Island Cres is an untouched gem out of all the islands of Croatia. It might be among the largest islands but it remains to be one of the least developed, with its rugged wilderness serving as the home to 3,000 full time human residents and 80 breeding pairs of rare griffon vultures.
Tramuntana, the island’s northern half, is lush with dense oak, chestnut, hornbeam, and elk forests. This is the main cruising terrain of the protected griffon vultures. You can get the chance to see the giant birds with your own two eyes at the visitor center located in Beli, on the island’s eastern coast. On the island’s western shore, you will find the main seaside settlements.
If you have plans to visit Island Cres, there are many experiences you shouldn’t miss during your stay:
Drop by at the Four Millennia Old Settlement
Lubenice settlement has seen 4,000 years of life and serves as the home to many aging souls and the crumbling stone buildings like the Romanesque chapel. There are several secluded pebble coves on its jagged coast that can be seen from its main square and accessible using a quite steep footpath that leads through an underbrush.
However, this can be a seriously hard work just like reaching the settlement itself via public transport. But, you will feel the reward of your hard work once you experience the area’s peculiar sense of tranquility. On some weekend summer nights, there are open live classical music performances in the area.
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Laze Around in Valun’s Beaches
Halfway up Island Cres, you will find Valun, sitting in a scenic bay that visitors will find charming for the restaurants and cafes scattered in the seafront. Coming from one of these dining spots, Mamalu, you can go on a 10-minute stroll around the headland to see the stretch of Raca, of one of Kvarner Islands’ finest beaches.
This is an ideal spot to relax for the day as it offers shade from the surrounding pine trees, calm crystal clear waters, and a fine-pebbled beach. Just make sure that you have your personal provisions with since there is little by way of restaurants or bars, which is part of the area’s attraction. On Valun’s other side, near the village, there are showers available in Zdovica beach but it is often more popular for the campsite beside it.
Bask in the Beauty of Blue Cave
Even though Vis Island’s Biševo is the most popular out of the so-called Blue Caves of Croatia, grottos bathed in the natural light formed by the effects of the sea and sun, island Cres also has its very own. Plava Grota is near Zanja Beach, close to Lubenice, that can only be accessed via sea-route.
This spans for a length of 20 meters as serves as the home to the spiny oysters and the nocturnal Mediterranean slipper lobsters. You can swim through the cave’s main wider entrance to enter it while divers are the only ones allowed in the narrower one. The blue light phenomenon happens during afternoons of summer.