Outdoor Easter in Rijeka

The following is a lovely write-up from John Clayton, a UK citizen who has been living in the coastal city of Rijeka for 15 years. John talks about some of the wonderful outdoor activities that can be enjoyed during Easter in Rijeka.

The clocks are on summertime and the winter is over. Easter marks the time when we can start to plan bigger and better outdoor adventures in Rijeka. Jenny and I make the most of the winter, but this largely means grabbing opportunities on the days without “Bura”, the gale-force cold wind from the north, or the “Jugo”, the more destructive warm and wet wind from the south.

I’ll share here a few of our outdoor favourites at this time of year. As Croatia is rightly famous for its beaches this is the obvious place to start. We’re lucky to live just five minutes’ walk from the most beautiful beach in Rijeka, Sablićevo (don’t even try to pronounce it). It is also within walking distance from the town centre, or take the number 1 bus. The beach is surrounded by high cliffs creating a perfect sun trap. Even in the middle of winter, on a sunny day it’s possible to be down there in a just a T-shirt. By spring sunbathing is certainly an option and without the summer crowds.  With a wetsuit, there is also the option of swimming the 1.5km from Grčevo beach, past Sablićevo, to the dog beach right by the port. This is an amazing swim in crystal clear, often glass-smooth, water. At this time of year, there is even the small possibility that you’ll be swimming with dolphins.

Outdoor Easter in Rijeka - Sablicevo Beach in Rijeka
Sablicevo Beach in Rijeka

This morning, before writing this, we did the ten-mile mountain bike loop which is the most accessible mountain biking area from Rijeka. It starts with a slightly boring climb up through Kostrena, the fanciest suburb of Rijeka. The reward comes quickly in the form of single-track riding through the forest, opening out to views across the mountains of Gorski Kotar on the right and the islands of Cres and Krk on the left – all this before breakfast.

Rijeka keeps its last secret well hidden yet almost in plain sight. Rijeka is the third largest city in Croatia and, unlike many coastal towns in Croatia, is still industrial, with a busy port, shipbuilding, and a refinery. However, almost in the centre of the city is a steep-sided, wild, overgrown canyon, full of deep pools and cliffs. It is certainly not obvious from the town that it is there and even most locals seem unaware of its existence as it’s rare to see anyone else in there. Our favourite trail run starts at the castle of Trsat, scrambles down steeply into the canyon, past the abandoned water mills, and across the river. From here it climbs back steeply up the peak above Trsat before joining the road down to Rijeka.

After all this exercise you probably deserve a beer. As a Rijekan, I’d love to suggest one of the local craft beers, of which there are plenty to try (Tarsa, Morčić, etc.) but I have to be honest and admit that in my opinion, the best beer in Croatia, and possibly the world, is Fifth Element IPA. It’s from Daruvar and best enjoyed on draft in Pivnica Cont, on Tito Square, right on the old border between the first Yugoslavia and Italy. Just drinking a beer there is a history lesson in itself.

Thank you so much to John for suggesting some excellent outdoor adventures for Easter in Rijeka! Much appreciated. John has also previously filmed a great Easter in Rijeka video, which really gives a feel for the kinds of things that can be enjoyed at this time of year. Take a look:

To see more of what John enjoys in this part of Croatia, take a look at his Swimming in Rijeka video.