February the 5th, 2024 – Krk island is a wondrous destination that doesn’t quite get the same amount of press as its southern neighbours. Here’s what it has to offer its visitors.
As Dora S. Winter writes, back during the Iron age, a legendary Greek poet Homer talked of Koureto, now known as Krk island. It’s an island so great you can’t walk 200 metres without coming across all kinds of mementos from the past. This is so much the case, that it inspired its very own camino and was deserving of its own mobile app.
Until the 1990s, Krk island was considered the biggest Croatian island of all. Cres might have since taken its crown, but that didn’t quell Krk’s popularity Krk island is also commonly referred to as the island of Blue Flags, which are proudly waved as proof of the cleanliness of the sea, beaches and coastline. Out of a total of 37 blue flags in the entire area of Kvarner, an impressive fifteen of them are located on this beautiful island alone. Along with beautiful beaches, Krk’s special charm consists of narrow winding streets, centuries-old traditional stone houses and numerous gorgeous viewpoints overlooking the island.
How to get around Krk island: air, land and sea
Rijeka Airport is located near Omišalj. During the height of the summer tourist season there are regular airport shuttles from Rijeka Airport heading to the City of Rijeka or to Krk. If your plane lands in any of the bigger and better connected airports in Croatia, such as those in Zagreb, Pula, Split, Dubrovnik or even Osijek, there is a regular air journey connecting all of the major cities in Croatia by plane.
Krk island is also very well connected to the mainland by a wide, modern bridge. There are regular bus lines going from Rijeka and Crikvenica to the whole island, including the better known towns of Omišalj, Dobrinj, Malinska, Njivice, Baška and Vrbnik. Krk island has a lot to offer so the idea of a renting a car is absolutely worth entertaining. There are no tolls on island or on the bridge connecting you to the mainland. With the freedom of a car and a little bit of time on your hands, you’ll get to see a lot of beautiful places in the vicinity, such as Plitvice Lakes National Park which lies less than three hours away by road.
There are unfortunately no ferries or catamarans currently connecting Rijeka to Krk island, but during the tourist season, you do have the option of catching a boat from Crikvenica to the town of Šilo. There are also regular ferries connecting the two major islands: Cres and Rab, from the port in Valbiska.
Staying on Krk island
There are numerous hotels, campsites, and private accommodation offers available on the island. There truly is a little bit of everything for everyone here, from budget-friendly options to luxurious boutique accommodation. Both Valamar and Aminess, the two largest Croatian hospitality companies offering accommodation from campsites to hotels and resorts, are present on Krk. They rank highly among accommodation facilities in Croatia, so you can’t go wrong with choosing them. If you opt for a more personal experience with a smaller hotel or private accommodation, just be sure to check the reviews before booking.
The best places to visit on the island
Krk town centre is completely surrounded by old walls dating from Roman and Medieval times, enhanced further back when they were in the hands of the powerful Frankopan family, who added Frankopan Castle. They are the most well-preserved walls in the world after those down in Dubrovnik. From keeping knights and citizens safe during times of unrest to being used as a keepsake by the Austro-Hungarian Empire, Frankopan Castle is full of history and is a definite must see when on the island.
When coming to Krk Town, you’d probably assume that the mighty castle is the first thing you’d see. Wrong! The first thing you notice when arriving is Torrion – a square tower placed on Vela placa (large square). In the 15th century it was used as a town hall and a courthouse. This rather peculiar looking little building was used back during the 15th century as a watch tower facing out towards the sea.
Another historic attraction is Mala vrata (Little door) which was used as a backdoor to the inner part of town. Coming through Mala vrata, you arrive in the main square named Kamplin Square (Latin: campulus – meaning meadow).
If you’ve got kids in tow, they will be amazed by Krk’s tropical aquarium and Aquarium-Terrarium Krk, both of which are located in Krk Town.
If you love history and architecture, then you will certainly fall in love with the quaint fishing town of Baška. Here, you will find numerous cultural and historical sights such as the parish church from the 18th century, the church of St. John the Baptist from the 11th century, the local museum of Baška and Mrgare, and dry-walled buildings that look like flowers in the sun.
In the immediate vicinity of Baška, more specifically in the village of Jurandvor, you’ll find Baščanska ploča. This is one of the most valuable Croatian monuments of all. It dates all the way back to 1100. It is written in the ancient Glagolitic script and documents the gift of land by King Dmitri Zvonimir to the Benedictine Monastery.
Alongside Baška, Vrbnik is one of the most important places in regard to very early Croatian history. This is primarily owing to its Glagolitic heritage and one of the most famous folk songs of all „Vrbniče nad morem“ (My Vrbnik over the sea). Much like most other old towns in Croatia from that time period, the castle is located on a steep cliff at an altitude of around 50 metres.
In the labyrinth of narrow and winding old streets, there is one very special street. Klančić Street is considered one of the narrowest in the entire world, with the narrowest part measuring a little more than 40 centimetres, posing a real challenge for any adult.
While you’re there, don’t miss out on trying the lovely Vrbnik Žlahtina wine. Vrbnik has a centuries-old tradition of wine making. Almost every family here has a vineyard and makes wine at least for their own needs. Many local families offer wine to tourists on their doorsteps, while some have opened wineries, wine shops and catering/hospitality facilities. There’s something for everyone, from table to high-quality wine, Žlahtina (which is the most known in the area) to other white and black varieties, and from sparkling wine to prosecco.
Krk island’s top 3 most curious attractions
Your inner speleologist will be absolutely delighted with Biserujka cave located near the village of Rudine. This particular cave is rich in amazing stalactites and columns, even the bones of a Cave Bear have been found here. Always cold, it’s a fantastic escape from the scorching summer heat.
Located on the coastline between Čižići and Klimno sits one of the most famous beaches on Krk island, known as a healing oasis – Meline beach. Here, you’ll find healing mud known to help rheumatic patients. It is also frequently used in cosmetic products such as face masks. In addition to being medicinal, this precious mud can also be entertaining for everyone, and due to the extremely shallow sea here, it’s ideal for visiting with children.
The Maltempo Venetian fortress
If you are looking for a viewpoint on the better part of the mainland’s coast, you’ll definitely find it here. Located on Cape Vošćica, it was used by the Venetians as a vantage point to completely control maritime traffic in the area. Now, you can sip your morning coffee here in beautiful surroundings.
Other things to do on Krk island
Walk Krk’s very own Camino
The Camino Croatia represents a restored network of pilgrimage routes. One of the routes passes through the island of Krk and is known as Camino Krk. At 150 kilometres long, it’s more than enough for a seven day pilgrimage. All of the pilgrims who dare to cross Camino Krk will receive a pilgrim’s passport, collecting stamps along the way. it’s definitely a unique way to explore the island for walking lovers.
Cycling around Krk island is an utterly unique experience. The Mediterranean climate allows you to enjoy your journey which will reveal rich traditions and the island’s long, very impressive past. The enchanting landscape will give you a feeling of freedom and the silence is interrupted only by the sound of local birds chirping. Along the island’s almost 500 kilometres of bike trails, you’ll travel away from any traffic and noise, out onto deserted roads flanked by breathtaking landscapes and the calming sounds of nature.
Colourful shoal of fish, a rich abundance of marine animals, old shipwrecks, underwater rock formations, tunnels and caves… The magical world of the Adriatic Sea around Krk will take your breath away. Talking of water activities, there’s also sailing, paragliding and wake-boarding to be enjoyed here if you prefer staying above the surface of the water.
Day trips from krk
Košljun is a nearby island that can only be reached by boat. It is best known for its old Franciscan Monastery, where the monks collected all kinds of valuable objects for many centuries. Today, you can walk freely around the island and explore it all.
Formerly a women’s prison, today, this island attracts tourists with its beautiful Mediterranean greenery, crystal clear sea and the beautiful tame fallow deer that walk around freely.
Prvić is the largest uninhabited island in the entire Adriatic, as well as a protected botanical and ornithological reserve where numerous species of birds nest. A large number of endemic plant species can also be found growing here.
Krk’s gastronomic scene
A traditional sweet dish made from sheep’s cheese.
This is an interesting type of main dish made with šurlice (a form of Croatian pasta) with lamb goulash.
Vrbnik Žlahtina is one of the most famous wines grown and produced on the island. It thrives only in the wine-growing regions around the town of Vrbnik.