The island of Cres is the largest island in the Adriatic, located in the northern part of the Kvarner bay (see map of Kvarner) . In the south, in Osor, it is connected with the Island Lošinj via a drawbridge. The coast of the island is 66 kilometres long and very well developed, rich in numerous coves and pebble beaches in its western and southern part, while the northern and eastern part are characterized by steep and harsh rocks. Freshwater lake Vransko jezero, whose surface is above sea-level and bottom beneath at the depth of 74 metres is part of Crs too. The lake water is of high quality and drinkable. Moreover, it belongs to the cleanest lakes in Europe, which is why access to the lake is strictly forbidden.
The northern part of Cres is rich in red oak, hornbeam, elm and chestnut tree forests, while the mid and southern parts are covered in pastures and thick macchia. Research has identified 1,100 plant species, 939 of which are indigenous. The island is particularly pleasant in the spring when the nature flourishes and the scent of aromatic plants starts to fill the air. The best proof that the sea of the Cres aquatorium is extremely clean is the population of dolphins that inhabits it. It is supposed that the population counts between 100 and 150 dolphins. The steep and inaccessible parts of the eastern coast, which are an ornithological nature park, are one of the last habitats of an extremely rare bird – the griffon vulture.
Getting to Cres Island:
Important port on Cres is Crest Town. Merag is port where ferries from Valbiska (Krk Island) arrive – as Krk is connected to mainland by bridge this ferry route is main entrance to Cres island (check ferry’s timetable). Check all ferries to Cres Island
Cres Town is a fortified town developed on the western part of the island under the island’s ridge, where the prehistoric settlement and Ancient fortification (Crexa and Crepsa) used to be. Cres was inhabited in prehistoric times, which can still be seen by objects from that time, and began to develop in the middle ages. One of the more notable cultural and historical monuments of the town is the palace of the family Petris (Petric) from the 15th century. It is actually the oldest patrician palace of old Gothic architecture, which the Cres locals term Arsan. Today it harbours a museum.
One of the most interesting and special places on the island is certainly the town of Lubenice, located on a cliff 382 metres above sea-level. This stony town or fortification is a gemstone of Croatian rural architecture. It is a picturesque town with medieval monuments and old stone houses located in three sinuous rows along a calcareous ridge. Alongside remains of medieval fortification systems and a few sacral buildings, the specialty of this town is its unique view of the sea and the Sveti Ivan bay, with an amazing pebble beach. Beli is one of the oldest Cres towns and used to be one of its most important ones. This acropolic town is settled on a high hill above the eastern coast of the northern part of the island. In the town there is an eco centre, “Caput Insulae”, engaged in preserving biodiversity, original values and the cultural and historical heritage of the island. It is also active in implementing the integral protection of the griffon vulture.
The town Martinšcica is a relatively recent town, located on the tamest part of the island’s coast, next to a spacious bay facing the southwest. The lovely town is decorated with an abundance of Mediterranean greenery and is oriented exclusively towards family and camping tourism. Along with the beautiful beaches to the north of the town, set in untouched nature, there is a number of possibilities for a quality active vacation. On the southern part of the Valun bay, between two amazing pebble beaches, there is the town Valun, a picturesque littoral town with a small harbour at its centre, also oriented towards family and camping tourism. Alongside numerous privately owned apartments, visitors are also offered accommodation in two hotels: Kimen in Cres and Zlatni lav in Martinšcica, as well as four auto-camps in Cres, Martinšcica, Belo and Valun.
Cres, the second largest island in the Adriatic. Limestone and dolomite dominate, creating a contrasting littoral karst landscape of occasionally snow-clad peaks and lowland plateaux; gently sloping shorelines and steep cliffs; lush Mediterannean forest and sparse maquis. One feature that deserves a specific mention is Vransko lake. Sitting in the centre of the island, the lake is a natural reservoir fed by rainwater from surface and subterranean channels. The surface of the lake is above sea level, but its bottom is 74m below.
The island is rich in plant life. In the northern part, with cold, dry winds gusting south in winter, the flora is typically sub-Mediterannean with oak and sweet chestnut woods. In the south, which is protected by the hills, are evergreen coniferous forests. Everywhere there are wild herbs that give the local food its distinctive taste, wildflowers in the pastures and, as a reminder of the human influence, thousands of olive trees. Over ninety species of bird nest on the island. As well as eagles, falcons and owls, there is a dedicated ornithological reserve for the white-headed griffon vultures which nest, unusually, on rocks next to the sea.
Kvarner presents itself as the region of shores, highlands and islands directly to the east of Istria. Cres and Krk are the biggest islands in Kvarner Bay and visitors are attracted to the former in particular by the plants and animals, the indented coast, the sea and the solitude. There are places to bike, walk, climb, swim and sail. ( Walk Europe – a guidebook )
Hotel Kimen ★★★☆☆“Hotel Kimen is situated very close to the sea, and at approximately 10 minutes’ walking distance from the old town of Cres.” Prices from €24 – Number of rooms: 223 – Check Hotel Kimen, Cres availability
Mobile Homes Kovacine ☆☆☆☆☆“The Kovačine Mobile Homes camp is located on a beautiful peninsula surrounded by clear blue sea, just a few steps away from the coastal town of Cres.” Prices from €44 – Number of rooms: 98 – Check Mobile Homes Kovacine, Cres availability
Pansion Tramontana ★★★☆☆
Situated in Beli in the northern part of Cres Island, the eco-friendly Pansion Tramontana offers individually decorated rooms with minibars. Free Wi-Fi and free private parking are provided. Prices from €40.00 – Number of rooms: 12 – Check Pansion Tramontana, Beli, Cres availability
Hostels and Private accommodation on Island of Cres:
Browse various Cres accommodation pages Cres B&B, Private Rooms, Apartments and Guesthouse Accommodation + Camping on Cres island
More info about Cres:
- Lubenice Beach on Cres Island – large photo of Lubenice beach
- Map of Kvarner Gulf
- News and Articles from Croatian Islands – collection of news articles about culture, travel and art of Croatian Islands
Tourist Information in Cres: The Cres tourist office http://www.tzg-cres.hr (tel 051-571 133) is in the centre of Cres Town at Cons 11.