Just 15km west of Rijeka, Opatija is a genteel resort in a spectacular setting. The breathtaking location and the agreeable year-round climate made Opatija the most fashionable seaside resort for the Viennese elite during the Austro-Hungarian Empire. Between the world wars and during the Yugoslav period, however, the belle époque villas went into decline and Opatija lost its former lustre.
The grand residences of the wealthy have since been revamped and turned into upmarket hotels, with a particular accent on spa and health holidays. Foodies should flock to the clutch of fantastic restaurants in nearby Volosko. Forested hills slope down to the sparkling Adriatic and the whole coastline is connected by a delightful waterfront promenade that stretches between pretty Volosko and Lovran. Don’t expect great beaches (there aren’t any) but there’s still excellent swimming in the sheltered bays.