Rijeka was only briefly mentioned in our Croatia guidebook.
And since we didn’t have detailed Rick Steves commentary to guide us through the city, we relied on the next best thing: Pokémon GO.
(No, this is not a joke.)
Because the game is based on real world surroundings, you have to physically walk around in order to locate, capture, train, and battle Pokémon.
So that’s exactly what we did. We walked around, and whenever Michael’s phone would vibrate (to alert us that a PokéThing was near), we stopped to check it out.
We saw a WWII statue (and collected 3 pokéballs).
We checked out the Zajc Croatian National Theatre (and caught a Zubat).
And we found this cool park. (Plus, 2 pokeballs and a revive.)
Keep in mind that this was July 2016, so Pokemon GO had just come out.
We didn’t see many other tourists (because we were in Rijeka, a place nobody has heard of) – but plenty of the locals were playing too.
Can you tell that Kazališni Park is a PokéStop? There was a statue, a view of Modello Palace (the fancy yellow building), and yes – lots of people catching Pokémon.
I’ll admit that, at first, I was a little skeptical. But we actually got a lot of pretty views exploring Rijeka like this! And we stopped at statues, parks, and public art that we might have otherwise missed.
For example, at one point, Pokémon GO told us that we should wander down (what appeared to be) a completely deserted, dead-end alley. Ummmm kay.
It turned out to be a street completely filled with art!
And cute art, at that.
(As an added bonus, Michael got experience points, gained a level, and caught some Pokés.)
We also meandered along the Korzo pedestrian promenade.
And saw the Mrtvi Kanal.
Our Pokéventures even led us up 571 steps(!) to Trsat Castle.
At the top, there were amazing aerial views of the city.
(And also a PokéGym.)
Was this a silly way to see the Rijeka? Absolutely. (Come on. We’re silly people. This shouldn’t be surprising.)
But it’s also proof that there’s no “one right way” to travel! If you’re off the beaten path and need a good way to explore, Pokémon GO is an incredibly cheap, moderately knowledgeable, and super entertaining tour guide. (I was giggling the whole time.)
And this works all over the world, y’all. So get nerdy!