On the last Sunday before Shrove Tuesday, Rijeka plays host to the biggest carnival celebrations in Croatia, culminating in a spectacular parade. Much of the parade centres on carnival floats and fancy-dress costumes, although there is one authentic older element in the shape of the zvončari, young men clad in animal skins who ring enormous cow bells to drive away evil spirits. Many of the villages in the hills north of Rijeka have their own groups of zvončari, a tradition which has survived since pre-Christian times. The Rijeka parade, which normally culminates with a large party of zvončari strutting their stuff, usually kicks off at around 1pm and takes around five hours to complete. Afterwards, participants and spectators alike troop off to the Riva, where there’s an enormous marquee, in which drinking and dancing continue into the early hours.

Travel offers; book through Rough Guides

Croatia features

The latest articles, galleries, quizzes and videos.

10 great winter destinations in Eastern Europe

10 great winter destinations in Eastern Europe

Forget the plummeting temperatures and long dark nights, winter is a hugely rewarding season in which to visit Eastern Europe. Frozen rivers, frosty branches an…

28 Nov 2016 • Jonathan Bousfield insert_drive_file Article
Sailing in Croatia: a first-timer’s guide

Sailing in Croatia: a first-timer’s guide

Coastlines don’t come much more idyllic than Croatia’s 2000km of ruggedly beautiful Adriatic shore. Along this magnificent stretch are ancient Roman remains…

09 Nov 2016 • Eleanor Aldridge insert_drive_file Article
Croatia’s 5 best honeymoon destinations

Croatia’s 5 best honeymoon destinations

With its breathtaking beaches, dramatic sunsets and palm-fringed ports, Croatia has never been short on romance. Transforming these raw materials into the holid…

14 Jul 2016 • Rough Guides Editors insert_drive_file Article
View more featureschevron_right

Join over 60,000 subscribers and get travel tips, competitions and more every month

Join over 60,000 subscribers and get travel tips, competitions and more every month