Welcome to my world

11th May 2007 at 01:00
Marija Spicijaric specialises in English and Italian at the Secondary School of Tourism and Hospitality in Opatija, on the Istrian peninsula

Favourite place when you have time off?

I like to walk along the Lugomare sea promenade, which stretches about 12km from Volosko to Lovran. Volosko is a picturesque fishing village with several excellent restaurants. Lovran is a small town with many villas. The stroll along the rocky shore includes many beaches - mainly pebbles.

Opatija has a 150-year tourist tradition, with old villas and period houses hidden in the park. I come from the island of Krk and I go there in the summer holidays and for weekends from Easter.

When's a good time to come?

Carnival time in Opatija and Rijeka, a nearby big town with a port, is in February. It always ends on a Sunday with a big parade and everyone wearing masks. Groups create floats and they parade from 8am until late in the evening. The weather this February was extremely warm, although it can be chilly.

Don't miss

The nature around Mount Ucka. It's about half-an-hour's drive by car. From the mountain, you can get a beautiful view of the whole bay of Kvarner, the islands, the port of Rijeka and the faraway mountains.

Lunchtime treats?

I like to go to pastry shops, usually in hotels, in the centre of Opatija.

I'd recommend the one in the five-star Millennium or the Imperial, a very old hotel. All the cakes are magnificent.

Evening delights?

In the centre of Opatija there are so many restaurants. I always choose fish. At Zelen Gaj (it means Green Grove) the fried squid is simple and good. On summer evenings, there are classical and pop concerts at Opatija's open-air theatre. In Rijeka, which is about 20 minutes drive away, there are free open-air concerts in the summer. It's inexpensive to go by taxi.

Remember to buy

Medica, the local honey brandy Marija Spicijaric was talking to Renata Rubnikowicz

Find out more

Croatian National Tourist Office (020 8563 7979, www.croatia.hr) www.kvarner.hr, www.opatija.net

Croatia by Piers Letcher (pound;12.95, www.bradtguides.com) How to get there

Hidden Croatia (0871 208 0075, 0207 594 0600, www.hiddencroatia.com), offers seven nights from May 29 at four-star Hotel Astoria Design Hotel in Opatija for pound;349 per person, based on two sharing; or try www.adriatica.net (0207 183 0437) for accommodation.

Price to the planet

Offset the climate cost of a return flight from Luton to Rijeka Airport (www.easyjet.com) for pound;5 per adult (www.climatecare.org).

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