Friday, August 18, 2006

Croatia Online Destinations - Islands Around Sibenik

Photo: Hotel Spongiola on Krapanj Island
© Jane Cody

We’ve already extolled the largely undiscovered virtues of the town of Šibenik in an earlier posting - Croatia Online Destinations - Sibenik. The islands around Šibenik deserve similar praise. They may lie in the shadow of other, more discovered, island destinations, but provide a rich and varied taste of the real Croatia, and have spawned a number of new, good quality, boutique hotels. The islands include Žirje, Kakan, Kaprije, Zmajan, Tijat, Prvić, Zlarin and Krapanj. Below are some of the highlights:

Prvič Island

Prvič Luka is a charming village on Prvič Island, with a relatively new up-market hotel, Hotel Maestral, which was formerly an old stone schoolhouse. The village has a good range of shops and a small market. The post office is on the main street and the nearby tourist office opens according to demand. Apart from the hotel, there are a couple of restaurants and bars on the front, including a restaurant specialising in sardines cooked in a variety of ways. The hotel restaurant offers Marlin on the grill and freshly caught fish at just a little above mainland prices. Hotel Maestral has a number of interesting tours listed on its website including a visit to the donkey sanctuary on nearby Logorun Island. There are 5 ferries a day connecting Prvić to either Vodice or Šibenik on the mainland and taxi boats can be arranged.

Hotel Maestral: Tel 022 448 300, fax 022 448 301,,

Šepurine, on the west coast of Prvič island, is an attractive sleepy town, with some lovely stone houses and an old summer residence of a famous Šibenik family – the Vrančićs - who are alleged to have conceived the idea for the parachute and wrote the first Croatian dictionary.

Zlarin Island

Zlarin island lies just over a mile off the entrance to the canal leading to Šibenik. It is one of the largest islands of the Šibenik archipelago and though there are a few small bays at the bottom of the north east coast, Zlarin is the only settlement on the island. No cars are allowed, Zlarin is the only place in Croatia that crafts coral into jewellery and ornaments, and it is also famous for being the birthplace of Anthony Maglica who invented the Maglite flashlight. Although one of the numerous émigrés to America, to escape the poverty between the two World Wars, Anthony, now in his seventies, continues to help Zlarin with its infrastructural projects.

The Post Office is on the sea front, as is the tourist office, and the village has a hotel, supermarket, shops, medical centre, coral museum, art gallery and a few restaurants and bars. The Four Lions hotel and restaurant has a website, and often acts as the base for organised swimming excursions around the nearby islands. Go to for more information on this novel way of exploring these islands. There are four return ferries a day (two on Sundays) from the beginning of June to the end of September, connecting Zlarin with Vodice and Šibenik.

Krapanj Island

Krapanj is the smallest inhabited island in Croatia and also its lowest lying. The island traditionally thrived on the harvesting of sponges. It’s just a five minute boat trip from Brodarica on the mainland, famed for one of the best fish restaurants in the area - Zlatna Ribica. Hotel Spongiola is a new hotel, built on the site of an old sponge co-operative, and has been fitted out to high standards with an indoor pool, fitness centre, and sauna. It specialises in diving trips but can also offer a range of other water sports and excursions and has a small beach in front of it.

Hotel Spongiola: Obala I Krapanj, 22010 Brodarica, tel 022 348 900, fax 022 348 903,,

Note for Sailors: All the hotels above have laid a visitors' pontoon for passing yachts though, in some cases, these have proved popular with local boat owners! If the pontoons are occupied there are generally spaces in the harbour or along the harbour wall.


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