Mid January - February
Rijeka has landed itself of the world map with its carnival festivities that can be traced back to the Middle Ages. The International Carnival of Rijeka blends Venetian and Austrian carnival traditions with influences from Slavic folktales making it one of the biggest and most well-known carnivals in Europe.
Festivities begin mid-January when the Carnival Flag is raised and the Mayor of Rijeka turns over the city keys to the Carnival Master of Ceremonies. The town is then in the hands of the “masks” that, according to legend, will ward off evil forces and summon the new life of spring with their carnival spirit and merriment.
Carnival events include the Zvoncari, men dancing around and ringing bells dressed as wild animals, and a Children’s Carnival Parade featuring thousands of children dancing through the streets of Rijeka. Throughout the season, visitors and locals alike also enjoy carnival parties in the restaurants and pubs around Rijeka. However, festivities culminate for the International Carnival Parade comprised of over 8,000 revelers in traditional masks and costumes, dozens of floats portraying world events, and over 100,000 onlookers observing the spectacle.
The carnival winds down with a symbolic trial and public burning of the Pust – a representation of everything negative from the last year. Finally, the city keys of Rijeka are returned to the mayor and the Carnival Flag is lowered, thus putting an end to the festivities of the International Carnival of Rijeka.
2 – join in the carnival energy with the throngs of 100,000 spectators for parades, pageants, and parties.
Bring your carnival spirit and make reservations early - you will be enjoying the season with 100,000 new friends.
For a dose of Croatian nature, head just outside of the city to Sjverni Velebit National Park to the Premuzic Trail for excellent hiking trails and spectacular views of the Adriatic Sea.
More Info: Rijeka Carnival website