Rijeka, Croatia

Croatia’s third-largest city, Rijeka is in the country’s north, around 10 miles from the Slovenian border. It features a fine selection of long beaches and secluded coves. A delightful place to visit.

Sunbathers, swimmers and snorkelers will all be spoilt for choice of scenic spots next to the clear Adriatic waters, not least at the blue flag beaches of Ploce and Kostanj.

The area was conquered, re-conquered and conquered some more until it found 450 years of relative stability under the Habsburgs from the fifteenth century. The Romans left a particularly strong imprint on the region, including the Roman Arch in Rijeka itself.

Pula, on the tip of the Istrian Peninsula, is within reach of Rijeka and well worth exploring. Its crown jewel is the fabulous and virtually intact Roman amphitheater set close to the sea among the medieval red rooftops.

One place to start in Rijeka itself is the ‘Korzo’ a delightful pedestrianized promenade. It has a plentiful supply of boutiques and cafés from which to watch the world go by, and also features a landmark City Tower, known for its four clocks.

Other sights include the striking St. Vitus Cathedral, octagonal in shape, adorned with vast marble pillars and dedicated to the city’s patron saint. One experience not to miss is a trip to the City Market, close to the waterfront, where the city’s daily hustle and bustle unfolds around stalls piled with fresh produce. Standing guard above it all is Trsat, a medieval fortified lookout on an elevated plateau, crowned by a castle.

Of course, your arrival here may invite a wider discovery. The island of Krk, for example, makes a wonderful day trip. Its pine-covered slopes conceal quaint villages and ribbons of beaches run around its shores. Zagreb is around two hours’ drive away and may feature on your itinerary if time allows; the Croatian capital is awash with beautiful buildings including the emblematic twin-spired cathedral.