Theisland of Cres is a long, narrow strip of land, sparsely populated, with a picturesque landscape of primeval forests, ancient villages perched on hillsides and a rugged coastline with high headlands and hidden coves.
The villages are really pretty to visit and here and there on the island traces of Venetian rule are still visible, such as the lion of St Mark on the 15th century walls of the town of Osor and the coats of arms of Venetian families in the streets of Cres.
If you want to immerse yourself in nature, spend some time in the southern part of the island, known as Tramuntana, covered with oak, chestnut and hornbeam forests. With a bit of luck, you might see the mythical griffon vulture, a magnificent bird that is a symbol of Croatia, flying overhead.
Cres is connected to the smaller island of Losinj by a movable bridge and the two islands are often considered as a single entity. During your holiday in Cres, why not spend some time on the pretty Losinj as well?
The town of Cres is a seaside town with an elegant Venetian charm, a pretty harbour and picturesque pastel-coloured houses, and is thronged with tourists in the summer.
Situated in a well-protected bay, it is a typical medieval town with a maze of narrow streets and a city wall. Traces of Venetian rule are scattered throughout the town: the 16th century loggia is the place from which public announcements were read, while coats of arms of Venetian families adorn the façades of elegant Renaissance palaces.
However, it is no longer possible to see the Lion of St Mark that once towered over the city’s main gate: after getting rid of the Venetians in 1797, the locals threw the lion into the sea.
The town’s most important church is St Mary of the Snows, dedicated to the patron saint of Cres; on 5 August each year, a traditional festival is held to celebrate the saint.
Beli is the oldest village on the island and for a long time remained the most important. Built on a hill 130 metres above sea level, it preserves ancient remains and interesting churches and is an ideal starting point for exploring the Tramuntana forests on foot. Near Beli is the Eco-Centre Caput Insulae, which you can visit to spend a few hours away from the beaches.
Major investments have transformed the virtually uninhabited village of Osor into a tourism gem with romantic views, pleasant walks, art and events. It lies on the point of contact between Cres and Losinj, and the movable bridge connecting the two islands is its main attraction.
The almost inaccessible village of Valun has preserved, thanks to its remote location at the foot of a steep cliff, a rare authenticity that, combined with the beauty of the nature that surrounds it, makes it a must-see destination for those who do not like mass tourism; the real attraction of the village are the pine-fringed beaches with crystal-clear sea, immersed in silence and tranquillity.
Lubenice is a charming medieval village perched atop a 378-metre-high hill that will leave you breathless with its beauty and romantic atmosphere. Walk down the hill to one of the most beautiful and most remote beaches in the Kvarner region.
Martinšćica, a village lying on a wide bay, rich in vegetation, is a place suitable for families and those who love camping.
In the northern part of the bay you can find beautiful beaches washed by a transparent sea, while on the hills surrounding the village you can see the remains of a Romanesque church, an old villa, a Gothic church and a prehistoric fort.
Other pretty villages to visit around Martinšćica are Miholašćica, Stivan and Vidovići.
Also worth a visit are Pernat, a small settlement from which numerous paths lead to explore the headland and bays of Lubenice, Valun and Cres; Hrasta, a village formed from what were once shepherds’ dwellings; and Belej, situated in the middle of a plateau that has a steep side with high cliffs and a low side with several sandy beaches.
Near the village of Orlec, not far from the town of Cres, there is a pebble beach sheltered by high cliffs, which protect it from the wind, hot sun and crowds.
To reach the Mali Bok bay, one must descend a steep path, but the effort will be amply rewarded by the beauty of the place. Going up will be even more difficult, but you can always reward yourself with a nice fish dinner in one of the island’s typical restaurants.
The coastal village of Valun has two lovely pebble beaches surrounded by dense pine forest and a variety of small coves and inlets along the coast.
The enchanting beach of Sv Ivan is situated on the bay at the foot of Lubenice and is one of the most beautiful beaches on the island of Cres. It can only be reached on foot or by boat and is therefore generally uncrowded.
Naturist beaches can be found at Punta Križa and near the campsite Kovačine.
One of the most visited attractions on Cres is the Caput Insulae Eco-Centre, a nature reserve near Beli and an ecological centre committed to the preservation of the griffon vulture, an extraordinary bird with a wingspan of 3 metres capable of flying at speeds of up to 120 km/h.
Typical of Croatia, it is unfortunately now in danger of extinction. The centre works with the locals to restore the environmental conditions that favour the repopulation of the griffon vulture and tries to raise awareness among tourists, who in order to induce young griffons to fly often end up causing their death.
At the centre, it is possible to see some specimens in captivity; after the visit, you can continue the day by walking along the paths around the park.
Lake Vrana is a blue eye set in the mountains of the island of Cres with an evocative and mysterious charm.
Numerous legends are linked to this lake and it is said that fairies lived in its caves. Today, its function is certainly less fairytale-like but absolutely essential: the lake serves as a water reservoir for the islands of Cres and Losinj.
If you like active holidays Cres is a good choice, you will have the opportunity to go on unforgettable walks, diving, cycling trips or go sailing and windsurfing.
Local tour operators offer various guided tours of the island and boat excursions, both motor and sailing. In addition to classic day tours, original evening boat tours and fishing weekends are also offered.
The easiest way to get to Cres with your car is to take a ferry from Istria that connects the town of Brestova on the mainland to the town of Porozina on the island.
You can also arrive on the island of Krk via a bridge and from there take a ferry to Cres.
There are also direct buses departing from the Croatian cities of Rijeka and Zagreb and the Slovenian capital Ljubljana.
What's the weather at Cres? Below are the temperatures and the weather forecast at Cres for the next few days.
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