Experiencing the all the diverse charms of the Kvarner Gulf region requires a strategically orchestrated campaign. Some visitors to Opatija ensconce themselves in 19th-century villas, emerging to luxuriate in the sun and surf by day and then to promenade in their best resort wear or to dine and dance by moonlight. Others hop-scotch among Kvarner's many islands, where yachts from all over Europe dock in marinas that lie in the shadow of ancient buildings and reminders of Croatia's multicultural roots. Ecologically savvy tourists can explore Mount Ucka, which looms over the Opatija Riviera and offers hikers the opportunity to wander among its wonders for hours. Others prefer the rocky hills of Cres Island, where rugged paths dotted with grazing sheep run a dizzying course to deserted azure coves.
It's fairly simple to visit all the major mainland towns that dot the Kvarner coast by driving the coastal highway from Opatija to Senj, but it's much trickier to coordinate ferry connections to, from, and between the islands. Indeed, except for the facilities along the Opatija Riviera, the region's tourism infrastructure is uneven at best though tourism services on the offshore islands are improving. Visitors to the mainland can expect a huge range of accommodations and services, while visitors to the islands will find large package-hotel complexes, a respectable variety of campgrounds (including many naturist colonies) and modest-size, family-run hotels, usually within old homes or simple villas.