Centre of Primorsko-Goranska County in western Croatia and the country’s major seaport, Rijeka is fast becoming one of the best places to visit in Central Europe thanks to its architecture and heritage.

Although there is evidence of an earlier Neolithic settlement, the first recorded inhabitants of the site were the Celtic Tarsatica and the Liburni peoples. The Roman takeover meant the old city of Tarsatica was re-founded as Flumen. During the post-Empire period, the city passed through Frankish, Croatian and Magyar hands until finally falling under Habsburg rule in 1466. Courtesy of expansion in the 19th century, Rijeka became a significant issue after the First World War, with both Italy and the later Yugoslavia laying claim to the port. The Italian right-wing writer and poet Gabriele D’Annunzio’s unilateral creation of the Italian Regency of Carnaro in 1919 proved ominous, as the Fascists annexed the city five years later.

Absorbed by the USSR-controlled Yugoslavia after World War II, Rijeka was only truly liberated in 1991. Since that point, Rijeka has expanded and established itself both as the third largest city in Croatia and a premier tourist destination in the region.


A short walk anywhere in the city means encountering some fabulous examples of 18th century architecture like the Municipal Palace in the main square and the Modello Palace, so feel free to explore.

The main cultural attraction of Rijeka is the Sanctuary of Madonna Trsatian on the hill of Trsat. Founded in the 13th century and renovated in its current Baroque style in 1641, the main interior contains numerous beautiful religious paintings and marble sculptures. Also contained within the site is the Trsat Park and Hill-Fort, which provides an incredible panoramic of the city.

The major religious building in the city is the Church of St. Jerome on the east side of the Municipal Palace. Constructed between 1315 and 1408, the damage wreaked by two earthquakes in the 18th century has since been repaired and the church’s late Baroque façade is a fabulous sight. Outside of the church itself is a monument to city’s patron St. Vitus, built in 1509.

For a glimpse into the city’s Roman past, be sure to see the Roman Arch, which operated as the entrance to the Praetorium military command.

Rijeka has a diverse and wide selection of museums. Located within the late 19th century Scientific Library is the Modern Gallery, showing the development of modern art in both Rijeka and Croatia. The supplementary Small Gallery can be found in the Radio-Rijeka Building, which is in itself impressive. Located in Museum Square, the Museum of The Town of Rijeka is a must-see, showing the culture and maritime history of Rijeka. The city also hosts a Natural History Museum on Vladimir Nazor Boulevard, surveying the geology of the region and also housing a botanical garden.

Taking place a few days before Shrove Tuesday, the International Rijeka Carnival is the main annual event in the city, with a masked parade, entertainment and sports. Of more local interest is the Celebration of St. Vitus, which takes place on 15th June and contains a procession and a public party.

Football in Rijeka is represented by HNK Rijeka, one of the most successful teams in the country and playing their matches at the Stadion Kantrida.


The Korzo is the main district for shopping, with a huge choice of local outlets and department stores. Look out for the local Moretto jewellery (brooches, earrings, pins and rings), a symbol of Rijeka and the region.

Alternatively, the Rijeka World Trade Centre has recently opened in Pecine.

Nightlife and Eating Out

Local cuisine naturally emphasises all kinds of seafood dishes. However, international cuisine is heavily represented, particularly Italian due to the city’s history. It should be noted that there are generally more bars and cafés than restaurants though. For the best in local food, the Ostarija Pul Belega in Mihanovićeva is highly recommended.

The Korzo and the Riva contain the majority of bars and clubs, but check out the harbour as well.

Rijeka is also home to the Croatian National Theatre: ‘Ivan Pl. Zagic’ in Verdijeva b.b. Built in 1765, it plays host to numerous concerts and plays throughout the year.

Tourist Information

Tourist Information CentreKorzo, 3351000RijekaTel: +385 51 335 882tic@ri.it-com.hr


Rijeka is served by Rijeka Airport, found on the nearby island of Kirk. Although just a short distance to the city proper, buses and taxis can be used.

International and domestic connecting flights are available, but only to limited destinations in the continent.

Both Easyjet (Bristol and London-Luton) and Croatia Airlines (London-Heathrow) use Rijeka Airport to and from British locations.