I’ve entered a competition run by the Kvarner Tourism Board to become a social media ambassador for this beautiful region. Keen to get into the industry yourself? This blog is also intended as a guide for you.
Let’s pretend you’ve scored nine days off work, and you’ve got money to spend on an overseas trip. Kvarner looks like a good choice – beaches, food, history, hiking, culture. There are plenty of amazing experiences to share online and to help promote the region. How would you spend your week? Not sure? Here’s how I plan to do it, including how I plan to become a Kvarner travel ambassador.
Visit my Kvarner Region & Resources page for some more background on the region.
Day 1 – Rijeka
Day 2 – Krk and Punat
Day 3 – Cruise from Krk – Rab and islands
Day 4 – Omisalj and Opatija
Day 5 – Gorski Kotar Region – Bear Tour
Day 6 – Risnjek National Park, Delnice
Day 7 – Delnice, Home
There is a lot to see in Kvarner (see map below). I’ll be exploring and showcasing the natural beauty of the region, with a healthy dose of local food and culture. I can’t touch on it all, but this itinerary follows my interests – and besides, who goes to a beautiful region like Kvarner just once?
I’ll probably book for September – school holidays are over and summer crowds are dwindling. September is still warm enough for swimming, and there’s still a chance of seeing bears in the mountains.
Day 1 – Rijeka
- Morning markets
- Trsat Castle
- Walking tour of the city
- Dinner on the waterfront
Rijeka is Croatia’s 3rd biggest city and Kvarner’s major transport hub, so it’s an ideal place to begin my journey. It’s a walk-friendly city; I prefer to walk where possible, because unexpected photography opportunities are easier to catch on foot than on a bus.
My first stop of the day is Rijeka’s colourful markets, where I plan to sample local produce for breakfast, explore the farmer, fish and flea markets, and meet the locals. The markets are partially indoor and outdoor, and located at the waterfront.
Next is Trsat Castle, which is well-preserved and offers good views of Rijeka as well as the Gradina bar for a coffee or a sneaky beer.
For all my bragging about walking everywhere, I’ll catch the local bus to maximise my time, and save the walking for the steps leading to the castle, and the parks in the area.
It’s not just a castle and courtyard; there’s also the Our Lady of Trsat Church and Franciscan Monastery, and a lovely park. The bar serves no food, so I plan to grab some fruit or buns at the market to eat whilst I explore.
I’ll spend the rest of the day walking around the city to find those unexpected photo opportunities, as I love historical architecture. To get more information on the history of the buildings and the city, I’ll investigate hiring an English-speaking guide for the afternoon.
For dinner, I’ll head to the seafood restaurant Molo Longo, ending my Rijeka tour with good food, wine and sunset views.
Day 2 – Krk
- Early bus from Rijeka
- Krk City town and castle
- Afternoon cruise from Punat (Plavnik, Krusija)
- Dinner – Croatian cuisine
Krk is one of the Kvarner region’s two biggest islands, and can be accessed by regular buses from Rijeka. I’ll take an early bus (just 1.5 hours) straight to my hotel in the city of Krk, so I can leave my luggage and explore. This ancient city has some gorgeous medieval architecture, history and beautiful ocean views. Here’s one of the videos that inspired me to visit:
After a walk along the coast and morning tea at a café, I plan to visit the Frankopan Castle for some photography. If you haven’t guessed it already – I love castles. The town is still fortified with ancient walls – I can’t wait to geek out over this.
A visit to Kvarner would not be complete without exploring the sea and islands. A short bus ride will take me to Punat for a 4-5 hour cruise to see the little island of Plavnik, swim in the Krusija cove and hopefully spy a griffon vulture and dolphins.
Before I head back to the hotel, I’ll stop at the Konoba Sidro restaurant in Punat for dinner, to sample authentic Croatian cuisine. Konobas are traditional restaurants offering local cuisine and can be found all over Croatia.
Exhausted just reading this? For people wanting a slower pace (and who can get more time off work) than I’m used to, I’d recommend stretching this over 2 days.
Day 3 – Kvarner’s beaches
I’ve chosen to do an all-day tour from Krk today to explore some of the other islands and to see if Kvarner’s beaches live up to their reputation. The tour includes Golden Beach, Galun (to feed seagulls – something you’d never get away with in Australia), Rab, the cove of Stara Baška and the island of Sv. Grgur – which was once a women’s prison (charming). The fallow deer on the island are also tame enough to eat from your hand.
The 9-hour long tour promises plenty of swimming and costs 250 HRK – around 34 euros (at time of writing). Meals are an extra 50 HRK (7 euros). Compared to some of the countries I’ve visited, this is a bargain for 9 hours’ worth of fun.
Day 4 – Omisalj and Opatija
- Early trip to Omisalj
- Opatija – relax, spas
I don’t have enough time to visit Cres (next time!), so I’ll take the bus back up Krk Island to Omisalj to check out the town. Omisalj has retained its medieval town structure and has a pedestrian-only strip to check out. I’ll have my luggage with me, so I’ll stop here for photos and lunch at Konoba Ulikva (to sample more Croatian delicacies) before taking the bus to Opatija.
I like to travel pretty hard; I’ve got to enjoy a little pampering every now and then, too. One of Kvarner’s trendy tourism offers is health and wellbeing (and wellness has been a ‘thing’ in Opatija since the late 1800s). To experience that, I’ve booked a night at Hotel Ambasador, one of Opatija’s premium spa hotels. It offers massages, spas (including a whirlpool), beach and water-themed treatments.
Before I indulge in this, I’ll check out the town and try to find the maiden with the seagull (statue – pictured above).
Day 5 – Bear watching in Crni Lug
- Bus to Delnice
- Bear watching
The Kvarner region isn’t just beaches – I’m heading to Crni Lug in the Gorski Kotar region to get in touch with nature, and hopefully see bears and even hear a wild wolf howl.
To get to my next accommodation (Pintarska) in Crni Lug, I need to take a bus from Opatija to Delnice. I’ve booked an evening bear-watching tour which is attached to my accommodation, and the tour guides are happy to organise pickup from Delnice to Crni Lug if organised in advance.
The bears are active in the evening, and as it never pays to spook a bear, we’ll be spying on them from a little watchtower. The best part about this 5-hour tour is there is a maximum number of 4 people.
- Check into Delnice hotel
- Explore Delnice
I’ll head to Delnice for my last full day in this beautiful region. Delnice is a small town which sits at the edge of Risnjak National Park.
The park is full of hiking trails, wildlife and mountainous views – and where I come from, there aren’t any mountains. No doubt this is where I will take the most photos (watch out, Instagram, enjoy a thousand photos of mountain peaks).
After a morning hike, I’ll head back to Delnice to explore some of its historical attractions. There’s Castle Zrinskih, which doesn’t look like a castle on the outside, but has an exhibition inside – with some cultural aspects (how people lived). I’ll also check out the 85-year-old Popovic’s Mill to check out how things worked in those days, and House Racki to explore more cultural heritage and see how people lived 200-300 years ago.
- Morning hike and deer feeding
- Bus to Rijeka
On my last day, I’ll check out Japlenski Forest Park and the deer enclosure, where the animals eagerly await a gift of apples and carrots. A good hike always sets me up for long-distance travel, so I’ll spend a few hours in this gorgeous forest taking more photos and absorbing nature.
I’ll head back to Rijeka in the afternoon and spend a leisurely afternoon on the Rijeka ‘TouRist Bus‘ – these types of bus tours are great for interesting commentary about the city, and it will take me to places I’ve probably missed on my first day. They’re also fairly cost effective in most places. Note the bus runs regularly between June 15 and September 15.
A sunset drink at a local waterside bar and an early night will set me up for tomorrow’s flight. Kvarner, 7 days isn’t enough! I’ll be back, rest assured – for the winter snows.
Promoting Kvarner – becoming a social media ambassador
I love promoting places I’ve visited, because I believe in sharing my experiences and encouraging other people to explore the wonders this world has to offer. People seek authentic adventures to escape day-to-day life. Wilderness travel and beautiful places can promote well-being. These are all very marketable aspects of travel, and I will be focusing on these aspects when I visit Kvarner and share my experiences online. When people plan a holiday, they increasingly turn to social media for peer reviews and visual information.
By becoming a tourism ambassador, you can kickstart your own social media career by producing and sharing meaningful content online and building your personal brand. Let’s look at some of the social media platforms people are using to promote tourism – specifically, the ones I plan to use if I win this amazing competition:
Instagram has over 1 billion active users. Personally, Instagram is my favourite, because it is so visual and there is so much travel content. Over 97% of millennials share travel experiences online and the tourism industry has taken advantage of user-generated content – after all, tourists, whether knowingly or not, can promote regions. Instagram posts that do well tend to include landscapes and food – good news for Kvarner, which has plenty to offer – especially those traditional konoba restaurants! Video is also growing in popularity.
My Kvarner travels will be showcased on @beautifulkvarner. I’ve deliberately named it after my blog so it’s easy to find and the content is obvious – Beautiful Kvarner. To build followers and research top hashtags and photo styles, I’m re-posting (#regram) other people’s content until I have my own.
Top Instagram Hashtags (Kvarner, Croatia):
#croatiafulloflife #croatia #kvarner #kvarneronmymind #kroatia #ilovecroatia #croatiancoast #croatiafullofnature #kvarnerbay
Facebook has a staggering 2.23 billion monthly active users. Chasing the Donkey’s Croatia travel Facebook page has nearly 28,000 followers and is used to share blogs and invite conversation. I’ll be sharing my blog amongst my followers privately, but it’s worth starting a related page to share my blog posts and visual content.
People’s short attention spans make image and video more attractive. Like Instagram, Pinterest is built on images; I plan to start a Pinterest board on Kvarner to attract followers early, before I start adding my own content.
This is my favourite review website. According to this Entrepreneur article, last year 89% of millennials surveyed used peer reviews on sites like TripAdvisor to form decisions on travel. Funny, that – my mum lives on TripAdvisor and writes some of the best reviews I’ve seen.
- Rijeka Central Market – TripAdvisor reviews
- Trsat Castle – TripAdvisor reviews
- Rijeka Tourism Board
- Kvarner Guides
- Molo Longo Restaurant
- The Island of Krk Tourist Board
- The Frankopan Castle Krk
- Konoba questions answered
- Plavnik Excursions
- Konoba Sidro Restaurant
- Hidden Krk’s Rab and 4 islands excursion
- Deni Excursions
- The Marina Restaurant Krk
- Aurea – Krk restaurant ideas
- Konoba Ulikva Restaurant
- Remisens Premium Hotel Ambasador
- Gorski Kotar Tourism Board
- Pintarska bear watching and accommodation
- Delnice Tourism website
- Kvarner Tourism website
- Social media and tourism marketing: A match made in digital heaven
- Statista: Number of active Instagram users
- 5 ways social media has transformed tourism marketing
- 10 types of visual content that gets shared like crazy on Instagram
- Statista: Number of active Twitter users
- 5 ways to make your Twitter more visual
- Chasing the Donkey – Twitter
- Chasing the Donkey – Facebook
- Statista: Number of active Facebook users
- TripAdvisor: kallia63
- Instagram: Beautiful Kvarner
Images referenced within captions.