Situated below the Ucka Mountain in the Gulf of Kvarner, the delightful coastal town of Opatija enjoys a wonderful location on the Istrian peninsula. The name 'Opatija' comes from the Croatian word for 'abbey', and much of the town's early history is closely associated with the Benedictine Abbey of St James. The first hamlet developed around the abbey in the Middle Ages, and the town continued to grow as a fishing community.
A new chapter in the town's history began in 1844, when Iginio Scarpa, a rich merchant from Rijeka, founded Villa Angiolina. The Austrian emperor Franz Joseph I then began to spend several months here during the winter. It soon became a fashionable destination for the Austrian Imperial Family, along with other prominent members of the Austrian nobility, and a number of luxury hotels and villas were built.
Opatija passed from Austria-Hungary to Italy after the First World War, before becoming a part of Yugoslavia in 1947. In 1991, the town joined the new Republic of Croatia. Today the town's beautiful setting, seaside promenade, attractive beaches and beautiful 19th century villas continue to attract tourists from all over the world.