Rijeka, Croatia’s third largest city, is the country’s largest port and the nautical and mercantile gateway to Istria. Dating back to Neolithic times, the city has seen a procession of fabled occupants from Celts, Romans and Ostrogoths, to Byzantines, Hungarians and the Austrian Habsburgs. From 1924 to the end of World War 2, Rijeka was actually part of Italy. Today the city has re-established itself as a cultural and university center. Most tourists head for Rijeka’s Resolution Square, dominated by the Baroque church facade of the 14th C Dominican monastery of St. Jerome. The city’s flagpole, dating from the early 16th century, is also here. It features a relief of St. Vitus, the city’s patron saint. Rijeka’s Old Town includes a Roman Praetorium of the Alpine enclosure, where the troops in charge of the city’s defense encamped. The Rijeka Church of the Assumption and the Leaning Tower, the centre of Sušak, Trsat are among many other highlights. But the big deal here is the Rijeka International Carnival, a month long January bash which attracts more than 100,000 people from all over the world, most of whom wear fabulous masks and parade through the town to scare away evil powers to usher in the Spring. Rijeka has great direct train service to key European cities and Zagreb; an international airport 30km away on the island of Krk, and tons of ferries to take you up and down the coast all the way to Greece!