Rijeka

Discover the city with our Rijeka travel guide, and find the best things to do, hotels, restaurants, bars and more...

Olja Savičević, Tea Tulić and Bekim Sejranović on Rijeka 2020 European Capital of Culture
Things to do

Olja Savičević, Tea Tulić and Bekim Sejranović on Rijeka 2020 European Capital of Culture

The cities of Croatia vary tremendously in their food, architecture and weather. The inland capital Zagreb is the centre of business and culture; Dubrovnik seduces holidaymakers with its handsome antiquities and bustling Split is the urban core of Dalmatia. Rijeka isn't as easily definable. The third largest city in Croatia, Rijeka isn’t as handsome as its seaside neighbours or as metropolitan as Zagreb, but this hub of alternative culture is finally getting the recognition it deserves, thanks to its successful bid for the European Capital of Culture 2020. A busy port handling ten million tonnes of cargo and half a million passengers a year, Rijeka is a heady mix of Italianate influence, post-industrial architecture and alternative politics. In Croatia, its seen as the ‘red capital’, a rare bastion of the left for the past ten years. In a country ruled by a right-wing coalition, where conservative groups are growing stronger, Rijeka stands out as a city of rebellion. In former Yugoslavia, Rijeka was a cradle for punk-rock music. The Sex Pistols released their first single ‘Anarchy in the UK’ in November 1976. Paraf, a punk band from Rijeka held their first concert in Rijeka just a few months later. The band sprayed graffiti to mark the occasion, which was declared cultural heritage by the city’s administration in 2016. Punk is still very much alive in Rijeka’s pubs and bars, and at the many festivals that take place in the city. Situated in the Bay of Kvarner between Sl

Ten historical images of Croatia from 'Tošo Dabac: cities, people and landscapes'
News

Ten historical images of Croatia from 'Tošo Dabac: cities, people and landscapes'

Tošo Dabac is one of Croatia's most famous photographers of the last century. His work is receiving a major exhibition at the Rijeka City Museum. Here are ten highlights from the exhibition which show areas of Croatia including Zagreb, Opatija, Primošten, Hvar, Kvarner and Split.Tošo Dabac was born in 1905 in Nova Rača, near the city of Bjelovar in central Croatia. He began working as a professional photographer in 1932 and travelled throughout the region for his work, although for most of his career he was based in Croatia's capital Zagreb. He became one of the region's best-known photographers, his work exhibited around the world in cities like New York, Prague, Philadelphia. The current works shown in the Rijeka exhibition are on loan from the Museum of Contemporary Art in Zagreb, who preserve 200,000 of Dabac's negatives and photographs.The exhibition, entitled 'Tošo Dabac: cities, people and landscapes', draws on work from throughout his career. Although best known for his social photography in the 1930s, taken largely in Zagreb, this exhibition also displays shots taken on Dabac's many forays to the coast and includes landscapes and architectural studies. The exhibition runs from October 25 until November 25.Also at the Rijeka City Museum at the same time is an exhibition of old postcards from Rijeka, mostly taken from the period when the city was part of the Austro-Hungarian empire. At this time the city's street names existed in Italian and the city's inhabitants incl

Ten amazing castles in Croatia
Things to do

Ten amazing castles in Croatia

Throughout its history, Croatia has existed under the influence of many different empires. The Greeks and the Romans once ruled here, the independent state of Venice was once in charge, then the Austro-Hungarian empire. Old family names such as Frankopan, Zrinski and Habsburg have ruled the country's regions or entirety. Croatia has fended off attempted invasions by Bulgaria and Hungary, and put up a good fight against the Italians and the Ottomans. All of these instances required the defence of fortifications and Croatia is littered with old city walls, ruined castles and evidence of lifetimes and lives spent to secure the country. Some of the castles are still in incredibly well-preserved condition and here we pick ten of the very best that you can still visit and marvel at today.

A literary tour of Rijeka
Travel

A literary tour of Rijeka

When it comes to world literature, Croatian cities don’t always come off all that well. Toss names like Dubrovnik, Zagreb and Split around in your head, and it’s unlikely that any novels will come immediately to mind. Rijeka, with its dockside warehouses and hillside-hugging tower blocks, looks as if it would make the ideal setting for a best-selling crime novel – if only someone would get round to writing it. However Rijeka does have the advantage of having produced several significant literary figures, ensuring that this is one Croatian city that does at least come with a worthwhile reading list. One ought to start with Daša Drndić, whose death in June 2018 provoked an outpouring of tributes, revealing just how major a European figure the Rijeka-based novelist had become. She was one of the most profound writers of the present epoch, never fully recognized in her own country because the territory she covered – ethnic populism, fascism, genocide and the importance of historical memory – was still so raw. She is best known in the English-speaking world for Trieste (translated by Ellen Elias-Bursac), which examines the fates of northern Italian Jews during World War II, and was nominated for the Independent Foreign Fiction Prize in 2013. Subsequent novel Belladonna (translated by Celia Hawkesworth) follows a similar trajectory, with a retired university professor untangling traumatic memories of an unforgiving twentieth century. Drndić was driven to write about ethnic intoler

New community-run kitchen celebrates diversity at Rijeka's Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art
News

New community-run kitchen celebrates diversity at Rijeka's Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art

It's not for nothing that Rijeka has the reputation of being the most liberal-minded city in Croatia. As a longstanding port, Rijeka more than most has become used to welcoming travellers, their culture and their cuisine. What's more, Rijeka is the point at which old Croatia met the formerly Italian Istrian peninsula. It is also a key city of the old Austro-Hungarian empire. Linked to its heart by rail, it was the first popular, modern tourist destination of the empire. Within the last century, Rijeka became an important immigration destination because of the city's growing industries. Though some of its industries have faded from importance, as has its standing as a key maritime centre for central Europe, Rijeka's time-honoured experience as a meeting point of different cultures and ideas shapes the city even today Now a new meeting and dining experience in Rijeka aims to celebrate the city's openness and diversity by offering visitors the opportunity to samples foods of different cultures and exchange ideas with other guests across their shared tables. The new venue, called Kitchen, will be housed in the Benčić complex, within Rijeka's new Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art. It is positioning itself as a place for locals and travellers to meet and to exchange ideas. It will catalyse such discussions by offering a menu that exudes diversity with recipes being drawn from several ethnic groups that have left a mark on the city. The Kitchen is the heart of the home, where

Where to stay in Rijeka

Where to stay in Rijeka
Things to do

Where to stay in Rijeka

Despite two four-star venues, the Hotel Bonavia Plava Laguna and the Hotel Jadran, the range of accommodation in Croatia’s third-biggest town is disappointing. A short drive down the coast, the new complex of Novi Spa Hotels & Resort should give the various downtown hotels a run for their money. Also, about 20 minutes outside of Rijeka, in the preserved old town of Kastav, the Kukiriku has lodging above its excellent restaurant.

Hotel Bonavia Plava Laguna
Hotels

Hotel Bonavia Plava Laguna

Rijeka’s classiest option is a modern business hotel with a spa and gym. Sauna cabins and massage and beauty treatments have also been introduced. The 120 rooms are tastefully done out, the in-house Kamov restaurant is one of the best in town, and the terrace café overlooks the city.

Time Out says
5 out of 5 stars
Hotel Continental
Hotels

Hotel Continental

Upgraded to a three-star after a renovation in 2008, the central Continental is in a bulky 100-year-old structure overlooking the canal. It’s a nice view, though the square below tends to fill with noisy teens when it’s not a school night, so a rear window can be better. Reasonably priced, comfortable and convenient.

Time Out says
3 out of 5 stars
Hotel Jadran
Hotels

Hotel Jadran

Jadran contains 66 nicely fitted rooms in an enviable shoreside location. Set by Rijeka’s first stretch of swimmable sea with its own stop on the No.1 bus route east of town in Pećine, the Jadran (‘Adriatic’) has been a spot for bathing since it opened in 1914. There’s a supplement charged for sea-facing rooms. Half and full-board deals are available.

Time Out says
4 out of 5 stars
Neboder
Hotels

Neboder

If you’re looking for a cheapie in town and the Continental is full, come to the aptly named 14-floor ‘Skyscraper’ by the flyover. Following renovations a few years ago it now has an underground car park and café. The wonderful Socialist-era lobby has, sadly, been replaced by something more modern - while the rooms remain adequate.

Time Out says
3 out of 5 stars

Recommended restaurants in Rijeka

The best Rijeka restaurants
Restaurants

The best Rijeka restaurants

Rijeka majors in fish, seafood and simple Venetian-inspired dishes, thanks to its seaport location and cultural mixing with nearby Italy. Rijeka has a handful of upscale restaurants that provide international culinary quality, but you can also experience some local specialities at more affordable restaurants. Read on for our critic's guide to the best restaurants in Rijeka. RECOMMENDED: Everything you need to know about Rijeka.  

Conca d'Oro
Restaurants

Conca d'Oro

With a good location and a reputation as one of the best places in town, this busy cellar restaurant can charge higher prices than most. Along with the usual seafood offerings, appetisers include fish carpaccio with capers, and marinated salmon. The day fish is displayed on ice, and includes a wide selection of molluscs. The hefty salads can work as a small meal, followed by a number of cheeses. Snappy service adds to a pleasant atmosphere.

Time Out says
5 out of 5 stars
Tarsa
Restaurants

Tarsa

Hidden away among quiet suburban lanes behind Trsat’s sports hall, Tarsa could almost be a village inn, and it’s not surprising that it has become one of Rijeka’s prime venues for a slap-up traditional meal. Despite being a modern building the décor is decidedly trad, with plenty of exposed brick and wooden beams. The menu revolves around lavish platters of local meat and fish, grilled or baked; home-made pastas with tangy goulash accompaniment; and some of the Kvarner Gulf’s best pancakes to round things off. Pay particular attention to the platters for two; specialities such as the Franjo Glavinić pork chop stuffed with pršut and mozzarella or the Maksimilijan squid with baked potatoes and vegetables are well worth the extra outlay.

Time Out says
5 out of 5 stars
Konoba Na Kantunu
Restaurants

Konoba Na Kantunu

This once-tiny seafood bistro has expanded into the neighbouring room and kitted itself out with new furniture – its reputation for serving some of Rijeka’s best seafood in a simple setting remains unchanged. Settle at one of the rustic wooden tables in the bright, modern interior and admire the trays of just-caught fish and crustaceans chilling behind the glass. Point at your choice and wait for it to be expertly grilled, perhaps dressed lightly with olive oil and big chunks of sea salt, and then served up as a minimalist masterpiece. The car park terrace gets the sun and gives a view of the docks. You can find fancier, but not much better.

Time Out says
5 out of 5 stars
Municipium
Restaurants

Municipium

Municipium is set in a grand Habsburg-era building, tucked away in a quiet courtyard right in the centre of town. Door staff greet you at the entrance – decorum is all. The menu is vast and fish-oriented, most of it priced in the 300kn/kg range, which is very reasonable considering the quality of service, presentation and the fare itself. Courgettes, wild asparagus and other greens get a look-in and the wine list runs to 150 (mainly Croatian) varieties.

Time Out says
4 out of 5 stars

The best bars in Rijeka

The best bars in Rijeka
Bars and pubs

The best bars in Rijeka

There's seemingly a bar on every corner in Rijeka. Proud of its Mediterranean café culture, the city's streets are lined with bars of all stripes. From classic downtown bars to grungy pubs and trendy nightspots, here's our pick of the best bars in Rijeka. RECOMMENDED: Your ultimate guide to Rijeka.

Book Caffe Dnevni Boravak
Bars and pubs

Book Caffe Dnevni Boravak

Living-room-style hangout that will appeal to those who like a bit of culture with their coffee – the floor-to-ceiling shelves are absolutely stacked with books, CDs and vinyl LPs, while a small annexe serves as a cute art gallery. Literary readings and live music feature several times a month; on other days it serves as a mellow social hub for the city’s reading, writing and chatting community.

Time Out says
5 out of 5 stars
CukariKafè
Bars and pubs

CukariKafè

CukariKafè  is  a  cross  between  a  modern  art  gallery,  a  film  set  for  a  children’s  fairy-tale  adventure  and  a  passenger  steamer  cruising  up  the  River  Nile.  Everything  about  the  place  exudes  character:  the  list  of  speciality  beers  includes  not  just  Duvel  and  Chimay  but  several  lesser-known  Belgian  brands  as  well.  And  unless  you  specify  otherwise,  tea  will  be  served  with  a  dandy  slice  of  fresh  orange.

Time Out says
5 out of 5 stars
Samovar Bar
Bars and pubs

Samovar Bar

A great little café with cushions, carpets and chandeliers setting an old-fashioned living-room tone, and with outdoor seating right in front of one of Rijeka’s most instagrammable street murals.  As well as being a popular coffee-and-cake stop, it’s also an outlet for locally based tea-blending outfit Samovar (whose shop is just across the way). Sporting energising names such as ‘Torpedo’ or ‘Rijeka Riser’, their blends mix strong black and green teas with floral flavours and aromatic spices.

Time Out says
4 out of 5 stars
The Beertija
Bars and pubs

The Beertija

Uphill from the centre in Trsat but well worth seeking out, this Rijeka branch of Zagreb’s Beertija bar sticks to the same formula – a superb range of bottled beers from all over the world, and well-chosen weekend DJs. Look out, too, for indie nights, Doors tribute bands and all kinds of excuses for a party.

Time Out says
5 out of 5 stars