This City and Museum are Croatia’s hidden gems.

For the first time since I started blogging, I decided to write a post about my hometown. Not being one of the most well-known or “must-visit” cities in the country, Rijeka can be well considered a hidden gem.

To be more precise, I will now write about one particular museum to visit in that city. Many travelers pass by Rijeka when traveling around Croatia by bus, but only a few of them will visit the city, get to know it, understand its history. But heritage and culture travelers will usually find it as a perfect place to discover and reflect.

The Maritime and History Museum of the Croatian Littoral

This is the Museum’s name. A bit long, but unique. First I will try explaining what is the “Croatian Littoral”. It is one of the Croatia’s regions. This is not to be confused with the term “Croatian Adriatic Coast” or something like that. Croatia has a large portion of the Adriatic Coast. For those who are not so familiar with this part of the world, the Adriatic Sea is a part of the Mediterranean Sea.

Croatian Adriatic Coast is divided into the zones of Istria (close to Italy), Dalmatia (the cities of Zadar, Šibenik, Trogir, Split with the surrounding islands…), the coast of Dubrovnik (usually listed as a separate coastal region), and the – Croatian Littoral, the region where Rijeka belongs.

The historical background of these regions and the name of this particular region is somehow too complex for a travel article, but the most important thing is – this museum tells the story of Rijeka and the surrounding regions through its maritime traditions and fascinating co-living with the Sea.

Rijeka, Croatia
The Museum by night

The Palace of Rijeka

Last spring when I wrote an article about my museum choices in Zagreb, there was one museum I called “the palace”, for being a nice, monumental, late XIX century building. This is a similar kind of building, with one little exception – while the Zagreb’s example was built to be a museum, this building was a residential palace at that time – the Governor’s Palace. It only became a museum some decades ago.

Three different areas of interest can be found in the Museum. Some visitors will love to see the lavish originally decorated rooms, with their pieces of furniture, mirrors, curtains, and artwork. Others will prefer to learn about the history of the region and play fun archaeology games.

Others will prefer to see the collection of historical ships. It includes many fun stories. For instance, this museum contains a rare utility item, one of the only three existing in the world! It’s on the picture below. Even though it looks like something very ordinary, it has an interesting story behind.

Maritime Museum, Rijeka, Croatia
One of the only 3 in the world – of this kind, with this story.

Do you have any idea about the story of this lifejacket? Give your imagination a voice, and write a comment below 🙂

Creative space

These three basic “departments” I mentioned are far from being the only collections or topics this museum has. There is a number of collections, and the museum’s staff usually tries to give them visibility by organizing temporary exhibition projects. Maybe you’ll be lucky and pick an exhibition of your passions and/or interests.

See also: How to pick a lovely temporary exhibition?

I like to see the museum spaces being in use. When children come to a museum with their teachers, the first thing they should do is – not to just walk and observe – but to create! While children are generally dreamers and creatives by default, unlike adults who become indifferent to everything at some point – they should see their work exhibited. As a busy adult (laugh), I almost missed noticing how this table is put, that time I was in the museum. It was temporary, but at any moment there is something, somewhere in the museum.

Rijeka, Croatia. The Governor's Palace
Notice that the table is made for a dinner? 😀

In the deep Seas

The underwater world is always a fascinating thing. There is an interesting museum on a nearby island, a museum with only one item. When a Belgian underwater photographer came to Croatia for summer holidays, he found something “interesting” on the bottom of the sea. It was a Greek Statue. Its destiny was typical at the time – during the storms, people were literally throwing heavy items from the ships to the sea. It was 2000 years ago. It was the Age of the Roman Empire.

Some ships wrecked with a large number of items on them. Amphorae are the most interesting pieces. These huge objects made in clay served mostly to store liquids. This museum has many of them. 😀

I call this place “a funny staircase”. The Museum’s archaeology section has an interactive game. By using a large touch screen, you can act as an archaeologist. You can also compete with a friend in that game.

To finish this article, I will just admit one thing. Photos of the museum are not the best. I took them with my old phone. The outdoors pictures of Rijeka already come from my new phone. I will go back to take better photos. But first, I want you to read the article and tell me what you think.

Rijeka, Croatia


  • Really awesome post! I haven’t been to Rijeka yet and was considering a trip up there when I was living in Zadar for a while, but it never came to fruition. There is so much to see in Croatia!!

  • My parents are visiting next year and they love museums so I will definitely show them this list, I’m sure it will be super useful!

  • Great post! Great to read about some of the history of Croatia – and the museum looks amazing too (I shall have to drop by your home-town when I finally get to visit Croatia 🙂

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