History of Tourism in Croatia

The tourist trade in Croatia is more than 150 years old. Although inns and guest houses were built throughout the country in the first half of the 19th century, the beginnings of tourism are linked with the construction of first hotels designed for tourists, such as those in Opatija (Grand Hotel, built in 1890) and Dubrovnik (Hotel Imperial, built in 1897), as well as with the foundation and activities of tourist societies, especially those on the islands of Krk (in 1866) and Hvar (Hygienic Society in 1868). Porec, Rovinj and Pula had tour guides as early as 1845, while in Zagreb the first guidebook, called “A Guide for Natives and Foreigners”, was published in 1892…

museum croatian tourism opatijaThe Croatian Museum of Tourism

Being a country with a rich tradition of tourism, Croatia got in 2007 its own National Tourism Museum, which is a specialist museum that focuses on the history and heritage of tourism. The museum, which was established by the Republic of Croatia and the “grand dame” of Croatian tourism, the town of Opatija, researches, collects, stores, communicates and presents material and non material tourist heritage from all over Croatia.

The museum’s material is sorted out into different tourism collections – guides, leaflets, postcards and photographs, hotel inventories, beach equipment, personal tourist items, documents, scripts, audio and video material and other items. The museum will present Croatia’s tourist history through themed groups in permanent exhibits – the history of Croatia’s hotels and pensions, the development of hospitality, health and medical tourism, the bathing and swimming infrastructure, the development of travel agencies, nautical tourism, pilgrim tourism, and excursion tourism, tourist traffic and other. It is foreseen that permanent exhibitions will be displayed in other areas and in notable tourist destinations as separate branches of the museum.

The museum is housed in Villa Angiolina in Opatija and also includes the Juraj Šporer Arts pavilion. Both buildings are located in the centre of Opatija, in a park area that runs alongside the coastal path. Villa Angiolina is a historic villa in the surrounding area, built in a Palladian style with a representative ground floor. On the first floor there is the permanent exhibition entitled “Opatija – the golden beginnings of Croatian tourism”, which presents Opatija and the types of material that the museum is gathering. In the museum you can see a selection of tourist guides,brochures and films from other Croatian areas.

The Croatian Museum of Tourism, Villa Angiolina, Park Angiolina 1,Opatija, Opening times 1.6. – 15.9 Tuesday-Sunday 9 a.m. – 1 p.m. and 5 – 9 p.m Mondays closed; 16.9. – 31.5. Tuesday-Sunday 10 a.m. – 6 p.m. Mondays closed