The protected area of the ornithological reserve Kuntrep stretches between the Cape Glavina (near Vrbnik) and Mala Luka bay (near Baška). The area is a habitat for the Eurasian griffon vulture whose population is in decline on the island of Krk, but also for many other bird species such as short-toed eagle, peregrine falcons, common kestrel, European shag, eagle owl, rock trush, stone Curlew and other. The magnificent landscape is also rich in endemic plants.
The walk begins at the car park near the church of Sv. Ivan on the hill above Baška. From the car park follow the blue-marked path for 3km – it's a pleasant walk through the pine forest with amazing panoramic views of Baška and neighbouring islands. Where the forest ends, a moon-like landscape begins.
The name „Moon Plateau“ doesn't come from nothing – it's a rocky landscape with almost no vegetation which reaches as far as one can see, and if there were no sheep and griffon vultures, it would be a rocky desert. From here walk to the peak of Hlam (461m) and you will be rewarded with amazing views of both sides of the island.
From Hlam follow the red-marked path to the pool of Diviška and the ornithological reserve Kuntrep.
While crossing the moon-like surface between Hlam and Diviška, you'll notice a mark 'mrgar' on your left. 'Mrgar' is a traditional flower-shaped sheepfold, and the rarest example of a dry-stone walling which is typical for this region. Just below the peak of Diviška (471m) is the pool of Diviška, a small freshwater pool partitioned off by dry-stone walls. The peak of Diviška is located at the border of Kuntrep, a special ornithological reserve which is home to many rare birds.
The length of the return walk is 13km and it can be done in 4 hours, but allow some extra time for occasional stops to admire the views. The terrain is difficult to walk on so don't even think about doing it in your flip-flops – hiking shoes are a must! There's no shade on the plateau, so take your sunglasses as well. The wind ('bura') can be pretty strong up there, so plan to do the walk on a calm day.
Starting point : The location of the car park (Church of Sv. Ivan) is: 44°58'23''N 14°45'40''E). To get here follow the bypass road around Baška (don't drive to the centre of Baška – take the left turn at the junction before entrance to Baška). After 1,3 km from the junction turn left again (follow the sign for „Crkva Sv. Ivana“ (The Church of St John), and drive to the end of that narrow and steep road.
The pool of Diviška is a picturesque freshwater pool in a rocky landscape near Baška. It is home to several species of water plants and small animals, but it also provides water for large numbers of sheep in the area. It's divided by dry-stone walls to prevent the sheep going from one pasture to another.
The walking route to Diviška is described here.
One of the most impressive features of the Krk landscape are dry-stone constructions in the rocky landscape above Baška.
Dry-stone walling, as an ancient building technique of using only stones and no binding material, was used to build constructions for various purposes, and the most prominent examples of such architecture are dry-stone walls (locally called 'gromače') and sheepfolds (locally called 'mrgari').
Dry-stone walls in this area were constructed to prevent soil erosion and to trap the sheep within the boundaries. Even more fascinating are 'mrgari' – multicellular, flower-shaped sheepfolds, which are found only on the southern part of the island of Krk the uninhabited neighbouring island of Prvić. They are still used for collecting and sorting out the sheep of different owners. The sheep that graze freely most of the time are collected in the central area of the sheepfold and then sorted out into the 'petals' through the small gaps in the wall.
The flower-shape of mrgar is seen only when observed from above – you can check my tip about Veli Mrgar where I've added a couple of photos taken from the ground as well as a satellite photo that reveals its interesting shape.
These photos were taken on the walk to the peaks of Hlam and Diviška.
Located southeast of Baška, this 4km long canyon was carved through limestone by small stream Vrženica. Except for several small pools of melted snow, the canyon was dry when we were there. I assume that it rarely fills with water, probably only after prolonged heavy rain. When it's dry, it's difficult to imagine the amount of water needed to cut such interesting erosion features.
The marked path starts from the car park in front of Bunculuka naturist camp, following the coastline and passing several lovely beaches. From Vrženica beach, path ascends through the lower part of Vrženica canyon for 2,5km, until it reaches a height of 150m. From there you can follow the path on the left to return to Bunculuka, or you can take the path on the right and extend your walk by visiting Vela and Mala Luka bays.
The walk through the canyon is usually described as difficult as some easy climbing is needed, but it all can be done with no special equipment, so I think anyone in reasonably decent shape should be able to handle it.
Mrgar is an example of a dry-stone construction that is unique to the karst landscape around Baška. Some of these sheepfolds have been abandoned, some of them are still in use, and some have been recently renovated. In total, there are 10 of them on the Island of Krk, and 5 more on the nearby Island of Prvić.
Its shape resembles a flower, which is best seen from the air (I added a satellite image). Around the central area, mrgar can have as many cellars (petals) as needed, each cellar having a different owner. Being built of stone with no binding material, the cellars can be rearranged to suit the temporary shepherds' needs.
The purpose of such building could be defined as a certain trap for sheep. Couple of times a year all the sheep grazing in the area are collected together in the central area of a mrgar. When all the flocks have been gathered, the central gate is closed, and sheep are being sorted out into 'petals' of different owners. Each shepherd can then shear or milk their sheep, or mark the lambs belonging to his flock. After that, sheep are released out through the hole in the outer wall of the petal.
The most impressive mrgar is 'Veli mrgar na Starošćini'. As it can be seen on the satellite image I've added, it has more than 20 smaller cellars or petals surrounding the central area. Unfortunately, the view from the ground is nowhere as interesting as when seen from above.
Veli mrgar can be reached on foot from Baška. The marked path (to Vela Luka) starts in Bunculuka naturist camp (the sign can be found left of the entrance to the camp). From there follow the path for 2,1 km – Veli Mrgar will be on your left (location: N 44°58'38''; E 14°47'0'')
Mala Luka is one of the two bays located east of Baška, and while the nearby bay of Vela Luka has a nicer beach, Mala Luka certainly has the more impressive surroundings. Its shape makes it a perfect natural harbour and a shelter from violent sea waves and strong winds bora and sirocco (locally called 'bura' and 'jugo').
The beach is a mixture of rocks, pebbles and sand, and not as attractive as other beaches around Baška, but on the other hand, once you soak in the crystal clear sea encircled by barren limestone hills – nothing else matters!
On a grassy terrain behind the beach you may notice many piles of rock– those are leftovers from the ancient settlement of Bosar that existed here until the 16th-17th century. The only recognisable ruin is the Church of St Nicholas from the 16th century.
Just some 500m up on the hill are the ruins of Corinthia, Byzantine fortification built in the 6th century.
The best way to reach Mala and Vela Luka is to walk there from Baška, following the well-marked path starting in Bunculuka naturist camp. The path is approx. 6,5 km long (in each direction) and quite steep at places, but not overly strenuous. The worst part is going uphill from the beach on your way back to Baška – the path snakes upward at such steep angle that it will put your lungs to the test. As you might guess, the panoramic views over the bays are exceptional, which makes the climb a bit less torturous.
Another way to reach Mala Luka bay is by boat. During the summer, a taxi boat operates from Baška to Vela Luka and back (contact the Tourist Information Centre in Baška for more information). From Vela Luka you can easily walk to Mala Luka – it's an easy 0,5 km long walk.
Although it resembles an empty lunar landscape, the area around Baška hides many surprises.
It is hard to imagine that this hardly accessible and empty landscape was once home to the large Byzantine fortification Corinthia and civil settlement of Bosar.
Corinthia was built in the middle of the 6th century, when Island of Krk was under the rule of Byzantine emperor Justinian. In fact, it is the largest ruin of its kind in northern Adriatic islands, although very little remains of it today. It was built on the hill between bays of Mala and Vela Luka, and was perfectly located to secure the sea route and the nearby settlement of Bosar.
The civil settlement and harbour Bosar was located in the bay of Mala Luka, just below the military fortification Corinthia. Recent archaeological excavations have uncovered evidence of an ancient glass workshop, first of its kind in Croatia. Almost all the buildings had been torn down in the past, and the stone was used to build the dry-stone walls in the area. Bosar had at least three churches - remains of the two older churches are barely visible amongst the piles of rock, while the third one (Church of St Nicholas from the 16th century) is in a bad shape but can be easily spotted.
Corinthia can be reached either on foot or by boat. I'd always suggest walking, as the landscape and the views along the way are truly fascinating.
The walk starts in Bunculuka naturist camp, and is approx. 6,5 km long (one direction) - follow the sign for Vela Luka. Once you reach Vela Luka continue towards Mala Luka – just before you pass the gate to Mala Luka you will see the path leading uphill to Corinthia ruin. Return the same way.
During the summer a taxi boat operates from Baška to Vela Luka and back (contact the Tourist Information Centre in Baška for more information).
A picturesque bay of Vela Luka (meaning 'Big Harbour') is about 2km long and 400m wide, and is often described as the most picturesque bay on the Island of Krk (although, my vote goes to the nearby Mala Luka bay).
The bay is known for its nice pebbled beach, interesting rock formations and crystal clear water.
There's also a restaurant „Konoba Vela Luka“ which is open only in the summer (June-September).
The best way to reach Mala and Vela Luka is to walk there from Baška, following the well-marked path starting from Bunculuka naturist camp. The path is approx. 6 km long (in each direction) and quite steep at places, but not overly strenuous. The worst part is going uphill from the beach on your way back to Baška – the path snakes upward at such steep angle that it will put your lungs to the test. As you might guess, the panoramic views over the bays are exceptional, which makes the climb a bit less torturous.
Another way to reach Vela Luka is by boat. During the summer, a taxi boat operates from Baška to Vela Luka and back (contact the Tourist Information Centre in Baška for more information).
From Vela Luka you can easily walk to Mala Luka and ruins of Byzantine fortification Corinthia – it's an easy 1 km long walk.
Lovely trip for riders - from riding school situated on the main road between Omisalj and Njivice to Biserujka cave. It's a 1,5 hrs ride through fields and forest, just enough not to get too tired. Biserujka cave is cool (10-12'C) and not too long. Horses are calm and not nervous about local dogs barking. However, two of the horses would not cross short bridge made of iron grid so they had to stay at the car parking 50 meters away. Total duration of the trip was over 5 hours, price is negotiable - depending on the number of riders, but lower than regular hourly fee.
One day we walked - actually we just wanted to go along the beach for a few minutes and finally after more than one hour we ended up in a wonderful corner with a great beach and cristal clear water. Of course we swam there.
My recommendation: Don't forget your bathing stuff there, even if you just want to walk for a few minutes ;-)
Btw.: The water you can see on the pic is about 2 meters deep.
There is a permanent exibition, free of charge, in the courtyard of the monastery, displaying founds in glagolitic script. Morover, you can see a number of the small statuetes representing the traditional Slavic Gods. The exibition is worth of note for that specific script which cannot be seen elswhere.
The Monastery of St. Maria Magdalena, situated in the small village of Porta, is a must see when visiting the island of Krk. The building of the monastery is not of specific historic or architectural value, it is more important for its unique school for Glagolitic alphabet, led by the Franciscan monks.
Btw, glagolitic alphabet is the oldest Slavic script invented by Konstantin-Ciril in 863.
The church was founded in 1480, while it's present look dates from the first half of 16th century, built in late-Gothic style. It was consacrated in 1557.
There are only two friars today in the monastery.
Vrbnik is a beautiful village on a hill. It is located on the north-east coast of the island.
In this village there are some restaurants and a few shops.
Unfortunately there are only few buses going to Vrbnik every day either from Krk town or from Punat.
Worth to be seen if nothing because of the beutiful view you can enjoy from upside! It is accessible by car but the road is very narrow so walking is the more advisable! You will need not more than half an hour from the village Batomalj (about 2 km from Baska and oposite to the village Jurandvor - where the Baska tablet was found).