The island of Cres is the largest island in the Adriatic, located in the northern part of the Kvarner bay. In the south, in Osor, it is connected with the island Lošinj via a drawbridge.
The coast of the island is 66 kilometres long and very well developed, rich in numerous coves and pebble beaches in its western and southern part, while the northern and eastern part are characterized by steep and harsh rocks.
A specialty of the island is its freshwater lake Vransko jezero, whose surface is above sea-level and bottom beneath at the depth of 74 metres. The lake water is of high quality and drinkable. Moreover, it belongs to the cleanest lakes in Europe, which is why access to the lake is strictly forbidden.
The northern part of Cres is rich in red oak, hornbeam, elm and chestnut tree forests, while the mid and southern parts are covered in pastures and thick macchia. Research has identified 1,100 plant species, 939 of which are indigenous. The island is particularly pleasant in the spring when the nature flourishes and the scent of aromatic plants starts to fill the air.
The best proof that the sea of the Cres aquatorium is extremely clean is the population of dolphins that inhabits it. It is supposed that the population counts between 100 and 150 dolphins. The steep and inaccessible parts of the eastern coast, which are an ornithological nature park, are one of the last habitats of an extremely rare bird – the griffon vulture. The Ancient name for Cres and Lošinj was Apsyrtides Nesoi or the Osor islands seeing as until the canal at Osor was constructed this was one island.
The town of Cres is a fortified town developed on the western part of the island under the island’s ridge, where the prehistoric settlement and Ancient fortification (Crexa, Crepsa) used to be. Cres was inhabited in prehistoric times, which can still be seen by objects from that time, and began to develop in the middle ages. One of the more notable cultural and historical monuments of the town is the palace of the family Petris (Petrić) from the 15th century. It is actually the oldest patrician palace of old Gothic architecture, which the Cres locals term Arsan. Today it harbours a museum.
One of the most interesting and special places on the island is certainly the town of Lubenice, located on a cliff 382 metres above sea-level. This stony town or fortification is a gemstone of Croatian rural architecture. It is a picturesque town with medieval monuments and old stone houses located in three sinuous rows along a calcareous ridge. Alongside remains of medieval fortification systems and a few sacral buildings, the specialty of this town is its unique view of the sea and the St John (Sveti Ivan) bay, with an amazing pebble beach.
Beli is one of the oldest Cres towns and used to be one of its most important ones. This acropolic town is settled on a high hill above the eastern coast of the northern part of the island. In the town there is an eco centre, „Caput Insulae“, engaged in preserving biodiversity, original values and the cultural and historical heritage of the island. It is also active in implementing the integral protection of the griffon vulture.
The town Martinščica is a relatively recent town, located on the tamest part of the island’s coast, next to a spacious bay facing the southwest. The lovely town is decorated with an abundance of Mediterranean greenery and is oriented exclusively towards family and camping tourism. Along with the beautiful beaches to the north of the town, set in untouched nature, there is a number of possibilities for a quality active vacation.
On the southern part of the Valun bay, between two amazing pebble beaches, there is the town Valun, a picturesque littoral town with a small harbour at its centre, also oriented towards family and camping tourism. Alongside numerous privately owned apartments, visitors are also offered accommodation in two hotels: Kimen in Cres and Zlatni lav in Martinščica, as well as four auto-camps in Cres, Martinščica, Belo and Valun.
Primorje-Gorski kotar County Tourist Board
Town of Cres Tourist Board