The city of Rijeka is the biggest Croatian port and the third largest Croatian city. Early inhabitants recognized the ideal geographic position of the Rijeka bay and used it to establish one of the main European seaports. Today, Rijeka is an interesting city with diverse offers suitable for everyone.
By Martina Đođo/AiC
Once a country on its own (from 1920 to 1924), ►Rijeka it is now a student and tourist city so all the year round you can see the real diversity of people and cultures. People are very warm and open, which is why Rijeka is on the verge of being one of the most liberal cities in Croatia.
Rijeka has always been a sports city, which has been confirmed by numerous athletes and sports clubs. The famous Croatian runner Luciano Sušanj, the three-time European champion, comes from Rijeka. When you go for a run in Rijeka, maybe you’ll meet someone who will be the next champion!
Where to run
Streets of downtown Rijeka are filled with monuments and architectural sights while the northern part of the city has big, nice streets decorated with long lines of trees along the road and walkway. You can meet runners in various places in the city.
A lot of runners have their own routes through the city, but probably the most popular is the walking trail by the sea from Kantrida to Preluk. The beginning of the trail is near the last station of bus line number 1 Bivio from the city center. Kantrida is a neighborhood in Rijeka, but also a name of the scenic football stadium with the athletic track. If you’re lucky, you can catch a workout with the athletic club Kvarner there. Coming there is also possible with bus line number 1, just get down on the station named Kantrida.
Another athletic track is at the northern part of the city. It’s called Kampus, it is new, open for everyone and a bit shorter (a lap is approximately 300 m long). Coming there is possible with bus lines 8, 8A and 1B – exit at the station Slavka Krautzeka.
A special feeling is to run on the long pier at the harbor in the city center – ►Molo Longo. The pier is 1.7 K long and surrounded by the sea. You can see the whole city from there, and it is the most beautiful early in the morning when fishermen come with their little boats to catch a lunch.
If you’re into stair-running, ►Trsat Staircase will be a treat for you. That 561 stairs long path connects the core of Rijeka with the church of Our Lady of Trsat. The staircase begins on the banks of the river ►Rječina, besides a bank building, and leads up to the plateau at 138 m above the sea level.
The south of Rijeka is bounded by the sea, and the rest by the mountains – ►Učka, ►Platak, Grobnik Alps and ►Risnjak. That gives you plenty of choices for your trail route.
Grobnik Alps is a popular name for the mountain massif in the hinterland of Rijeka. With its 16 tops, from 1097 to 1377 m in height, this is a special mountain destination in Croatia, providing an alpine impression in combination with the karst. The trails are well marked and here is gpx track for one trail that connects Grobnik Alps with Platak, popular mountain excursion place. The village at the end of that gpx track, ►Podkilavac, is the starting point of many marked trails.
The mountain and nature park west of Rijeka is Učka. The highest peak of Učka is ►Vojak (1401 m), which houses a tower in the function of a gazebo and a souvenir shop. The magnificent view of Istria, ►Kvarner bay, the islands, ►Velebit mountain, and the Alps makes it one of the most beautiful vistas in Croatia. Here you can find info about trails (which are excellent for running!) and attractions, and here details about how to reach the park.
North-east of Rijeka is Risnjak National Park. Risnjak is a forest kingdom, and its dense forest communities have provided a “ticket” for joining the Croatian national parks list. The entire area of the Park is a renowned habitat of three large European predators: wolf, bear, and lynx (Croatian: ris), the latter of which gave the Park its name. Clean and well-marked forest paths make it easy to run there.
You can buy maps and guidebooks for all of the above-listed mountains at the specialized store in Rijeka. Here is the location of the store. Also, here is a very useful web page with gpx tracks and more info about many trails in Rijeka and surrounding places.
If you’re not into that steep mountain trails but more about city trails, you can run on a marked path in Rječina canyon. To get there, take buses number 4 and then 4A to the last station named Sv. Katarina and then follow the signs.
Who to run with
We know that some runs are better with the company. There are few running clubs in Rijeka, and we are sure that they will accept you warmly: athletic clubs Kvarner and Liburnija, running school Trčaona and group of amateur runners called Torpedo Runners (fun fact: torpedo was invented in Rijeka!).
From road to trail – there are different races in Rijeka. There is running festival with marathon and half marathon in April with the marathon, half marathon, 10 K race, and other shorter races; academic cross-country race in May; trail races in May, June, July and September; Christmas race in December…
Rijeka is a coastal city which means a lot of sun and high temperatures in summer. Also, that means bura in winter – bura is a very strong northern wind that blows in gusts. Bura in Rijeka sometimes gets really uncomfortable, and it is better not to go for a run on days like that.
Safety in Rijeka is at a high level – you can go running anytime and feel pretty safe. Of course, you should follow basic safety tips like locking your car or not taking too much money around, but there is no need to worry.
We understand that running is your biggest love J but don’t just run – there is so much to see and do in Rijeka! Check it out.