Rijeka is Croatia’s third largest city and the country’s principal seaport. It is located on Kvarner Bay, an inlet of the Adriatic Sea. This city boasts a long and rich history, which is reflected in its architecture and cultural heritage. And in addition to its historical landmarks, Rijeka offers a wealth of other attractions, including Blue Flag Beaches, Museums, Galleries, Parks, and more. In this article, I will share the 15 top attractions and things to do in Rijeka. Read on!
1. Take a Walk Through the Korzo, The Main Pedestrian Street in Rijeka
Korzo is Rijeka’s main pedestrian street and the best place to start exploring the city. It is a beautiful street lined with Baroque and Austro-Hungarian buildings that house many shops, cafes, and restaurants. The best time to visit Korzo is in the evening when the street is full of people enjoying a stroll, some shopping, or a meal.
If you’re looking for souvenirs, Korzo is the best place to find them. There are many shops selling Croatian handicrafts, including jewelry, woodcarvings, and pottery. You can also find many traditional Croatian foods to take home with you, such as olive oil, honey, and lavender.
All in all, this is one of the most famous places in Rijeka and definitely worth a visit. Allocate at least an hour or two to explore the street and its surroundings.
2. Climb the Petar Druzic Stairway
One of the best things to do in Rijeka is climbing the Petar Druzic Stairway. With a total of 538 steps, the stairway is one of the most popular attractions in the city. Located in the old town, the stairway was built in the 16th century as a pilgrimage path to the Church of Our Lady of Trsat. Today, the stairway is a popular spot for locals and visitors alike to get some exercise and enjoy the views of the city.
As you make your way to the top of the stairway, you will pass by a number of small chapels used as resting spots for pilgrims. At the top of the stairway, you will find the Church of Our Lady of Trsat. And from the church, you can enjoy stunning views of the city and the Adriatic Sea.
3. Make a Pilgrimage to Our Lady of Trsat
Rijeka is home to the Church of Our Lady of Trsat, one of Croatia’s most important pilgrimage sites. The church is located at the top of the Petar Druzic Stairway, which, as we mentioned before, is one of the best sights in Rijeka.
This church dates back to 1291 and was built to honor the Virgin Mary. It is said that the angels brought the home of the Virgin Mary to Trsat from Nazareth. The church has undergone a number of renovations over the years, and the monastery you see today was built in the 17th century. You can book a tour inside the church, where you can see a number of beautiful paintings and sculptures.
4. Get a bird’s eye view of Rijeka from Trsat Castle
If you are looking for things to do in Rijeka that are more on the adventurous side, then look no further than Trsat Castle. The castle is located on a hill above the city and offers stunning panoramic views of Rijeka and Kvarner Bay. The castle grounds are perfect for a leisurely stroll, and there are plenty of benches where you can sit and enjoy the views.
The castle was built in the 13th century and has been extensively renovated in recent years. Today, it is a popular spot for picnics, walks, and simply enjoying the views. And if you want to know more about the castle’s fascinating history, you can take a guided tour.
After exploring the castle, visit the cafe in its courtyard for a well-deserved break and a refreshing drink.
5. Tour the Maritime and Historical Museum
Housed in a former residence of the Hungarian Governor, the Maritime and Historical Museum is one of the top attractions in Rijeka to visit if you want to learn about the city’s history. The museum has an interesting collection of maritime items, paintings, and furniture. Also on display are the finds from Roman archaeological sites in the area.
And being the former residence of the Governor, you can also explore the beautiful building and its architecture. This building was built in the 19th century in Neo-Renaissance style and is among the best-preserved residences from that period.
6. Cruise Along the Rjecina River on a Boat Tour
Rijeka is a city located on the Rjecina River, and what better way to explore it than from the water? There are several boat tour companies offering a range of different tour options. The tour lasts for about an hour and a half, and you will get to see some of the top tourist attractions in Rijeka while learning interesting facts and stories about the city from your tour guide.
This is a great activity for all ages and a perfect way to escape the heat in summer as the boats are always air-conditioned. Some even have a bar on board, so you can enjoy a refreshing drink while cruising along the river.
7. Take a tour of St. Vitus Cathedral
Fancy a little history and architecture? St. Vitus Cathedral is the largest and most important church in Rijeka, as well as one of the most significant cultural monuments in Croatia. The Cathedral is best known for its beautiful Baroque interior, which is definitely worth a visit.
The church was built in the 18th century on the site of an earlier 13th-century Romanesque cathedral. The current building was constructed between 1638 and 1744 and features an impressive array of artworks from various periods.
In addition to the stunning interior, the Cathedral also boasts a large 13th-century crucifix and a baroque altar. And according to legend, the crucifix once started bleeding after being stoned by disgruntled citizens.
If you’re interested in learning more about the history and architecture of St. Vitus Cathedral, you can take a guided tour.
8. Visit the Natural History Museum
A visit to the Natural History Museum is one of the best things to do in Rijeka if you want to learn about the natural world and the history of Croatia. The museum has an impressive collection of minerals, rocks, fossils, and shells, as well as a large number of exhibits on flora and fauna of Croatia. The museum also has a section on the history of Croatian science and technology, which is particularly interesting for kids.
One of the highlights of the Natural History Museum is The Evolution of Man, an exhibit that traces the history of human evolution from the earliest hominids to modern humans. The exhibit includes a variety of fossils, bones, tools, and artifacts, as well as interactive displays. The Natural History Museum is a great choice for a family-friendly activity, as it is both educational and fun.
9. Peek & Poke Computer Museum
Another famous attraction in Rijeka is the Peek & Poke Computer Museum. The museum is said to be one of the best in Europe, and it is a great place to learn about the history of computing. The museum has more than 1,000 exhibits on display, and you can even play on some of the working machines.
Highlights of the museum include obsolete computers from the 90s, the first calculators in the world, early photo and video technology, and old game consoles. The museum is a great place to visit for families, as you’ll be able to educate your kids on the history of technology while also having some fun. This is a must-see Rijeka attraction that should not be missed.
10. Explore the Natural Beauty of Krk Island
Krk Island is one of Croatia’s most popular tourist destinations, and it’s not hard to see why. The island is home to beautiful beaches, crystal clear water, and a relaxed atmosphere. There are also plenty of things to see and do, making it the perfect place to spend a few days.
Some of the best things to do on Krk Island include exploring the old town of Krk, visiting the Cathedral of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary, checking out the Krk Aquarium, and taking a boat trip to one of the nearby islands.
And being one of the most famous places to visit in Rijeka, Krk Island also offers a wide range of accommodation options, from camping and hostels to luxury hotels.
11. Enjoy Local Gastronomy in Rijeka
If you’re a foodie, then one of the best things to do in Rijeka is to go on a food tour and taste your way around the city. Rijeka is known for its traditional gastronomy, and you’ll get to try some of the best local dishes on a food tour. Some of the highlights include sampling traditional Croatian cuisine like strukli (a kind of cheese pastry), seafood dishes like scampi na buzaru (a kind of seafood stew), and trying the local wines.
If you love meat, the best option is the Istrian prosciutto with homemade bread. This dish is usually served as a starter, but it can also be the main course. And for dessert, you must try the fritters with chocolate sauce, a traditional Croatian dessert that will leave you wanting more.
If you’re not able to go on a food tour, don’t worry, there are plenty of other ways to enjoy the city’s gastronomy. Why not try some of the following dishes:
• Prsut: a type of dry-cured ham
• Pasticada: a type of stew made with beef, prunes, and onions
• Fritule: a type of fried doughnut that is popular around Carnival time
12. Take a Hop On, Hop Off Bus Tour
A great way to see everything that Rijeka has to offer is by taking a hop-on hop-off bus tour. This is a great option for first-time visitors who want to get an overview of the city and its attractions. The bus tour will take you to all the major sights and attractions in Rijeka, including the Cathedral of St. Vitus, Trsat Castle, Korzo (the main pedestrian street), and more. You can hop on and off the bus as many times as you like, so it’s a great way to explore the city at your own pace.
13. Soak up the Sun at Sablicevo Beach
Sablicevo Beach is one of the best places in Rijeka to relax and soak up the sun. The serene atmosphere, beautiful views, and clean water make it a popular spot for swimming, sunbathing, and simply enjoying the Croatian coastline. This is not a big beach, but it’s definitely worth a visit if you’re looking for a place to relax.
This beach is located on the eastern side of the city center, so it’s easy to get to. You can take a bus or drive, and there is plenty of parking available. If you’re visiting in the summer, make sure to come early to get a spot, as it can get crowded later in the day.
Read More: 9 Top-Rated Beaches in Croatia
14. Astronomical Centre Rijeka
For an educational and fun activity in Rijeka, head to the Astronomical Centre. This is a center for public astronomy that aims to educate the community about the night sky. They have a range of different telescopes that you can use to get a closer look at the stars, planets, and other celestial objects.
The Astronomical Centre also offers a range of educational programs, workshops, and events for all ages. If you visit during summer, I suggest coming to this center at night to catch a film at its state-of-the-art planetarium. This is definitely one of the best things to do in Rijeka for science lovers and families.
15. Take a trip to Kastav
Kastav is a small town located just outside of Rijeka. The town is best known for its well-preserved medieval architecture. A walk through the town will take you back in time with its ancient buildings and winding streets.
Start your visit at the town’s main square (Lokvine), which is the best spot to get orientated. From there, you can explore the town’s winding streets and admire the architecture. Be sure to visit the Church of St. Helen, which dates back to the 17th century. The church is best known for its beautiful frescoes.
A visit to Kastav is a great way to experience a different side of Croatia. The town is a great spot for history lovers and those looking to relax outside the city.
Rijeka is a charming city with plenty to offer visitors. From its rich history to its beautiful natural surroundings, there is something for everyone. These are just some of the top attractions in Rijeka and things to do that I think you should add to your itinerary. And, if you are looking for more ideas, be sure to check out my other articles on Croatia.