Opatija is known as the cradle of Croatian wellness tourism. After a two-hour drive from Zagreb I arrived in Opatija.
The opening of hotel Villa Angiolina in the mid 19th century is regarded as the starting point of tourism in Opatija.
In Opatija you feel the influence of many different countries in the architecture and cuisine. The city has been Austrian, Hungarian, and Italian. It is a favourite destination amongst wellness and relax tourists because of its central location and the proximity to Venice, which is just 250 kilometers away.
A lovely dinner at Bistro Yacht Club with an assortment of fish and seafood from the region: cod, anchovis, prawns, and octopus. And my first taste of Istrian wine, a naturaly sparkling rose wine. Zivjeli, cheers!
I was not lucky with the weather. The temperature was very nice though, especially that of the sea which was still 23 degrees because of a hot summer. From the 5th floor of Remisens Premium Villa Ambassador I had a panoramic view.
An amazing start to your day: Jump into the sea (or the swimming pool) just before breakfast!
The island of Cres
The ferry takes me to the beautiful island of Cres. Its flora and fauna are extraordinarily rich and the city of Cres, with its warm and hearty atmosphere, is definitely worth a visit.
Buy some food souvenirs, like herbal honey, to enjoy healthy delicacies at home. I attended a presentation and a tasting to learn more about Mozaiko extra virgin olive oil. No pesticides are used in the growing of the olives, so there is also none in the natural olive oil. And did you know that extra virgin olive oil is never heated above 28 degrees celsius?
Enjoy an amazing view and seafood lunch with grilled scampis at Restaurant Riva.
The island of Losinj
When you cross the bridge on the south side of Cres, you will find yourself on the island of Losinj. The island is famous for its health and wellness tourism.
I stayed at Vitality Hotel Punta, surrounded by lavender, rosemary, and a stunning pool with sea view.
The hotel is great for health tourism because the air is still so pure and clean. The hotel employs a nutritionist who gives advice to guests and trains all the kitchen and restaurant staff on the subject of nutrition and allergies.
At Laurus Slow Spa I joined an aromatherapy workshop, learning which herbs and essential oils are best for a healthy skin.
I experienced the most amazing revitalising body massage from the lovely Boba at Hotel Punta. She uses pure Losinj herbal oils. She tells me that the secret to a great massage is 20% technique and 80% love, straight from the heart. She’s right. Thank you Boba!
When staying at Hotel Punta take a walk, or run, to Mali Losinj. There is a 3 kilometer hiking trail along the seaside that leads you to Mali Losinj.
In Veli Losinj you can enjoy the harbour and its colourful buildings.
The island of Krk
The ferry brings me to the island of Krk where I enjoy a tasty octopus salad at Bar Volonsis in the city of Krk.
Wine maker Marinko Vladic in Vbrnik invented Valomet Champagne. What’s so special about his champagne? The sparkling wine, made of the local Zhlatina grape, is kept at the bottom of the sea for 5 to 8 years where it enjoys a constant temperature of 12 degrees. One bottle costs € 200.
Next up is a visit to Nada winery and their restaurant.
The lovely terrace is faced towards the beautiful colours of the Croatian waters. Up on the rooftop terrace we enjoyed olives, sheep cheese, seafood and Croatian wine.
This must be the best way to end my culinary and wellness trip to Croatia. Oh wait, there’s more: an amazing swim in the sea at sunset!
The island of Krk has an international airport and is connected to the mainland, so it’s easy to visit. The island has 1.300 different plant species of which many are herbs, making it a green oasis.
As a Pure! food and wellness destination Croatia is even more beautiful than I could have imagined. An unspoilt Mediterranean pearl!