Carnival traditions

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Day 1 OPATIJA and surroundings

Arrival to Opatija, accommodation in hotel. City tour of Opatija. The first hotel on the Adriatic, called Kvarner, was built here in 1884. It was visited by prominent personalities of the noble rank, which soon made Opatija a popular destination for elite guests from Italy and Austria. Favourable climate and well–maintained landscape make this place one of the most known resorts in Croatia today. Lunch in konoba Istranka with local specialities. After lunch, departure for surroundings of Opatija, which are well known for its bell ringing tradition, which was recognised by Unesco and declared as intangible cultural heritage. The bell ringers (called Zvoncari) are tasked to chase away the evil spirits of winter and recall the good spirits of spring. They are traditional masks with giant bells which help them to urge evil spirits and herald the spring. There are several Zvoncari groups, all wearing their same kind of bells, but each group can be recognized by their specific movements and masks or hats. As an introduction to this centuries long tradition we will Bell ringers museum in small place called Rukavac. Short movie about bell ringers and their statues will present you part of the tradition. Few bell ringers will join us in the museum, do not miss the opportunity to try on their clothers and bells. Return to hotel in Opatija, dinner and overnight

Day 2 OPATIJA – MATULJI – KASTAV

Time to learn new skills after the breakfast! During carnival period several sweets are served. One of our grannies will teach you how to make krostule. Few eggs, flour, sugar, water and the desert is ready. Of course, we will have to try them to check how it worked out. But only after lunch. Later on, if you are lucky to be here on the final carnival weekend, we will proceed to Matulji where traditional yearly bell ringers parade will take its place. During the carnival period, each bell ringers group make rounds in their villages and this is the only opportunity to see them all in one place at the same time. we will take a break from zvoncari and visit Kastav, small medieval town, on a hill above the sea, with beautiful views of the Kvarner Bay. It is not all about the views, many traditions can be presented as well. Visit to an old coopery workshop, where a collection of tools for producing coopery and various items made of wood are presented in the authentic ambience. In the vicinity there is an old bakery with the oldest wood-fired oven in Kastav. It is called Idica’s bakery in a memory of Ms Idica who used to bake bread for many years there. For sure we will be hungry after the full day wandering around, so a dinner in Kastav sounds like a good idea. There are some traditional dances in this area, one of the most popular is potresujka. Sounds complicated to pronounce but after a folklore group presents it, for sure you will be better in practice. Return to hotel for overnight.

Day 3 OPATIJA – RIJEKA

After breakfast, check out from hotel and bus drive to Rijeka. Sightseeing begins with passing by the Main Market, “Palazzo Modello” and imposing building of Croatian National Theatre “Ivan pl. Zajc”, a masterpiece of architecture. Impressive statues and ornaments were made by the famous Venetian sculptor August Benvenuti and ceiling paintings were painted by Franz Matsch and even more famous brothers Gustav and Ernest Klimt. A short walk to St. Vitus’ Cathedral, The church of St. Sebastian, ruins of the late-antiquity castrum, The Roman Arch “Old Gateway”, the oldest historical monument of Rijeka. Then, you will pass above the City tower, visual symbol of the city, the bound between the old and the new city of Rijeka. Short walk through Korzo, the heart of the city loved by both younger and older generations to the Church of the Assumption and the Leaning Tower. Bus ride to Trsat, visit the famous ancient church of Trsat (the centre of Marianism in this part of Croatia), the Franciscan monastery and the beautiful fortifications of the north Adriatic, Trsat Castle. Lunch in konoba “Tarsa”. After lunch, home journey.


The arrangement includes:

– 1 x BB, 1 x HB in hotel 4*
– visit to Bell ringers museum
– krostule workshop
– visit to Bell ringers parade and Kastav
– traditional dinner with folklore
– 3 x lunch
– city tour of Opatija
– city tour of Rijeka
– tourist tax