Things to do in Rijeka

There’s much more to see in Rijeka than first meets the eye. Croatia’s third-largest city with a population of 150,000, Rijeka has a busy port that handles ten million tonnes of cargo and a quarter of a million passengers, many heading to nearby resorts. It’s a nice place for a week’s city break, during which you can enjoy Rijeka’s fascinating history, great restaurants and kicking year-round nightlife.

Rijeka is on the country’s Adriatic coast and, while it is less glitzy than nearby Opatija, the city is well worth a stopover for a couple of nights. It is also a great springboard from which you can explore the surrounding Kvarner region and neighbouring Istria.

Rijeka is, in many ways, a specific city and along with these specific features it has “that certain something” that makes it different from the rest of the world. “That certain something” is its fifth season. While everyone else’s year has four seasons, Rijeka, stealing mostly from the winter and a bit from the spring, has created its own one-of-a-kind fifth season. Carnival is its name. And in Rijeka Carnival has always been written with a capital “C” and enjoyed wholeheartedly for as long as people can remember.

Rijeka’s fifth season starts on 17th January, on the Feast Day of St. Anthony, or as the local people call it – Antonja. It starts with the raising of the carnival flag which always takes place in a different part of the city. And once the flag starts to flutter, the carnival wagons drive along one by one, seemingly in no particular direction, but, in fact, following a well-marked route as well as a well-planned itinerary. The particularity of the Rijeka’s Carnival is that behind every, seemingly unplanned occurrence, there is a detailed carefully planned carnival procedure. Hours of deliberation, reaching agreements and acting. Lots of effort and sleepless nights.

And what is it that makes Rijeka’s Carnival?

First of all, the people through whose veins the “carnival blood” has been flowing for centuries, that is, the blood that has been passed down from generation to generation. But also a number of traditional, cultural, entertainment, sporting and similar events that, thrown into Rijeka’s carnival pot, create a unique “delicacy” of Rijeka, thus creating a brand!

And so it goes on without stopping, one event after another, day after day, night after night. It sometimes lasts longer, sometimes shorter; it all depends on what Ash Wednesday or Easter will say. However, the finale of Rijeka’s carnival, which usually lasts for about ten days, is a real carnival hell. During this finale no one sleeps, not a wave nor a stone, none of the city’s neighbourhoods and, of course, none of its inhabitants. All the events are a prelude to Children’s Carnival Parade that passes through the city streets a week before the final one that people call the Big one or the International Parade of Rijeka’s Carnival. It’s hard to say which parade is the most impressive or the most popular, the Small one, i.e. Children’s parade, or the big final one, each precious and special in its own right.

The D Day of Rijeka’s Carnival, that is, the Day of the big International Carnival Parade is the sublimation of everything that preceded during the fifth season. It is a parade of Rijeka’s distinctiveness based on the tradition that lives on even today cleverly contemplating its carnival future. Each stitch of the beautiful costumes, because Rijeka’s Carnival is first and foremost beautiful and luxurious, each screw of its allegorical floats, each city and suburban carnival group reflects the distinctiveness of Rijeka– the dearest and the most beautiful city to us, and extremely interesting to the rest of the world.

Best time to visit Rijeka

The best periods to visit Rijeka are spring and autumn, and in particular, from mid-April to mid-June and in the month of September.

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