Let ACI marina Cres be your safe starting point from which to explore this interesting island.
The first known inhabitants of the island of Cres were the Liburns, who inhabited the island in the 7th century BC. In ancient times, Cres (which was then called Crepsa) became an important port and trading centre, especially the ancient city of Osor. The Venetian influence from the 14th century is seen still today on the facades of palaces, churches, city towers and gates of the main centre of the island, the homonymous town of Cres.
The island of Cres has a unique configuration of the natural environment: the northern part of the island is covered with steep and tall rocks and thick oak forests and is a natural habitat of a protected bird species: the griffon vulture. Due to these characteristics, the island is an ideal destination for adventures, exploration and sporting holidays. The southern part is rich in pebble beaches, bays and Mediterranean nature, creating the perfect conditions for an excellent vacation while enjoying sunbathing and swimming.
Top destinations on the island of Cres
Blue Grotto (Plava Grota)
The Blue Grotto is a sea cave located in the bay of Žanje, at the foot of the village of Lubenice. The cave has two entrances. The larger entrance is a little further away from the beach, but it can be entered swimming or with a canoe. The cave is interesting due to its 20-meter long and large indoor airspace. Inside the cave there is a real jewel that amazes the visitors – a small pebble beach.
The other narrow entrance is at the depth of several meters and can be accessed by diving. The light reaches through the cracks in the rocks and creates a magnificent atmosphere, making this cave special. During summer, in the late afternoon, the sun creates a game of light and water, reflecting the beautiful blue colour in various shades, by which the cave got its name.
After leaving the cave, which is naturally colder due to the small amount of sunlight, you can warm up on the warm seashore.
The beach Sveti Ivan under the village of Lubenice
Near the bay of Žanje there is a beautiful pebble beach of Sveti Ivan – one of the most beautiful hidden beaches in the world. The beach has been listed as 15th on the scale of the 40 most beautiful beaches in the world by the German magazine Bild. It takes about 40 minutes to reach the beach by descending through a path in the rock, but once you arrive there you will want to stay forever: the sea of pure emerald colour, the white gravel on the beach, green vegetation in the hinterland, and the magnificent open sea in front: like a scene from heaven!
Tramuntana is the northern part of the island of Cres. It is sparsely populated, mostly covered by forests, rocks, caves and pastures. It is especially appealing to tourists-adventurers, hikers, speleologists, walkers and nature lovers.
The area of Tramuntana is characterized by protected nature sites (special reserves) and archaeological sites dating back to prehistoric times (like the Banić cave) and to the antiquity and middle ages (Beli, Dol). Particularly interesting are the 7 labyrinths of rocks and the 7 educational paths, which will surely attract the tourists who are looking for knowledge and spiritual aspirations.
The village of Beli
Beli is one of the oldest settlements on the island of Cres with a rich history. This acropolis type village is situated on a 130 m high hill above the eastern coast of the northern part of the island, on the site of a prehistoric fortress. Today Beli is a beautiful seaside tourist village. Beli hosts the Eco centre “Caput Insulae”, which is intensely involved in preserving the natural diversity and cultural and historical heritage of the island of Cres.
The village of Lubenice
Lubenice is a prehistoric village, about 4000 years old, located on a steep cliff above the sea. The village is oval, with two parallel curved streets oriented south-north passing through it. The city was once surrounded by walls, whose remains can be seen in the northern part of the town, where there are also one of the city’s gates. In the summer, Lubenice host the cultural event “Lubeničke večeri”. Lubenice is also known for the dance called “lubeniška” with a folk costume of black fluttering skirts, aprons, shirts, jackets and scarves.
The city of Osor
Osor is an ancient city located at the intersection of the land and sea route. It is situated on the area that once connected the islands of Cres and Lošinj. This location was precisely the precondition for the establishment of this settlement, its flourishing, and later its ruin. For all these reasons, the rulers and regimes that ruled Osor controlled the traffic through the city and collected taxes. Today, Osor is a “town- museum” with many monuments and archaeological remains of its turbulent history.
The city of Cres
Cres is the administrative centre and the largest settlement on the island of Cres. It is a fortified city with a crowded urban structure, located at the bottom of a well-protected bay. This favourable position with regard to naval routes and connections with the main Northern Adriatic port centres provided Cres a leading role on the island.
Cres was inhabited since the prehistoric times, as evidenced by the prehistoric fort ruins. The town developed in the Middle Ages; in 1332 it received a statute and from 1459, during the Venetian administration, assumed the function of the economic and administrative centre of the Cres-Lošinj archipelago.
The old town centre, surrounded by rectangular walls with five towers and several city gates, has mostly preserved its former appearance until today. The city is full of beautiful Renaissance facades, palaces and a series of Gothic and Renaissance churches.
An active holiday on Cres
Sailing through the Kvarner gulf is a delight for all the senses: clear blue sea, numerous islands, hidden coves, picturesque towns and harbours of rich history, tourist centres and great gastronomic offer. There are also diving centres for those who like scuba diving, with various offers such as the exploration of wrecks under the sea and visits to some of the most beautiful beaches of the Kvarner and the Adriatic in general.
During your cruise of the Kvarner gulf, there is a great chance you will encounter dolphins, one of the rare mammals that inhabit the Adriatic, and you might even encounter a Mediterranean monk seal.
Cres – ideal for walks
Are you a fan of walking in the nature, cycling or kayaking? Then the island of Cres is an ideal place for you: there are more than 300 km of pedestrian and cycling paths and recommended kayaking route. The trails will take you to the most isolated parts of the island of Cres, hamlets, peaks, caves and beaches.
From easy to difficult – on Cres there are hiking trails for everyone
The walking trails on the island of Cres are different in their difficulty, from easy paths near the sea to more difficult mountaineering paths. Strolling, riding a bicycle or kayaking, you will encounter many of the 1,400 different types of plants; you will often meet sheep and donkeys or see the griffon vulture in flight.
Suggestions of trails:
Cres – Sv. Salvadur – Sv. Blaž
Trail length 12 km, 3 h, medium-difficulty trail
The trail begins in the northern part of the town of Cres and passes through centuries-old olive plantations along old stone walls (the so called gromače) built by the inhabitants in the past to separate their lands from other’s. Walking further, after about two hours, you will reach the church of Sv. Blaž and the homonymous sandy beach.
Sv. Salvadur – Uvala Gavza – Cres
Trail length 3.3 km, 1.30 h, medium-difficulty trail
The trail starts at the intersection near the church of Sv. Salvadur and passes through olive groves on rocky terrain all the way to the Gavza bay – from where you can go back to Cres by the sea-side trail.
Cres – Merag
Trail length 4.5 km, 1.30 h, medium-difficulty trail
The trail begins in the northern part of the town of Cres and leads through the hills of Cres to the remains of the church of St. Bartholomew (Sv. Bartolomej). The trail leads further to the small fishing village of Merag.
Cres – Krčina – Loznati – Cres
Trail length 12 km, 3 h, medium-difficulty trail
The trail begins in the marina and leads across a wide rocky road, known as the French road (Francuski put), to the village of Krčina. It continues to the village of Loznati from where it offers a beautiful view of the Velebit Mountain situated on the coast. From there the trail leads back to the town of Cres.
Cres – Nedomišlje – Valun
Trail length: 12 km, 3 hrs, medium-difficulty trail
A fire route will take you to the hamlet of Valun. Strolling down rocky paths through olive plantations you will reach the bay of Nedomišlje.
It is important for all hikers to know that there are no poisonous snakes on the entire island of Cres, so there is no fear of these reptiles. A legend says that poisonous snakes were cursed by the bishop St. Gaudentius (Sv. Gaudencije), guardian of the city of Osor, so there still aren’t any snakes on the island.
It is very hot in summertime, so you need to take plenty of water with you if you are taking a longer hike or bike ride.
Meet your common bottlenose dolphin!
Sail from ACI marina Cres and maybe you will be lucky enough to see a common bottlenose dolphin.
The common bottlenose dolphin (Latin name Tursiops truncatus) is a sea mammal and belongs to the toothed whale family. Its body is hydrodynamic and dark blue to greyish on the back, light grey on the sides and white on the belly. The dolphins grow up to 2 to 4 meters in length and weigh between 100 and 150 kg. The Adriatic species grow up to 3 meters and live for about 30 years.
They live in groups of 3 to 4 animals, although you can easily come across groups of 30 animals, but very rarely. Common bottlenose dolphins inhale air, so they have to come up to the surface of the sea periodically. They are able to stay underwater for 4-5 minutes while searching for food.
Common bottlenose dolphins feed on fish while swimming in pods, and those from Lošinj prefer white fish: European hake, goatfish, saddled bream, etc. Both in hunting and everyday life they communicate and use echolocation, high-frequency sounds to search for and capturing prey and to obtain the acoustic maps of their environment.
Dolphins do not reach their sexual maturity before the age of 10. As they live for about 30 years and breed every 3-5 years, they may have very few offspring. Their low birth rate makes them endangered and unable to repopulate. The mother carries its young for 12 months and then lives with it for the next 3-5 years. After that, the offspring is separated from its mother and young dolphins unite in smaller groups. These groups are the most playful and curious ones, so they often approach boats and perform various acrobatic tricks.
One of the interesting facts about them is that they sleep using only half of their brain and with one eye always open. This is because they live in the open sea and are always in danger.
Common bottlenose dolphins help each other in hunting, while giving birth and in case of disease: when a dolphin is injured, others help it, support it and bring it to the surface of the water for air.
If you want to help protect the common bottlenose dolphins, you can adopt your own dolphin.
Griffon vultures – loyal „family-oriented“ predatory birds
Griffon vultures are predatory birds belonging to the vultures. They are a protected specie, and the island of Cres is their ideal natural habitat. They are among the largest flying birds, growing up to 93 to 110 cm in height and weighing 7 to 12 kg, with a wingspan of 235 to 290 cm.
Griffon vultures are gentle partners – after selecting their partner, they remain with it for the rest of their lives. They live in colonies of more couples, they nest, eat and rest together. They build their nests on cliffs overlooking the sea from twigs, dry grass and wool. A female only lays one egg every year and both parents sit on it. The offspring is hatched after 2 months and stays in the nest for almost 4 months. During that time, the parents take care of it.
The village of Beli, in the eastern part of the island of Cres, features an eco-research centre for nature protection called ‘Caput insulae’. The centre engages in protection of this endangered bird that is facing extinction. Thanks to the efforts and activities of the Centre, the griffon vulture habitats on the island of Cres were pronounced ornithological reserves.
If you decide to look up to the griffon vulture, maybe you decide to build your nautical nest in ACI marina Cres.