Silba – the Island of Love and Pedestrians

Total Croatia News


Continuing our look at the inhabited islands of Croatia on January 19, 2017, Sara Lovrović introduces her island  – Silba. 

(With thanks to the wonderful Pokret Otoka for their support in this initiative – a true force for good connecting Croatia’s islands)

Have a seat in our karić (three-wheeled improvised transport), relax… now begins a ride through our island, a ride through Silba!

Millennial photograph “Šibenik karići” by Šime Strikoman

Considering we picked you up on the waterfront, where you can only arrive via catamaran or ferry from Zadar, Lošinj or Pula, we head out from the main port Žalić uphill to the centre of town. Silba, an island of only 15 square kilometres, the northernmost island in the Zadar archipelago, is also called the “gate of Dalmatia” with only a single settlement named Silba. While we climb uphill on one of the main streets, on your left and right you may notice classic old Silba family homes with wonderful courtyards and an abundance of indigenous plants such as rosemary, lavender, laurel and loquat.

Very quickly we arrive to the first station – stop! In front of you is a building of unique architecture with a romantic tale of love – the Toreta. It rises in the very centre of town and is a visual symbol of Silba. After we’ve read the info board and learned of the love story in which captain Marinić, instead of marrying his adolescent love, marries instead her daughter Domenika. The construction of the Toreta was a promise given to the adolescent love so she may look out from it and wait for his return, but after a long wait she married another. Hence captain Marinić built the Toreta only in 1872 for his wife Domenika.

Petar Marinić – constructor of the Toreta

Moving on… On your left we come across the post office and our postman Neno who holds the only license on the island for a motor vehicle he uses to deliver mail to even the farthest homes on the island. Neno nods to say hello, honks his motorcycle and rushes on with his business and we move on with our ride. Do not worry of traffic congestion as there surely won’t be any. In case you didn’t know, Silba has a ban on automobiles year round, even bicycles in the summer season.

We ride on to the second station – stop! We find ourselves on the square in front of the primary school, also the only school on the island with 7 pupils and facing the local council building which houses the library, Society for the Protection of Natural and Cultural Heritage of Silba and carefully guards the Silba folk costumes of the Original Folk Group Silba, reconstructed form an oil painting of an unknown author from 1747 (kept in the Ethnographic Department of the People’s Museum in Zadar).

Members of the Original Folk Group Silba

We ride on and need to slow down as we are in the centre of town, in the midst of the summer season when the place is swarming with people. There are currently 7.000 of them on the island, some locals, some tourists, while in the winter there are 200 residents. Riding through the centre we pass by the main church, one of a total of 6 on the island. We just passed several bars and a pastry shop and stand a great chance of meeting some of the renowned artists who have been visiting Silba for years, drawing from its beauty and all it offers ideas for their creations. If we do happen upon them, we will not disturb them, but send a casual greeting and leave them in peace. Moving on, we will come upon the open space gallery of Marija Ujević-Galetović on the right side. Step off the karić and freely wonder the gallery.

Gallery of Marija Ujević-Galetović
Time to move on… While we ride on I will tell you of things we will never meet. Silba has a handful of small beaches accessible by many paths or via a boat. One of the bays named Papranica has no electricity, but that didn’t stop our residents who built their houses there and a small pier for their maritime transport and enjoy a true Robinson Crusoe life. Considering the copious amount of forests on the island to which it owes its name (Roman word for forest is Silva), it would not be strange if on one of your walks to a bay you happen upon a hedgehog, toad frog, non-poisonous Elaphe snake or one of many other numerous animals.

If you go for an underwater walk, even the main harbour will thrill you with a crystal clear sea full of sea urchins and other maritime dwellers, a rich biodiversity due to which Silba can boasts to be a part of Nature 2000. On the other side of the island if the Mul marina where you can anchor your boat. Not far from the marina is a wonderful sandy beach Šotorišće, also on of the largest Silba beaches.

Uvala Šotorišće

Marina Mul

If you feel like a more active vacation, there is a bowling ground in the centre of town and sightseeing of a protected underwater archaeological site featuring an antique sarcophagus, around 1.500 years old, at only several metres of depth, so you will only need a mask to view it.

Pocukmarak bay – sarcophagus

If you are hungry and thirsty from the long ride in the heat, you may choose any of the numerous bars, restaurants or konobas with a wide range of gastronomy, from pizza and pasta to grills and various sea delicacies. Considering Silba has recently been branded the first ECO islands in Croatia, it is no wonder there are many family farms around the island so you take home a souvenir such as local honey, medicinal creams, handcrafted ceramics and various handmade objects in techniques handed down by generations.

As we have been riding around for a while and the sunset is upon us, I will take you to the place with the most wonderful view of the horizon where the sun sets completely into the sea. While I leave you to process the impressions of touring all of Silba, I notice the fishing boats are off to their evening ride, their owners hunting squid. There are many boats each evening, the people are persistent. For some the catch is dinner, some go just for the joy of pushing off shore and enjoying the view from their boat for a change, realizing how lucky they are to be able to return to the island and call it home.

A view of the sunset and waterfront


















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