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Krk island – the cradle of Croatian culture – 10 things you should visit

The largest Croatian island, due to its beauty, in ancient times was called the golden island, will not leave anyone who decides to visit it indifferently. The mild Mediterranean climate, the azure Adriatic Sea, and the impressive historical and cultural heritage are making Krk one of the most beautiful Croatian islands. 

Cultural heritage gave it another name – the cradle of Croatian culture, and at the beginning of the 20th century, it was called the “sixth continent”. The 45th parallel passes through the island. Its longest part is 38 kilometers, and its widest about 20 kilometers. The coast is about 190 km long. The nearest distant mainland is only a hundred meters where the neighboring islands of Cres, Goli otok, and Rab are; it also has several islets (the largest Plavnik has 17 km, and the smaller Školjić only 400 m of the coast); it has an unusually diverse relief, climbing from northwest to southeast – from picturesque gentle ditches and bays over fertile fields and dense forests with sub-Mediterranean vegetation to the area of bare karst and an entire mountain landscape. 

Krk flora contains about 1400 species of terrestrial plants, almost half of the total flora in Croatia. The unique plant “Barbašova lazarkinja” is a world rarity; it grows in the world only in the Baška bay. 

The island of Krk is located in the center of the Kvarner Bay and is one of the most attractive tourist destinations in Croatia. Unlike some other islands, Krk is exceptionally well connected to the mainland by road, air, and sea. Since 1980, Krk has been linked to the mainland by a 1430-meter-long Krk bridge. The island of Krk is only 30 kilometers away from the city of Rijeka – traffic, business, trade, university, and cultural center of Kvarner. 

Its title of one of the most popular tourist destinations in Croatia Krk can, among other things, thank its diverse tourist offer. Krk is popular with families with children, couples, and adventurers in search of a shot of adrenaline alike. 

In the following lines, we bring ten places worth visiting during your stay on the island of Krk.

1. City of Krk 

The city is dominated by the magnificent cathedral complex, although it is not in a higher position. Krk Cathedral, along with the Frankopan Castle, is the most famous city motive. The city of Krk was already mentioned by the blind Greek Homer in his renowned poem under the name of Korea, and many researchers connect this name with the inhabitants of the island of Krk. The early Christian basilica was built in the 5th century on the site of thermal Roman spas. The castle was built gradually from several elements. Today, it is a square building, 27 m long inside and 17 m wide, while its perimeter walls are 9 m high. In the north, it has a round tower, on the west corner, there is a square Frankopan courtroom, on the east side towards the sea, there is a square tower, and on the west side, there is a watchtower. The main square of the old city is called Kamplin: which is derived from the Latin word “campus”, meaning field. During Roman times, a training area was located here close to the thermal Roman spas. 

In addition to the architectural beauties of the city of Krk, there are also beautiful beaches, cafes, restaurants, and old streets of the city that were created for walking and soaking up the grain of history that this city offers. 

2. Baška 

Right here, around the year of 1100, the baptismal certificate of the Croats – Bašćanska ploča (Baška tablet) was found. Baška is also recognizable by one of the largest and most beautiful pebble beaches on the Adriatic coast, with a semicircle length of more than 1.800 meters. The naturally fine sand, in particular, allows non-swimmers and children to enjoy the beach as the depth of the sea gradually increases. 

Like other places in Krk, in the old part of this place, there are narrow streets with houses close to each other, so the atmosphere is the typical Mediterranean. Apart from the beautiful beach, Baška is interesting for its characteristic architecture, numerous cultural and historical monuments, and the surrounding excursion trails. Baška is also recognizable for its high-level accommodation facilities, from hotels, camps to private accommodation facilities. 

3. Jurandvor – Bašćanska ploča 

Jurandvor is known as the place where the Bašćanska ploča (Baška tablet) was found – an old Croatian monument, one of the foundations of the Old Croatian language and Glagolitic alphabet. Its content is related to the donation of land by King Dimitar Zvonimir to the local Benedictine monastery. In Jurandvor is the church of St. Lucy, where is a copy of the Baška tablet (the original is held in the Croatian Academy of Sciences and Arts in Zagreb) and near the church are the remains of a Benedictine monastery. This place is worth visiting to see a part of the foundations of Croatian historical heritage and the Glagolitic alphabet. 

4. Zipline Edison Krk 

Zipline Edison is a unique attraction on the island of Krk. The “canopy tour” offers visitors an unforgettable experience through driving an off-road vehicle, walking through impressive landscapes, zip lines, all at a length of more than 2 km. The tour gives beautiful sightseeing; the south of the island of Krk, Baška, and the island of Prvić. With high doses of adrenaline, the ride lasts a total of about 2 hours on numerous zip lines overlooking the Adriatic Sea and the beautiful rugged landscape. 

The “canopy tour” begins by getting familiar with the safety equipment, dressing, and checking it. Visitors then pass a short training and jump into the field vehicle that will transport them two and a half kilometers away – at the Zipline start. Upon arriving at the location, visitors receive another reminder and instructions necessary for the “canopy tour”. Passing the first line, the so-called “Baby line”, visitors learn the basics of zip lining (braking, monkey style). After that, the adventure begins. 

5. Immortelle plantation

In the municipality of Omišalj (near the airport) on agricultural land of 80.000 m2, 360.000 immortelle seedlings are grown completely ecologically. Next to the plantation is a distillery in which the green mass of immortelle is thermally processed, where are obtained immortelle essential oil and hydrolase (fragrant water). Products such as immortelle essential oil and hydrolase are included in the list of island products of the island of Krk for which the manufacturer owns the Croatian island product brand. From the top of the plantation, there is a view of the canal between the mainland and the island of Krk, where the historic battle between Caesar and Pompey took place. Defeated Caesar’s soldiers, isolated on the Bejavec peninsula, built barrel rafts to reach the mainland. It is believed that these barrels were made by local Liburnians. There is the first historical trace of this event in the world where the barrel is mentioned as a means of packaging.

6. Underwater Park Punat

The Underwater Park Punat is a unique attraction that one should enjoy while visiting Punat and Krk’s island. It is a secure and charming underwater stroll on the sea bed, and site visitors can witness the extraordinary vegetation and fauna and the pirate treasure. For maximum safety, alongside the underwater sea route, the path will lead certified skilled guides. The underwater sea stroll does not require any knowledge of swimming or diving. It is an extraordinary experience and a fantastic opportunity to discover the underwater world from within

7. Biserujka Cave 

At first glance, the landscape around the Biserujka cave is mostly deserted, rocky, and uninteresting. Still, it is characterized by some features that make it worth getting to know in more detail. Therefore, the Biserujka cave and the Slivanjska bay are connected by an educational hiking trail where every visitor can learn about more exciting elements of the landscape with the help of five educational boards. The tour of the track takes about 30 minutes of easy walking. Biserujka Cave is located 300 m north-northwest of the village of Rudine in the municipality of Omišalj on the island of Krk. The cave is adjusted for tourists and is characterized by a wealth of cave decorations – calcareous sinters, stalagmites, and stalactites. With cave illumination being considerably increased, so too the interest for the existing treasure of the subterranean gallery. With its length of around 110 m and the dimension of its underground space, the interior part truly enchants with its beauty and curiosity of sediment shapes. According to the speleological classification is a simple cave with a cave entrance and a slightly sloping cave channel. It consists of several underground spaces: Entrance, Balcony, Window, Great Hall, North Channel, Hall with Bridges, and Cypress Hall. The cave temperature throughout the year is between 10 and 13 oC, and the occasional filtration, leaking from the roofs, and floor wetting only happens during the rainy period. Along the readjusted and safe pathways, the passage through the cave is now available to everyone – from children to adults. 

8. Beaches 

Vela Luka beach is 6 km away from Baška, and it is impossible to reach the beach by car or any other means of transport, but it takes several hours to walk through the karst of Krk. This beach can of course be reached from the sea, by boat or by using a taxi boat. This beautiful beach consists of fine pebbles and sand, and regardless of its distance from civilization, you can enjoy a restaurant as well as rented sunbeds, umbrellas, and pedal boats. 

Vela plaža is undoubtedly one of the most beautiful natural beaches in Croatia with a perfect sea. The beach is entirely natural, the sea is turquoise blue, and big waves are fortunately very common for sailors and surfers. What makes this beach unique is undoubtedly its length of 1.800 m, and it also has the Blue Flag, which signifies a remarkably preserved, safe, and pleasant environment and the purity of the sea and beaches of the highest quality. 

Potovošće is a pebble beach located about ten minutes’ drive from the center of Vrbnik in a southerly direction. The beach can be reached by a narrow asphalt road that ends with parking near the beach. On Potovošće, you can rent deck chairs and parasols, and when you want shade, you can look for it in a small beach bar where you can refresh yourself. 

Porporela beach is one of the most beautiful beaches in the city of Krk, and in addition to being extremely beautiful, it also has the Blue Flag, which is a guarantee for the purity of the sea and the quality and right equipment of the beach itself. This beautiful beach is located just a few minutes’ walk from the city center, near the camp Ježevac. One part of the beach is sandy while the other part of the beach is pebbly, which makes this beach perfect for families with children, disabled persons, older swimmers, and everyone else. 

9. Island Krk specialties 

∙ Fig days 

Fig, the most widespread and highly valued fruit of the Mediterranean, which has fed the island’s population for centuries, has been neglected in this area in recent decades. This event, which has been held in the city of Krk since 2007, in addition to enriching the tourist offer and promoting figs as an agricultural branch, seeks to encourage caterers, producers, and traders to include this valuable fruit in their bid. During the event, delicious sweet and savory dishes can be tasted from this delicacy in numerous restaurants. 

∙ Wine days 

Place: Vrbnik. The queen of the Wine Day is, of course, Vrbnička žlahtina, an autochthonous variety of white grapes that thrives only in Vrbničko polje on the island of Krk. Žlahtina is named after the Old Slavic adjective “žlahten”, which means noble, and with it, you can enrich the gastronomic delicacies offered under the common name “Popi i pojedi” (eng. Drink and eat). Apart from Žlahtina, the northern side of Krk, which has a somewhat harsher climate, is also proud of Istrian Malvasia, Opačevina, Draganel, and other lesser-known, mostly white, varieties. 

∙ Olive days 

The gastronomic event “Olive Days”, as the first event in Croatia in which mainly foreign and then domestic tourists participate in the olive harvest, has been going on continuously since 1996. Organization of activities such as demonstration pruning in the olive grove, professional education, and training, presentations, and tastings of olive oil for olive growers, caterers, and chefs is organized to know how to use and present olive oil properly. There is also a culinary competition or gastronomic promenade in Punat restaurants “ZLATNA MASLINA”, with a presentation of pairing local wines and traditional dishes, all to expand the use of olives and olive oil in the daily menu, in restaurants and households. 

Of course, in addition to the traditional days that celebrate and glorify Krk specialties, we suggest trying some of the traditional recipes that can be found in Krk restaurants and taverns such as šurlice with žvacet (fussili in a lamb sauce with sheep cheese). Also, sardine buzara with potatoes and the famous Duchess of Krk cake (Krčka kneginja). 

10. Košljun island 

The island of Košljun is located in the Punat Bay along the island of Krk. It is 750 m away from a little town Punat. It can be reached by rented boats on the waterfront in Punat, which run all day on this route. 

Košljun is one of the most essential natural – geographical and cultural-historical units in the northern Adriatic. Since the 15th century, the Franciscans friars are cohabitating this island. These very valuable friars have managed to create a nature reserve (about 400 rare plants) from the island and in the middle is the monastery. 

The first thing you will see is a statue of St. Francis of Assisi with a domesticated wolf, which symbolically depicts how wildlife becomes a man’s friend – this is precisely what happened to nature on the island of Košljun. The forest of evergreen oak trees creates a shelter and protects the monastery and saves the fertile land, which would otherwise be blown away by the wind or submerged by the rain. Therefore, the island would be neglected and lifeless, like most other islands in the Adriatic Sea. Because the whole island was arranged as a museum, it is necessary to pay a ticket (20 kunas), of which the local monks live today. Various events, concerts, and exhibitions are prepared on the island for the same purpose. 

But, to talk about Košljun and not to mention the small village Punat, is unimaginable. Punat is one of the largest nautical centers in Croatia, and it is also the island’s olive-growing center. Punat and Košljun have being connected for centuries; the lives of the Franciscan friars and the people from Punat are mutually intertwined. Punat was once a renowned shipyard for wooden boats and headquarters to a powerful steamship company, now a popular tourist destination, thanks to the appreciation of the excursion/tourist values of the islet of Košljun and one of the largest and best-equipped tourist marinas on the east coast of the Adriatic. Thanks to the marina’s year-round operation and events such as the Croatia Cup regatta and Olive Days, Punat receives foreign visitors even after the end of the season. 

Good to know: 

∙ Krk is the Croatian island with the most populated places, 68 of them. ∙ Punat is a place with the oldest marina on the Adriatic territory. 

∙ Vrbnik boasts the narrowest street in the world. It is about Klančić Street, which is just over 50 cm wide. 

∙ Baška can be reached by the Treskavac mountain pass along the canyon of Vela rika (river), which is the most extended inexhaustible stream on the Adriatic islands. Lastly, on the island exists three streams and two lakes. 

∙ In 2019, Krk was declared the best small town in Croatia in terms of quality of life and economy. 

∙ The island of Krk has an area of 406 km2 and along the neighboring island of Cres is the largest in the Adriatic. 

∙ The island of Krk is home to 1502 species of butterflies, which makes it the island with the most butterfly species in the Adriatic Sea. 

∙ The Krk Folklore Festival, founded in Omišalj in 1935, is the oldest event of its kind in Croatia. At the festival, you can hear the sounds of the folk instrument sopile, an ancient wind instrument. 

∙ The island’s number of destiny is seven: it was inhabited by the Croatian people in the 7th century, it survived pirate attacks seven times, the seventh Frankopan prince was the last prince of Krk, and today the island has seven principal centers.

∙ At the height of their rule, the Frankopan family-owned territory equal to half of today’s Croatia 

∙ The average life expectancy on the island of Krk is usually over the national average. ∙ Fifteen blue flags fly over beaches on the island of Krk. 

∙ Marina Punat has won the blue flag continuously since 1998. 

∙ The island of Krk is included amongst Europe’s sunniest parts, having 2500 hours of sun per year.

References: 

1. www.krk.hr 

2. https://www.baska.hr/opcina-baska/naselja/jurandvor/ 

3. https://zipline-edison-krk.com/hr/zipline/ 

4. http://www.naturaconsulting.hr 

5. http://www.spilja-biserujka.com.hr 

6. https://enjoykrk.com/hr/plaze-na-krku 

7. https://www.aurea-krk.com/island-krk-beaches 

8. https://www.apartmanija.hr/apartmani/dani-vina-krk-vrbnik 

9. http://www.otokkrk.com/otok-kosljun/

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