We’ve been so immersed in DIY recently, that we haven’t really taken full advantage of what is on our doorstep this last couple of weeks. But, with autumn starting to take a firm grip, and the temperatures definitely cooling down, we decided to do a mini trip at the weekend. We were already over in Rijeka for the night, and rather than heading straight home the next morning, we made the decision to take the car ferry over to Cres island.
There are two ways to get to Cres – the road bridge over to Krk island and then a ferry to Cres, or heading back into Istria and driving down the east coast of the peninsula to the very teeny port of Brestova. The road down to the port, in summer months, will be back to back with cars, as this road only takes you to one place – the port, and the means of crossing over to Porozina. However, on a Sunday in late autumn, we didn’t have the headache of queues – although there were a fair few Italians and Slovenians in camper vans joining us, so the holiday season definitely lasts a bit longer out here.
A one way ticket for a car is 126 kunas (approx £14) for the car and two passengers and the journey takes about 30 minutes. Not the cheapest ferry but the crossing – especially with the weather we had – is quite spectacular.
Sitting out on the deck, watching the gulls swooping, small fishing boats bobbing on the water and seeing Rijeka and Opatija getting smaller and smaller in the distance, is a lovely way to spend half an hour. Until a group of Slovenian bikers decide to stand right, slap bang in front of you, so that you can’t actually see anything any more…
I read this article in the Guardian a while back and it intrigued me – Cres seemed almost other-worldly and isolated. And on both counts, I was right.
The road from the tiny port of Porozina, leads directly to the harbour town of Cres, 26km south – and it takes you through the most magical countryside. Unlike much of Istria – which is like much of Greece, with olive groves, vines, fig trees etc – Cres is unlike any landscape I can recall seeing. Huge, ancient white rocks as far as the eye can see, and amazing views on both sides of the road, sweeping down to the blue Adriatic. The indigenous sheep of Cres, amble along the roadside and seem to be the only inhabitants. Certainly between Porozina and Cres, we only passed one village, most of which was abandoned. But with a stunning vantage point… (According to a census in 2001, the village of Predošćica had a population of four).
We made it to Cres town, in time for an afternoon vino. The harbour was very quiet, although everything was still open. We did check accommodation availability and everything we liked was booked up, so again, the season does seem to continue a lot later here. It’s a very pretty harbour – pastel coloured buildings and small boats. None of the flashier yacht types, but this might be a different story in the height of summer.
So, no room at the inn for a night on Cres, but taking into account the return ferry crossing, we were sitting back in our living room, with roaring fire going, in just over two hours. Not bad, considering it could take this long to get from Manchester to Liverpool!