Kvarner Gulf and Gorski Kotar – Croatian Tourist Region
The Primorje-Gorski Kotar County area, under the single and recognisable name of Kvarner (check Kvarner Map), brings together islands, coastlines and highlands. The variety of climes and vegetation, architecture, culture and customs is at the heart of the various kinds of tourism offer available – you can enjoy bathing in the sea, in the specific life and rich heritage of the islands, in hikes in the fresh mountain air of the Gorski Kotar highlands and skiing and sledging in wintertime.
This part of Primorje-Gorski Kotar County is fascinating on account of the variety of possibilities it offers and its long history of tourism that – not without reason – goes back as many as 160 years.
Opatija has the oldest tradition of tourism, dating back to the year 1844 when Rijeka aristocrat Ignacio Skarpa built a summer residence frequented by numerous guests. That was followed by the construction of the many hotels of Opatija, the oldest of which is the Kvarner, built in 1884, the first modern hotel on the eastern coast of the Adriatic Sea.
The other Rivieras of the Kvarner area also boast a long tradition – the island of Cres has a legacy of 162 years of tourism, the Novi Vinodolski Riviera boasts 129 years of tradition, the island of Lošinj 122 years, the Crikvenica Riviera 119 years, while on the mainland Gorski Kotar has a133-year-old tradition in tourism.
Primorje-Gorski Kotar County currently offers tourists 150,000 accommodation units, which is about 20 per cent of the total tourism capacity of Croatia.
Of that number 30,000 beds are offered in the about 80 hotels and hotel resorts. The area also features some 50 camps, 12 thousand guest houses offering lodging and the like. The Kvarner area is exceptionally attractive for sailors – 19 nautical tourism ports attest to this fact, including 8 modern and well-equipped marinas with almost 3,000 sea berths and 2,000 berths on land.
The Kvarner area s a favoured destination for many tourists –that this region accounts for about a quarter of the total tourism turnover in the country bears witness to this fact. Alongside vacation tourism – still, the most frequent motive for tourist arrivals– a growing number of visitors are following tourism tradition and coming outside of the peak summer period. The wide range of offers and content related to the customs, the natural surroundings and recreation, is drawing tourists throughout the year.
In Opatija, for example, a well-known congress destination, the infrastructure, quality of services and additional facilities of the hotels makes them ideal hosts for numerous international and national-level congresses, many of which have been held there for many years running. Healthcare tourism has also been developed here, thanks to the favourable climate and to tradition – more and more often a reason to come to the Opatija and Crikvenica Rivieras and to Lošinj, where expert staff has joined forces with the advantageous climatic conditions.
Most of the hotels in the area also feature high-quality wellness facilities and the option of a therapy particular to the area – long walks in the fresh air on well-maintained promenades. Opatija’s Lungomare, for example, is 12 kilometres long.
Besides a wealth of possibilities for excursions and active vacation options, there are a number of fascinating events held throughout the year in Primorje-Gorski Kotar County. After the autumn Marunada chestnut festival in Lovran and the Olive Days in Punta, November features wellness programs, while December will be marked by winter fun in Gorski Kotar and by Christmas concerts and exhibitions in many townships and settlements.
An invitation to bring in the New Year in the sun – which numerous tourists have accepted for years now – is joined by the New Year’s World Cup in underwater fishing held in Mali Lošinj.
February is traditionally remembered by the exceptionally attractive Rijeka Carnival which will run from January 17th to February 3rd and much more, while the coming months will feature the always popular seaside promenades or hikes in Gorski Kotar, the Asparagus Days in Lovran, bicycle tours of Kvarner, the Chivalric Games of Rab, fisher’s festivals, organised excursions, music events and more.
In short, there is plenty of fascinating content year-round that attracts visitors to this diverse, fascinating and beautiful area.