It may not have the sam­ba-fuelled antics of Rio de Janeiro or the gid­dy opu­lence of Venice, but Rije­ka wins at car­ni­vals when it comes to sheer sta­mi­na: with the Croa­t­ian port town stag­ing an entire month of fes­tiv­i­ties through Feb­ru­ary. A recent revival of a medieval tra­di­tion, the high­light of the car­ni­val is the 10,000-strong parade, with locals march­ing through the town’s grand Hab­s­burg-era avenues, dressed var­i­ous­ly as crabs, bananas, Vikings or sim­ply wear­ing masks – a lega­cy of Venet­ian rule over the city.

Car­ni­val parade


Inter­na­tion­al Car­ni­val Parade is only one of the pro­grams of this impor­tant event which every year brings togeth­er larg­er num­ber of par­tic­i­pants and audi­ences both from Croa­t­ia and from abroad. Rije­ka Car­ni­val is also called „Fifth sea­son“ , as a way of life of inhab­i­tants, and the pro­gram is designed so that any­one can real­ly find some­thing for them­selves in a mul­ti­tude of events.


Meš­tar Toni and the Car­ni­val Queen from the last year

Every year there are numer­ous events pre­ced­ing the car­ni­val itself. First the may­or of Rije­ka gives the sym­bol­ic key of the city to Meš­tar Toni, who is “the mae­stro” of the car­ni­val, and he becomes the may­or of the city dur­ing the car­ni­val. Same day, there is an elec­tion of the car­ni­val queen. She will par­tic­i­pate in all for­mal Rije­ka Car­ni­val pre­sen­ta­tions. With­in the pro­gram, by means of the cer­e­mo­ni­al han­dover of the town keys by the May­or to the hands of the „Car­ni­val May­or“ with an ade­quate enter­tain­ment pro­gram, the Rije­ka Car­ni­val will for­mal­ly be opened. From that moment on, the mask rule and all wor­ries are for­got­ten. The cel­e­bra­tion and the rich cul­tur­al and enter­tain­ment pro­gram begin!

Before the main event there are two oth­er events held — Ral­ly Paris — Bakar, a tra­di­tion­al event orga­nized by the Auto­mo­bile club „Rije­ka“. This ral­ly is a par­o­dy of the world famous ral­ly „Paris – Dakar“ and has been a sup­port­ing sport event of the Rije­ka Car­ni­val since 1990. Masked auto – ral­ly „Pariz – Bakar“ is a unique event of its kind in the world, with motor­ized masks from dif­fer­ent regions, where all par­tic­i­pants – dri­vers, their co — dri­vers  and the judges must be masked, and their masked vehi­cles are amaz­ing.


The oth­er one is The Chil­dren’s car­ni­val parade, a car­ni­val event in which the younger gen­er­a­tion from Croa­t­ia and abroad take part. The chil­dren’s parade takes place before Sun­day’s Inter­na­tion­al Car­ni­val Parade and brings togeth­er numer­ous chil­dren who cheer up the town’s Kor­zo prom­e­nade with their colour­ful masks.

The Grand Finale is where it all hap­pens though; on the final day of the Car­ni­val some 10,000 par­tic­i­pants play music, dance and sing for well over 100,000 spec­ta­tors. Of course the par­ty doesn’t stop once the final float has crossed the parade’s end­point – you’ll find par­ties and after-par­ties in bars and clubs all over the city that will con­tin­ue into the small­est hours.


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