The extremely rugged coastline with numerous gentle bays is perfect for swimming and other aquatic activities. Naturally, there is a great demand for nautical tourism. In Kvarner, the Istrian Riviera and
the associated islands there are some 16 marinas and numerous small ports. The capacity of the marinas alone is 4 800 aquatic moorings with a further 1700 dry docks.
Lately, it’s the bar-club capital of northern Croatia, making it almost more interesting to visit by night than by day. Despite some unfortunate postwar architectural ventures in the outskirts, much of the cityscape contains the sort of ornate, imposing public buildings you would expect to find in Vienna or Budapest, evidence of the strong Austro-Hungarian influence exerted on the city’s cultural and economic life in the 19th century.
The Rijeka Carnival in February is the largest and most elaborate in Croatia, with seven days of partying. Balls are by invitation only, but there are plenty of parades and street dances that are open to everyone.
Our Lady of Trsat
The most renowned church in Rijeka is Our Lady of Trsat , a centuries-old magnet for believers. According to legend the angels carrying the house in which the Annunciation took place rested in Trsat before depositing the building in Italy. A chapel erected on the site attracted some pilgrims, but numbers were increased in the 14th century when the local nobility petitioned the pope for the donation of a 'miraculous' icon of Mary thought to have been painted by St Luke. A bigger church was soon needed, and in 1453 the Frankopan prince Martin built a single-nave church to house the painting and a Franciscan monastery next door.
Capuchin Church of Our Lady of Lourdes
Rijeka's churches are open Sunday morning and Monday to Friday from early-morning Mass until noon. It would be hard to miss the Capuchin Church of Our Lady of Lourdes with its ornate neogothic façade looming over the bus station. The Capuchin sponsors of the project ran into financing problems midway through the construction and enlisted the aid of a 'St Johanca', who allegedly sweated blood in front of the credulous masses.Gifts and money poured into the coffers and the building was finally completed in 1929. ('St Johanca' was arrested for fraud in 1913.) The ceiling was decorated with frescoes of angels by a prominent local artist, Romulo Venucci.
St Vito . St Vito is the patron saint of Rijeka and construction of this building was begun in 1638 on the site of an older church dedicated to the saint. The Jesuit order supervised the project, which lasted several hundred years. Massive pillars support the central dome and surround chapels with multicoloured baroque marble altars. The main altar has a 13th-century Gothic crucifix that belonged to the older church. According to the legend, someone threw a stone at the crucifix in 1296 and blood began to flow from Christ's body - the blood is still held in an ampoule.
High on a hill overlooking Rijeka and the Rječina River, the 13th-century Trast Castle occupies a position of immense strategic importance. There may have been a Liburnian hill fort here, but it was the Frankopan dukes of Krk who built the present castle to protect their holdings in Vinodol, further east. The Konak, an enclosed yard with a cistern, is the best- preserved part of the original structure. From the 13th to the 15th century, Trsat belonged to the Frankopans or their relatives, but it was seized by the Habsburgs at the end of the 15th century.
St Jerome . The church was part of a 14th-century Augustinian monastery complex that once dominated this square and was financed by the Counts of Duino, the feudal lords of Rijeka at the time. Construction lasted from 1315 to 1408 and the church sanctuary houses the tombs of the financing families. Little of the original Gothic structure remains due to the 1750 earthquake. The church was rebuilt in a baroque style in 1768 and contains tombs of captains, noblemen and patricians from Rijeka.
Naval & Historical Museum
The Naval & Historical Museum was founded in 1876 at the height of Rijeka's shipbuilding years and gives a vivid picture of life among the seafarers. Part of the museum traces the development of sailing, with models and paintings of ships and portraits of captains. There are also various archaeological finds, weapons and documents, as well as furniture from the 17th to 20th centuries.
Natural History Museum
The Natural History Museum , just east of Muzejski trg, is devoted to the geology and botany of the region. In addition to a wonderful aquarium, there are also exhibits on bugs, snakes and frogs. Afterwards, you can relax in the new botanical garden with nearly 2000 native species on offer.
The Glagoljica , a display of manuscripts written in Glagolitic script, is housed in the University Library. You must call for an appointment, but it's a worthwhile look at the script that is the centrepiece of Croatian national identity..
Passing under the City Tower and continuing through Trg Ivana Koblera, you'll find the oldest architectural monument in Rijeka, the Roman Gate. The lack of decoration indicates that it was probably the entrance to a Roman fortification.
If you have time to kill in Rijeka, stop by the University Library , which houses two exhibition spaces, the Modern Art Gallery and the Glogoljica.
Modern Art Gallery
Modern Art Gallery , at the University Library, hosts occasional art exhibits. Prices and opening hours vary according to the exhibit.
Furthermore, activities are accompanied and refreshed by cultural and social events such as concerts, music festivals, sports competitions, beauty contests and folk festivities comprising local folklore and specific gastronomic delights.