Whenever we visit the Istrian region of Croatia, we always try to pop into Lovran. It has a lush green landscape with plenty of flowering gardens, several baroque houses on the town square, and a medieval tower. But the main reason we visit is for the wonderful walk along the Lungomare. More about that later.
Lovran is situated on the eastern coast of the Istrian peninsula, just 5 km south of Opatija. Protected by the Ucka mountains, it has a mild climate, which makes it an appealing year-round holiday destination with a wide variety of hotels, villas, apartments and private rooms available.
We just fell in love with the town and surrounding area, wandering around the narrow streets, taking in the atmosphere and admiring the attractive architecture, which has an Austro-Hungarian influence of the 19th century.
The people here are so friendly and inviting. One particular instance of their friendliness was on our visit in 2013. It was our first ever time in Croatia, and we were really not sure what to expect. We were walking around the narrow back streets and came across a family celebrating a birthday and cooking shrimp on the BBQ outside their home right on the street. They greeted us as we walked by and invited us to join them for a drink of (grappa). We were feeling a bit shy and a little taken aback, so we declined their offer but regretted it when we discussed it later. It would have been a really great way to get a feel for Croatian family life.
The 14th-century church of St George is worth visiting to see the spectacular wall paintings.
Lovran is a lovely destination in its own right, or it’s a great base to explore the Istrian destinations of Rabac, Pula, or Medulin. Other day trips you could do from Lovran include Opatija, Rijeka and Cres Island.
As mentioned above, our favourite thing to do when visiting Lovran is to get the bus to Opatija and walk back to Lovran along the Lungomare promenade, a lovely seaside walk connecting Opatija to Lovran. In fact, the Lungomare actually starts at Volosko and is 12 km long. Maybe next time, we will walk the whole route.
The promenade hugs the coast the whole way, and there are dozens of beautiful secluded coves where you can take a break from walking to sunbathe on the rocks or swim in the crystal clear sea. There is plenty of shade provided by the trees that line the Lungomare, and also, there is seating dotted along the walk so that you can take a rest and breathe in the fresh sea air.
There are many bars and restaurants in Opatija and Lovran, also a few dotted along the Lungomare walk.
Maruni is the name for the sweet chestnuts that grow in the area. They are larger, sweeter and lighter in colour than the “common” chestnuts. They have been one of the most important exports in this area since the 17th century, alongside other traditional produce such as olives, cherries and wine. During the festival, the town’s narrow paved streets are filled with stalls offering various maruni creations made from the chestnuts. Roasted chestnuts, cakes, pancakes, chestnut goulash, chestnut ice cream and chestnut pie. Those are just some of the imaginative dishes prepared with chestnuts that can be sampled during the Marunada festival, along with homemade nouveau wine or medica – a honey brandy. It has been listed among the food festivals not to be missed by the Guardian Newspaper. There is also a packed programme of entertainment events in the town’s main square. Ranging from a brass band, folk dancing, sporting events, a bicycle race, lawn bowling tournament and more. Here is a calendar of events in Lovran for 2018The Liburnia Film Festival, which is held at the end of August in nearby Icici and focuses on Croatian documentaries. In addition to the screenings, an array of concerts and musical events make it a festive week. Liburnia Film Festival 20th – 24th August 2018
There are so many amazing places to visit in Croatia that we sometimes hire a car.
Hotel Excelsior has a seafront location with beach access and spacious, clean, comfortable rooms perfect for a family holiday. The staff are friendly and helpful. The rooms are air-conditioned. The food is excellent. There is an indoor and outdoor swimming pool and sauna. The pool terrace opens to a pleasant park with beautiful scenery, which would make this hotel perfect for a wedding.
Hotel Excelsior is perfectly located on the Lungomare promenade. Bus stop outside to Opatija and Rijeka. Free parking across the street. A big children’s playground is nearby, as well as beautiful beaches.
Local buses connect Lovran to Opatija and Rijeka, and there are frequent intercity buses to Pula, Rovinj and Porec, where there are ferries to Italy.
Rijeka Airport (15.3 miles / 24.7 kilometres)
Pula Airport (32.5 miles / 52.3 kilometres)
Trieste – Friuli Venezia Giulia Airport (53.7 miles / 86.4 kilometres)
Ljubljana Joze Pucnik Airport (65.1 miles / 104.7 kilometres)
GPS: N 45°16’13” E14°15’56”
We stayed at Autocamp Medveja, which is lovely, with a restaurant and shop on site. There is a small beach across the road from the campsite and a bus stop which will take you to Opatija and beyond.