Cres & Lošinj Islands, Croatia

Colourful Cres Harbour

Colourful Cres Harbour

The locals in Cres & Lošinj proclaim September to be the finest month of year, thanks to the abundant Autumn sunshine – and the lack of tourists clogging the roads! The islands, given their history, retain a distinctly Italian vibe, with the main fishing towns of Cres and Mali Lošinj giving off an air of Venetian glamour.

In comparison to Hvar and the mainland, the islands attract fewer tourists, and the locals are more than happy to stop and chat with visitors. Take a chance and perhaps you’ll be invited into their home for a taste of some homemade olive oil and crusty bread. Some of Europe’s oldest olive groves line the stony fields of northern Cres whilst in the south the rare Griffon Vulture roams the rugged myrtle filled hills.

The imposing Lubenice fortress town, with Žanja cove beach below.

The imposing Lubenice fortress town, with Žanja cove beach below.

On Cres Island, Lubenice is a rustic fortress town and sports dramatic views over the Adriatic Sea. Today, the town consist of flocks of sheep and a handful of hardy locals living within the thick stoned buildings. A steep pathway (watch your step!) descends to the blue waters of Sveti Ivan Bay. Its deserted pebble beach is one of the best spots in Croatia for an afternoon picnic.

One of the deepest lakes in Europe is located on Cres. Lake Vrana supplies freshwater to both islands and is held is high regard by islanders – to protect the purity of the lake, no swimming or fishing is allowed. The lake is located 17 metres above sea level yet it is a remarkable 60 metres deep – leading to legends of revengeful Gods flooding the island in ancient times.

1001 bottles of beer on the wall - Carcuso Tavern, Cres town

1001 bottles of beer on the wall – Carcuso Tavern, Cres town

Looking for fill up for lunch?! Carcuso Tavern in Cres town, with its beer lined walls, serves up massive “beer sandwiches” – a Cres speciality. The bread is fried in beer batter and then served with salad and pork – and an ice cold beer of course. It’s a massive feed and the locals can’t get enough of it! If you’re up for popping back in for dinner, they also serve up BBQ lamb and fish in their large courtyard .

The entracen to the Veli Losinj Harbour is one of the most beautiful and quaint in Croatia

The entrance to the Veli Losinj Harbour is one of the most beautiful and quaint in Croatia

A high speed passenger ferry serves Cres from Rijeka on the mainland. Journey time is 1hr20 to Cres and costs 45KR one way. There are two departures between May-September and one departure during the winter months.
A car ferry serve Porozina in the north of Cres, from the port of Brestova. Up to 10 departures daily. Cres & Losinj are connected by road bridge. Ferry is 18KR per passenger / 23KR bicycle / 115KR Car
Autotrans bus offers tickets from Rijeka (125KN) / Zagreb, (160KN) / Ljubljana (200KN) – this includes the ferry journey. However it is faster taking a bus to Rijeka and then take the passenger ferry to Cres.

The entrance into the small harbour of Veli Losinj is beautiful, and it is regarded as one of the finest harbours in Croatia. Just across from the harbour at the sea wall is an excellent swimming spot, with crystal clear waters and friendly ice cream vendors.

The main town of Mali Losinj is home to some fantastic seafood restaurants, with the daily catch being sent straight from the harbour to the restaurants. Ristorante Eki, 8KM north of Maki, is a small family run restaurant serving BBQ fish and great wines on their terrace.

Cres and Losinj are sparsely populated and makes for a great adventure - the towns are brimming with quality restaurants.

Cres and Losinj are sparsely populated and make for a great adventure – the towns are brimming with quality restaurants.

On the western shores of Losinj Island lies the pine forest of Cikat. There are dozens of sheltered bays and coves hugging the coast of this dense forest, providing ideal swimming conditions. As it is a designated National Park, there is an inexpensive campsite located within the forest. There is small bar cafe also, serving some much needed cold beer after a long day of hiking and swimming!

 

The surrounding Adriatic Sea provides plentiful supplies of delicious fresh fish.

The surrounding Adriatic Sea provides plentiful supplies of delicious fresh fish.

 

14 Comments

  1. Berthold Seewald.
    02/08/2015 / 7:50 PM

    Very beautiful. I have been there many times back in the Yugoslav days, but also after Croatian independence.

    • 03/08/2015 / 9:41 AM

      Hello Berthold – thanks for the comment. It really is beautiful, hope to go back someday because the weather turned bad when we were there – just 2 days of sunshine!
      I imagine it must have been quite different pre independence, less campervans maybe!!

  2. 17/08/2015 / 11:02 PM

    I just love Croatia’s emerald green sea .. Hope to have a vacation there anytime soon..

    • 17/08/2015 / 11:46 PM

      Oh I know Lucy, it’s just marvellous. My friend is currently sailing through the islands for 2 weeks – I’m super, super jealous of him!!

  3. Oyster
    18/08/2015 / 2:20 AM

    “beer sandwiches” sound amazing! So nice that they don’t allow swimming or fishing to preserve the lake! It’s always good to hear people taking care of the environmental beauty! Thanks for sharing all the useful info!

    • continentaldrifters
      18/08/2015 / 1:34 PM

      Haha yes the sandwiches were surprisingly delicious, so good we didn’t even take time to take a photo of them! 🙂

    • continentaldrifters
      18/08/2015 / 1:33 PM

      Yep, really looking forward to going back sometime soon – plenty more to explore!

  4. 18/08/2015 / 6:50 AM

    Wow, it really looks so beautiful there. Nice photos as well, great colours! I’ve never been to Croatia, but I heard so many good things about it that I really should go. Thanks for sharing 🙂

    • continentaldrifters
      18/08/2015 / 1:33 PM

      Thanks, it’s such a great country to explore – although parts of it are a wee bit too popular nowadays!

  5. Ynah.CA
    19/08/2015 / 4:38 AM

    The transition between the lush green vegetation and that magnificent beaches makes me wanna go there 🙂 Thanks for sharing!

  6. 31/08/2015 / 9:48 PM

    Croatia is a place in Europe I haven’t been but would love to visit. It seems to have been on my list for ages. Your photos and description of these great islands only reinforce that I need to get over there! I had no idea there was a national park or so many great coves. Olive oil, bread and ice cold beer are also a pretty good idea on a sunny day. Thanks for the inspiration

    • 01/09/2015 / 1:43 PM

      It’s brilliant, and a great country to explore. Cres and Losinj are just one of god knows how many islands. Thanks for commenting and looking forward to hearing your stories!

  7. couplertw
    04/09/2015 / 6:06 PM

    We have been to Croatia and simply love it, one of the best places to do island hoping. We should have gone to Cres & Lošinj Islands they seem fantastic. We just went Brac and krk that is incredible. Liked your post very much. Thank you.
    http://www.couplertw.com/roadtrip-through-croatia/

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