Sometimes after a particularly stressful week, month, or even year, we just need to get away from it all and relax both physically and mentally. When you look at the vacation options advertised by your local travel agent, you are presented with the usual array of crowded popular destinations and party islands. This can be fun once in a while, but to truly recharge your mental batteries, you need to find somewhere a little more quiet… less travelled yet really accessible. I’ve been asked many times if I can recommend something in southern Europe, and I think I might have found just the place… the island of Krk in Croatia.
First off, where is this oddly named island and how do you get there? The island is up in the northern part of Croatia in the Adriatic Sea, opposite Venice, Italy. It is linked by road to the Croatian mainland by a 1400 metre long bridge. The location and the convenience of the bridge makes it super easy to get to, yet somehow it’s not yet on the radar of most travellers. There is a tiny airport on the island, the Rijeka Airport, but you may find it easier to fly to Trieste, Italy or Ljubljana, Slovenia and drive down to Krk. These airports are a bit larger and better served by flights to and from the UK. The drive down is very scenic and enjoyable, especially if you drive down from Triest, Italy.
The next question you can ask is, what can I do while I’m on Krk if it’s not a party island like Ibiza? The short answer… lots! As you drive across the bridge onto the island, the first town you come to is Njivice. Originally a fishing village, it has evolved into a major tourist resort area today. There are lots of excellent hotels offering full and half board along the beach. The beach boardwalk is lined with excellent restaurants, and there is even a submarine tour ride for the kids.
If you enjoy walking in the woods, you can head in to the islands centre, along the paths that lead through the trees. You may be lucky enough to spot some deer, foxes, wild cats, and dozens of species of birds.
Further along the shoreline you come to Malinska and then Krk Town. I have to say that Krk Town is my favourite place on the island. I love history, and this island has it in spades. Within the borders of Krk Town there is an ancient cathedral, Roman Baths, and a really interesting Frankopan Castle. Of course there are dozens of restaurants, and one I enjoy visiting is the Bacchus Wine Restaurant, right in the heart of the old town. The terrace facing the seafront is a storybook place to sit and sip a locally made wine and watch the sun set. Sigh, I wish I was there right now.
Where do I stay when I’m visiting Krk? I prefer the Park Punat, which is just around the corner from Krk in the village of Punat. It is a three star hotel that faces out onto a very sheltered bay. The hotel is surrounded by beautiful parks, but the trade-off is that there really is no beach in front of the hotel. The same goes for the other hotel I enjoy visiting, the Valamar Koralji which is right in the centre of Krk Town. Wherever you stay though, Krk is an island you are going to really enjoy as a slightly different vacation destination than the usual package tour spot you may have been considering for this summer’s getaway.