The Traveler's Guide
Top 10 Reasons to Visit Cres This Summer
If you’re headed to the northern coast of Croatia this summer, you’re probably looking to go island-hopping in the Kvarner Gulf. Here are ten reasons why you should take time to discover the lesser-visited island of Cres (pronounced ‘tsress’):
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1. It has lots of secluded beaches and coves
Most of the beaches on the island take a bit of work to get to, but you’ll find they’re well worth the effort: Grabar, Slatina, Kimen, Valun, Kovačine, Koromačna, Mali Bok, Lubenice — these are just a few of the beautiful beaches you have to explore along the rugged coastline.
2. It’s still relatively under the radar
Although it is one of the largest Croatian islands and a very popular vacation spot for Italian families in August, mass tourism hasn’t quite hit Cres, which adds greatly to its charm. It’s the perfect escape when you need to get away from it all!
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3. It’s full of historical surprises
Besides the prominent Venetian architecture of Cres town, hidden treasures include the medieval hilltop village of Lubenice and the fascinating small port of Osor, which connects Cres with the neighboring island of Lošinj. History buffs, you’re in for a treat!
4. It’s a nature lover’s dream
With about 1,500 plant species—most of which endemic to the island—Cres boasts one of the richest flora in the Adriatic. It’s also home to many bird of prey species and has a year-round resident population of dolphins.
5. It’s one of the last remaining habitats for griffon vultures in Europe
A breeding ground for the endangered griffon vulture, the island of Cres gives bird lovers an opportunity to observe the majestic creatures in their natural environment. Look around—you’ll probably see them gliding in the clear skies!
6. There’s plenty of hiking to do
There over 180 miles of marked trails all over Cres. Go hiking in Tramuntana, in the verdant northern part, to discover the island’s diverse botanical landscape, along with many caves and several eco-trails. And don’t miss out on solving the Seven Labyrinths! Just pack lots of water with you to stay hydrated in the summer heat.
7. It offers sweeping views over Kvarner Bay
Climb up to the island’s highest peaks—also the highest points in the Kvarner Gulf islands—Gorice (2125 ft) or Sis (2093 ft), for panoramic views of the bay from the neighboring island of Lošinj all the way to the Istrian coast.
8. It has a unique freshwater lake (and the tap water is excellent!)
The island’s Lake Vrana (Vransko jezero) is a natural reservoir of freshwater and a unique phenomenon, its surface being above sea level and its bottom beneath. While it remains off limits to visitors, you can still enjoy superb views of the lake from the village of Vrana, and drink its water straight from the tap.
9. It’s a gourmet destination
Goulash festival, fish stew festival, fig days—Cres knows how to show off its culinary skills. But if there’s one local specialty you can’t miss, it’s the island’s famous roasted lamb prepared with local aromatic herbs.
10. It is rife with cultural happenings
Summer nights on Cres island are filled with music and reverie in atmospheric settings as the historic towns of Cres, Lubenice, Martinšćica, and Osor host a rich program of classical, jazz, and harmony singing concerts.