The Brijuni Archipelago is an attractive group of islands near Istria Peninsula, with the main islands Veli Brijun that is Croatia National Park and open to visitors. The fact that it was visited by the elite of Austrian, Hungarian and German aristocracy when Istria was part of the Austro-Hungarian monarchy speaks of its beauty and charm.
In more recent history almost every major statesman visited the islands as Brijuni were a residence of late President Tito of Yugoslavia.
The islands are rich in natural beauties, flora and fauna brought here from various parts of the world. On Brijuni there is an attractive archaeological site the Byzantine castrum and luxurious Roman villa, Ethnographic collection, Collection of frescoes, Archaeological Museum and Natural history exhibit.
The Brijuni archipelago is separated from the mainland by the two-miles-wide Fazana Channel to the northwest of Pula.
The archipelago stretches over 736 hectares and forms a 30 miles long coast. It is a place where sumptuous wildlife (680 different local and exotic plants, 150 bird species, etc.) coupled with a wealth of historical traces ranging from a Neolithic settlement and Illyrian ruins to monuments dating from the Byzantine period and the Middle Ages, as well as from Austro-Hungarian architecture to a more recent time.
Brijuni Minor fortress, built in the late 19th century is the largest edifice in the defence system of the Austro-Hungarian central naval base of Pula. Stretching over 15.750 square meters, the edifice is 175 meters long and 90 meters large.
Brijuni (Fazana) Hotels:
- Hotel Neptun
“Situated right by the sea in the harbour of the island of Veliki Brijun in Fazana, Hotel Neptun offers comfortable accommodation and a variety of eating venues, all surrounded by breath-taking nature.” Prices from €64 – Number of rooms: 88 – Check Hotel Neptun, Brijuni/Fazana availability
- Villetta Phasiana
“Beautifully situated in the heart of the old fishermen village Fazana and close to the Brioni Islands National Park, Villetta Phasiana has been refurbished with rustic yet luxurious Italian furnishings.” Prices from €54 – Number of rooms: 18 – Check Villetta Phasiana, Fazana availability
- Hotel Marina
“A more than 300 years-old house on the waterfront of Fazana has now been restored and transformed into an inviting family hotel, also continuing a 30-year tradition of quality cuisine.” Prices from €75 – Number of rooms: 9 – Check Hotel Marina, Brijuni / Fazana availability
- Hotel Villa Letan
“Situated near the sea, opposite to the National Park Brijuni, 12 km from Pula City Center and 15 km from Pula Airport, Villa Letan Hotel offers you all the comfort and advantages of a well-equipped hotel.” Prices from €45 – Number of rooms: 54 – Check Hotel Villa Letan, Brijuni/ Fazana availability
The archipelago of Brijuni National Park is an extraordinary blend of natural, historical and cultural heritage. The mild climate and the favourable geographical conditions, deep retracted bays and easily defendable elevated fortifications, have secured a continuum in the human activity on the island from a pre-historic age until the present day.
Brijuni, also known as Brioni, is a small and picturesque archipelago, laying just off the coast of Istria, that got National Park status in 1983. It consists of 12 smaller (Sveti Marko, Gaz, Obljak, Supin, Supinic, Galija, Grunj, Vanga, Krasnica, Pusti, Sveti Jerolim, Kotez) and two larger islands – Veli and Mali Brijun. The archipelago was a fashionable seaside resort from the 1900s while after the WW2 it became the private residence of President Tito. After his death, being proclaimed as National Park, the archipelago was opened to visitors.
Things To Do on Brijuni:
After a boat ride from Fažana, you will get off in Veli Brijun main pier from where the small tourist train takes you to the island sightseeing tour. You will see a golf course, safari park remains of Roman villa Rustica in Verige Bay, small archaeological museum, church, as well as permanent exhibition ‘Tito on Brijuni’ where you can see artefacts and photos of Tito and its guests staying on the islands that from the 1960s to 1980s served as President Tito’s personal holiday resort. After the tour, you can rent bikes or electric golf carts to explore the rest of the island on your own.
Beaches / Swimming:
You can swim along the entire coastline of the islands while most popular swimming spots are at Saluga bay and Sveti Jerolim beach. The facilities include café, beach chairs and parasols.
If you are a theatre lover, it is good to know that every summer, in July and August, at an open-air stage of Minor Fort (tvrdava Minor), a former Austrian fortress on Mali Brijun island, the Ulysses Theatre has open stage evening performances of classical and modern theatre pieces. The theatre space where spiritually similar artists intertwine. It welcomes the cooperation of all those broadening aesthetical and spiritual horizons. All info about shows, dates and tickets are at www.ulysses.hr
Accommodation on the Brijuni:
The accommodation within a park itself is in two hotels (Hotel Neptun and Hotel Karmen) and tree villas, offering luxury apartments on Veli Brijun, all bookable via Park’s website. No camping nor private rooms/apartments are available. As an alternative, just across the waters, there is a good choice of accommodation in Fazana. The nearest campsite is BiVillage, west of Fazana – www.bivillage.com
The only places offering food in the Park at the present are two hotel’s restaurants at Veli Brijun as well as small beach bar/cafe in Saluga bay and at Sveti Jerolim island.
Remains of Roman villa Rustica, Verige Bay, Brijuni
Getting to the Brijuni:
Brijuni Islands ferries:
The nearest point to the Park is an Istrian town of Fažana from where you can get a boat ride to Veli Brijun. To reach Fazana by public transport, take bus no 21 from Pula (8 km away), it cost 15 Kuna. Once there, take a ferry to Veli Brijun – frequent daily sailings info is here: www.croatiaferries.com/brijuni-island-ferries.htm
Day-trips to the Brijuni
You can book an easy day trip (excursion) to Brijuni from either Pula, Porec or Rovinj. The nearest point to the Islands is Pula, wherein its waterfront/pier there are several excursion boats offering day trips to the islands. The trips last from 2 hrs sightseeing tour to whole day excursion that includes lunch and visits both islands.
If you have your own boat you can get to the Park anytime you wish.
Entrance fees to Brijuni National Park:
Ticket prices are between 125 Hrk and 210 Hrk depending on the time of the year, the most expensive is in July and August. It is recommended to book in advance, especially in summer months. Tickets are bookable from National Parks office:
Brijuni National Park, Brijunska 10, 52212 Fazana; tel: 052-525 888; web: www.np-brijuni.hr
Tourist Information for the Brijuni Islands:
The Brijuni Tourist office (tel 052-525 883) is in Fazana and sells tickets to the park which include the boat and guided tour.
Gaz – a fish-shaped island in the Brijuni archipelago
Brijuni poster from the 1930s