(Edited November 2018)
Cres is just a little over an hour from the Croatian mainland and totally worth a visit if you are looking for unspoiled nature, cute coastal towns, and a swim in clear waters.
|Without a caption one could think this is an Italian vilaggio.|
Due to its everchanging history, this island deems very Italian, too. But you know what? It’s so delightful that you don’t even care; you certainly don’t care where exactly paradise is located.
Surprisingly, Cres is the same size as the far more famous island of Krk, but only populated by a little over 3,000 people. And also tourism is by far not as massive as on the more popular islands. Only on Cres’ sister island Lošinj, tourism is more developed. That’s the reason why, after having pushed my way through tourist-groups, I stayed on Cres. And in Cres.
|Far more boats than cars.|
Croatians are a bit chintzy with names and call a town after the islands where it’s located. So Cres on Cres.
You can get there from Rijeka in a bit over one hour with Jadrolinija and the fare is 35 Kuna – which is really cheap since you are travelling on a very comfortable catamaran. You can buy your ticket online or at the harbor, it’s very easy.
There is only one ferry going from Rijeka to Cres, it leaves at 2:30 p. m. and arrives at 3: 50 p. m. To catch it, I had to leave Poreč on the morning bus around 8 a. m. and had about five hours in Rijeka.
No problem, there is a locker room at the bus station and Rijeka is a really pleasant city.
|Leaving Rijeka to Cres.|
Like everywhere else in Croatia, you can rent an Apartman – the one I rented was in a prime location about three minutes walk from the ferry overlooking the small yacht harbor. I could walk from there to the beach or to some supermarkets in a couple of minutes. The owners got out of their way to make me feel comfortable – a perfect stay.
|Cres cannot deny its Venetian heritage.|
The Apartman is located on one of the main squares so that there are about five different restaurants as soon as you open the door.
|Home was where the heart is: Apartman Dolores.|
You reach a small beach in five minutes. It’s not a great beach – in all honesty, there are no great beaches in Croatia; but it doesn’t matter since everything else is so perfect – but it’s a beach where you can stretch out on pebbles and relax and take a dip in the crystal clear waters.
|The beach around the corner.|
Like I said, there are a bit over 3,000 people on Cres island, and almost 2,900 are living in the town of Cres; which tells you a lot about the density of population in the villages.
The most famous should be Lubenice, an untouched place about 20 km from Cres. There is actually a bus going, but only on certain days and at around 5 a. m.
|Up where it belongs: Secluded village of Lubenice.|
I wouldn’t mind going on a certain day at 5 a. m. to a village up the mountain inhabited by seven women; but I spent only two days in Cres and simply didn’t have the time. I absolutely need to come back with much more time to…..do basically nothing.
Since I didn’t have the opportunity to visit this enchanted village, I at least wanted to see some….water. And there is a lot of water around Cres and it’s crystal clear and deep blue and just amazing.
In the harbor, there are tour operators offering trips to a beach below Lubenice. It’s totally worth the 270 Kuna to spend hours on the ship, observing how the landscape around the petrol blue waters changes – amazing.
|A nice day out.|
Once you get to the beach, there is a guided tour of the blue grotto included in the trip. You have to swim, though, and the water in the grotto is freezing. But the cave illuminated by some rays of sun is just mesmerizing.
|What are all these people doing here? Suspiciously observed by curious locals while sunbathing.|
Also included is a – let’s say not too heavy – lunch on board – choice of fish or chicken, and water, lemonade, and wine.
After about 90 minutes on the beach, the pirate ship heads back to Cres.
They promise you to spot dolphins on the way – and they actually keep their promise: We saw a group of three big, jolly mammals jumping around – the cherry on the cake that was this wonderful day trip.
|There were three dolphins jumping around the Korsar until everybody had a picture.|
I went on the a bit silly pirate ship Korsar which is to be found in the harbor. You can get info online, but I have the impression that you get a better deal when booking on the spot. Just go to the small counter in front of the ship.
For me, unfortunately, that was it since I had only three weeks for my entire trip. If I come back to Croatia, and I’m pretty sure I will, I’ll plan at least four to five days on Cres.
|At the end of a perfect day, the sun sets perfectly over the Adriatic sea.|
Like I said, I was coming from Rijeka and initially intended to go on to Krk island.
That is possible since from the village of Merag, there is a ferry. However, it is a little complicated and quite time consuming since the buses and the ferry are not in sync. It simply was not worth it losing an entire day getting to Baška just to stay there for two nights.
It might be much easier if you have your own vehicle.
Since for me, it didn’t make much sense, I finally refrained from going there and I went back to Rijeka instead – which was totally fine since during my forced stopover on the way from Poreč to Cres, I fell in deep love with the city and was looking forward to having another stay there.
Best place to sleep:
Apartman Dolores – called after the sweetest owner ever – is located right on the harbor. You walk about 2 minutes from the ferry. At night, you open the door and there are uncountable restaurants. You walk ten minutes and you find yourself on a tiny, but pretty nice beach. Walk twenty minutes and the beaches get bigger but also more crowded. Staying at Dolores’ apartman, you are in the middle of everything and this lady – and her husband – are just the friendliest and warmest hosts you can wish for.
The apartman is pretty spacious with a big bedroom that easily houses three. There is a very well-equipped kitchen with every appliance you might need and a bathroom of a good size.
But besides the lovely owners, it’s the location – location – location.
Best place to eat:
Like I said, you just open Dolores’ door and….don’t look too far, at the next corner of the square is Buffet Marittimo serving basically what every restaurant in Cres is serving – fish and shellfish; but here you get really generous portions at a good price.
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