The grand dame of Croatia’s seaside resorts, Opatija was attracting royalty and the holidaying elite more than a century ago. Stately townhouses with swirling fin-de-siècle exteriors populate the seafront, alongside spa hotels and Austrian-style coffeehouses. This is the Adriatic at its classiest. Opatija holidays are fancier and more expensive than other resorts in Croatia – if you’re looking for luxury, you’ll find it here.
The town is set on a coastal promenade overlooking the glimmering sea, backed by the forested foothills of the Ucka natural park. Take a deep breath: it’s especially known for the healing properties of its fresh sea air, which had health-conscious Habsburgs hopping on the steam train from Vienna back in the 19th century. And this legacy lives on, with thermal springs still on offer in the resort’s belle époque spa hotels. Holidays to Opatija offer the perfect blend of health, wealth and sublime relaxation.
Visit the gardens
An oasis of exotic plants created by a rich Habsburg merchant, Opatija’s secret garden, known as the American Gardens, is a beautiful retreat in the centre of town.
Take a selfie
Grab a photo with the most famous symbol of Opatija, ‘The Maiden with the Seagull’, which looks out to sea from the Lungomare promenade (it’s actually a 1950s replacement for a 19th-century statue).
Step back in time
Opatija brims with Habsburgian glamour, especially in its ornate, Viennese-style coffeehouses. Order a cream coffee and a slice of cake and be transported to another century.