Squeezed between the Istrian Peninsula to the west and Dalmatia to the southeast, the Kvarner Gulf offers many of the Croatian coast`s highlights: grayish coastal hills and mountains, an archipelago of ochre-grey islands and fishing villages with narrow alleys and gardens groaning under the weight of subtropical plants. In the days of the Austro-Hungarian Empire, the wealthy built holiday homes here, bestowing places like Rijeka and Opatija with a rich legacy of stately Habsburg-era architecture. From both of these cities you can easily connect to hiking trails inside Ucka Nature Park and Risnjak National Park. The islands of Krk, Cres, and Pag are just a short car or ferry ride away; their landscapes are beautiful and their towns and villages are worthy of in-depth exploration.
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