The Samovar Tea Shop
The Samovar Tea Shop near the harbour sells more than 250 types of personally blended aromatic teas, from places as far away as South Africa (rooibos) to some that are made right on the premises.
Those who want to stock up on souvenirs should look out for the “Originally from Rijeka” and/or “Unique quality” sign to be sure of authenticity and quality as sold by Mala galerija Bruketa (Užarska 25), Atelijer Rogić (Užarska 15b), gift-shops in the department stores Korzo and Ri, in Tisak i iNovine kiosks and at Jeweller Grubišić (Matije Gupca 15a).
Croatia’s third-largest city offers numerous historical sights to visit, including the City Tower, an example of a typical round tower access-point, which leads visitors into the fortified old town; Trsat Castle, on a hill 138 meters above sea level; and St. Vitus’ Cathedral, the only Baroque rotunda in Croatia.
The Maritime and Historical Museum
Its name is bit of a tongue-twister but the Maritime and Historical Museum of Croatian Littoral will have you talking afterwards. Founded in 1961, it contains maritime, cultural and historical, ethnographic and archaeological departments.
Opened in 2009 above the city in a fortress dating back to the Second World War, the Astronomical Centre is the only planetarium in Croatia. It includes an observatory for a spot of stargazing.
For something refreshingly different that will make most parents feel really old, visit the Peek&Poke Computer and Childhood Museum. It’s crammed with 2,000 exhibits of computers, audio, video and photo technology as well as artefacts of children’s games, books and toys, including a “Doll Empire”.
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