Kvarner & Highlands

The Croatian National Tourist Board has divided Croatia into six distinct tourist regions, and one of them is Kvarner & Highlands.

Kvarner Gulf

Kvarner

The Kvarner Gulf is a part of the Adriatic Sea, located between the Istrian peninsula and the northern Croatian Littoral mainland. This is a beautiful region with tall mountains overlooking a picturesque archipelago.

The bay is famous for its depth, and the city of Rijeka – situated at the northernmost point of the bay – has a sea port deep enough to handle Capesize cargo ships.

Many islands are found in this gulf, of which the largest ones are Krk, Cres, Rab, Pag, and Lošinj. Each year, many tourists visits these islands; and Croatian residents also like to come out here on holiday. The summers here are sunny with few rainy days and an average temperature of 24 °C (75 °F).

Rab is famous for Rapska fjera, a festival and historical reenactment focused on the island’s history. The celebration was first held in 1364 in honor of King Louis the Great who defended Rab from its rival Venice. A high point during the festival is the arbalest contest. The arbalest is a type of crossbow that came into use in Europe during the 1300s.

Opatija

Opatija became a seaside resort for the rich in the 19th century, but you no longer have to be born into a wealthy family to holiday here. The coast to the north and south is rocky, and is visited both during the summer and the winter, since several small winter resorts have been established here. A 12 kilometer long promenade runs along the riviera, from Volosko to Lovran, and it passes by Opatija.

Opatija is the Croatian word for abbey, and the town derives its name from a Benedictine abbey formed here in the 14th century. Today, Saint Jacob’s Church, built in 1506, stands where the abbey used to be.

The town park Angiolina, with its living collection of plants from many different parts of the world, is well worth a visit.

Opatija is surrounded by forests dominated by bay laurel.

The interior

croatia highlandsThe interior regions Gorski kotar, Velebit and Lika are characterized by mountains, forests and fields. You find not just one but two national parks here: Risnjak and Plitvice Lakes. This is a place where big and midsize wild predators still roam, including bears, wolfs, lynx, European wildcat, and owls.

The lake, waterfall and cave district covers an area of roughly two square kilometers, containing 12 upper lakes and four lower lakes.

Risnjak National Park is located within Gorski kotar, a very mountainous and heavily forested part of Croatia. In Crni Lug, a town on the park’s eastern border, you’ll find a visitor center for the park. Risnjak, the mountain that has given name to the park, is a part of the Dinaric Alps mountain range. Beech and fir forests can be found up to circa 1240 meters, where the landscape changes into a more open one dominated by sub-alpine beeches. A belt of mountain pine also grow at this altitude.

Several species of chamois live on Risnjak, and the lynx cats returned in the 1970s.