Opatija is situated in the Gulf of Kvarner in a sheltered position at the foot of Učka mountain, with Vojak peak at 1401 m. Opatija is located 90 km from Trieste by rail and 82 km from Pula by road. The city is geographically on the Istrian peninsula, though it is not in Istria county, but Primorje-Gorski Kotar county.
It is a popular summer and winter resort, with average temperatures of 10 °C in winter, and 25 °C in summer. Opatija is surrounded by beautiful woods of bay laurel. The whole sea-coast to the north and south of Opatija is rocky and picturesque, and contains several smaller winter resorts.
The old 14th-century Benedictine abbey, Opatija Sv. Jakova ("Abbey of Saint James"), from which the town derives its name (opatija means "abbey" in Croatian) is located in Park Svetog Jakova or Saint James's Park. Saint James's church, built in 1506 and enlarged in 1937, now stands on the same spot. The neo-Romanesque Church of the Annunciation with its pronounced green cupola, was designed in 1906 by architect Karl Seidl.
Another sight is the Villa Angiolina, built in 1844 by Iginio Scarpa. This villa, transformed into a museum. Since 1844. Villa Angiolina had many prominent guests
Opatija is known for the Maiden with the seagull, a statue by Zvonko Car (1956), which is positioned on a promontory by the Juraj Šporer art pavilion. It has turned into one of symbols of Opatija. A gilded variant of the statue Madonna, that once stood here but was demolished by communists after the end of World War II, now stands in front of Saint James's Church.
The town park Angiolina contains many species of plants from all over the world. It has been protected since 1968. Close-by, vis-a-vis Hotel Imperial, stands the statue The Fountain - Helios and Selena, a work of the Austrian sculptor Hans Rathautsky from 1889. There is a 12 km-long promenade along the entire riviera, the Lungomare from Volosko, via Opatija, to Lovran.