Top ten in Rijeka

We came to Rijeka because of its proximity to Italy, a mere 2 hour bus journey if the bus is on time - which it won't be. That's beside the point. Apart from currently being outside of the Schengen area, and therefore offering Australian tourists a 90 day visa, it's a great place to visit.

1. Get all sandyand soak up the sun Feeling the best and fancy a dip? Take bus 1 from the centre to Pecine Plumbum for some beach time. Hilarious name but this rock beach comes complete with a giving beach bar and crystal clear water. And when I say crystal clear I mean ridiculously Adriatic sea clear.

2. Have coffee in a castle It is impossible to visit Rijeka without seeing the fortress, it's imposing position high on top of the mountain makes sure of that. It's now a shell with some awesome gargoyles decorating it but there is a lovely little town and a cafe with a laidback atmosphere within the grounds (coffee 11,000 kuna).

To reach it you could walk the 500 steps or so to the top or you could take the number 2 bus directly. Buses are 10,000 kuna each way. The view from the top are the best in town.

3. Explore the street art While wandering the streets of the city you will see, if you're looking, you will discover the town has some strong street artists. There is also a lot of graffiti but some of it is really good.

4. Do a spot of shopping Domestic tourists flock to Rijeka to shop, you'll see them wandering around laden with shopping bags everywhere. There are a plethora of clothing, shoes and lingerie shops lining the high street as well as some great alfresco dining options. Even if you're not into shopping it's a great place for people watching.

5. Visit the Northern Adriatic Islands Whilst they may not be as famous as their southern counterparts, the northern islands have a lot to offer with a lot less tourists as well.

A great option is a day trip to Krk, easy to reach from Rijeka with multiple return trips with Autotrans at 50,000-70,000 Luna each way. The island offers a beautiful old town, a castle with amazing views over the Adriatic and beaches complete with bar and restaurants.

It is also possible to visit Pag and Cres, however because the return journey is immediately after your arrival you should plan to stay over night. 6. Walk in the footsteps of Gladiators in Pula Home to one of the world's largest and most complete colosseums, complete with underground tunnels, Pula is perfect for a day trip. Everything is within walking distance of the bus station and there is plenty to see.

The colosseum is impressive even the underground structures that once housed waiting gladiators is in tact. Entry is a little steep at 50,000 kunasa pop but there are many more free structures in town it's worth the splurge.

Free around the town is a forum, temple and multiple arch ways and ruins scattered around the previous Roman town.

Autotrans has multiple daily return and the journey takes 2.5 hours each way. You should plan on spending 4-5 hours there.

So whether you are starting your journey through Croatia or needing to avoid the Schengen area for a while, Rijeka is a good place to base yourself for some northern exploration.