The Traveler's Guide
Top 10 Things to Do in Cres
History, beauty, and delicious meat. What more could you want from your next Croatian destination? Cres Island can be reached via ferry from Rijeka, Krk, or the Istrian peninsula. Here’s what to do once you’re there.
Table of Contents
1. Visit the cliffs
The cliffs in Cres seem to jut right out of the ocean and reach toward the sky — and that’s because they do. Whether you’re hoping to snap a few dreamy pics for your Insta-story or just seeking some beautiful scenery to admire, head to Cres’ coastline and feast your eyes on these imposing rocks.
2. Admire Venetian architecture
Cres Island was under Venetian control for about 400 years, and that much is evident in its architecture. Head to Cres Old Town for the best in buildings: The Venetian Tower, the Old Roman Bridge, Remnants of the city walls, Municipal Loggia, and the Beli Olive mill all take influence from that period.
3. Celebrate festivals
Croatia is not short on festivals, and during the summer season you could happen upon a few of them. On Cres, Belej St. Rocco is the largest festival, taking place each year on August 16th and featuring live music until the wee hours of the morning.
4. St. John Beach
The German magazine Bild ranked St. John the 15th best beach in the world. Located in the bay below Lubenice, it’s not super easy to access. That means a little more work, but much smaller crowds and a bigger reward once you climb down the steep slopes to enjoy the pebble-lined beauty of St. John.
Cres has more than 100 kilometers of marked hiking trails, so one of the best ways to take in the beauty of the island is on foot. Climb Sis for panoramic views over Kvarner Bay or navigate the Tramontana Woods and try and spot an endangered bird called the Eurasian Griffon.
6. Snorkeling/Scuba diving
If hidden coves are your ideal location for snorkeling, then you’re in luck. The freshwater Lake Vrana makes for good scuba diving — it is the largest and deepest lake in the Adriatic.
7. Eat Cres Lamb
Cres Lamb is the island’s most famous dish, and it can be served one of two ways. Some prefer it prepared “under the bell,” an ancient cooking technique in which the lamb is literally roasted under an iron bell over an open fire. Others opt for the spit roasted lamb. You can’t go wrong either way.
8. See Cres Town
Cres Town is the island’s city by the bay in the Gulf of Kvarner. Walk its narrow streets and find the 14th century Venetian influence in its churches, palaces, and towers.
9. See the Valun Tablet at St Mary’s Church
An 11th-century tablet was discovered near the site of the church and is now on display there. The tablet was originally a gravestone, and lists the names of three generations worth of locals that were buried under it. The list is written in both Latin and Glagolitic script, an extinct Slav language.
10. Explore Osor
Cres and Losinj were once one island, but became separated by a narrow water channel, which you can find in the historic Osor. There, you’ll also find an Archaeological Museum, a rare sculpture, and a rotating bridge connecting the neighboring islands.