Embarking on Opatija: Croatia’s Hidden Gem, Hilarity Ensues
Did you know that Opatija, a petite seaside town in Croatia, is colloquially known as the ‘Riviera of the Adriatic’? Some will say it’s because of its azure coastlines, others because of the glamour that spills from its ornate villas. I, on the other hand, believe it’s the town’s uncanny ability to make you forget its name after a few rakija shots. Nestled on the Kvarner Gulf, Opatija is a concoction of Austro-Hungarian opulence, Italian passion and Croatian zest – a burrito of awesomeness, if you will.
When stepping into Opatija, you’ll find yourself caught in a time-warp, instantly whisked off to the 19th century. Sweating under your tank top and chinos, you’ll see impeccably dressed ladies and gents of yore sashaying down the Lungomare (the promenade). This 12km coastal walk stretches from Volosko to Lovran, and is as much a catwalk for the old-world elite as it is a pathway for us ordinary folk. Don’t forget to pack your top hat and monocle – you never know when you might need them!
On the other hand, if you find history as tantalising as a bowl of boiled kale, fret not – there is plenty to do. Between bouts of sun worshipping, you can always take a dive into the Adriatic – the water is so clear you can play a game of underwater chess! Challenge any Croatian to a match; the locals are known to be quite the underwater strategists.
From Beaches to Bellinis: An Unapologetically Fun Guide to Opatija
Opatija may be a quaint town, but it’s got a nightlife scene that would give Vegas a run for its money. Stroll down Marsala Tita Street, Opatija’s main artery, after sundown for a taste of the fun. Here you’ll find bars serving every imaginable cocktail, and some unimaginable ones as well. A word of advice – if a cocktail is named after a Croatian wrestler, it’s probably best to give it a pass unless you fancy being floored by alcohol.
If your idea of a good time is more Earl Grey and less tequila, head to Hemingway Bar at Ul. Maršala Tita 101. Yes, it’s named after the man himself, because nothing screams ‘cultured’ more than sipping a cocktail named after a Nobel laureate in literature. While you soak in the opulence, remember to keep an eye out for Hemingway’s ghost – it’s known to get upset if you don’t enjoy your Daiquiri.
But wait – don’t make a beeline for the exit just yet! The gastronomic scene in Opatija is as diverse as your Aunt Edna’s collection of cat-themed tea cozies. Seafood is the star of the show here, freshly hauled in from the Adriatic, sometimes by the burly chefs themselves! Book a table at Plavi Podrum in Volosko, a hidden gem where gourmet food meets rustic charm. After all, nothing beats enjoying a meal prepared by a man who could double as your bodyguard, should the need arise.