Complete Guide to Cres Island, Croatia: Top Beaches & Top Things to Do
If you are coming from Istria peninsula, Cres island should be your next destination visiting Croatian islands. It makes the part of Kvarner Bay region and it’s actually the first island in a row of Croatia’s Adriatic islands.
It’s nested just between Istria Peninsula on the northwest, its big brother the island of Krk in the east and Mali Losinj island in the south connected with a small drawbridge. Cres is after recent measurements, declared, the largest island on the Croatian Adriatic sea.
Cres has two faces, the northern part is rocky and hilly, while the southern, close to island of Losinj (where a small bridge join these islands), the landscape is lower and covered with pine and Mediterranean vegetation. The set of Cres in general has a wild feel.
Getting to Cres island
This island practically can be reached only by sea. There are two car ferry connections running all the year around. Thanks to the fairly good condition of the roads, island is easily accessible by car and two car ferries facilitate motorized tourists.
- If you are heading from Istria peninsula than you will take a car ferry from Brestova (see the map above). This 20 minutes ride on Jadrolinija ferry is the only connection to Porozina (Cres). It’s also one of the most frequent ferries, sailing thirteen times daily in both directions in high season (1st July to 4th September).
- This ferry schedule line N° 334 has very low prices from € 2,5 (children 50 % reduction) one way if you are traveling as a foot passengers, while you’ll pay little more than € 15 for your car ( for length up 5 meters).
- The second car ferry connection Line N° 332 connects island Krk with Cres. This ferry sails from Valbiska (Krk) to Merag (Cres). Time that it takes between two islands is 25 minutes. Prices are identical like for ferry 334.
- New 2018 catamaran (only passengers) line N° 9308 from Rijeka – Cres – Martinscica – Unije – Susak – Ilovik – Mali Losinj is operational including the high season period from 01. June to 30. September 2018.
Cres town is the administrative center of the island as well as the main port. It’s the biggest settlement of the island with about 3000 residents.
The city old part is only a walking area and if you arrive by car you have to park outside the town. There are several old gate entrance to the old town intertwined with narrow streets, filled with stalls in an open-air market.
The most attractive part is the old fishermen port with a row of houses with painted facades and a lot of small fish restaurants. I always like to follow travel blogs where visitors expose their impressions and photos of visited places.
Cres island – Top Sights To Visit
As the most of Croatia islands, this island has some sights that shouldn’t be bypassed. Among this worth seeing places stand out some small villages and secluded beaches hard to reach which deserve every effort to visit them.
Lubenice – place with a feel of mystery and solitude
Lubenice village seated at the top of a steep rock on the western side of Cres, 378 meters above the sea level, is 4000 years old town that according to the census of 2001 has only 25 residents.
The village has the most weird position and it can be reached by a very narrow and winding road ‘a real challenge for drivers’. Where is Lubenice village?
It’s strange name (meaning ‘watermelons’ in Croatian) is probably derived from a Latin word “hibernicius” meaning ‘wintry’, probably due to the wind that seldom stops and where isn’t rare the cold winter with snow.
It’s a fascinating the fact that the village has five churches and chapels, the oldest one dating back to 15th century. It’s almost like having a church of your own.
Down below, at the foot of the old town, a small bay with the most superb beach of St. John (Sv. Ivan) is situated. It takes about 45 minutes to walk down and about one hour to climb back up. The beach is often visited by yachts. It is a virgin beach with clear water and aquatic life of an aquarium.
Cres island – blue cave
Honestly speaking, I thought that only island Vis has the blue cave. Obviously I was wrong because ‘Plave Grote‘ also called the Blue Cavern on the Cres island is a true paradise for all types of holiday-goers.
This cave hasn’t been advertised like, the famous Vis island blue cave, but if happen to be in Cres town, drop by the local tourist office to have more info if they organize a day tour to this blue beauty.
If you are a fan of sailing, the best way is to rent a sailboat to visit the cave.
Cres Island Beaches
As each island in Croatia Adriatic Sea and the island of Cres boasts by numerous beaches, majority pebble ones. Many beaches are hidden and hardly accessible if you don’t have a boat.
Two kilometers from the small town of Osor, near Punta Kriza village, there is a campsite ‘Baldarin’, an oasis of peace and relaxation. It’s also a well-known nudist camp site who have been visited for decades by faithful guests. (Mainly Germans)
It is no secret that the best beaches are hidden ones and hardly reachable. The one is already mentioned, St, John, pebble beach, below the Lubenice village.
With the exception of Cres town own beach, the other are located near remote villages, surrounded by rocks and vegetation, and can be reached walking (usually a good half hour) from the village. If you want to discover them don’t forget your walking shoes.
A beautiful sandy, hidden beach is located in the bay Meli, close to Ustrine village. The beach is sandy, with long shallow water, so it is an ideal place for children.
Keep in mind that the beach is not easily accessible (30 minutes walk) , so it is recommended to get there by boat. Therefore this beach doesn’t have many visitors but also there’s no much vegetation so it’ll be hard to find a shade.