A unique hiking trail has been established in Croatia that will redefine island hopping. Named Via Apsyrtides, the transversal runs through the islands of Cres, Lošinj and Ilovik, providing a new way to explore the Croatian coast and bask in the dreamy Mediterranean vibes unbothered by the summer crowds.
The long distance trail connects Cape Jablanac, the northernmost point of Cres, with Cape Radovan on Ilovik island at the southern tip of the archipelago. The trail is approximately 149 km long in total and consists of 11 stages varying in length and difficulty, totaling 4,000 metres of elevation.
Lošinj / Mario Romulić
Why Via Apsyrtides? The poetic name has its origins in the Greek myth of Jason and the Argonauts, a story which also gave the name to the entire archipelago of Cres and Lošinj.
When the Argonauts fled Colchis with the Golden Fleece, Medea’s brother Apsyrt was tasked with retrieving the stolen treasure. Legend has it that Apsyrt finally caught up with the crew in the Northern Adriatic, whereupon he was tricked by his own sister and was captured by Jason’s crew.
Jason killed poor Apsyrt and Medea then chopped his body into pieces, which transformed into islands upon being thrown into the sea. An unnecessarily cruel move, perhaps, but the newly formed archipelago was named the Apsyrtides in his honour.
Osor town, Cres island / Mario Romulić
Via Apsyrtides now runs through the entire archipelago and is almost ready to welcome the first thru hikers. Along the way, they’ll learn about the cultural heritage of the islands and their wondrous natural features. It’s envisaged for the trail to become a tourist product, one that will attract visitors outside the summer season and thus contribute to the development of sustainable tourism in the area.
hatIn 2021, a historic network of 75 kilometres of trails on Cres were restored as part of the European project VALUE. They’re now connected to the Via Apsyrtides transversal and marked with the recognisable VA logo in blue and red, along with educational panels put up along the route to get the hikers better acquainted with the island.
Trail marking was carried out by the company Xplore Cress in cooperation with authorised markers and according to the standards of the Croatian Mountaineering Association.
A comprehensive website is in the works that will present a detailed overview of all the stages, complete with trail maps and selected sights to discover along the route. The site is still under construction and should be completed in a few weeks, but the map and the overview are ready to explore – head here to discover what wonders await at Via Apsyrtides.