The City Nestled between highly traveled Dalmatia and Istra, Rijeka is one of the less touristy of the Croatian port cities. This city is home to 18th century architecture, museums including the Peek & Poke Computer Museum and the Pharmacy museum, and famous monuments. We visited specifically to see the castle and were delighted to find so much more.
Situated along the Rječina River and streams, Rijeka is literally (and appropriately) translated to “river”. Rijeka is the third largest city in Croatia, and it is the administrative and cultural center of the Primorje-Gorski Kotar County. This city has the largest annual carnival in Croatia, and visitors will find the post-carnival decorations fun and exciting to see. We enjoyed exploring the streets, which were adorned with colorful signs and decorations celebrating the carnival.
Rijeka offers a little bit for every type of traveler; the cultural beat of clubs and nightlife, fantastic seafood restaurants, promenades to walk, a market with a feast for the senses, and of course, the castle. Here are just a few of the attractions to explore while staying in this vibrant city.
The historic Trsat castle sits high on a hill overlooking over the city. Visitors can walk the stairs, or take public transportation to enjoy the beautiful views of the city, and the history of the site. Driving is not recommended unless you’re leaving or entering the city. Parking is limited in Rijeka, so most visitors keep their spot for the duration of their stay once they find one.
The Shrine of Our Lady of Trst
This shrine is the oldest Marian sanctuary in Croatia. Medieval churches are a big part of the cultural heritage of this port city. According to legend, the sanctuary was founded was in 1291, when angels are said to have delivered a small Nazareth house of the Holy Family, making the shrine a popular pilgrimage destination.
Visitors may walk up the Petar Druzic Stairway (Stairway to Heaven), which has a grueling total of 538 steps. Public transportation to the site is also available.
Kašetica is a collaborative local artisan nonprofit (similar to a co-op) that displays regional products from wine makers, food producers and craftsmen and sells quality goods at cost. Honey vinegar, famous wines including the region’s sparkling wines, local cheeses and jars of prepared foods line the colorful shelves. We found that the honey vinegar, which I’ve never seen before, was delicious on salads.
I also bought a couple of handmade wine crates for when we travel because we tend to buy a lot of wine on our weekend road trips. This is a beautiful solution to our problem of not having somewhere safe to put the wine in the car for transport, eliminating the use of the random boxes and bags the wineries previously gave us to transport their precious liquid. We now will have a tidy crate to hold the treasures we find. We also bought a selection of their wines and a bottle of delicious olive oil from the Island Krk.
Address: Krojačka ul. 1, 51000, Rijeka
Peek & Poke Computer Museum
This novelty museum has over 2000 old computers, hand-held games/consoles, printers and all sorts of other relics of technology. It’s like a quirky graveyard filled with the “ghost of computers past”.
Gradski Tower and Korzo the Promenade
The promenade weaves between pedestrian streets and hosts cute shops tucked away in every corner of the small area. You can walk the length of it to view different angles of the Gradski Tower.
Saint Vitus Cathedral
This lovely church sits on a high elevation point of the old town. A stunning Baroque structure, the cathedral was originally started by Giacomo Briano, a Jesuit architect, in 1638. Construction lasted over 100 years from start to finish.
Rijeka Main Market
The market is open 7 am to 2 pm Monday through Saturday, and 7 am to 12 pm on Sundays. Great foods, local produce and wares, and fun teas can be found lining the aisles. While we were there, we bought some loose chamomile flowers to make our own tea.
The Governor’s Palace and Maritime Historical Museum
This beautiful building was once the residence of a Hungarian governor, and it was built in the late 1800s. In 1876 it was established as a museum with nautical equipment has remained a historical site open to visitors since.
This 330-meter-long tunnel was built from 1939-1942 by the Italian military, and it has been used as shelter several times throughout recent history. The two sides of the city center are connected by the tunnel today. Enter between 9 am and 9 pm at either of the entrances; one is located near the Dolac school, the other, close to the cathedral.
This beautiful sand beach is famous for its crystal-clear waters. Take a towel or an umbrella and soak in the Croatian sun and Adriatic waters for an afternoon.
The Hotel Jadran, which is part of the Best Western family.
The Hotel Bonavia Plava Laguna is located in a very walkable location near the center of the city. It offers four-star accommodations with nicely decorated rooms and a complimentary breakfast.
We enjoyed our stay in an apartment located near the city center. Casa San Vito is a lovely apartment with views of the old ruins of the city. The apartment offers parking near the building which was very convenient considering the parking scarcity in the city.
There are also a variety of hostels available in the city, and they all have fun, unique themes.
King’s Caffe is a cute café offering a long list of choice draft and bottle beers. They also offer coffee for takeout.
We also were impressed with great coffee and fantastic tea at Samovar.
Cocoa offers a fun atmosphere near the port.
We ordered takeout lunch from Bistro Monar, and it was fantastic!
Later, we had dinner delivered from Konoba Feral – their octopus salad was delicious, and we decided to also try the cuttlefish risotto, which was equally amazing. The service was great; they delivered everything we needed to enjoy a restaurant-style dinner at home in our apartment.
Rijeka is a congested city with a lot of one-way streets and scarce parking. If you’re driving, be sure that the apartment or hotel you book offers parking, because it can be challenging to find.
There are some very fun aspects to the city. Two to three days would be an ideal amount of time to visit. The neighboring towns are also lovely to explore. We had a great time driving back roads home from the town of Fužine.