Kvarner sailing region
Kvarner – From the Sea to the Sky
Here the littoral landscape is practically in the immediate vicinity of the mountainous and forested region of Gorski kotar, the Mediterranean clime and way of life are first neighbours with the harsh mountain climate, while the world of a fashionable tourist resort boasting a150 year long tradition is so vastly different from the simple rhythm of the island life. Kvarner is a place where those seeking the glitter of trendy summer resort – like the lovely Opatija whose tourist tradition, parks replete with lush greenery and elegant villas, combined with the 12 km long promenade by the sea, attract guests throughout the year.
Perhaps you imagine an ideal holiday, one where you can set off from the shore towards sunny islands, and then sail back to seek the peace and quiet of a mountain peak. In the process you dream of a sun-bathed Riviera that can, should you so wish, be replaced within a span of 10 km by ascetic peace and fresh mountain air where you are in the company of eagles, wolves and bears, and where your lungs are filled with forest scented air. If that is indeed the case, then you are looking for Kvarner and Gorski kotar – separate parts of this small country that differ significantly one from the other.
Kvarner covers the area of the mythical Absytrus islands and has unforgettable rivieras: Opatija, Crikvenica, Vinodol and Rijeka. Asides for being famous as the celebrated elite summer destination of the Austro-Hungarian monarchy, the coastal Rijeka metropolis is also here. The Kvarner islands are, however, a totally different story. Called the Absytrus islands, after Medea’s brother Absytrus, the islands of Krk, Cres and Lošinj have a rich antique and medieval heritage. The Apoxiomen should definitely be mentioned here, a very famous bronze statue of an athlete found in 1999 in the sea near Lošinj, which was the work of the Greek sculptor Lizip from the 4th century B.C. The Baška tablet should also be mentioned, the first sculpted memorial of the Croatian language from 1100 found on the island of Krk.
Cres, Lošinj and the islands of its archipelago, Krk, Rab …each island is a world unto itself, disclosing a special story about past and present times, tradition as well as modern tourist programmes and facilities. All together, these islands represent an extraordinary tourist value of the Kvarner region and provide an opportunity for a delightful stay, with quality service and a unique world of nature, customs and cultural heritage.
Watch the flight of griffon vultures – almost extinct elsewhere -, adopt a dolphin, set off along the Glagolitic paths or participate in old knights’ games… bathe on marvelous secluded beaches, dive, sail, walk along arranged paths, taste delicious dishes and equally delicious wines… and enjoy the rich cultural and historical heritage.
To put it simply, exactly what one wishes…everything one dreams about, something for everyone!
Tourist towns along the Opatija Riviera are booming with cafés, bars and restaurants offering delicious Mediterranean dishes made from fresh fish, seafood, fruit and vegetables. Advocates of continental and national cuisines will enjoy masterly prepared international dishes. Great places to eat are authentic local taverns (konoba) and cozy restaurants by the sea. Opatija, once a fashionable holiday destination for the Austro-Hungarian aristocracy, still stands out with the greatest pastries served in cafés with a typical Viennese atmosphere.
What is so special about Kvarner scampi?
Find out why gourmets have confirmed that the meat of Kvarner scampi is by far the most delicious and delicate among other Adriatic seafood. Kvarner scampi distinguish themselves by their light red color and thin shell. That is why they became one of the most highly appreciated delicacies of the Mediterranean seafood.
Mediterranean seafood from Kvarner Bay
Due to many Mediterranean influences, the cuisine of Opatija Riviera is based on Mediterranean seafood – fish and shellfish combined with pasta, fruits and vegetables, olives and olive oil, sweet chestnuts and wine. But when asked to name the most delicious of all Adriatic specialties, most people will say without hesitation: scampi. Everybody seems to agree with the claim that the most delicious scampi in the world come “from the blue mud of Kvarner Bay”. Many gourmets from across the globe are willing to pay much more for the Kvarner scampi than for any other type of this delicacy.
The origins of Kvarner scampi
It is often said that Kvarner scampi are the result of accidental crossbreeding of indigenous scampi with those that were brought to the harbor of Rijeka from the South China Sea stuck to the hulls of British warships. Restaurant owners are very fond of telling this rather exotic story to their guests, convinced that it will make the scampi even tastier. However, this story, like so many others, is only part of marketing. It is much more plausible that the present Kvarner scampi were brought from Norway and artificially colonized into the Adriatic, as concluded by a study some 30 years ago, but due to warmer and shallower sea their armor is thinner and their meat pliable and full of flavor.
How to catch the scampi?
If asked how scampi are caught, most people will just shrug their shoulders or say it is with fishing nets. This answer is only partly true. The most delicious and most appreciated scampi, those from the Kvarner bay, are caught exclusively with fishing traps on a long line. There is a great difference between scampi that are caught by fishing traps and those “picked up” from the seabed with nets. Fishing nets are not selective – they just pick up whatever they find on the seabed, which is why fish and scampi in the nets are often bruised. Moreover, there is no mud or sand in the Kvarner scampi caught by fishing traps.