This gorgeous coastal town in the Kvarner region went from being an ancient trading port and a fishing village to one of the most attractive tourist destinations in Croatia.
Its fresh air - a mix of the salty sea breeze and the mild mountain air coming in from the inland up north - the clean and quiet nature, and the 2300 hours of sunlight per year have made Crikvenica a fantastic place for anyone looking to truly rest, relax and recover.
This charming, easy-going town has a little bit of everything for everyone: wonderful beaches (with its town beach bearing the Blue Flag certificate of quality), lovely countryside with hiking trails for long romantic walks, a lovely cityscape adorned with historical sites, an adrenaline park, and taverns with the best of Mediterranean cuisine - all wrapped in the mild, beneficial climate of the Adriatic sea.
Best historical locations in Crikvenica
1.1. Archaeological site Ad Turres
Ad Turres, meaning ‘by the tower’, was a Roman settlement, the predecessor of Crikvenica and an observation point on the travel route through the Vinodolski valley. It is perhaps even more important for being one of the best preserved Roman pottery workshops in Europe. In terms of the then technology the workshop was rather advanced and had a prolific production of amphorae.
1.2. Church of the Assumption of the Virgin Mary
Built by the Frankopan lords at the beginning of the 15th century this church is an important part of the town’s historic center. It houses a lovely collection of art and sculptures, including the painting of St. Simon, the only piece of art that survived the great fire that destroyed a good portion of the town of Kotor.
1.3. Russian Orthodox Church
While this church has been closed for years it is a vital part of the area’s history: it was built to accommodate the Russian nationals fleeing the October Revolution.
1.4. Fort Badanj
The heart of this medieval fort was built between the 4th and 6th centuries AD while the rest, including the small Church of the Holy Spirit, developed around it in the later ages. A local legend relating to the fort mentions a large snake guarding a hidden treasure at this location.
1.5. Crikvenica City Museum
The artefacts in the museum’s several collections document the history of everyday life in Crikvenica from the pre-historic age, and perhaps the most interesting of them are the collection of vintage postcards and the palaeontological collection. The museum hosts various workshop with a focus on educating visitors on the area’s history in creative and fun ways.
1.6. Church of St. Anthony of Padua
The foundation stone of this church was laid in 1934, and while it was completed five years later, its magnificent 35 meters tall bell tower wasn’t finished until the 21st century.
Romantic journey through Crikvenica
2.1. Mediterranean Labyrinth of Love
This very special attraction on the Adriatic coast is made of four hundred laurel bushes planted to create the labyrinth of love. Navigating your way to the center with your sweetheart will feel like walking in Alice’s Wonderland. And if you’re single don’t worry: you can still enjoy the powerful calming effects of the laurel and Mediterranean fragrances and the sound of water as you stroll towards the heart of this green maze.
2.2. Love Path
Crikvenica has all your romantic needs covered. The Love Path is eight kilometers long and will take you on the Mother of all Romantic Walks, into the landscape of Crikvenica and nearby villages, past historical landmarks and nature sites.
2.3. Kiss and Tell Kissing Spot ‘First’
Continue your romantic journey with the Kissing Map of the Crikvenica area. One of the locations on it is marked with a large Kiss and Tell heart sign, and is the first on the list of the Kissing Spots in the area. So, starting with the Crikvenica promenade, kiss your way through town and then further on to Dramalj, Jadranovo and Selce.
Art in Crikvenica
3.1. House Klovic Museum Collection
This memorial collection dedicated to one of the world’s greatest artists, the Croatian miniature painter Juraj Klovic, is distributed through several themed rooms and is a fine homage to this Grizane-born master of miniature.
3.2. Crikvenica Town Gallery
Crikvenica’s Town Gallery has been the central point of the city’s cultural scene since 2004 when it was founded. As a regular part of its activities it hosts various exhibitions and the local artists and Croatian artists alike. The gallery works as a part of the Cultural Center ‘Dr. Ivan Kostrencic’ and has three exhibition sites.
The first is the gallery itself, exhibiting modern and contemporary art. The second location, the Zvonko Car Memorial Art Studio not only has the artist’s works on display but also houses art workshops in the summertime. The art in Crikvenica’s history is exhibited via the open-air exhibitions at various locations around the town, including the exhibition dedicated to the famous Croatian miniature painter Juraj Klovich.
Fun stuff in Crikvenica
4.1. Aquarium Crikvenica
The center of Crikvenica hides an underwater world where the various species of fish and sea creatures from the Adriatic, the tropical seas and the freshwaters swim in the thirty tanks spreading over the area of 200 square meters.
4.2. Adrenaline Park Crikvenica
Another great place for both kids and adults, the Adrenaline park Crikvenica will keep you busy all day long. In addition to two fantastic tree climbing obstacle trails, one of which is suitable for children, you can engage in a paintball battle or a summo fight. Following that, have a drink at the park’s catering facility, aptly named The Adrenaline Bar.
Best beaches in Crikvenica
5.1. Crikvenica city beach
This gorgeous pebble-and-sand beach with a small cove is bordered by pine trees and has an abundance of amenities and facilities on offer to make your day extra fun. It has been awarded the Blue Flag certificate that vouches for the quality of its sea and accessibility.
5.2. Monty’s Dog Beach and Bar
Crikvenica has long been known as an extremely pet-friendly town so if you have a dog or two (or three) it is one of the best places to go on holiday. A section of the Podvorska beach is perfectly equipped for dogs’ beach fun: it has a shower, a napping spot under the marquee and yes, its own dog bar with dog ice cream, dog beer and dog herbal teas on the menu.
5.3. Podvorska beach
While a part of this beach has been set aside exclusively for pets, the rest of it is full of amenities that will keep you busy all day long. Its sandy pebbled terrain and easy, gentle sea access make it perfect for everyone, especially children and the elderly. Everyone will find something to entertain themselves with here, after a good swim and some sunbathing.
5.4. Poli Mora beach
This beach in Selce will be ideal for you if you’re holidaying with your children. They will love the selection of water sports here, especially the gigantic water slide which will no doubt be the focus of their beach fun.
Dining in Crikvenica
6.1. Pancake House Palcica
An entire place dedicated to pancakes might just become your favourite diner in Crikvenica, because who doesn’t love the French-styled crepes any time of day or night? Along with the sweet, the menu has the savoury and the American-styled pancakes, and a nice list of beverages, including smoothies, to go with your pancake extravaganza.
6.2. Restaurant Dida
Lunch in the shade of trees with a view of the sea always pushes the dining experience up a notch or two. The Restaurant Dida (‘Grandpa’) offers the traditional fish and Mediterranean menu prepared in the modern-cuisine ways, with a sea view. Their tasting menus consist of five to seven courses topped with wines and will make for a great central meal of the day.
6.3. Tavern Trabakul
Trabakul keeps it authentic: a family restaurant with a comfortable, homey atmosphere, traditional dishes made in the traditional ways, as many home-made ingredients as there can be, and the rustic ambience of wood and stone. Definitely the place to go if you’re looking for that charming Dalmatian dining experience.
Why visit Crikvenica?
Like other coastal towns in Croatia, Crikvenica has a long history dating back to the Roman and Illyrian times, so for all those who are looking to do some sightseeing on vacation this charming town will impress you with its historical sites and its museum collection.
In addition to that, art aficionados will appreciate a visit to the memorial house museum of the world’s best miniature painter Juraj Klovic. Crikvenica is also known as the town of love and romance, so much that it has its own Kissing Map to guide you through the best kissing spots. With its Labyrinth of Love it is truly a superb place to fall in love or rekindle the romance.
And for all those who are vacationing with their dogs, Crikvenica is well known as one of the most pet-friendly locations in Croatia. It has a dog beach with its own dog beach bar, so if you want your furry friend to have a great time on your holiday don’t hesitate to take them with you.
Crikvenica has built its reputation as being a health resort, too, and has a number of the best wellness & spa centers, but its beaches and nature, and its overall gentle ambience, will have a soothing, healing effect on you and leave you feeling exactly as you should after a holiday: refreshed and rejuvenated.
Our guide will get you to the best places in Crikvenica, and we’d love to hear all the ways in which you explored its amazing sites, so don’t hesitate to leave your impressions and stories in the comment section.
And have a wonderful holiday!