How to get to the bus station in Rijeka
The bus station that is known among the natives as Žabica is in the strict center of Rijeka. All the means of public transportation, such as local buses and taxis, are just a few meters away from Žabica so you won’t have to drag your luggage through the city looking for a way to continue your journey.
The bus station is surrounded with numerous hostels and private accommodation and the best way to reach them is by foot.
If you decide that you need a taxi, you won’t have any problem finding it because they’re everywhere in the city centre.
Just an information, if you want a bargain, dial 1212 for Taxi Cammeo because there’s no Uber in Rijeka just yet.
What can you find in Žabica?
Well, in the curious case of the bus station in Žabica it’s easier to write down what’s missing than what’s there. The facilities at this bus terminal are really poor but it has its unique charm. At least it always seems crowded, given the fact that it has only one sheltered platform. This is especially charming during rainy days in Rijeka (fun fact: Rijeka is sometimes the rainiest city in the world).
Don’t be naive looking for the waiting room, although the legend says there’s a wardrobe somewhere in the bus terminal. Take all your stuff and have a drink in one of the numerous cafes a few meters away. At the bus terminal you’ll find a bakery, a sandwich bar and two newsstands (and don’t be fooled for newsstands - here in Croatia you can buy almost anything at the newsstand). Beware, because you can’t buy a ticket for all bus carriers at the ticket office.
Now that you’ve done all that and you still have few hours to spend, we believe you realized that it’s time to go somewhere else. Again, if you are disoriented, you are lucky to be in Rijeka - the sea port city. If you already saw the sea from Žabica the smartest move is to go left, to the “Riva”, the waterfront of Rijeka.
Unlike your first impression of Rijeka you had at Žabica, this waterfront will take your breath away and change your mind (bear in mind that all you need to do to get from Žabica to the waterfront is cross the street). The first location that will make your eyes sparkle is a restaurant/lounge/cafe called Boonker.
This is a great place for some R&R, accompanied by some good food and a great selection of beverages, overlooking the passenger port and a marina, where a few locals and lots of foreigners bind their boats. If you’re about to catch a ship or maybe a seaplane to the islands, this is the place to be.
ATMs and exchange offices cannot be missed. If it’s not raining, and Rijeka is known as constantly rainy city, you can enjoy open platforms and admire the Austro-Hungarian architecture in adjacent buildings. Although, the current bus station in Rijeka isn’t on an enviable level, it’s fair to mention that the bus will probably be on much higher standards. Namely, it’s because carriers are trying to keep pace with international standards, so buses are equipped with air conditioning, TVs, often WiFi and sometimes even with a toilet.
Experience and professionalism at the disposal of drivers is the cornerstone of your carefree journey. And what is more important than that? The layout, services and facilities at the station - definitely not. A quality bus and a professional driver are the foundation for which there’s no doubt about it.
Walk around Rijeka!
The huge yellow building on the left is a place where you can buy tickets for the ferry or catamaran that will take you to heaven - also known as the islands of Croatia (we’re actually being humble here - see for yourself).
Marina and Nina are well known names in Rijeka - they are the names of ships, anchored(bound) in the middle of the waterfront. They were transformed into bars and restaurants. Marina is also a boatel. On the waterfront’s solid ground, a couple of meters away from Nina and Marina, stands Karolina - a cafe named after Karolina of Rijeka, who used her beauty to save the city from destruction during Napoleon wars. At the end of the waterfront, you’re only one street away from the picturesque Mediterranean market that operates only in the morning, so if you have a chance and you find yourself in Rijeka from 6 A.M. till 12 P.M. don’t miss out on it.
If you’re already here, pay a visit to Plac51 or Kings Caffee, both of which offer a great selection of fresh, delicious local food and wine, as well as tasty crafted beers. If you’re more interested in high culture, don’t forget to visit the national theatre (you can observe it while drinking beer in Kings Caffe that’s in front of it) or Pepe Rosso where our famous actor Rade Šerbedžija sometimes puts on a show.
The long breakwater, known in Rijeka as the “Mololongo”, is the favourite destination for both locals and tourists. It’s 1.5 km long and gives you another perspective of this beautiful town - a full view from the sea.
Having read this far, you should have already picked up on the fact that everything worth seeing is on the left side of (west of) Žabica, and so is the main street - the famous Korzo - the lifeblood of the city. At Korzo, you will find everything you need - cafes with their gorgeous terraces, restaurants, museums, shops. You’ll come across all kinds of people - the locals, tourists, business people, school kids and you’ll feel this multicultural, liberal city for what it is.
If you’re standing in front of Mc’Donalds look up and you’ll see the Grand Hotel Bonavia, and just above Bonavia is the Governor's Palace that is now being used as the Maritime and History museum of the Croatian littoral where, among other showpieces, you can see the original lifejacket from the Titanic.
Governor's Palace has a huge garden that represents a perfect blend of culture and the urban rhythm of the city, so in the summer months it turns into a Beer Garden - a must see and a must be place for all craft beer fans. If it’s not a summer evening, on your way up you’ll come across a specialized beer shop so - no excuses! On the opposite side of the Governor's Palace, you can see a prison that locals dubbed “Via Roma”.
While you’re here you have to go to the old town. That’s pretty easy - find the town clock (you can’t miss it) and come through the vault. There’s a variety of cafes, shops and restaurants waiting for you in the Old town. In case you have a lot of free time, take the number 2 bus and visit the ancient Trsat (it’s a 10 min ride from the city centre). The view from Trsat is really amazing and it would be a shame to miss it.
You've probably heard of the gorgeous Opatija that is 14 km away from Rijeka. The best way to travel to Opatija from Rijeka is by taking the local bus numbered 32. If you’re headed to Opatija - have at least 4 hours of free time so you won’t be in a hurry and if there’s any possible way take more time - you’ll enjoy it.
Vollo idea Don’t stick around the bus terminal because Rijeka has so much more to offer, even in just a few hours, between transfers. Rijeka is also declared as the European Capital of Culture in 2020 so don’t be intimidated by old and rusty bus terminal and have a walk.
If you’re reading this after 2020., you may be at the brand new bus terminal Rijeka that was announced to be built back in the last millennium.
Where to go next?
Zagreb, the capital of Croatia, is one of the most popular destinations in country. If you choose it, there is one thing you can be sure of - Zagreb won’t disappoint you. It is because everyone can find something he or she will love about this city. Fans of history and culture, fans of nature, individuals looking for adrenaline and party leaders - regardless of your preferences, Zagreb offers content according to interests.
Where to start a tour? The central square named Ban Josip Jelacic is your ideal place from where you can find interesting things, absorb the center, the rhythm of life and people. Besides the central square, you can also start your tour on one of these city locations: Kaptol, main Railway Station or Kvatric.
But let’s be realistic. Zagreb doesn’t have it all. Primarily, Zagreb doesn’t have a sea. Therefore, the sea is in these cities: Crikvenica, Dubrovnik, Krk, Novi Vinodolski, Opatija, Pad (Novalja), Pula, Rab, Rovinj, Split, Sibenik, Trogir, Umag, Vodice and Zadar. The bus from Rijeka, or even from Zagreb, arrives quickly and safely at these locations.
Dubrovnik is one of the hottest travel spots in Croatia. Although it has been of the great importance before, it is expected that its significance will surely increased in the future.