With an area of 405 km², Cres is the largest Croatian island. The northern part of the 66 km long island is situated between Istria and Krk island, in the south it stretches as far as Pag island. Cres is connected to Lošinj island by a bridge at Osor.
One of the ranges of Učka mountain emerges here from the sea. On the northern part of the island, on the hillslopes oak and chestnut trees grow, moving down south olive groves rule the landscape. The plantation is much more dense here than on Krk island. Cres is famous for its more than 100 herbs that can be collected at regular times. The typical bird of Cres is Griffon vulture that is under protection. Vransko jezero (Lake Vrana) is located between Cres and Martinšćica villages. Its greenish surface differs sharply from the blue colour of the sea.
Cres has been inhabited since the stone age, in the 4th century BC Illyrian tribes settled down here. Two centuries later came the Romans and founded Crespa, the forerunner of today's Cres town. Following the century-old Venetian, Hungarian and Byzantian rivalry the island came under the rule of the Venetian Republic in 1409 and later the Habsburg Monarchy in 1797. Between the World Wars Cres belonged to Italy.
Cres has a mixed cultural and language heritage. The locals speak the so-called 'čak' dialect of Croatian and due to the century-old Italian influence, many of them speak Italian. The parish church of Valun keeps the so-called Valun board which is one of the oldest Glagolitic linguistic records. Besides the Glagolitic script the 11th-century board also displays a Latin inscription.
Getting here & around
1. Zagreb (A1) – Bosiljevo junction (A6) - Rijeka (A7, A8) - Opatija (66) - Brestova, ferry slip.
Motorway tolls: Zagreb – Rijeka 69 Kn
2. Zagreb (A1) – Bosiljevo junction (A6) - exit Oštrovica (road 501) - Križišće (523, 102) - Krk bridge (102, 104) - Valbiska, ferry slip.
Motorway tolls: Zagreb – Oštrovica 61 Kn
Krk bridge 35 Kn
Ferries run between Cres (Merag, Porozina) and Valbiska (Krk) and Brestova (Istria).
From Merag Cres town lies 14 km, from Porozina 26 km far.
When arriving to the town of Cres at first you will see a monument of the victims of World War II. Try to park here or turn left, then right into Zazid ulica which leads to the marina. In the summer evenings the marina (Riva Creskih Kapetana) with the restaurants and bars is bustling with life.
By ferry and boat
Brestova - Porozina (11-14 ferries daily)
Valbiska - Merag (12 ferries daily)
Rijeka - Cres catamaran
Rijeka - Cres (3 buses daily) 111 Kn
Cres - Osor (6 buses daily) 39 Kn
Cres - Veli Lošinj (6 buses daily) 51 Kn
Cres (www.cres.hr) is the largest town and the administrative centre of the island. It was founded by the Romans as Crespa in a small, well protected bay. In the Middle Ages the old town was surrounded by a wall from which only a tower and some decorated town gates remained. Cres is a charming historical town with ancient houses, narrow streets and a lovely marina.
The tourist office is located in the marina.
Tel: +385 (0)51 571 535
Working hours: daily, 8.00 - 14.00
Trg. Sv. Frane 6.
The monastery with the Church of St. Franje was built outside the town walls around 1300. In the Middle Ages the notables of Cres were interred in its cloister. In the centre of the courtyard a 14th-century stone well adorned with the carved coat of arms of Cres can be found.
From the old town wall three gates can still be seen. The main town gate can be found in the marina, under the Clock tower. From the niche above the gate the Venetian lion was removed after the fall of the Venetian Republic in 1797. The Bragadina gate stands at the corner of Bernardino Rizzi street, next to a playground and a yellow phonebox. This and the gate of St. Nicholas on the western wall still bear the symbol of the Venetian rule.
The round tower (Gradska kula) situated at the meeting point of Put Frotece and Zagrebačka ulica streets, is also a remnant of the town wall. At night it is illuminated.
Church of St. Isidor
Built in the 12th century, the Romanesque Church of St. Isidor is the oldest church in Cres. It is right in the centre of the old town, from Bragadina gate follow the Bernardino Rizzi-Pjaceta-Ulica Svetog Sidra route to find it. Above the richly decorated wooden gate St. Isidor bishop can be seen with the town hall and a rearing horse.
The winding narrow streets of the old town is lined with Renaissance and Gothic houses including the beautiful 15th-century Arsan Palace on Trg Arsan which houses the town museum. The Town Loggia in the marina is from the 16th century. At the corner of Trg Kapetana Nikole Draže square a Roman column has preserved from the Roman Crespa. Explore the cobblestone streets and discover the medieval houses decorated with old coat of arms and carved monograms.
Church of Our Lady of Snow
Pod Urom trg
When is this church, do not miss the Gothic glass windows on both sides of the main altar displaying biblical scenes. Above the organ the town's coat of arms can be seen: a rearing horse in a glittering blue background.
Osor is a tiny village at the rotating bridge which connects Cres with Lošinj island. It has only 80 inhabitants but its history stretches back to long centuries. As early as in the Roman times Osor was an important crossing point. The Croatian-Hungarian king, Coloman the 'Book-lover' granted town rank to the settlement in the Middle Ages and Osor became an episcopal seat.
Today the statues of musicians make Osor's ancient streets special. When the Music Evenings of Osor takes place in July and August, the square around the Church of the Blessed Virgin Mary comes to life.