It is some 19 km distant from Croatia’s major port, Rijeka, 14 km from Matulji railway station, and 80 km from Pula Airport. It is ringed by high mountains to the north and west (Učka 1396 m, Snježnik 1605 m, Risnjak 1528 m), and to the south by the islands of Krk and Cres. Its position gives it exceptional protection from the winds. In the winter the most common wind is the bora, which blows from the north east, bringing clear, cold weather. The south wind, the sirocco, brings rain and humidity, while in summer the maestral from off the water brings a freshness that mitigates the humidity and heat.
The climate is classified as Mediterranean, with continental elements. The mean winter air temperature is 7°C, and the summer 22°C. The annual mean is 13.3°C. Sea temperatures range from a low of 9°C in the winter to a high of 26°C in August. Lovran has 2,230 hours of sun a year, and the average precipitation is 1,500 litres per square metre.
These particular microclimatic conditions have provided the conditions for Mediterranean vegetation and plants to flourish. Thus by the very shore there is an abundance of laurels, palms, magnolias, various kinds of evergreen shrubs, pubescent oak, pines and cypresses. Above Lovran, in the terraced gardens, cherries, grape vines and olives are very successful. In the deep, leached and acidic soils, forests of sweet chestnuts grow marvellously, producing the marrons Lovran is famed for. At heights above 800 metres grow beech, pine and holm oak forests. This abundance of vegetation and the high concentration of salt in the air (37.8 ‰) have resulted in the presence of a rich plant and marine aerosol in the air.
All these things make the climate of Lovran highly invigorating, and very favourable for health.
Getting to know Lovran
Lovran is a town with a long and diverse past, with a hundred-year-long tradition of tourism. It took its name from laurel, laurus nobilis, which grows abundantly in the evergreen groves in the town and environs.
Of all the places that have developed on the steep eastern slopes of Učka, Lovran is the oldest, coming into being directly on the coast of Liburnia. Lovran has preserved its historical core and medieval city plan. The old city was girt with defensive walls and bastions, on the foundations and walls of which, during time, houses have been built.The courtyards of the Old Town are a particular charm of Mediterranean cityscapes. Behind the stone portals the façades of the neighbouring houses can be seen, decorated with their steps, porches and vaults. In the centre of the courtyard is the wellhead.
A good climate, luxuriant Mediterranean vegetation and a favorable geographic location contributed to the rapid development of tourism during the late 19th and early 20th centuries. Since that time, Lovran, together with Opatija, has been the most important locality on the famed Riviera. Several villas designed by the celebrated Viennese architect Carl Seidel dating from that period are part of the world architectural heritage.
On the threshold of the 21st century, Lovran can draw on a rich historical heritage, a hundred-year-old tradition of tourism, a well-preserved nature, a developed infrastructure and everything else that permits a new take-off in the tourist industry combined with sustainable development and respect for all ecological standards.
Of all the places that have developed on the steep eastern slopes of Učka, Lovran is the oldest, coming into being directly on the coast of Liburnia. Lovran has preserved its historical core and medieval city plan. The old city was girt with defensive walls and bastions, on the foundations and walls of which, during time, houses have been built.
The development of tourism in the second half of the 19th century changed not only the appearance of the city but also the social and economic relations of the population. By the beginning of the 20th century, all the tourist industry infrastructure was in place. In 1873, the first resort building on the Liburnia Riviera was built: the Villa Fernandea, Belvedere Annexe. New styles of architecture had their effect on the appearance of the buildings. Viennese Secession and revivalist styles prevailed in the design of the most important hotels and villas. At the same time the most important feature for the whole of the tourist industry was built: the coastal promenade called either the Strandweg or the Lungomare. Eight kilometres long, this spanned the distance between Lovran and Volosko and completely opened up the shoreline, thus enhancing the value of the natural and panoramic beauties of the coast.
The Parish Church is dedicated to St George (Sv. Juraj), patron saint of Lovran. It was built in the 12th century in Romanesque, and rebuilt in the 15th century, when the chancel was embellished with valuable Gothic frescoes by local painters. The bell tower, initially detached, was linked with the church in the 17th century, when the latter was extended by two Baroque side chapels being built on. The interior of the church is enhanced by carved altars and a font. It also has a valuable treasury of ecclesiastical vessels.
In the 14th century, the Fraternity of St John the Baptist built the little Romanesque church that bears his name in the old town. Frescoes with scenes from the life of the saint have been discovered in it. Underneath the layers of the floor, the foundations of an earlier little church from the 12th century have been found.
Above the little harbour lies the small Church of the Holy Trinity, the only preserved one of three churches that once surrounded the medieval graveyard of the town. It is of simple external appearance, the Gothic details of the door and windows being significant. The interior houses a 1595 tombstone of the parish priest, Gašpar Bekarić, with a carved Glagolitic inscription.
On the approach to St George’s Square rises the imposing and solid City Tower, the remains of the old system of fortifications of the medieval Lovran. It has a square ground plan, and has been preserved in its original form up to a certain height, with its regularly carved stone blocks. The upper part of the tower was hastily built in brick after the destruction in the wars of the 17th century. After recent reconstruction work, the interior of the tower was converted for use for painting and exhibitions.
The medieval walls still have the eastern City gate called Stubica. It leads towards the port of Lovran known as Mandrać.
The courtyards of the Old Town are a particular charm of Mediterranean cityscapes. Behind the stone portals the façades of the neighbouring houses can be seen, decorated with their steps, porches and vaults. In the centre of the courtyard is the wellhead.
Opposite the Church of St George, on the square of the same name, rises the building of the medieval city council chamber. The lunette of the stone portal is ringed by a wooden relief of St George thrusting his sword into the dragon. This is the work of local artists, and was done at the beginning of the 19th century. Heraldic coats of arms of distinguished Lovran families can be seen on the building’s façade.
The lunette on the portal of the building on St George’s Square is surrounded by a wooden relief showing a bearded and moustached figure of terrifying appearance: Mustaćon. He protected the building from all imaginable enemies and troubles.
On the way in to Trg slobode (Freedom Square) there are two stone slabs that commemorate, in Latin and Italian, the visit of the King of Saxony to Lovran, on June 11 1845. The king was an impassioned botanist, and chose Učka for his investigations.
Along the coastal promenade between Lovran and Ika there are the most attractive and best preserved of the Lovran villas. They were built at the turn of the century as residential villas and as summer residences. They are graced by a fine eclecticism of styles. The Villa Astra and the Villa Deneš demonstrated attractive decorative elements of Venetian Gothic. All the villas were surrounded with luxuriant gardens and exotic plants.
We pick out three villas for their particular grandeur, the work of a creative genius, the famed Viennese architect Carl Seidl. The Villa Santa Maria is graced by mosaics and luxuriant gardens. The Villa Frappart is particularly renowned for the harmonious eclecticism of its design and decoration. The Villa San Niccolo, now Villa Magnolia, is known for its luxurious decorations that are combined with the rustic elements of an earlier building.
The rural architecture of the Lovran area shows the typical features of the Istrian littoral style. The stone buildings are solid two storey constructions with cellars, small windows and an entry stairway. A common feature is the semicircular projection around the fireplace.
Lovran District Tourist Office