Marina Punat is an ideal starting point for visiting five bays in the Kvarnerić maritime area and exploring the beauties of Cres, Krk, Rab, Pag, Olib, Silba, Ilovik and Lošinj
The island of Krk, the largest Adriatic island along with the neighbouring Cres, has long been referred to as golden, thanks to its natural properties, spectacular sunsets, beaches, dense forests, rocky terrain, and karst. Outdoor sports such as trekking, running, cycling, and windsurfing are practised there throughout the whole year.
Exquisite olive oil, the famous ‘Žlahtina’ wine, homemade honey with medicinal properties, aromatic and delicious homemade cheeses, as well as tasty baby lamb, are just some of the reasons why yachtsmen like to sail this part of the Adriatic.
Marina Punat is in superb location
Its superb location makes Marina Punat an excellent port for many boat owners, as they can enjoy annual berth services. The marina is only a few hours away from many European centres, so it is an excellent base for summer explorations of the Adriatic, but also for relaxing on weekends. The Marina is open all year round and accommodates 1,300 vessels, in the sea and on land.
One of the places that yachtsmen like to revisit is Kvarnerić, a sea area with numerous bays and anchorages, bordered by the coasts of Cres, Krk, Rab, Pag, Olib, Silba, Ilovik and Lošinj. Many beautiful pebble beaches and hidden coves can be found here, but some of them can only be accessed by boat. Here’s our top list of five bays near Marina Punat that are especially fond of by yachtsmen.
Vela Luka Bay – the island of Krk
Located on the south-eastern part of the island of Krk, overlooking the impressively carved body of Velebit, Vela Luka is one of the most beautiful bays in this part of the Adriatic. The first time you sail in, the colour of the sea and the spacious bay, almost two kilometres long and in perfect harmony with the surrounding landscape, will take your breath away.
Vela Luka is open to the south and therefore affected by the south wind, though the bora wind can also cause problems as it bounces the waves off the west side of the bay. During the season, visitors can enjoy a catering facility on the sandy beach, while yachtsmen seeking trekking challenges can visit the ruins of ancient Corinthia and the Byzantine fortifications from the times of Emperor Justinian located nearby.
Kruščica Bay – the island of Cres
Valun, the islet of Zeča and the beach of Sveti Ivan at the foot of Lubenice are famous nautical posts on Cres, but the eastern side of the island is perfect for people who appreciate peace, quiet and wilderness. Cape Tarej and the beautiful lagoon reminiscent of the Caribbean, which amazed us a while back on our ride with the beautiful Riva Aquariva from Ikador Hotel, are just the beginning of the vast sea area of Cres.
Kruščica Bay is located about ten miles from Marina Punat and is an ideal destination for one-day excursions. Since the bay is protected as an area of special biodiversity, it features a particularly beautiful turquoise colour of the sea and a small sandy beach. It is open to southern winds, but the bora from the Senj Channel can also bring waves into the bay, so caution is advised.
Krušija Bay – the island of Plavnik
A group of islets can be found between Cres and Krk, practically opposite Cape Tarej, in the Middle Passage. Plavnik is the largest one and its southwest coast is the home of the beautiful Krušija Bay. Although Plavnik is geographically closer to Cres, it is administratively linked to the town of Krk, as there are almost no settlements on the eastern shores of Cres.
During the season, there may be more daily visitors in the area, but in the off-season, Krušija enjoys blissful anonymity that also attracts animals, so you may notice a herd of deer living carefree in this little paradise, as well as the magnificent griffon vultures, as Plavnik is one of their natural habitats. The cave called Blue Grotto, famous for the 50 shades of blue that are formed when rays of sun reflect off the water, is nearby but can be entered only by swimming.
Meli Bay – the island of Cres
Sailing along the east coast of Cres reveals all the beauty and cruelty of nature. Magnificent rocks defying the mighty bora wind are impressively intimidating, but a reward awaits you at the end of the voyage, some twenty miles off Marina Punat. The southernmost part of the island of Cres houses an empire of pine forests and macchia, as well as an endless pearly sea, as if was placed there by a skilled nature artist along the indented coast full of bays and capes.
The most popular among them is Meli Bay, with its tropical sand and inviting blue tones of the shallows. Regardless of the tourist traffic, the bay is spacious, so you won’t get the impression that boats are piled on top of each other, as a nautical ‘social distancing’ is applied, and everyone can find their little private universe and enjoy this beauty.
Port Sveti Grgur – island of Sveti Grgur
Like the nearby Goli Otok, Sveti Grgur, located between Krk and Rab, is known in the media for the dark role it played in the failed regime. In the time of the former Yugoslavia, from 1948 to 1988, a penitentiary institution for women was located here, and the existing ruins inform us of the conditions in which inmates and various enemies of the system that needed to be re-educated lived, or rather survived. But that fragment of time is a thing of the past, so Sveti Grgur can once again flaunt its other, more beautiful features.
The northernmost island with a typical Mediterranean forest of evergreen holm oak, where deer roam freely, hides numerous coves on its west side. They are great for single-day trips, and the largest of them even accommodates the restaurant Arta, named after the island’s medieval name.
Photos www.eNavtika.si & Filip Bubalo
Video Marina Punat