If you decide to head from Rijeka towards the northwest, you will reach Opatija – one the most popular Croatian tourist destinations.

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Also known as the cradle of Croatian tourism, it has the biggest number of hotels per capita and the choice is truly wide: from the very typical ones to the exclusive 5-star hotels or boutique hotels. Sometime around the end of the 19th century the locals noticed the town’s potential and built the first major hotel – Hotel Kvarner – in 1884. The word spread fast through Europe and Opatija was soon proclaimed a health resort. Being a tourist destination with the longest tradition, Opatija is also very popular when it comes to congress tourism, various festivals, seminaires and counselling. It is the favourite destination for people from Zagreb and Rijeka but also Slovenia. There are many restaurants, confectioneries,clubs and caffes here as well. Don’t forget the beautiful parks full of exotic flowers that were brought here by overseas captains, a magical 12 kilometers long promenade, romantic Habsburg villas, the sea on one side and the mountain range Učka on the other  and you’ll immediately understand why king Franz Joseph I, the Russian novelist Čehov and the American dancer Isadora Duncan loved coming here. Opatija has a moderate climate, which contributes to the high number of visitors throughout the year, and events such as Marunada, when various dishes are prepared from a sweet type of chestnut called marun, the Asparagus Festival in Lovran or preparing delicacies from Istrian truffle make it even more popular. The Festival of Chocolate is one of the most recently introduced events and is held at the beginning of December when hotels participate in creating chocolate menus in combination with some spa treatments, as for example the chocolate massage. In summer, everyone is either swimming or sun bathing except when it is extremely hot, which is when people usually have a drink on one of the many fabulous terraces.

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