Only 6 kilometers from the city of Pula lies untouched nature of the beautiful Brijuni Islands. With its group of 14 islands and islets, Brijuni are unavoidable when it comes to Croatia island hopping. The two main islands are Veliki Brijuni (Large Brijuni) and Mali Brijuni (Small Brijuni). The shores are mainly rocky and low but easily accessible. In some areas, bays are sandy and gravel. Moreover, due to their geological location, the islands have a rich natural biological diversity. For example, Veliki Brijuni is particularly cultivated into landscape park with preserved vegetation typical for the pleasant western Istrian climate. Furthermore, there is plenty of sunshine, heat, and humidity, which enables the development of luscious Mediterranean vegetation, pine and oak trees, laurel forests, etc.
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Best Things To Do in Brijuni
As each island is special in its own way, I’m bringing you a short overview of the most popular ones:
Veliki Brijuni – the largest, the most visited and the most beautiful islands of them all. With a surface area of 562 ha, this island is a perfect example of the harmony between nature and the human touch. As I already mentioned, Veliki Brijuni is a well-manicured park with native Mediterranean vegetation enriched by eucalyptus, bamboo, stone pine, cedar, and sequoia. Moreover, the island has a fascinating history dating back to the time of Yugoslavia’s President Tito. There are no cars on the island, so the main transportation options are renting a bike or a golf cart to tool around. Additionally, you can hop on a tourist train that will guide you across the island’s most important sights. Here are some attractions worth the visit:
- Safari park – a great place to see exotic animals such as zebras, elephants, llamas, etc., which were a gift from diplomatic partners to former President Tito.
- Olive tree – this tree is is 1600 years old!
- St Mary’s Church – from the 13th century
- Roman ruins – from the 1st/2nd centuries BC
- Tito’s former Cadillac in which he tried to seduce Gina Lollobrigida
- Tito Museum – a good place to introduce yourself to Croatian history. The history of the president of the former Yugoslavia, Josip Broz Tito.
- 200 dinosaur footprints
Mali Brijuni – the smaller islands rich in an original landscape full of maquis. They are also home to Ulysses Theatre, which is co-founded by the famous Croatian actor Rade Serbedzija (you may know him from many popular films such as Mission Impossible II, Batman Begins, Harry Potter, etc.). However, Mali Brijuni is known for the Fort Minor, the largest fortification on the Adriatic coast. Finally, keep in mind that the island is generally closed for public visits except for a short period when it becomes a theatrical scene of Ulysses Theatre.
Other interesting islands include Vanga (the mystical island open only for high-level political officials), Sv. Jerolim (a favorite day-excursion site with a lovely beach), and Kozada (an uninhibited island full of luscious vegetation, open to the public as an excursion destination).
Interesting fact: The islands were pronounced a national park in 1983.
Best Beaches in Brijuni
When it comes to beaches, the Brijuni Islands boast several wild and two main beaches. Saluga bay is the most popular bay on the island. This sandy beach is surrounded by pine trees and crystal-clear water, making it an ideal place for families with children, couples, or solo travelers. Moreover, the beach offers an opportunity to rent sunchairs and towels. For those who are active travelers, Saluga can provide bowling equipment and table tennis. Family zones, children’s playgrounds and relax areas with massage compartments are just a bonus.
On the other hand, Sveti Jerolim (Saint Jerolim) is another beach worth visiting. The facilities include sun lounges, parasols, and a café bar.
Check out my travel vlog on Island Hopping in Croatia below!
Where to Stay in Brijuni
Does one of the best islands in Croatia, Brijuni, make it on your list? Let me know in the comments!
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