Large islands: Krk (the largest Croatian island), Rab, Cres and Lošinj
Small islands: Susak, Unije, Ilovik, Košljun, Goli Otok, Plavnik, Male Srakane and Vele Srakane
Krk Island – The fun 'heart' of Kvarner equally nurturing the body, the mind and the soul
The largest island in the Adriatic situated in the Kvarner bay southeast from Rijeka has an area of approx. 410 sq km. A spectacular bridge connects the island of Krk with the mainland. The island that is known as a 'top' destination among the Kvarner Islands boasts an excellent tourism infrastructure, an airport in the north and numerous tourist places. The number 7 stretches as a connecting thread throughout the history of the island of Krk having an area of 410 sq km, which makes it the largest island in the Adriatic Sea. In the 7th century, Croats joined the Illyrian tribes of Iapodi and Liburni and the Roman population living in the area. The seven historic island castles today represent seven administrative units: Krk, Omišalj, Malinska, Punat, Baška, Vrbnik and Dobrinj. There are seven variations of the Chakavian dialect. There are seven customs, dances and folk costumes. In 68 communities of the island of Krk today lives a population of approx. 16,500, and the center of the island is the town bearing the same name, Krk. The coast of the island is indented with numerous coves and natural pebble beaches.
The inland is characterized by two lakes. The vegetation is diverse, including forests, orchards, vegetable farms, vineyards and olive orchards on one side, and rocky areas and pastures on the other. A special feature of the region are the terraced stone walls with no binding material used to hold them together, i.e. built on the basis of a special technique of putting parts together. In addition to underwater and water sports, the palette of activities also includes sailing and classic ball games, as well as hiking and bicycle trails in an exceptional environment.
The richness of the island folklore and traditional customs is felt on every step and the sopile (an ancient wind instrument) is still an integral part of many island festivities from joyful carnival celebrations and Razgon (a shepherds’ festivity held on the first Sunday in July) to the Festival of Sopile Players (Smotra sopaca) and the Summer Festival of Krk Folklore (Festival krčkog folklora) featuring classical music, opera, ballet and theater performances.
Krk is often dubbed the Golden Island – Insula Aurea (Zlatni otok) as it abounds in tasty fruits of both the sea and the soil. The island's cuisine is based on the specialties from the sea, homemade pasta, lamb, goat cheese and prosciutto.
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Islet of Košljun
The islet of Košljun located in the Punta Bay not far from the town of Krk is ideal for short excursions. It has a library with over 20,000 scriptures written in the Glagolitic alphabet and an ethnographic museum in a Franciscan Monastery dating from 1447.
Rab Island - The emerald island of Kvarner
With its picturesque coves and beaches the farthest southern island of the Croatian Kvarner region, a charming island haven in the southern Kvarner area, invites the visitors to enjoy a relaxing vacation enriched with numerous cultural and entertainment events.
With its pleasant Mediterranean climate, Rab is a hospitable vacation island. It is the last and farthest southern island of the Kvarner archipelago separated from the mainland by the Velebit Channel. At the same time, the island represents a transparent dividing line between Southern and Central Adriatic. This is where Dalmatia begins and Continental Europe meets the Mediterranean. The best connection with the mainland is provided via the ferry between Jablanac on the mainland and Mišnjak on the southern end of the island (a 12-minute ride).
During the summer months, the island is also connected via a ferry between Valbiska on the island of Krk and Lopar on the northern side of the island of Rab (a ride of approx. one and a half hour).
The island of Rab, known for its picturesque beaches, is located between the island of Krk and the island of Pag and has an area of approx. 94 sq km. Organized tourism has existed here since the time of the Austro-Hungarian (K.u.K.) Monarchy. The main town called just like the island, Rab, is considered one of the most beautiful towns on the Croatian Adriatic coast. This picturesque old town is characterized by four church bell towers and beautiful Renaissance buildings. The island has a population of 9,000 and includes the ancient main town bearing the same name and seven other idyllic communities. Its citizens are mainly engaged in agriculture, fishing, shipbuilding and tourism. The town walls, together with the four bell towers, remind of a boat sailing in the wind. During the summer months, as part of the Rab Musical Evenings (Rapske glazbene večeri), classical music concerts are regularly held at the cathedral and the Church of the Holy Cross (Crkva Sv. Križa). A walkway lit during the summer festivities and fishermen's nights offers a special experience. Each year at the end of July the island dons the apparel of times past during a spectacular medieval event called Rapska fjera featuring knight and crossbow shooting tournaments.
In addition to comfortable hotels, the town offers private accommodation with a family atmosphere and romantic camps as well. Everyone can find the type of entertainment to suit his taste since the town offers a variety of sports activities, fun excursions around the island, fish picnics and similar. Rab is a very popular destination of the lovers of sailing who are overwhelmed with the natural beauty of the island coves. There are two ACI marinas, in Supetarska Draga and the Rab Port, at their disposal
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Cres Island – The eco island of Kvarner
The island of Cres situated in Kvarner is a gem of the region’s landscape adorned with historic sights, unique natural phenomena and numerous opportunities for sports and active vacation. It is located in the northern part of the Kvarner Bay. A moveable bridge on the southern end of the island connects it with the island of Lošinj. The length of the coast of this hilly island is approx. 250 sq km, it is 66 km long and from 2 to 12 km wide. It has a very indented coast with a lot of coves, pebble beaches and cliffs in the northern and eastern parts of the island. The highest summit called Gorica (648 m) and the somewhat lower summit called Sisa offer exquisite views of the entire Kvarner Bay. The evergreen Mediterranean cypress trees, hundred-year-old olive orchards, blooming lavender and small picturesque villages are characteristic to this second-largest Adriatic island. There is no mass tourism on the island, i.e. the tourists are offered an intimate atmosphere. In spite of that, Cres has developed a diverse tourism and sports offer and is known as a haven for sailors and divers. The historic town of Osor, connecting Cres with the island of Lošinj by a moveable bridge, turns into a classical music stage during the summer. We recommend a visit to Lubenice as well, a small village built 4,000 years ago on a steep cliff at 387 m above sea level. This picturesque village with a bell tower and a Gothic Church of St. Anthony the Recluse (Crkva Sv. Antuna pustinjaka) dating from the 15th century is a romantic venue where the internationally known Lubenice Musical Evenings (Lubeničke glazbene večeri) are held.
A special natural phenomenon of the area is the freshwater lake called Vrana that is situated above sea level, while the bed of the lake lies at 74 meters below it. Cres is characterized by great differences between the northern part with high, thick forests and its central and southern Mediterranean parts with meager pastures. Cres is also one of the last habitats of the Griffon Vulture, a constant attraction of lovers of nature. The Caput Insulae Eco Center is actively engaged in the protection of the Griffon Vulture.
Three reasons make Cres interesting to the gourmets: specialties made form fresh fish, shells and crabs, lamb (which can be compared to the pre-sale lamb from France) and olive oil produced from 150,000 olives, the island's specialty and brand. These Mediterranean dishes are mainly prepared simply cooked and seasoned with spices and olive oil.
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Lošinj – The island of vitality
From the first health resort visitor to the present-day tourist haven
The island of Lošinj with an area of 75 sq km is part of the Cres-Lošinj archipelago, the largest island group in the Adriatic (36 islands, islets and cliffs) by size situated in the peripheral part of the Kvarber Bay. Several attractive small islands are found close to the island of Lošinj: Unije (the island of olive orchards), Susak (the sand island and the island of vineyards), Ilovik (the island of flowers and beaches), Vele Srakane and Male Srakane. Lošinj is connected to the island of Cres with a narrow channel (via a moveable bridge).
With over 2,500 sunny hours per year, this island belongs to some of the sunniest places in Europe with sub-tropical vegetation abounding in palms, agaves, oleanders, pines, citrus fruit, sage and lavender. The island of Lošinj is a well-known climatic resort and it can be said that it is also a natural thalasso/wellness center (climate, forests, the sea, herbs with healing properties) offering various possibilities for numerous physical activities in a preserved, natural and 'fragrant' ambiance. With the development of maritime traffic in the 19th century, the Port of Mali Lošinj became a marine town in the center of the island. The tourism tradition of Lošinj started on January 21, 1885 and has continued ever since. The first tourist was Austrian scientist Conrad Clar who came to Mali Lošinj with his sick son, where the same was cured. Since then, the island has been known as a health resort. It got the official status of a health resort in 1882 on the basis of a decision passed by the then Ministry of Health of the Austro-Hungarian Monarchy. The rich cultural heritage that the numerous churches, monasteries, Renaissance buildings and remnants from ancient times, among which the ancient bronze statue of Greek athlete Apoxyomenos is of special significance, bear witness to, makes the foundation for the development of cultural tourism.
The picturesque bay with the town of Mali Lošinj is the heart of the archipelago whose restaurants, boutiques, candy shops and cafés situated along the walkway are crowded with people. Peaceful coves and pebble and rocky beaches can be enjoyed at a few-minute walking distance from the port. The town of Veli Lošinj is situated four kilometers further away at the foot of the historic forest park called Arboretum with over 200 tree species mentioned already in 1398. Baroque-style buildings, beautiful mansions and parks make this lovely town exceptional.
Croatian Research Project – Adopt a Dolphin
Their names are Debby, Sonja, Meta or Mush and they clearly enjoy the clean and warm Kvarner waters: we are referring to a total of 160 dolphins (Tursiops Truncatus) inhabiting the waters surrounding the islands of Cres and Lošinj. In order to ensure optimum living conditions for these dolphins, Croatian research institute called the Blue World (Plavi svijet) has initiated a truly special project under the motto: Adopt a Dolphin. At the price of only 20 euros, you can become fosters of one of the eight hundred often seen dolphins, a member of the Blue World and, in addition to informative materials, you will also get an adoption certificate and a photo of the adopted dolphin..
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The limestone soil of the island which used to be known for its wines is covered by a 10 m-thick layer of sand.
The vine, olives, fruit and flowers grow on this island situated south of Lošinj. On an area of almost 6 sq km there are approx. 35 inhabitants.
The largest of the small islands. It is a hilly island with scarce vegetation and steep cliffs on the western side. The people living on the island are engaged in agriculture and fishing.