The islands and beaches around Rijeka never become uncomfortably busy during high season, but the months between June and September do see the region experiencing higher prices and more crowded attractions. Travel in April and May to almost guarantee fine weather and lower flight prices. September is another alternative, and sees the city hosting the Hartera Art Festival – which attracts top names from the contemporary European artistic scene.
With its almost fully intact walls, an abundance of historical sights, great cultural attractions and beautiful beaches nearby, few destinations are as appealing as the Croatian port of Rijeka.
The city’s turbulent past is the tourist’s gain as the city possesses a huge array of monuments, castles, walls and palaces to see. Climb up to the majestic Trsat Castle for unrivalled views, or see the pilgrims file into Our Lady of Trsat Sanctuary. See 18th century townhouses by the port, the famous leaning bell-tower and tour the municipal palace.
There are modern day cultural attractions to enjoy as well, starting with Croatia’s finest gallery of contemporary art and extending to fascinating museums dealing with everything from natural history to computing, religion and the history of Rijeka itself.
Rijeka is also a city for shoppers and diners to savour. Haggle for souvenirs at the sprawling and lively city market, dine on freshly caught seafood and enjoy the atmosphere at the town’s traditional taverns.
However, the city is almost outshone by the beauty of its surrounding coastline. With a rental car, visitors can easily reach gorgeous beaches like Kostanj, while the coast is also known as one of Europe’s finest diving spots as well. Hire jet skis, try water-skiing or snorkel in the pure blue Mediterranean.
Visitors can also take boat tours of the nearby Kvarner Islands, which include activities like kayaking and snorkelling – a fantastic way to escape the reality.
Walking around the winding streets and town walls is easily the best way to experience Rijeka. However, the city has an excellent bus network when the hilly terrain becomes too much. This may be particularly useful for those trying to reach the summit of Trsat Castle – which is reached by 561 steps. Taxis can be found at three terminals in the city centre (including the main bus station), while renting a car is an excellent way to see the coast.
A reliable and cheap regular bus service travels from the airport to Rijeka and should be the best option for most visitors. However, the airport bus does not go to the very centre of town, stopping about 1.2 mile (2 km) short. Alternatives include taxis and shuttle buses, which can be booked in advance, and there are also rental car outlets at the airport terminal.