With its temperate climate, increased accessibility to the heart of the Austro-Hungarian Empire, and excellent medical facilities, Opatija became a prominent health tourism destination in the 1880s, and the construction of the town’s famous Lungomare dates back to 1889, as a means for its convalescing visitors to enjoy the pure air and recuperative climate. Today, this picturesque seafront stroll stretches a full 12 km, from Volosko to Lovran, a delightful public walkway which has become the centre of local social life, as well as a relaxing and healthy way to explore the coast.
Not far from the most famous Lungomare in Kvarner, another scenic promenade awaits you just a short drive away from Rijeka. Kostrena, a small town that is home to multiple generations of seamen and captains, lovingly preserves the long-running tradition of maritime affairs in the region. Its 3-km promenade curves along the coastline, overlooking Kostrena’s many gorgeous beaches that are often visited by locals from neighbouring towns. Take a walk, and maybe afterwards a bath!
Equally as impressive, and steeped in history, is the seaside promenade of Kaštela, just north of Split. Home to the vines of the original Zinfandel, as well as a Game of Thrones film set, keen walkers can explore these seven stunning coastal villages, each boasting their own castle and individual history and heritage. Reward yourself afterwards with some terrific Croatian wine!
Makarska & Crikvenica
There are numerous outstanding walks along the coast without official promenades – the Makarska Riviera never seems to stop and is full of life, while the Crikvenica Riviera further north has plenty of entertainment to take in.
But for a chance to appreciate the true magic of Croatia’s natural beauty and astonishing history, there is little to match walking the promenades of its fabled stone towns. UNESCO World Heritage Site enthusiasts need only to wander along the rivas of Poreč, Šibenik*, Trogir and Split to marvel at the Euphrasian Basilica, St James’ Cathedral, Trogir Old Town, and Diocletian’s Palace, respectively. These places even have a long history of amazing all those who take a walk here!
Or head into another UNESCO site, the old town of Dubrovnik, for two strolls of a very differing nature – Stradun, Croatia’s most exclusive street in the heart of the Old Town, but perhaps no longer the most famous walk in Dubrovnik, for Game of Thrones followers will recognise the Walk of Shame close by. Walkers are coming!
Another old town promenade walk you must not miss is in the former Dalmatian capital of Zadar*, home to the best sunset in the world (Alfred Hitchcock’s words), the unique Sea Organ, and Greeting to the Sun, to accompany the picturesque stone buildings that line the route.
The islands, of course, offer their own treasures, with countless coastal routes which leave you at one with nature and the raw beauty of the Adriatic, such as leisurely strolls from Jelsa to Vrboska on Hvar, or Poljana to Preko on Ugljan, while its riva offerings are no less impressive. The glittering Hvar Town waterfront in summer is an A-list celeb hangout, the place to see and be seen, while the more sedate waterfront of Vis Town offers a tranquil but equally fascinating alternative.
Beach or coastal walk? It is for you to decide – Croatia’s idyllic Adriatic coast and islands have something for everyone.
*Šibenik’s fortress of St Nicholas and Zadar’s city defence walls have also been added to the UNESCO World Heritage list.