From Trieste, we cut back across a corner of Slovenia to get to our first stop in Croatia. Opatija sits on the Kvarner Gulf, the northern-most stretch of Croatia’s spectacular Adriatic coast.
Arriving here — and while planning this trip — I am struck by the sheer amount of tourism and related infrastructure that lines this coast. From the Kvarner Gulf in the north to the Dalmatian Coast in the south, I’m astounded by the number of resort towns that line Croatia’s coast and its many islands. And I’m pretty excited about seeing a lot more of these spots.
One of my favorite resources for travel planning is the UK newspaper The Guardian. They publish really good lists of “best hotels” in particular countries or regions. They list and describe hotels at various price levels that combine exceptional quality lodging, food, location, service, and value. For me it’s a great way to find places in a country that has plenty of good infrastructure, as well as to locate good value in each place. I couldn’t believe how many hotels in how many locations they listed for Croatia. It was hard to process it all.
This list helped me settle on Opatija as a good starting point for this trip. Now I had never even previously heard of Opatija, but once we arrived I just can’t believe how lovely it is — and how much tourism there is here alone. The town stretches along a pretty cobble-stone promenade running for miles along the coast. And many of the hotels occupy grand historic buildings that look like they have been lovingly renovated.
Though we’ve been to Croatia a couple times before, we’re excited to start a new journey down this beautiful coast. We feel like we’ve seen so little of what it has to offer. And since we’ll spend two weeks on a boat, biking in new destinations every day, we hope to get a good taste of a lot of new destinations. From what I’ve seen in just this first stop, it’s the Mediterranean we love — beautiful blue water, stunning landscapes, lovely architecture, good food. Why go anywhere else?