That first train from Vienna, with its ladies in crinolines and men in formal suits, steamed into Matulji-Opatija station on June 25, 1873. The Austrians had arrived to claim Opatija as their very own bathing resort, a kind of ‘Vienna-on-Sea’. This part of modern-day Croatia, now known as the Kvarner region, was under the rule of the Austro-Hungarian Empire in the half century leading up to the First World War and Opatija was the darling of resorts for bathing or taking the waters, rest and recuperation, music and dance – and love affairs.
This feels like the old Opatija, but head up to high street and a wave of designer boutiques, salons and cocktail bars confirm that we are well and truly in 21st century. This is another part of the charm of Opatija, the gentle coupling of old and new. A city with a rich history and vast cultural presence, combines style, elegance and amazing Adriatic Sea views – essentials for a truly memorable holiday.