When talking about Croatia, people usually jump to images of sexy destinations such as Dubrovnik or Hvar. Rare are those who consider smaller coastal towns and what they have to offer visitors. Although not as developed as their “big name” counterparts, smaller towns can be more affordable and they have a number of surprises up their sleeves to keep you entertained without busting your wallet.
Take Crikvenica. Want beautiful, sunny beaches? Check. Romantic movie-like sites? Check. Chances for a quick dose of pounding adrenaline? Double check. Meet this town and its golden Riviera, a place where a relaxing day at the beach is an option right next to an athletic jump into action. Sound interesting? Then read on, and learn what you can see and do in this charming coastal town.
1. Beaches. Of all sorts.
In Crikvenica, beaches are not just a place where you wet your feet in the sand. They are essentially a part of the town’s identity, as the first one was opened to the public more than a century ago. This “Beach Culture” provides a variety of options to its consumers, from sand beaches filled with people to keep you company, to lonely, rocky valleys where you can enjoy a quiet moment of peace.
There is also a pet –friendly beach, in case you brought a furry friend with you. If you like exploring your surroundings, the nice “Lungo Mare” to the village of Selce is highly recommended, as you will surely find a place to spread your towel on the way. Oh, and one more thing – all beaches have been awarded with a Blue Flag rating, meaning they satisfied the strictest criteria in terms of water quality and environmental management. In the world of beaches, there’s no bigger prize to get.
2. Historical and cultural sites
Having a cold drink on a sunny beach is only half of the vacation you can have in Crikvenica. If you care to become familiar with the area’s history and culture, there are a couple spots you might want to visit. The first one is definitely The Church of Mary’s Accession, the oldest building in the town. Dating from the 15th century, it was provided by Prince Frankopan to the Pauline Order, whick kept it to this day, as well as the numerous sculptures and other items you can see inside it.
The valley of Lokvisce is a place of archaeological research, as Bronze-Age items and remains of Roman settlements were found (side note: taking a swim in the valley might be beneficial to your health, as the mud there has positive dermatological effects). Crikvenica’s Museum exhibits various artefacts from the region’s history, while the Town Gallery might familiarise you with more modern Croatian artists. For castles and forts take a trip to the nearby Region of Vinodol.
3. Over hills and valleys
If you are an active person searching for a road to walk or mountain to climb, there are plenty of challenges for you to respond to in Crikvenica. Grab your sneakers, as seven tracks await you in Crikvenica’s close proximity, all filled with beautiful sights and resting points. Contact Strilez Mountainclimbing Club for additional tips.
Feel like pushing a pedal? Crikvenica Bike Club awaits your questions regarding six bicycle tracks you will want to ride (including information on bike rental services). More into extreme sports? Paintball, cagefootball, summo, spinroller and many other surprises await you in Adrenaline Park. And whenever you want to be alone with that special someone, there’s a small, romantic “Love path” you can veer off onto.
4. Under and above the water
The fisherman in you might go wild in Crikvenica. For good reason. Beautiful flora and fauna are not only found on the land. Catch a big one on numerous fishing sites around the town’s shore. Be sure to secure your licence in the Arbun Sport Fishing Club (Frankopanska Street 26a). If you wish to go beneath the surface, diving gear can be rented at Dive City, Mihuric Diving and Crikvenica Diving Center (Frankopanska Street 28b). The clubs also offer diving schools and instructions.
Prefer a solid boat under your feet? The town has a policy called “From guests to good friends”, which encourages the local population to share their everyday life with foreign visitors. This means Croatian fisherman will be more than happy to bring you onto their boats and show you how to spread the nets and catch some fish. Doing this during night hours, when the stars are reflected off the surface of the sea, might be an adventure you will remember all your life. And if you dislike the idea of an open sea, you can always visit Crikvenica’s Aquarium. With more than twenty fish tanks and over a hundred fish species, it’s a safe place for those who are afraid of getting wet.
In any case, become a friend of Crikvenica. It’s the only thing better than being its guest.