Island of Cres: Croatian Hidden Gem for Yachting

6 minutes

Although situated next to the mainland, island of Cres is still hidden from the surge of boaters and offers magnificent beauties of marine, inland and gastronomical areas of the island

The story of the island of Cres is one of the most intriguing ones on the entire Adriatic. Located in the Kvarner Bay, Cres is perceived by ‘southern’ boaters as being almost part of the landmass, practically touching the Istrian peninsula and the adjacent island of Krk.

How to get to island of Cres?

However, getting to Cres is not easy, whether you take the Brestova–Porozina ferry or the Merag–Valbiska ferry line via the island of Krk. Cres is therefore, although in the heart of the Kvarner Bay, somewhat isolated which in turn preserved many values for which the boaters yearn. The fact that Cres is both the largest and the most sparsely populated Croatian island goes in favour of its fascinating history.

Cres Island Adriatic Sea

Although we cannot judge the life on the island, we can give only the highest marks for the contents it provides. Beautiful nature, the finest authentic island gastronomy, excellent anchoring possibilities in the sheltered bay and a fantastic ACI marina ascribe it attractive values that make it worth to set out on a journey to this island.

Things to do on Cres island

From a marine point of view, Cres offers countless bays, and the fact that almost every bay is sandy will mean much to luxury yachts with families. Thanks to the relatively small number of visitors compared to other Dalmatian islands like Hvar or Vis, you will enjoy peace and quiet in an authentic marine environment.

However, if you decide to sail a bit farther, the Central Adriatic is at your fingertips (you are also connected with the neighbouring island of Lošinj with a bridge). The indented coastline allows you to find a good shelter under any weather condition and what will make the yachtsmen especially happy is the high coast offering pleasant sailing without the high waves. Cres has not yet been, from a nautical point of view, completely discovered or, better said, completely occupied. The bay of the city of Cres is the point of origin for all cruises.

The first thing you will notice sailing toward Cres (44.96’ N, 14.41’ E) is the long ferry dock, and north to it, the mandracchio, a small harbor for fishing boats and small private boats, protected by two docks facing each other. On the outer side of the western dock, which closes the mandracchio, there are ten mooring spots with water and electricity outlets. The water is 5 meters deep around the western dock, and the bottom is sandy, but will hold an anchor.

ACI marina Cres

South of the ferry gate, there is a small boat yard, whose water and electricity outlets, as well as other amenities (toilets and showers) are available for use during summer. The southern part of this large cove is reserved for the big ACI Marina that represents one the of the best larger marinas on the Adriatic with 440 wet and 70 dry berths and the ability to accommodate yachts up to 50 meters in length.

ACI marina Cres

Although the marina is well protected from all sides, northern and southern winds can make it unpleasant, so on those days take a stroll around the town of Cres. Downtown Cres is old and picturesque, surrounded by defensive walls with five towers and three walls. The heart of the city is a maze: tall and slim houses bundled together in narrow streets that lead to one of the small squares.

Town of Cres

If you are into history, there is a lot to see in Cres – other than walls and towers, there are many churches small and big, monasteries, palaces, old town hall (and the pillory right next to it!), the Venetian tower and the town museum. Finish your history lesson at the medieval mandracchio, sipping something cold and looking at old boats. Cres is known for its local cuisine, and has many trattorias where you can enjoy it.

Walk the dinner off taking a brisk walk down the picture-perfect promenade meandering by the sea all the way from downtown to the Kovačina cape, stopping for a reflective moment in the St. Nicholas church on your way. The cape is know for its beaches, so don’t forget to dive into the crystal blue sea.


island cres lubenice

After leaving Cres, set sails for the not-so nearby, but totally worth it Lubenice, if for nothing else, than for a dinner in trattoria Hibernicia. The nearby Valunski bay is a peaceful place to drop your anchor – for example, in the mostly empty Nedomišlje cove – and go find the nearest beach.

The town of Valun nested in the bay is small, lovely and a favorite among yachts. Once you round the Pernat cape, you’ll find it difficult to choose where to drop your anchor: there are numerous peaceful little coves and bays on this side of the island – Grabovice, Zaglav, Miračine, Luka, Sveti Ivan, Žanja – almost all of them with 10 meters or more of water depth, all ready to welcome you for a relaxing day or two.

island cres valun

Sveti Ivan beach

Sveti Ivan Bay is the most popular bay on the island located directly beneath the magical place of Lubenica which is adorned by a medieval fort built on high cliffs offering a spectacular view. It is possible to climb to Lubenica on a very steep path.

However, for that adventure you will need an hour and 20 minutes, so why not rather relax on the bow of your ship, surrounded by emerald colours and one of the most beautiful pebbly beaches.

island-cres sand beach sveti ivan

Cres Blue cave

In the Žanja bay, you can find a thirty-metre-long Plava Špilja (Blue Cave) of which the residents of Cres are extremely proud and where you can only get on a dinghy or by swimming. Whether by sailing towards the Osor — or by enjoying the many bays of Punta Križa, you will experience the truly beautiful moments and begin to uncover the marine beauties of Cres.

To describe them, we would need, at the very least, a whole issue of Yachts, so we will just advise you to spend as much time as possible in the Cres waters.

island cres tarej

However, the sea is not the only thing Cres offers. It is a more or less known fact that the griffon vulture has one of its last Eurasian strongholds right here on Cres. You can examine these unusual royal birds in great detail, but also help them in a touching way by saving hatchlings who come to this world on the highest of cliff tops.

A less known fact is that in the Čampari pit, in a unique speleological location, four 12-thousand-year-old skeletons of the cave bear were found, the only fully preserved skeletons in this part of Europe.

island cres punta kriza

Cres scampi

Nonetheless, not even this is the reason for which Cres is well-known – another important reason to visit Cres is the gastronomy based on home-grown produce of excellent quality. Definitely, the best are the big Cres scampi, an island speciality caught the old-fashioned way, with traps. Cres also offers superb lamb from free-range grazing sheep (which can be seen across the island). They eat grass underneath numerous olives that give us quality home-produced oil.

Luxury yacht Sunseeker 34 M Cassiopeia cruising


Designed and built by Sunseeker, Cassiopeia was delivered in 2009 and lightly refitted before summer 2020.

To ‘bait’ fishing enthusiasts we will simply say that with some skill you will be able to supplement your on-board menu with ‘the king of fish’ – dentex. In line with what Cres connoisseurs say, Cres is an island with the most ‘dentex per capita’ and every cape is full of them. Domestic fishermen bait them with live squids and believe that ‘when you have a squid, you’ll have dentex’ and the ‘teeth’ (a signature of the dentex fish) come to the relatively shallow seas, about 15 to 20 metres of depth.

There are many reasons to visit this island, and we believe that it is the ideal alternative to the often too crowded Adriatic ‘hit destinations’.

Photos Yachts archive, Aleksandar Gospić/HTZ, Goran Razič/HTZ, Zoran Jelača/HTZ

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Let us open your eyes to Croatia!
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Let us open your eyes to Croatia!
Follow #YachtsCroatiaMagazine, find the magazine on the nearest newsstand & read us on the link above