Easter celebrations start early in much of Europe, and many cities across the continent celebrate during the weeks before the beginning of Lent with a final fling before the forty days of fasting and restraint kicks in. For Croatia, this festival is a one-month party in Rijeka, where the feasting and revelry kicks off in mid-January. It’s a great time to be in the country, and with excellent hotels along the coastline, including the beautiful Kempinski Adriatic less than two hours away, you can enjoy the culture and scenery of Croatia in style. Here are some of the top events to look out for:
Rijeka Carnival Queen Pageant
The carnival season starts with a pageant to find the carnival Queen, who will perform in all of the official carnival celebrations. This event also includes the “handing over of the keys”, in which the mayor of the town hands a symbolic set of city keys over to the “Carnival Mayor”.
Paris-Bakar auto rally
The Paris-Bakar rally is a light-hearted take on the famous Dakar rally, which usually takes place a few days before. It’s an important event for the parade, and one you definitely can’t miss if you’re in the area. Expect to see impressive costumes and even more impressive old automobiles, all decorated for the occasion!
Carnival Snowboard Sessions
This international snowboarding competition is ideal for sports lovers, but will leave anybody breathless after seeing the twists and turns taken by these pro snowboarders. Located alongside the seafront, the snow ramp offers entertainment and winter fun in the day, as well as concerts and an after party once the awards ceremony has finished in the evening.
The Children’s Parade
This parade is for the younger generations of Croatia – and its neighbours – with colourful masks and numerous fairytale characters sweeping through the streets throughout the day. The parade represents a guarantee from the children that the traditions of the carnival will not be forgotten, and it’s the ideal day out if you’re visiting with children of your own.
The International Parade
The biggest event of the carnival, the International Parade takes place on the final night of the celebrations, with hundreds of people joining the parades to create a river of colour and song making its way across the city. Fireworks and street parties in the evening make for the perfect end to the festivities.