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Certainly, one of the top destinations in Croatia is the Brijuni archipelago! Brijuni islands are an exceptionally beautiful island group surrounded by crystal clear sea. Let’s discover the top attractions in the Brijuni islands and national park together!
Where are the Brijuni islands?
Brijuni islands are a group of 14 islands located north of the Istrian town of Pula. The most popular islands are the biggest island Veliki Brijun, and the second-biggest island called Mali Brijun. Veliki Brijun has all the necessary facilities you need for a great holiday. These include a couple of different restaurants with amazing Mediterranean food, cafés, beach bars, and plenty of exciting things to do.
Furthermore, the Brijuni islands are one of eight National Parks in Croatia. The area of 33.9 km2 (13.1 sq m) was proclaimed a national park in 1983. Therefore, keep in mind to respect nature when you are visiting the islands. For instance, taking peacock feathers, antlers, and similar objects is also prohibited.
How to get to the Brijuni islands?
If your starting point is Pula, here’s how to get from there to the Brijuni islands. In case you are wondering what are the best ways to get to Pula read our previous blog.
Once you are in Pula, there are several options on how to get to the Brijuni islands. With public transport (boat) you can only access the main island – Veliki Brijuni. The only way to explore all the other 13 islands and enjoy a stress-free sailing vacation, is to rent a yacht in the nearby Marina Polesana. In this case, you’ll be paying the mooring fee that also includes entrance tickets for passengers.
Nevertheless, if you are a budget traveler, public transport is a perfect way to start. The boat that sails to the Veli Brijun port departs every day from a nearby harbor. Check the boat schedule on the website of the national park. The harbor lies in the city of Fazana, located 8 kilometers away from Pula.
To get to the port from Pula, choose a bus or taxi. With a bus, it takes around 15 minutes. Whereas a taxi takes about 10 minutes.
If you are driving, just follow the brown signage from Pula, or anywhere on the Istrian peninsula. There are several parking lots near the jetty from which the boat departs. The charge is up to 1.5 EUR per hour, depending on the exact location. We recommend buying entrance tickets beforehand on the Brijuni national park website, but bear in mind they are not refundable.
Entering the Safari park on the Veliki Brijun is like entering a different world. It’s no wonder this place is one of the top attractions on the Brijuni islands. This 9 ha park brings a unique opportunity to see autochthonous Istrian and exotic animals from all around the world, including Africa, Asia, and South America. Watch out for camels, zebras, cows, llamas, ostriches, peacocks, or even an elephant.
Besides visiting Safari Park drop by the Ethno Park, too. It is a perfect place to learn about typical Istrian farm animals like donkeys, oxes, sheep, or goats.
Brijuni islands offer much more than just beautiful nature, great beaches, and sparkling sea. It is a place of rich historical and cultural background. Some of the most memorable things to see are:
- The Byzantine castrum
- St. Mary’s Basilica from the Middle Ages
- The Roman Villa from the 1st century BC located in Verige Bay
Underwater educational trail in Verige Bay
Undoubtedly, one of the top attractions in the Brijuni islands is Verige bay located on Veliki Brijun. Verige bay is an underwater educational trail for anyone who enjoys observing marine life by snorkeling or diving. Plenty of fish species, sea cucumbers, sea urchins, crabs, or law-protected shells are waiting for you! Nevertheless, it is not the only place worth snorkeling around Pula. To discover the best snorkeling spots around Pula, click here.
However, this place offers more than just underwater life observation. The educational trail provides a unique experience by combining submerged archaeological remains with sea life. To be precise, in this trail, you explore the submerged Roman villa from the first century BC. Besides, the trail is only 500 meters long, and it takes around 45 minutes for an individual to explore.
Jurassic Park of Brijuni islands
Are you a fan of Jurassic Park? If so, we have great news for you! The dinosaurs are having a comeback on the Veliki Brijuni. These creatures were walking on the island 100 million years ago. They left over 200 dinosaur footprints all around the island. These are visible at several locations, and at one of them, on Cape Vrbanj, you’ll also find a reconstruction of the most likely “walker” – the theropod, a predatory carnivore.
You might already start imagining how beautiful the beaches on the Brijuni islands are. Clear sea, sunshine, and calm sea. But trust us, it is even better than you imagine! The best beaches to visit on the Veliki Brijun are Saluga beach, and Brijun beach. Another great beach is on St. Jerolim island (keep in mind, there is a fee charged for sailing around this island, and it is only suitable for boats with a small draft).
One of the appeals of the island group is that it was an Austro-Hungarian in-vogue resort. After that, it was former Yugoslav president Tito’s summer residence. He hosted here statesmen, monarchs, world leaders, and even celebrities, such as Elizabeth Taylor with Richard Burton, Sophia Loren, Orson Welles, and Kirk Douglas.
When you explore the Brijuni islands onboard your own or chartered boat, you get to enjoy much more. Although most of the top attractions are on Veliki Brijun island, Mali Brijun has a beautiful cove, ideal for mooring and escaping the tourist crowds.
Let’s not forget some unusually shaped islands. For instance, Gaz island looks like a fish, and Vanga like an open seashell. In order, to really appreciate their shapes, you should have a drone at hand to get the best view from above.
As for sailing, you need permission from the National Park administration in order to boat here. Moreover, the waters are shallow, so be careful. And, sailing in the Western part of the park is forbidden. Short moorings are only allowed at Cape Kamen, Lovorika, Verige, Mikula Bays. Dogs are not allowed in the hotel, museum, and other closed areas, the tourist train, beach, safari park or the pheasant farm. They have to be on a leash at all times.
To learn more about top attractions on Brijuni islands, read our blog.
Rent a yacht
To explore all the beauty Brijuni islands offer, we recommend renting a boat. This is the only way to access more than just the tourist sites. The only locations for anchoring your yacht are Veli Brijun port and St. Nicholas’ Bay on Mali Brijun island.
But, as you have read here, there is a lot more to explore! We at Nava provide charters of different types of boats including catamarans, sailing, and motorboats. Find our fleet in Marina Polesana in Pula. Are you interested? All you need to do is to use the contact form below, and we will get back to you as soon as possible!
These were top attractions in the Brijuni islands. Thanks to its fauna and flora, archaeological sights, and clear water, the Brijuni islands are one of the best things to see in Croatia. Plan your next sailing vacation with us, and see for yourself!