Lovran is a small town that’s a slight rarity in Istria – for it is situated on the eastern side of the peninsula, unlike…well…practically everything else here! Located just down the coastline from Opatija and close to Rijeka in the Kvarner Region, this town was also a favoured resort for the Austro-Hungarian wealthy set back in the late 19th century. You will notice a similar feel to grand Opatija (although on a smaller scale) which is located a short way away. In fact, the famous lungomare seaside promenade – which was built in the late 19th century – connects these two towns.
Lovran and general area are well known for sweet chestnuts, which are celebrated here in the month of October.
Getting to Lovran
Despite being in Istria, Lovran is actually located closer to Rijeka Airport which is situated on the island of Krk. From this airport, take one of the shuttle buses direct to Rijeka Bus Station from where you can get a bus to Lovran. If you hop onto a long-distance bus, the journey time from Rijeka to Lovran is only 30 minutes. However, Lovran is also connected by regular, daily suburban bus from Rijeka with bus number 32; take a look at the timetable on the Autotrolej website.
Flying to Pula Airport is also doable; again, take a shuttle bus to the main bus station in Pula and then another bus from here to Lovran. Journey from Pula is 1 hour 45 minutes.
Lovran is otherwise well connected to most towns and cities in this part of Croatia by bus. You can even reach Lovran directly from Zagreb – buses take about 3 to 3 and a half hours.
What to See and Do in Lovran
Absolutely one of the main things to do in town is to walk the seaside promenade, the lungomare. 12km in length and situated right by the sea, this is a beautiful way of experiencing the town and the riviera. Construction on the lungomare originally commenced in 1885 – it has long been enjoyed by holidaymakers here! The lungomare actually stretches all the way to Opatija so if you have time, walking along it would be a very pleasant way of reaching that town.
The quaint Old Town lies very close to the sea and contains numerous little passages and streets, ideal for strolling around in.
Lovran Tower is all that remains from the walls that once surrounded the town, although you will also find Stubica Town Gate which is the only one from four that once existed.
On the town’s main square you will find the Church of St George whose building is largely from the 14th century (with a belltower from the 16th century); it contains a number of stunning frescoes.
The town is home to a number of grand villas – as many as 180 were built at the end of the 19th century and in early part of the 20th century as Lovran became a popular holiday resort. Admire these gorgeous buildings as you explore here.
As befitting a town that has long been a holiday destination, there are numerous beaches here. There is a little beach right by the harbour in the centre of town; Lovran Beach close to the centre (which was the first beach here, established way back in the 19th century); the large, well-equipped Medveja Beach and the natural setting of Cesara Beach, both of which are slightly south outside of the town.
Day Trips from Lovran
Seeing as it’s just up the coast and only 10 minutes away by bus, we would highly recommend paying a visit to the gorgeous Opatija. It would be lovely to spend an afternoon here, enjoying lunch at a restaurant with a seaside terrace, taking in all the grand, historic hotels, experiencing Opatija’s part of the lungomare promenade and perhaps even paying the Museum of Tourism a visit.
Ucka Nature Park is located just slightly inland from Lovran, centred around Mount Ucka and the Cicarija mountain range. It’s all about the outdoors here – there are numerous walking and hiking routes for walkers of different abilities; the more adventurous will want to engage in activities such as climbing and hiking.
Events in Lovran
It’s all about food! (Well, not quite…but almost.)
April is asparagus month, particularly in Istria, and Lovran joins in with the celebrations. Look out for special asparagus dishes in local eateries, and also the giant fritaja (essentially an omelette) that’s made with 1000 eggs and 30kg of asparagus on one Saturday in this month.
Cherry Days takes place every June when it is harvest time for this gorgeous fruit. Try a cherry dessert in a local restaurant during this month, or head to the main square on a Saturday in mid-June for the main celebration with live music and fun, and lots of cherry strudel!
One of the top events of the year here is the Marunada Festival every October which celebrates the chestnut. There will be all sorts of chestnut delicacies and products for you to try – even brandy and beer – as well as other celebrations.
Christmas season in Lovran is exceedingly pretty with the town beautifully decorated and festive food and drink options offered.
Eating and Drinking in Lovran
Food and Wine Bar Ganeum offers wonderfully presented dishes – with fish and seafood of course a speciality – in a cosy indoor setting or on its beautiful outdoor terrace in the summer months. There’s an excellent selection of wines, as to be expected.
Lovranski Pub is the place to come for a simply yet tasty meal – their pizzas are top notch (and best washed down with a cold draft beer) but they also offer meat and cheese platters, salads, mains and grill options too.
Draga di Lovrana is a very special restaurant located in the hotel of the same name within Ucka Nature Park. This Michelin-starred venue offers tasting menus based around fish or meat.
Ritual De Vida is an excellent all-day place – come here for hearty breakfasts, or a tasty lunch or dinner…and for excellent cocktails too.
Accommodation in Lovran
There are a number of smart four-star hotels in the town as well as a reasonable number of three-one stars.
For four-star options, one of the top picks is the Hotel Excelsior. The hotel offers smart modern rooms, outdoor and indoor pools, a private beach, kids clubs for both juniors and teens and a restaurant and bar. The Hotel Villa Astra is set in beautiful lush grounds, with all rooms offering a gorgeous view of the sea. The Hotel Villa Vera offers a wellness centre with an indoor pool, whilst the Hotel Villa Eugenia is centrally located in a building built in 1910. The smart Hotel Park is also located right in the centre and is a short walk from the beach. There’s an indoor pool, a spa centre, and an on-site restaurant.
Two options located slightly out of town but that are certainly worth considering are the Boutique Hotel Acacia and the Hotel Draga di Lovrana. The former is a small but ultra-modern hotel with comfortable rooms; located right on the beach, it has an indoor pool, a spa and wellness centre and a restaurant. The latter is set in Ucka Nature Park in a building originally built in 1909 by Austrian entrepreneur Anton Urm, receiving Austrian nobility in the early years of the 20th century. These days it has wonderfully appointed, rather unique rooms, an outdoor pool and a restaurant and bar.
Hostels and Campsites
Hostel-goers will be pleased with the Hostel Link, a comfortable and funky place which offers triple rooms with bunk beds and is close to the beach.
Apartments and villas
There’s a reasonable amount of private accommodation here – take a look at Accommodation in Lovran on Booking.com to see what’s available.
Take a look at the highly informative Lovran Tourist Office website for full details on visiting this town.