The seismic announcement that Galway was to be the European Capital of Culture 2020 on Friday July 15 2016 was greeted with delirium by the county of the Tribes. After failing in 2005 Galway beat off competition from Limerick and the Three Sisters to take its place with Dublin and Cork as Ireland's European Capital of Culture winners.
The benefits of the title and the schemes and projects that will be run throughout the county has been well known to everyone but what we do not know much about is Galway's partner in 2020; Rijeka.
Here at the advertiser.ie we decided to explore the Croatian city and find out a little more about our fellow 2020 winners and what there is to do if you ever have the pleasure of visiting.
1. Experience Rijeka Carnival
Croatia's biggest carnival, Rijeka carnival is held the week before Lent. Established in 1982, the colour and flair of the ceremonies attract up to 100,000 visitors every year. Competitions in creativity and humour, fireworks of colours and shapes result in parades of hundreds of floats and thousands of masks. From Meštar Toni [the maestro] symbolically being presented with the key to the city by the mayor to the election of a carnival queen, the event has a brilliant blend of a European carnival based on cultural customs and elements of folklore and mythology which must experienced and lived.
2. Relax on the beach
If you want to sit and chill out on the beach while working on the tan, then Rijeka is the place for you. Being a port city, Rijeka is right on the water, ergo beaches are most certainly not in short supply. Nestling right on the Mediterranean and Adriatic Sea, the warm weather begins in early spring and lasts until late autumn. The beaches are some of the most splendid in Europe with Ploce and Kostanj holding Blue Flag status. If you are looking for a sun holiday you will not be disappointed by Rijeka.
3. Check out Korzo
Kitted out with cafes, bars, shops, and restaurants Korzo is Rijeka's heartfelt and hub. Its promenade is considered the city's most picturesque street and simply people watching can be fun activity in itself. There is no shortage of souvenir shops in Korzo so travellers can get their hands on little torpedos [Rijeka had the world's first torpedo factory] and other Croatian knick-knacks. The sights and smells are wonderful and with plenty of things to do, there is a certain feeling of youthfulness and fun is this corner of the city.
4. Explore Trsat Castle
Listed by many as the top attraction in Rijeka, Trsat Castle can be seen from any point of the city. Explore the luxurious castle with rose windows and Gothic ornaments on the facade which was built in the 13th century and allows visitors a stunning view of the city and coastline. The castle has wonderful sculptures throughout with the vasilisk — a mythological creature with a cock’s head and a dragon’s body - in the courtyard and St Mark's stone lion at the entrance. Trsat castle is well worth a look.
5. Vist the 'Big Market'
If you love your food then Velika placa [the Big Market] is a must see. Known as the belly of the city, Rijeka's market has wonderful sites, sounds, and smells that food connoisseurs will absolutely adorn but prepare for a bit haggling and banter with the sellers; there are no set prices. The fish market building is an attraction in its own right with fountains inside, tables for selling seafood made of grey Istrian stone, with rich ornaments on the showing off fish, crabs, and molluscs. For those interested in architecture this will definitely perk your interest.
So there you have it, a selection of five things to do in Galway's fellow European City of Culture 2020. And just like Galway, it is well worth a trip.
To book a trip aboard today visit Corrib Travel or call them on 353 (0 )91 564713