A proven equation says that the best beaches on Cres Island are the least accessible. With the exception of Cres town own beach, the other are located near remote villages, surrounded by rocks and vegetation, and can be reached walking (usually a good half hour) from the village all the way down to the sea level (don’t forget to pack you walking shoes). Your efforts will be rewarded by some lovely gravelly beach, nested between rocky cliffs and blue/green water. If you get there quite early (before 9 am) you might as well be the first visitors and feel temporarily castaways.
The troubles reaching these little lovely stretches of beach implies that there are no facilities such as bars, restaurants… toilets! Bring with you all you need for a long day by the sea.
Sadly, in August, your heavenly corner will be soon spoiled by an invasion of boats, ranging from small motorboats to big yachts. Usually arriving mid morning they will ruthlessly park few meters away from the shore. The best to avoid this is to visit Cres not in high season, and camp overnight in the bushes around the beach, enjoying the peace and silence of dawn.
Our favourite hidden beaches in Cres
- Cres (gravel) and Gavza (rocks, pebbles)
- Lubenice (pebbles)
- Meli (sand)
- Beli (pebbles)
- Orlec (rocks, pebbles)
- Ustrine (pebbles)
If you’re lodging at the town of Cres, you can walk to the beach in minutes. The first section is the most lively, with bars, restaurant and market stalls, then follows the camp site (Camp Kovacine). This part of the beach is busting with tourists and locals, not ideal for a relaxing swim. If you don’t want to be in an arm’s reach from the next towel you might want to keep walking to Gavza along a path that is smooth enough for cycling. You’ll get to a bay surrounded by shady olive trees, but it’s plenty of rocks where you can stop along the way.
An alternative would be to drive or cycle to the opposite side of the bay, facing Cres town. The last bit of the road is quite rough and uneven, so it’s better to make sure that your mean of transport is up for that. Once there the only problem would be to decide which of the rocks and tiny bays to choose.
The only way to reach this beach via land is from Lubenice, a little old town perched on top of a rocky hill. From there you’ll have a long walk to the sea, be careful: the last bit is a steep scree and, not that I personally tried, but walking there with just a pair of beach shoes is not easy. I think. A few minutes in the descent the path forks, both ways get to a beach but the Blue Cave is to the left one. However painful the walk might be it will be easily forgotten once the beach is reached. If you follow the rule of getting there by 9 you might even be the first visitor.
If you don’t want to bring food provisions for the day you might have lunch on one of the boats that take tourists along the coasts and stop at this beach to let people visit the Blue Cave and dive from the cliffs. The lunch (roughly €10 per person) can be booked in Cres town the day before.
As mentioned the best attraction of this beach is the Blue Cave. Swimming along the half moon bay to the left you’ll find the entrance. Swim in there (mind your head!) and after a few meters of darkness you’ll find yourself under a light blue flickering ceiling. The best moment to see this water and sun magic is the first hours of the afternoon.
When you’re tired of laying on a bed of rocks and pebbles you can head to this amazing sand beach. You can reach it from Meli with a 30 minutes walk but the path is not clearly signed (at least it wasn’t in 2012 on our last visit). That helps preventing an invasion of beach goers but be careful and don’t get lost yourself!
The water is shallow and crystal clear, and all around the beach there’s no much vegetation so it’ll be hard to find a shady area to take a break form the sun.
Located near to the reserve hosting a colony of griffon vultures, Beli is a small lovely village offering a spartan campsite and a small beach on the east side of the island. The sun reaches it until the first hours of the afternoon and the water is slightly colder than the rest of the island.
Immersed in the nature you will probably only hear sheep bleating and their tin bells rattling. If you’re brave enough you can climb the rocks in search of the many other smaller beaches, usually deserted, and peacefully observe dolphins jumping out of the water and griffons quietly flying circles.
If you’re not afraid of getting sunburnt and you don’t want to see an inch of shade for the whole day, then your ideal beach is Mali Bok, close to Orlec. As for the above mentioned places, also here you’ll have to leave your car in town and walk all the way down to the beach. The view from above and the clear emerald water will fully compensate the effort of walking back uphill. And if this is not enough, tuck in a tasty lamb dish at the restaurant, also called Mali Bok, and all the efforts will be forgotten.
Located at the southernd end of the island, close to Lošinj, the beach of Ustrine is similar to the other beaches seen so far: parking at the nearest town and walking downhill to the sea. The difference is that the street to the beach is an asphalt road which is not as wild and adventurous but it’s good if you’re cycling there.