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Discover the diverse island of Cres – from unique lake to endemic bird species

Discover the diverse island of Cres – from unique lake to endemic bird species

Kvarner islands: part 1

In the last article about the Kvarner Islands, we tried to bring you some highlights of the island of Krk. Taking a short ferry ride from Krk, or a longer one from the port of Rijeka, or the place Brestova in Istria, you will arrive on the magical island of Cres.
The island is 66 km long and only about 12 km wide at the widest spot. Its narrowness enables sometimes to see both sides of the coast while driving along the local roads. Cres is one of those still not completely touristically explored areas. That´s why it is the right place to be if you are searching for an authentic experience of a Mediterranean island that is lost in time. Beautiful nature, crystal clear sea and tasty local food - this is the shortest way to describe Cres.

Cres is known as the home of an endemic bird species, the Eurasian Griffon, that you will possibly see flying far above you while exploring this area. Mentioning the griffons, we can´t forget to mention the village Beli on the north of Cres - a lovely acropolis type of village, with beautiful surrounding beaches, walking trails and the “Eko center”, that is in charge of protection of these endangered griffons.
The “capital” of the island, which carries the same name as the island, is the town of Cres. Although it is the center of the island, it is a small town with less than 3000 inhabitants. Its old center is full of narrow streets, where you can see several churches and towers in baroque, gothic and romanic style, take a walk along the sea promenade and enjoy a coffee on a terrace of one of the bars along the promenade. There are beaches just a short walk away from the old center. The rural surrounding of the city is full of olive groves. High-quality olive oil, as well as the lamb from Cres, are definitely the highlights of local cuisine that you have to try while you are here. A bit southern from the town of Cres, you will find the small fisher village Valun, famous for one of the oldest Croatian glagolithic inscriptions and nested between two beautiful pebble beaches.


In the middle of the island, there is a freshwater lake called Vransko jezero or Vrana Lake. It supplies the whole island with water. Its ground is set below the sea level, which makes it a specific geographical phenomenon. Many legends and myths are connected to this lake, and according to one of them, it is believed that there is a castle at the bottom of the lake.

Lubenice is a place that you must visit on Cres. It is a small town with just about 40 buildings and a 4000 year old history, situated on the top of a cliff, that you can reach only by a very narrow winding street. During summer, a music festival is held on this idyllic location. If you have an adventurous spirit and want to visit one of the most beautiful beaches of the island, you can do it either by hiking down a quite demanding, approximately 50-minutes-long trail from Lubenice, or by a small boat. It takes much more time to hike up, but the view during this trail, especially in sunset hours, is more than worth it.


Heading further from Lubenice to the south, a small fisher place called Martinscica is nested. Immersed in a Mediterranean natural setting, this place is also well known for beautiful beaches. For the ones who are ready for action, we can recommend to visit the Blue Cave set between Martinscica and Lubenice.

The two neighbouring islands, Cres and Losinj, used to be the same island in the past, but they were divided already in the Roman time by creating a canal to make the transports of goods easier. Today, a small bridge connects the little place Osor with the island of Losinj. Osor is now a small village, but was a historical place in the far past, and archaeological research and conservation works are still being carried out in this area. There is also a beautiful cathedral from the 15th century where you can attend a festival of classical music every summer.

What to do on Cres: walking trails and Eco-Centre in Beli, great variety of boat excursions, Blue Cave visit, hiking, scuba diving, birdwatching, olive oil tasting, quad driving
Stay in one of our villas in Kvarner area and explore Krk, Cres, Losinj, Rab and other small islands of the Kvarner archipelago.

Mateja Barisic

+385 1 222 70 50