Island of Cres

The island of Cres is the gem of the Adriatic sea; still a bit wild, not explored enough, and to a large extent unknown. Apart from the Island of Krk, it is the second biggest island of the Adriatic. Despite being an island, the typical trees of the northern parts are oak, chestnut and cherry. There are many olive groves, sage plants and approximately 1400 other species of plants. The Ecological centre Caput insulae is the shelter for the griffon vultures and it has saved them from extinction. Cres is the nesting place for the golden eagle (Aquila chrysaetos), European honey buzzard (Pernis apivorus) and the nightingale. Here the skies can be filled with the colourful wings of approximately 100 butterfly species. On the island there are approximately 23 types of reptlies (lizards, snakes and tortoises). There are no poisonous ones. Cres offers more than one might expect. It will surprise you with the breathtaking beauty of nature. Cres offers possibilities for new physical, spiritual and cognitive forms of experience and awareness. This is an ideal place for a new dimension of holidays.

Tour suggestion Beli – Tramuntana – Cres – Lubenice – Plava grota – Valun – Vransko jezero – Ustrine

Beli – a small town in the northern part of the island with its authentic Mediterranean feel. It is surrounded by the green spaces and situated on the top of a hill. In the foot of the 130 metre high cliff there is a small harbour and a pebble beach. The town is enshrouded in hundreds of years of history which is told by the walls of its houses and churches. The Croatian name Beli, comes from the time of Bela IV who hid there from the Tartars. There is also the Ecological centre/Sanctuary Caput Insulae that protects the griffon vulture, and there is research of other bird species conducted in the sanctuaries of Kruna and Podokladi. The griffon vulture belongs to one of the four types of vultures that still have their habitat in Europe. In Beli there is also an educational trail Tramuntana.

Activities

trekking

Trekking Medium difficulty level route which goes through Beli, Srednji, Niska, Cave Campari, Beli.

  • Duration: 6 hours
  • Medium difficulty
  • Price per person: KN 60
  • Includes expert guide
  • Minimum number of people: 2

Biking

Biking on the island is a wonderful experience. Every tour brings a combination of demanding training and relaxing pedalling in a Mediterranean surrounding. We recommend the following routes:

Tramuntana Forest: medium difficulty for experienced cyclists. It covers the following stops: Beli-Tramuntana Forest – Beli; 30 km

  • Duration: 6 hours
  • Price per person: KN 120

Tour: The Jewels of the island of Cres:: Demanding route through various villages which tell their own stories about Cres. It covers various points: Beli – town of Cres – Lubenice – Valun – Cres: total 30 km.

  • Duration: 7-8 hours
  • Price per person: KN180

Diving

Open water diver – beginner diving course which, by covering the theoretical and practical instruction, enables the participant for independent diving. At the end of the course the individual receives the internationally recognized bravet i.e. a certificate which proves that the individual is qualified to dive to a depth of up to 18 meters, accompanied by another diver.

  • Duration: 5 days
  • Price per person: €300

animal sanctuaries

Institue Caput Insulae has been taking care of the griffon vulture for a long time, alongside the scientific research of other birds of the whole area in the sanctuaries Kruna and Podokladi. The griffon vulture is one of the four different species of vultures that live in Europe. In 1995 the first educational eco-footpath was opened in order to offer a better understanding of the varied heritage of Tramuntana (the northern part of the Island of Cres). Educational eco-footpath Tramuntana I is 12 km long (3-4 hours of leisurely walk). It has ten main (eco-centre, exhibition, church, Illyrian fort, oak and chestnut woods) and ten intermediate stops which mark the most precious natural, cultural and historical localities which can be encountered along the way.

  • Price of ticket per person: KN 65
  • Duration: 2 hours
  • Minimal number of participants: 6

Cres – The town of Cres has been the centre of the island from ancient times. The lovely town is situated in the bay which is surrounded by cliffs. Throughout the years Cres has been developing and growing through fishing, navigation, trade and shipbuilding. The historical town centre is made of the beautiful traditional stone houses and narrow streets. It is surrounded by the town walls and five very well preserved towers and town gates. The archaeological remains show evidences from the times of the ancient Greece, Rome and the Byzantine Empire.

olives

The presentation of olive oil extraction process and the production of olive oil as well as its tasting in the oil mill in the town of Cres, which has a long history of olive processing. The visit consists of watching a film presentation in which the visitors learn about the tradition of olive oil production on the island, the different varieties and types of olives, ways of planting and harvesting, and the processing methods used in the past and today. After that, the visitors follow the different stages: from the visit to the oil refinery plant, the arrival of olives in the mill, washing and separation process, cold pressing and spinning, to the pouring of oil in tanks where one gets to know the procedure of oil bottling and labelling. This is followed by a presentation on the nutritional values of extra virgin olive oil and its tasting.The price of the ticket includes one glass of the prestigious dry white wine vrbnička žlahtina. The visitors have the opportunity of buying olive oil after the presentation.

  • duration: 50 minutes
  • price: KN 25

Speleology

The turquoise pearls of the Island of Cres – the Blue Cave – Valun –beach Lubenice – An unforgettable all day boat tour includes the visit to the Blue cave where there is a possibility of free-diving. On the way back we stop on the beach of the well known place Lubenice. The beach is ranked 8th of the 50 most beautiful beaches in the world. After swimming and sunbathing in Lubenice, follows the visit to Valun, the typical small fishing village with two beautiful coves. The trip includes lunch on the boat consisting of: fried fish, salad and a drink.

  • Price per person: KN 250
  • It includes the boat trip, free-diving equipment, lunch and a drink.

Adventure to the Blue cave on a pirate ship– Among the natural beauties and wonders of the island of Cres, the blue cave is a unique phenomenon which won’t leave you indifferent. Turquoise light illuminates the big and the small caves when the rays of sun get through the underwater passage which is linked to one of the most beautiful beaches of the island. We go along the shoreline of the island and pass the thousand year old dry wall – gromac, olive groves, spring water oasis, beautiful islet with a light house, and are very often in the company of dolphins. You will have a unique view on the 4000- year-old Lubenice village situated on a cliff top at 383 metres above the sea. The ship sails at 9:30 a.m. from the harbour of the town of Cres and starts with panoramic sightseeing, visit to the beach, fish feeding, and lunch on the ship at 1p.m. Lunch is followed by sunbathing and swimming until 3:30 p.m., when we return. The arrival to the harbour is planned for 5:30 p.m.

  • Price for adults: KN 220 + KN50 additional payment for lunch
  • Price for children from 5 to 10 years of age: KN 95 + KN 50 for lunch (Children up to 5 years of age go free of charge.)
  • Price includes: ship tour, visit to the Blue Cave, welcome drink + beverage (wine, lemonade and water) for the duration of the trip.

Biking

Biking on the island of Cres is a prime experience as every tour brings a combination of demanding training and relaxing pedalling in a Mediterranean surrounding.

We recommend the following route:Cres-Podol-Grmov-Orlec-Cres: 50km

  • Duration: 6 hours
  • Price: KN 120

Sea kayaking

Rowing in the kayak boat is a special experience. It gives us the opportunity to get to know the island from the sea, by visiting the hidden lagoons, caves and beaches and thus getting to know the secrets of this mystical island. We suggest the following exciting tours:

Cres – an easy rowing activity with an expert local guide will lead you to hidden coves of the island of Cres. Then follows the discovery of the turquoise underwater wonders by snorkelling. The look at the underwater world and meeting its small inhabitants is a special experience.

  • Duration: 5 hours
  • Price: KN 220
  • Trip includes: kayak boat, equipment, a waterproof bag for personal belongings, mask and snorkel, professional guide

Cres – Barbarina Draga – Cres– provides yet another exciting route that leads us from the town of Cres to Barbarina Draga where we get to know all the beauties of the seashore. We stop on interesting sites where you can snorkel and get to observe small crabs, shellfish, and fish

  • Duration: 5 hours
  • Price: KN220
  • Includes: kayak boat, equipment, waterproof bag for personal belongings, snorkel and mask, professional guide

Cres – Sv. Blaz – Cres– one hour of easy rowing will get you to one of the most beautiful bays of Cres, Sv. Blaz. We will stop along the way at several smaller, but not less beautiful beaches and take a dive into the underwater world of the island. Required equipment: sunblock, a hat, minimum 1.5 l of water, appropriate footwear.

  • Duration: 9 hours
  • Price: KN 300 (meal included in the price)
  • Price includes: kayak, equipment, waterproof bag for personal belongings, mask and snorkel, professional guide.

Cres – Valun – Cres– an exciting one day trip. Departure from the town of Cres, easy rowing takes you to the turquoise bays and beaches. One stop is in Valun, a village situated in a quiet, deep bay. Fishing nets, angles and old fishermen who fish in the old traditional way form part of this romantic setting. There is lunch in Valun after which follows an easy rowing session back to the town of Cres.

  • Duration: 9 hours
  • Price: KN 300 (lunch included)
  • Price includes: kayak, equipment, waterproof bag for personal belongings, mask and snorkel

The magic of Cres – romantic kayaking at night– Kayaking as the moonlight outlines the ripples on the sea offers an indelible experience. You are going to experience the bay and the town of Cres from a different perspective at night.

  • Time of trip: 8p.m.-10p.m.
  • Price: KN 250
  • Price includes: Kayak, equipment, waterproof bag for personal belongings, professional guide

Tramuntana – forest in the northern part of the island which contributes to the uniqueness of the natural heritage. This part of the Mediterranean and the Adriatic is incomparable in its combination of the Mediterranean and continental plants; tall oaks, hornbeams and chestnuts. The oldest specimen of the Downey Oak, which can be found when entering the village of Sv Petar, was given a protected natural heritage title. Tramuntana is a speleological site, known for its cave Campari (Banic Cave) near the Petricevi village in which four skeletons of the 12000-year-old brown cave bear have been found. These are the only skeleton specimens to be found up till present in this part of Europe. The ecological footpath was created in 1995 in order to get to know the national heritage of Tramuntana. There are 7 footpaths varying in length and thematic (from 1.5km to 10 km). The best known is the Red path – The exhibition of history and art which includes 21 sculptures – work of the academic sculptor Ljubo de Karina, with carved verses and philosophical thoughts of the poet Adre Vido Mihacic and the word “Tramuntana” written in Glagolitic script. Various deserted villages can be found in the forest which resemble ethnological museums in the open air, and can be used as venues for various activities. You can also find 7 labyrinths. The visitors very often compare it with the forest in the Harry Potter film for its magical attraction and energy which encompasses its visible and invisible inhabitants.

trekking

Preferred activities for most visitors of the island. By walking and trekking on this island we get a sense of physical and mental rest. Mediterranean vegetation with its rich scent and light breeze by the sea will relax you from all tensions. We recommend the following route: The magical forest Tramuntana – the starting point is Beli and you walk towards the forest.

In Tramuntana you follow the educational ecological footpath – the Red path – where you can encounter The exhibition of history and art comprised of 21 sculptures -work of the academic sculptor Ljubo de Karina, carved verses and philosophical thoughts of the poet Andre Vido Mihacic and the word “Tramuntana” written in Glagolitic script. Various deserted villages can be found in the forest which resemble ethnological museums in the open air and can be used as venues for various activities. There are also 7 labyrinths along the way.

  • Duration: 4 hours
  • Level: easy
  • Price: KN 120

biking

Biking on the island is a wonderful experience. Every tour brings a combination of demanding training and relaxing pedalling in a Mediterranean surrounding. We recommend the following routes:

Tramuntana Forest: medium difficulty for experienced cyclists. It covers the following stops: Beli-Tramuntana Forest – Beli; 30 km

  • Duration: 6 hours
  • Price per person: KN 120

Tour: The Jewels of the island of Cres:: Demanding route through various villages which tell their own stories about Cres. It covers various points: Beli – town of Cres – Lubenice – Valun – Cres: total 30 km.

  • Duration: 7-8 hours
  • Price per person: KN180

Labyrinth in Tramuntana

Labyrinth in Tramuntana– parts of the path Tramuntana were made so that contact between man and nature can be made. The walk through the labyrinth is a meditation in movement that brings back the balance and tranquillity of the mind. Before entering the labyrinth it is advisable to dedicate the walk to a topic, a question or a situation about which you would like to get more information. The labyrinth, metaphors of the paths of life, special places where you can encounter yourself and the other creatures of nature. Deep in the nature, the labyrinths get a new context. In the woods there are seven of them, each of them carrying its name and symbolic.

Vesna Labyrinth is an enlarged replica of the labyrinth of the cathedral of Notre Dame de Chartres in France. It is dedicated to the old Croatian goddess of spring Vesna, who balances the heart, the mind and kindness.

Tarin Labyrinth – Tara, in Tibetan means a star which releases.

Rusalka Labyrinth – dedicated to the water fairies Rusalkas who, according to the old Croatian mythology, in the nights of the new moon, dance on the glades of the forests.

Izida’s Labyrinth – dedicated to the ancient Egyptian mother, symbol of birth, fertility and earthly riches. It is often associated with the image of the Black Madonna, who can be found in the parish church of Beli.

Ishtara’s Labyrinth – is dedicated to the goddess of love and fertility in the times of the Babylonian and Assyrian peoples. Ishtar, according to Hopi Indians is the symbol of Mother Earth.

game

Interactive play

Interactive play – The search for the golden fleece in which the players are divided into two groups. One belongs to the King Eerta and his son Apsirt, and the other belongs to the King’s daughter Medea and Jason. The aim of the game is to find the golden fleece. Both groups have the same starting point, but are given different information and indication on where the fleece could be found. In every group there is a spy from the other group. His/her task is to help his team and distract the team where he was placed. The team where s/he finds himself/herself has to discover who the person is and how they can eliminate him/her. The winning team is the one who finds the golden fleece and returns it where it belongs.

  • Duration of the game: 60 minutes
  • Price:
  • Minimum number of players:

Lubenice – an astonishing stone town which has been residing for 4000 years on the top of a cliff at 378 metres above the sea. There are only about 20 inhabitants. There is a magnificent view on the vastness of the sea and the beautiful cove at the foot of the cliff. The mediaeval fortress is a gem of Croatian rural arquitecture. From the town there is a wonderful view on the bay and the beach of Lubenice and turquoise colour sea. It is among 50 most beautiful beaches of the world.

Walking –trekking

Beneath the town of Lubenice there is the well known beach with turquoise sea, ranked 8th of the 50 most beautiful beaches in the world. The magnificent view from the steep cliffs discovers the wonderful white gravel beach which you can reach by discending a steep footpath. This path is very popular, and of moderate intensity. The reward is priceless: swimming in the christalline waters of the Adriatic Sea. For the descent you will need approximately 40 minutes, and for the return 1 hr and 15 to 20 minutes.

  • Duration: 5 hours (2 hours walking + swimming and sunbathing)
  • Intensity: Moderate

Free climbing

Free climbing is a combination of top-level adrenaline pleasure, health, recreation, the enjoyment of nature, and an exceptional sense of fulfilment. The beauty of this sport is that it envolves the feeling total freedom. The freedom which you can experience in Lubenice with the view on one of the most beautiful beaches. Lubenice is situated on the top of a steep cliff, at 360 metres above the sea level, from which there is an amazing view on the open sea and the neighbouring islands. There is an opportunity for freeclimbing on the beautiful cliffs with specially adapted climbing trails.

  • Necessary equipment: adequate clothing, climbing shoes, water
  • Price per person: KN 240
  • The price includes climbing equipment – climbing harness, rope, carabiners, expert leader, instructions

Swimming and sunbathing on the most beautiful beaches of the Adriatic – The Lubenice Beach

Boat trip to the Lubenice beach. Below the town of Lubenice there is a well known turquoise beach rated 8th of the 50 most beautiful beaches in the world. Whilst you walk the centuries’ old streets of Lubenice, the majestic view from the steep cliffs uncovers the white gravel beach which can be reached by descending a steep path. The beach can also be reached by boat. The trip by boat starts in the early morning hours from the town of Cres and the return is in the late afternoon hours.

  • Duration: 8 hours
  • Price per person: KN160

The Blue cave – Next to the beautiful beach, Zanja, only one nautical mile from Lubenice, there is a special cave, very often called the Blue grotto. You can enter the cave by diving through a narrow entrance three metres below the sea level, or by swimming through a tunnel. The cave provides a special attraction as it is 20 metres long and pretty spacious. You can get into the cave only by water. In front of the cave you can find the crustaceans, the noble John Dory fish and others. The rocky and steep terrain continues even below the sea level where you can encounter numerous creatures.

Speleology

Adventure to the Blue cave on a pirate ship

The Blue cave is a unique phenomenon which won’t leave you indifferent and is one of the natural beauties and wonders of the island of Cres. Turquoise light illuminates the big and the small caves when the rays of sun get through the underwater passage which is linked to one of the most beautiful beaches of the island. We sail along the shoreline and pass the thousand year old dry wall – gromac, olive groves, spring water oasis, beautiful islet with a light house, and can very often be in the company of dolphins. You will have a unique view on the 4000- year-old Lubenice village situated on a cliff top at 383 metres above the sea. The ship sails at 9:30 a.m. from the harbour of the town of Cres and starts with panoramic sightseeing, visit to the beach, fish feeding, and lunch on the ship at 1p.m. Lunch is followed by sunbathing and swimming until 3:30 p.m., when we return. The arrival to the harbour is planned for 5:30 p.m.

  • Price for adults: KN 220 + KN50 additional payment for lunch
  • Price for children from 5 to 10 years of age: KN 95 + KN 50 for lunch (Children up to 5 years of age – free of charge.)
  • Price includes: ship tour, visit to the Blue Cave, welcome drink + beverage (wine, lemonade and water) for the duration of the trip.

Valun-ribarsko-selo-cresValun – the village situated in a deep, quiet lagoon. A typical fishing village where the boats dwell happily buoyed up along the shore. Fishing nets, angles and old fishermen use fishing techniques that have not been changed for centuries. The surroundings and the exquisite smell of fish delicacies from the nearby taverns create a romantic atmosphere. There is the famous Valun plate from 11th century with its carved Glagolitic script and translation to mediaeval Latin. The copies of similar texts are treasured in the Glagolitic lapidary (anthology of copies in Glagolitic script).

Activities

sports and adrenaline

sea kayaking

Cres – Valun – Cres – an exciting all day trip. You start on easy rowing stroke from the town of Cres, and there are stops in the magical beaches and turquoise lagoons. The main stop is in Valun. Valun is a village situated in a deep and quiet lagoon. Fishing nets, angles and old fishermen use fishing techniques that have not been changed for centuries. The surroundings and the exquisite smell of fish delicacies from the nearby taverns create a romanthic atmosphere. Lunch is in valun and afterwards you return slowly back to the town of Cres.

  • Duration: 9 hours
  • Price: KN300
  • Price includes: kayak, equipment, waterproof bag for personal belongings, masque and snorkel, professional guide and lunch.
  • Necessary equipment: head protection for the sun, sunblock, minimum 1.5litres of water per person and adequate footwear for the sea.

Vransko Lake- – fresh-water lake in the central part of the island of Cres: 5.5 kms long and 1.5km wide with a surface of 5.5 km. In the lake there are pikes, tenches and carps. Today this area is a protected and restricted zone. There is a belvedere with a wonderful view on the lake. There are may tales linked to the Vransko Lake about its origin and the creatures living in the neighbouring caves.

The legend of the Vransko lake: According to ancient beliefs, fairies inhabit the caves. The legend tells that the lake had once been a large field owned by two Gavanka sisters. One of the sisters was rich and avaricious, and the other was poor. The rich sister got greedy and took over the possessions of the other one and was very cruel and unkind towards the poor. God punished her by sending earthquakes and flood which destroyed and flooded her castle. The remains of the castle, according to the tale, can still be found today in the depths of the lake, and sometimes, during big storms, bell ringing can be heard coming out from the depths of the water.

Ustrine – a village of fishermen and shepherds with only about 30 inhabitants, situated on top of a 180 m high steep cliff above the sea. It is situated in the southern part of the island. Remains of ancient villas, tiles and ceramics can be found there. In Ustrine tradition is still very much carved in everyday life. Stone houses, shepherds, dry wall, sheep are what you can encounter in these surroundings. In the air there is a scent of lavender, mint and olives which resist strong winds and long draught periods. In Ustrine you can feel the peace and beauty of the Croatian part of the Mediterranean.

sheparding

Shepeherding can bring you closer to the true autochthonous way of life in Cres – the coexistence of man and nature. Shepherding is an activity whereby one can experience feeding and herding of a flock of sheep. The shepherd gets a tripod, a shepherd’s crook and the unobedient sheepdog Riki. This activity is available in any season and it is appropriate for all age groups. In months before the summer you can also participate in sheep shearing.

  • Duration: 2 hours
  • Price:

Builiding of dry wall

Dry wall – When listening to the tale of the dry wall we can learn a lot about the essence of the hard life of people who have inhabited these areas for centuries. Every stone of the dry wall was touched by the human hand. They perform its function whilst the generations of families change throughout history. Numerous dry walls are a result of centiuries’ old hard work. They are created from placing cut stones, which have been collected when clearing the fields, one over the other, using no binding material. Dry walls can be found outside the villages, defining cultivated land –vrtaca. They also serve as an obstacle or fence for flocks of sheep, and most importantly keep the precious land fenced off. It is possible that you put your stone with a dedication note, date and name on a dry wall, so that you permanently mark your visit to Cres.

  • Price: KN 60
  • Duration: 1.5 hours
  • Minimum number of participants: 4

This article was made in cooperation with TravelAsia360.net