Discover the enchanting Kvarner region in Croatia with our comprehensive travel guide. Explore breathtaking landscapes, historic towns and vibrant culture, and discover culinary delights, outdoor activities and unforgettable festivals.
The Kvarner region includes the coastal areas and highlands north of Dalmatia and serves as a connecting point between Istria and the rest of Croatia.
Altough Kvarner may not be the first destination that comes to mind when thinking of a trip to Croatia, but those who have been here before can attest to its undeniable charm. Travelers loves Kvarner for its gentle climate and gorgeous blue waters of the Kvarner Bay.
The region is divided into two distinct areas: the mainland around Rijeka and the islands in the Gulf of Kvarner. Despite their relatively low profile compared to other Croatian destinations, Kvarner and the highlands are a real hidden gem that is definitely worth discovering.
Getting to Kvarner
Rijeka is a bustling hub where various modes of transportation converge. You can hop on a train from Zagreb, Ljubljana, Vienna, Munich, or Budapest and arrive in Rijeka on a daily basis. The city also boasts a sizable bus terminal that services both domestic and international destinations like Dubrovnik, Split, Trieste, Belgrade, and Sarajevo. If you’re looking to travel further afield, there are international ferry services that run to Bari in Italy, passing through Split, Korcula, and Dubrovnik.
For those who prefer driving, Rijeka has easy access to highways heading north (towards Slovenia), west (towards Istria), and east (towards Zagreb). Additionally, the island of Krk, just a short drive away, has an international airport that primarily operates during the summer months.
Kvarner travel attractions
I can guarantee to you, that you will be amazed exploring the Kvarner region in Croatia. Kvarner is a beautiful and diverse region with many superb landscapes, historic towns and vibrant culture. Here are some top travel attractions in Kvarner that you must visit:
- Stroll through Opatija, the “Croatian Monte Carlo,” and enjoy the elegant atmosphere of the seaside resort. Walk along the Lungomare, a 12 km long coastal path, and admire the beautiful villas and gardens.
- Explore Rijeka, Croatia’s third largest city, with its vibrant port and rich history. Visit Trsat Castle, the Maritime and History Museum and take a leisurely stroll along Korzo, the city’s main promenade.
- Cross the bridge to the island of Krk, which is the largest island in the Adriatic (indeed quite a big one), and explore picturesque towns like Krk Town and Vrbnik. Don’t miss the beautiful beaches and the fascinating Biserujka Cave.
- On the island of Cres, admire the dramatic cliffs and lush forests that are perfect for nature lovers. Stroll through the old town of Cres, visit the beautiful beaches of Lubenice and see the freshwater lake Vrana.
- Experience the island of Rab with its sandy beaches and medieval architecture. Explore the old town of Rab, walk through the Kalifront forest and relax on the famous Paradise beach.
- In Mali Lošinj on the island of Lošinj, enjoy the picturesque town surrounded by crystal clear waters, ideal for swimming, snorkeling and sailing. Visit the Apoxyomenos Museum and the fragrant Garden of Fine Fragrances.
As you discover the beauty of Kvarner, you’ll create lasting memories in this fascinating region of Croatia.
Kvarner travel guide: outdoor activitities in Kvarner
During exploring the Kvarner region, you’ll find plenty of outdoor activities to dip yourself in the beauty of this mixed landscape. To be honest, whether you enjoy hiking or prefer to spend your time on the water, Kvarner will suit your needs.
I recommend to start your adventure with a hike through the stunning Učka Nature Park or Risnjak National Park. That’s beacuse you can choose from a variety of trails to suit your abilities. If you prefer to be on two wheels, rent a bike and cycle through the picturesque islands and coastal towns.
Kvarner is ideal for sailing and boating. Rent a sailboat or join a guided tour to explore hidden coves and harbors scattered throughout the islands. As the region is known for its beautiful beaches, a refreshing dip in the Adriatic Sea is a must! Swim and snorkel around the islands of Rab, Cres or Lošinj and discover the colorful underwater world.
For adrenaline junkies, the northern Adriatic offers excellent conditions for wind and kite surfing, especially near the island of Krk and the town of Preluk. If you’re more interested in what lies under the water surface, diving in Kvarner is a must. Dive into the underwater world and explore shipwrecks, caves and the rich marine fauna of the Adriatic.
Bird watching addict will be thrilled by the variety of bird species around Lake Vrana on the island of Cres, including the rare griffon vulture. Finally, you can push your limits and enjoy astounding views while climbing in the Učka Nature Park or Paklenica National Park.
No matter which outdoor activities you choose, Kvarner offers you memorable experiences and the opportunity to get in touch with nature.
Culinary specialties of Kvarner
When you reach Kvarner, you’ll have the opportunity to taste some delicious local culinary specialties.
Be sure to try the famous Kvarner scampi, a local delicacy. These succulent Adriatic shrimp are typically prepared in a rich sauce that often includes garlic, white wine and parsley. You can enjoy them with pasta or simply with fresh bread to soak up the flavorful sauce.
Another regional specialty is šurlice, a homemade pasta found only on the island of Krk. These thin, tubular pastas are traditionally served with various sauces, such as lamb or beef goulash. The hearty and tasty combination will surely please your taste buds.
Don’t forget to leave room for dessert! Rab cake is a must-try on the island of Rab. This unique almond pastry has a centuries-old tradition and is filled with marzipan and citrus flavors. Locals serve this usually on special occasions and celebrations.
Cultural events in Kvarner
During your trip through Kvarner you will have the opportunity to get acquainted with the local culture by participating in various festivals and events. This is a good opportunity to get acquainted with the rich tradition of this part of Croatia.
One of these events is the Rijeka Carnival, perhaps the largest and most famous carnival in Croatia. This colorful event takes place in February and features elaborate costumes, lively street parades and festive music. You can join the locals and other tourists and dance with them in the streets.
The summer nights take place in Opatija. This is a series of cultural events organized throughout the summer. The performances are of diverse nature – from music concerts to theater performances and open-air cinemas. This is enough to relax and enjoy the warm summer evenings in this charming city by the sea.
Another interesting cultural event in the Kvarner region is the Medieval Festival, which takes place on the island of Rab. This annual event, usually held at the end of July, gives a glimpse of the island’s rich history, with reenactments, medieval games and performances by local musicians and dancers. An interesting offer for those who like to go back in time.