8 CONGRESS MYTHS YOU DIDN’T DARE TO ASK ABOUT, OR KNOW WHOM TO ASK
MYTH 1: Opatija is a seaside resort that was built for high society.
CONFIRMED: Opatija was built so the cream of Austro-Hungarian society could come to recharge their batteries at the place where sober Central Europe meets the pulsating rhythms of the Mediterranean. The old Opatija, as a unique imperial holiday and health resort, had been a centre of wellness and well-being long before today’s relaxation and marketing gurus created these new symbols of the quest of psychical and physical harmony. Opatija has been able to preserve this historical energy right up to the present day, ennobling it with superb services and up to date offering.
MYTH 2: Opatija is Croatia’s congress hub.
CONFIRMED: Opatija can be called Croatia’s Congress hub, as it is one of the most sought after destinations for business travel. Excellent transport links by road, rail, air and sea, 130 years of experience in organizing congresses and more than 50 modern, fully-equipped conference halls and a summer theatre with seating for 2.000 are the reasons why annually there are more than 500 meetings held at this destination.
MYTH 3: The city can accommodate up to 5.000 people.
BUSTED: Opatija is today one of the most eminent destinations in Croatia thanks to the great number of recently refurbished hotels. The city can daily accommodate up to 7.000 guests; 4,000 in hotels and villas and around 2.000 in private rooms or apartments.
MYTH 4: Opatija has a museum of tourism.
CONFIRMED: The Croatian Museum of Tourism, located in the one hundred and sixty year-old villa in the center of the Park Angiolina in Opatija, tells the story about the history of tourism in Croatia, but also about how tourism affects all of us today – how our cities are changing, how we change when we travel and receive travellers. The permanent exhibition brings together postcards and photographs, regional heritage collection, hotel inventory and equipment collection, souvenir, art and personal tourist collection and many, many more. Definitely worth the visit.
MYTH 5: It is the town with the longest well-tended seafront promenade in Croatia.
CONFIRMED: The famous Lungomare coastal promenade is undoubtedly still one of the leading tourist attractions in Opatija. The popular Lungomare stretches 12 kilometres along the coast, connecting the towns of the Opatija Riviera: Lovran, Ika, Icici, Opatija and Volosko. The promenade was built in stages and finally completed in 1911. At that time, a stroll along the seafront was a favourite pastime of noble ladies and gentlemen; today this activity is still very popular among many tourists that come to this area.
MYTH 6: It is known for being a flat costal region with no hills.
BUSTED: On the contrary. Hiking is very popular in the local area, both as a recreational activity and among those of a more adventurous spirit. A climb to Mount Učka and its highest peak Vojak with 1,401 metres above sea level attracts many hikers. The Risnjak National Park in Gorski kotar lies at only 15 km as the crow flies from the sea and can be reached by car in just an hour from Opatija.
MYTH 7: Opatija’s most popular souvenir is a cake
CONFIRMED: Camellia is the trademark of Opatija and the Opatija Riviera, which is why the souvenir of Opatija is a cake in the form of a camellia. The “Opatija’s Camellia” cake, which conceptual artist and author is Yasna Skorup Krneta, academic painter from Opatija, is made only from Mediterranean ingredients, which is recommended as the healthiest diet by the World Health Organization. This is an all-season cake of long duration that can be taken to any worldwide destination.
MYTH 8: Although Opatija has a great cultural-historical heritage, there are little cultural events taking place in the city.
BUSTED: Different events stretch throughout the year. To name just a few; the Fireworks festival where fantastic artistic creations light up Opatija’s summer sky, Opatija oldtimer tour showcasing oldtimer vehicles, Liburnia Jazz Festival attracting every year Croatian and international jazz lovers, Imperial Town festival which combines music and theatre at various locations, transforming Opatija into one big stage for a fantastic spectacle with thousands of visitors, Vienna Week, an event during which Opatija’s cafés offer typical Viennese sweets, Festival Kvarner presents a series of exclusive musical programmes performed by world-famous musicians, Marunada is the traditional food festival dedicated to the special type of sweet chestnut that thrives only on the slopes of Mount Učka and last but not least every December and January, the event called “Ice Magic” turns Opatija’s Open Air Theatre into an idyllic winter resort where visitors can experience the true festive spirit just a few steps from the sea.