Health tourism in Croatia has a history dating back to 1868 when the Society of Hygienists was founded on the island of Hvar with the aim of building the first hotel dedicated to health and wellbeing.
Thanks to the clean, salty sea and air, the wide variety of lush vegetation, thermal waters and curative mud, the Kvarner region has for many years been a destination for people seeking to restore their health. By the end of the 19th century the resort of Opatija was already favoured by the Austro-Hungarian aristocracy as a spa town. In 1889, Opatija officially gained the status of a health resort.
Other famous health resorts at the time were Crikvenica, Veli Lošinj and Mali Lošinj, each of which was registered as a health resort in 1892. In these places the air is rich in sea salt and essential oils from native medicinal herbs, and is very beneficial for the respiratory system.
The influx of wealthy guests to the Kvarner region catalysed the development of seaside tourism as we know it today. Today, those in search of improved health and wellbeing can find the following services here: seawater treatments (thalassotherapy), spa treatments (mineral and thermal waters), specialised hospitals, and a range of clinics, dental surgeries, and wellness centres which operate either independently or within hotels.
Health tourism has great potential for future development in this region due to the well-preserved natural environment, the attractiveness of the coast, highly-trained medical staff, medical services which meet European quality standards, prices which are significantly lower than in many other developed countries and proximity to most European capitals.
BasicsFor more information related to health tourism, accommodation, events, gastronomy, culture and more, call into any tourist information centre in the region, or read more at www.inyourpocket.com/croatia/rijeka
The region surrounding Rijeka and Opatija falls within Primorsko-Goranska County, which is divided into three geographic regions: the coastal belt, the uplands region and the islands.
The uplands region (known as Gorski kotar) is thickly forested with a wealth of flora and fauna and a large national park, Risnjak. With no polluting industry and very sparsely populated, this region has sparkling-clean air and a sub-Alpine climate. In the summer months, this is a great place to enjoy refreshing breezes and cool nights – a good night’s sleep is guaranteed!
The coastal region occupies a crescent-shaped belt encompassing the gulf of Rijeka and the Vinodol channel. It stretches from the foot of Mount Učka, skirting the hills that fringe Gorski kotar to the north and northeast. Here, a mild and pleasant Mediterranean climate is tempered by the proximity of the mountains. In the winter months the strong, cleansing bura wind blows from the north. There’s a considerable amount of rain in winter, and snow is not unknown. This temperate climate results in a proliferation of trees and plants that makes this coastline so attractive and the air so healthy.
The island region is divided into two island groups. These comprise Cres, Lošinj and a number of smaller islands in the west, and an eastern group including Krk and Rab and several uninhabited islets. The climate on the islands is warmer and drier than on the mainland, and the environment no less pleasant for that. The four largest islands just mentioned enjoy more than 217 clear days on average every year. The sea temperature during the summer months is an enjoyable 26°C, while in the winter experienced sea swimmers brave bracing waters at 18°C.
All public parking areas have marked spaces for disabled drivers. In Rijeka most major junctions are equipped with signal-controlled pedestrian crossings, 49 of which have audible signals enabling blind and partially-sighted pedestrians to cross safely.
The City of Rijeka provides transport services for disabled residents and tourists through the Autotrolej transport company. Please call 0800 11 66 Monday – Friday from 07:00 to 14:00 to arrange services, which run from 07:00 to 22:00 Monday – Thursday, and from 07:00 to 23:00 Friday – Sunday. Services run each day of the year, including public holidays.
Transport services cover the city of Rijeka, and it is also possible to arrange a ride to the following public health institutions outside the city: the thalassotherapy facilities in Opatija and Crikvenica, the orthopaedic clinic in Lovran and the psychiatric hospital in Lopača. More information (Croatian only) on www.autotrolej.hr.
Most beaches have facilities for disabled bathers, including wheelchair access, disabled toilets and ramps for entering the sea. Licenced lifeguards are on duty on busy public beaches. Some hotels have rooms which are fully adapted for disabled guests, while many restaurants, swimming pools and campsites have wheelchair access.