Istria is the westernmost region of Croatia and its biggest peninsula. Istria’s beautiful coastline is an epitome of diversity: while its western coast is indented and has shallower waters, its eastern coast has much deeper waters as the terrain plummets from the highs of Učka mountain right into the Adriatic, forming unforgettable views. Tread in the footprints of Argonauts in their search for the Golden fleece and visit Pula, Istria’s largest cultural centre featuring fascinating Roman temples and lovely baroque architecture, or just head to one of the smaller coastal towns and experience authentic Mediterranean cuisine seasoned with home-made olive oil and a splash of excellent wine.
Situated just off Istria’s eastern coastline, the Bay of Kvarner is host to Croatia’s largest islands – Krk and Cres – and numerous other smaller islands, untouched by modernity, where only a handful of locals and even fewer tourists enjoy the peace and quiet of authentic island life. Immerse yourself in the bustle of everyday life in Rijeka, third biggest town in Croatia, enjoy water sports and rich cultural heritage in Krk, soak up the sunshine at one of Cres’ hidden beaches, walk around the entire Island of Susak or simply marvel at the moonlike terrain of Pag. Kvarner is here to amaze you!
Istria and Kvarner in a nutshell
Pula → Rovinj → Medulin → Unije → Lošinj → Osor → Cres → Pula
Day 1: Pula → Rovinj
We embark from the largest city in Istria, Pula, and sail north towards the town of Rovinj where we will be welcomed by its richly indented archipelago of more than 15 islets and rocks and the church of St. Euphemia perched on the top of the hill. Rovinj offers plenty of opportunities for sightseeing, modern accommodation, excellent catering facilities, and a decent sized marina.
Day 2: Rovinj → Medulin
On our way to Medulin, a small but well-known and liked tourist destination in the south of Istria, we will stop by the Brijuni National Park. Brijuni are comprised of 14 islands and islets just off the west coast of Istria, near the town of Fažana. They are bursting with historic significance and sights well worth seeing. One of its most exciting features has to be a wildlife safari packed with animals from all over the world roaming freely in the Mediterranean sun.
Day 3: Medulin → Unije
We leave Medulin behind to sail to Unije, a small island located to the northwest of Lošinj. Unije has been continuously inhabited since ancient times, but today only 100 permanent residents remain. It is conveniently located and serves as an excellent shelter from storms and strong winds (both eastern and western) offering several anchorage spots.
Day 4: Unije → Lošinj
We continue to sail south towards Susak, a small, sparsely inhabited island made entirely of loess. It features two very traditional villages and a number of beautiful sandy beaches where we stop for a swim. Then we sail north toward the Island of Lošinj to visit the largest settlement on Croatian islands – Mali Lošinj. It is well known as a cultural and spa centre with numerous restaurants, shops, and bars.
Day 5: Lošinj – Osor (Island of Cres)
After a relaxing night in Mali Lošinj, we continue towards a small island named Ilovik, known as the “island of flowers”. Ilovik’s only settlement, Ilovik, offers a sheltered bay on the northern side of the island, and features just a handful of restaurants, cafes and shops. From there we set course towards Osor, a historic village situated in-between Lošinj and Cres, a sailors’ favourite (as there is a small but deep waterway between the two islands).
Day 6: Osor → Cres
Leaving Osor, we head to the biggest town and administrative centre of the Island of Cres – Cres. On our way there, we stop at Lubenice (St. Ivan beach, to be exact). About 400m above the beach, situated on a steep cliff, is the village of Lubenice itself, also well worth visiting if just for the breath-taking panoramic view.
Day 7: Cres → Pula
After a week of easy and relaxing sailing, we head back to where we started from – Pula. The trip back will be an excellent opportunity to soak up the natural beauty of the northern Adriatic – its clear blue waters and the indented southern coast of Istria.