Sailing among the most enchanting islands of Kvarner
When sailing from one island to another in the Kvarner archipelago in Croatia, it is impossible for one not to be fascinated by its peaceful atmosphere full of history, the coasts rich in fragrant Mediterranean scrub, the small towns and the colorful fishing villages, but especially the splendid beaches and the deep blue water. This is why sailors like Kvarner so much, among these islands they can choose from countless itineraries, all of them satisfying, different and full of charm. We are talking about the largest inland seawater area in Croatia. Its ports offer safe mooring and shelter where lovers of silence and intimacy can find small fishing villages, mountain paths and lonely gulfs.
So here is a 7-day cruise to explore this charming part of the Croatian territory with many beautiful stops, nights at anchor or in port, that will remain in your heart.
Boarding is in the city of Punat inside the Marina Punat, the largest and oldest port on the Adriatic. Punat is the second largest settlement on the island of Krk. Its narrow streets and old stone houses offer incredible views and surroundings for boaters. The main attractions and the various fish restaurants, cafes and wineries are within walking distance from the port. The beaches are located north from the port along the entire coast of the city to the Gulf of Krk. It’s nteresting to see the Krk Castle even just its outer walls. There is also an electric train that allows you to quickly explore the coast, as well as a nice water park in the city center. Before leaving, you can take a pleasant walk on the island of Kosljun which is located in the middle of the gulf a few hundred meters from Punat. The rich vegetation of the small island hides a monastery and a church.
With just over 14 miles, the crew can reach Lopar, on the island of Rab. The boat can be moored in the Aci Marina Rab which is located in the north of the island and which offers modern and quality nautical services. Pleasant restaurants and cafes can be found nearby which attract hungry visitors. Lopar is known for its lush nature and beautiful sandy beaches that stretch along the rugged coastline, bays and inlets. Along the sandy coast of Lopar there are a number of islands, islets and rocks including Goli Otok, Grgur, Lukavac and Skoljic, all of which can be visited by boat, taxi boat or organized excursion. Very popular are three naturist beaches (Ciganka, Sahara and Stolac), while the most famous beach is called Paradiso (Rajska Plaza), it is 1,500 m long and boasts the Blue Flag, a symbol of cleanliness, quality of services and ecological commitment.
Day 2, Lopar – Opatija (island of Pag), 26 miles
After leaving the moorings we sail to Opatija, the capital of the island of Pag. A berth can be easily found in the Marina Novalja which is located in the northern part of the island. The port offers around 100 berths for yachts with a length of up to 20m and a maximum draft of 5m. Novalja has a great nightlife full of parties, it is no coincidence that it is the favorite place of young people. For those who enjoy diving, the famous peak of Pag might be interesting to visit. For the rest you can take advantage of the countless tourist and leisure activities with an incredible view and many restaurants by the sea near the port.
The cruise is resumed with destination Susak. It is a small island that covers an area of less than 4 square kilometers and has a permanent population of just around 150 people. As one of the most remote Croatian islands, Susak is a bit of a step back in time in terms of life and tourism. No cars are allowed on the island, so you can take advantage to explore by bike or on foot. For example, visiting the lighthouse located on the highest point (98m high) or an abandoned military outpost from the 20th century.
Also worth seeing is the 18th century church of San Nicola. As for its beaches, the best known is Spiaza in the north of the island, but there are also Baldarka in the north-west, Nasuzanski a small rocky beach with a beautiful water color and the splendid bay of Porat. A fun fact: in Roman times, the island was called Sansegus or Sansacus, which derive from the Greek word oregano, a herb that grows abundantly here and gives off a very good scent.
Day 4, Susak – Mali Losinj, 9 miles
Time to get back to sailing to reach the beautiful Mali Losinj, a welcoming Mediterranean city which is also in a fantastic location. Its harbor itself offers a picturesque view with terraces and cafes all around. The property is located on the north side of the gulf. To understand the nature of Mali Losinj you have to walk first along its seaside and then through its alleys, where the views and perspectives change and you begin to perceive the greatness of its history. Among its buildings styles of past and present are mixed. You walk on the ocher-colored stones until you reach the cathedral, imposing and beautiful. Very characteristic is the fish market, open in the morning. Also worth your time is a visit to the Apoxyomenos Museum with a Hellenistic bronze statue of an athlete who cleanses himself at the end of his training found at the coast of Losinj at the end of the last century.
Just above the historic center of Mali Losinj is Il Giardino degli Aromi, a fragrant botanical garden that tells the island’s history through its aromas. The best point to admire Mali Losinj and the whole archipelago is located in Umpiljak where a thematic route and an amazing viewpoint have been made known by the name of Providence. You will remain speechless if you arrive here at sunset, it is definitely the best time to come to this place.
The next stop on this Kvarner cruise is Unije, a fascinating mountainous island with a coastline divided into numerous bays and inlets. At the foot of Mount Kriz in the western part of the island, there is the only town that you will find here called Polje, there is also an island at the bottom of a wide sandy bay with this very same name. The houses of Unije, with their very characteristic architecture, are set up in a manner that forms an amphitheater around the port. When the climatic conditions are more extreme, this place is not a good choice to spend the night and a shelter can be found in the bays of the eastern part of the island, in particular Maracol and the more isolated coves of Podkujni and Vognisca. Worth visiting is the Vnetak Lighthouse, a magnificent circular stone tower built in 1873 located on the southwestern tip of the island, as well as the ancient citadels of Turan, Malanderski and Kastel.
Unije is also known as the island of olive trees, a cultivation that boasts a very long tradition here with over 15,000 trees. Finally, do not miss the beach in the Polje – bay of pebbles mixed with sand, the crystalline sea, while in the northern part the cliffs prevail, with high rocks and small pebble bays.
Day 6, Unije – Cres, 27 miles
For the sixth day of our sailing cruise in Kvarner there is a short navigation of about 27 miles that will take us to Cres, a beautiful and rich in vegetation place. Here you can moor in the Aci Marina Cres, or in the small ports of Valun, Martinscica, Osor or anchor at the southeastern end of the island. The island of Cres offers a long and varied coastline, with many charming coves and bays on one side and beautiful cliffs plunging into the sea on the other. Among all, Saint Ivan is probably the most beautiful beach on the island. Also worth visiting is the Blue Grotto, hidden and with a large blue lagoon inside. Another noteworthy beach is Mali Bok, located in Orlec. This pebble beach is sheltered by high cliffs that offer visitors a relaxing shade, perfect for hot summer days.
Among the main attractions of the city of Cres is the Venetian round tower, which is the only tower left on the island, built in the 15th century. Also in the city, the Roman bridge preserved from the entrance to the city and the remains of the city walls of Cres, dating back to the Middle Ages, are worth a visit. Other places to sea are Beli and the historic village of Lubenice, famous for its excellent location on a 378-meter high cliff that offers stunning views of the Istrian coast.
Day 7, Cres – Malinska – Punat, 49 miles
Our sailing cruise itinerary in the beautiful Kvarner Bay includes Malinska in the bay of Dubašnica as the last stop. Here the conditions are perfect for anchoring, the bay is quiet and well protected. Malinska is one of the best-known tourist centers on the island of Krk. The town overlooks a bay in the northwestern part of the island, has a pleasant climate and is known for its spas and beaches.
At the end of the longest pier in the port is the lighthouse and all around there are bars and restaurants, where you can sip coffee and admire the sea and the seagulls. In addition to the church of Sant’Apollinare in Bogovici, in the heart of Malinska there is the complex of the church of San Nikola which in summer becomes the center of various artistic and cultural events. Malinska restaurants are have a rich gastronomic offer composed of ancient dishes mainly focused on seafood and freshly caught fish in combination with locally grown vegetables, olive oil and wines from the island.