Vrbnik - one of the most famous Croatian villages
Vrbnik is a small Croatian town on the east coast of the island of Krk. The town is perched on a limestone outcropping 50m above the Adriatic Sea. Vrbnik is naturally separated from mainland Croatia by the Vinodol Channel, where the towns of Crikvenica & Novi Vinodolski can be observed across the sea. Since 1980 the island has been connected to mainland Croatia via the Krk Bridge.
The Vrbnik Statute (Croatian: Statut Grada Vrbnika) was written in 1388 and confirms the status of Vrbnik as an administrative and political centre. The town is also known through the folksong "Verbniče nad moren" or "Verbniče nad moru" (Oh Vrbnik over the Sea), sung as far away as White Carniola in Slovenia. Places of cultural significance include the Vitezić library, the Gothic Chapel of the Rosary and the Chapel of St. John in the Parish Church of the Assumption, and a collection of ancient manuscripts and List of Glagolitic manuscripts housed at the parish church. Vrbnik is known for its indigenous varietal of white wine called Žlahtina.
It is located on the eastern side of the island of Krk, 28 km from Krk bridge. When arriving in Vrbnik from the mainland, you will be welcomed by vast vineyards, where the well-known Žlahtina grapevine grows, and the karst pastures suitable for sheep breeding. On arrival by sea, it will loom over you from a 49-metre high steep cliff with panoramic little houses clustered around the bell tower and surrounded by mediaeval walls.
VISIT VRBNIK ABOVE THE SEA, DISCOVER ITS HISTORY STRETCHING BACK OVER 900 YEARS
Vrbnik’s 900-year-old history places it as an important Frankopan castle and Glagolitic and religious centre under the protection of St John the Baptist. It became widely known after the song “Vrbnik above the sea” and the Golden Vrbnik Žlahtina wine. Many well-known people grew up in Vrbnik, a favourite inspiration for many artists in different genres. Tradition and customs are very much alive in this small town and the local singing (kanet) and dances (tanec), as well as the dialect (Chakavian) are in use even among its youngest inhabitants.
WHAT TO SEE?
Vrbnik still has no museum in which all its rich cultural, historical, and ethnic heritage would be brought together and presented in one place; however, a fraction of his past can be seen in several places. In the former Count's Palace (Knežev dvor) on the small square Placa Vrbničkog statuta there are the Vitezić Family Library, the Ethno Collection of Neda Trinajstić and the Memorial Printing House of Blaž Baromić and Dragutin Parčić. In the area of Pod zvonik and next to the parish church you can visit the Museum of Visual Identity, Desetinec and the Church Loggia, and in Saliž Street the Vrbnik Etno House.
CHURCHES AND CHAPELS
The many churches and chapels in Vrbnik testify to the existence of an ancient Christian parish since the very beginnings of Vrbnik’s existence. Faith has since the olden days been deeply rooted in the everyday life in Vrbnik and the Glagolitic monks were the bearers of cultural and social initiatives.
Vrbnik’s chronicler Josip Petris mentions 31 churches and chapels in the 19th century. Most of the preserved ones can be found in Vrbnik, Risika and Garica, and lovers of sacral heritage can try and locate the remains of the others in the vicinity of Vrbnik.
GALLERIES, GIFT SHOPS
Choose an original keepsake or a thoughtful gift in one of the galleries and souvenir shops in Vrbnik and bring a smile to the faces of your loved ones! There is plenty to choose from: paintings, unique ceramic, glass, or wood souvenirs inspired by the Glagolitic script and folk motifs, interesting jewellery pieces and useful items. You can also choose a bottle of fine wine, a sparkling wine unparalleled in the world, brandies and liqueurs, olive oil, cheese, honey, home-made pasta, or aromatic seaside herbs... The fragrance and taste of these indigenous products will surely remind you of Vrbnik and the island of Krk.
WHAT TO DO?
- Sunbathing on secluded beaches, exploring the beauties of the island on foot or by bicycle, diving... the choice is all yours!
- If you are keen on spending time in nature, we recommend walking or cycling through Vrbnik’s vineyards, olive groves or fields of wild aromatic herbs along marked walking and cycling trails!
- Should you be more interested in history, you can go and search for Illyrian ruins, the Frankopans’ estates or the remnants of mediaeval chapels and churches.
- Swimmers can look for a favourite bay and clean beach in the immediate vicinity of the town, and divers can indulge in the marvellous beauty of the underwater world.
SV. MAREK BEACH
St Mark’s (Marek) is the only sandy beach on the island of Krk, located 6 km from Vrbnik and not far from the village of Risika, in the bay named after the church of St Mark, whose ruins can be found close to the beach. The beach includes sunbathing spots with fine sand and nearby meadows, food outlets, mooring berths, car park and sanitary block. It is also possible to hire pedal boats, deckchairs, and sunshades. It is a favourite bathing spot for families with children. An amateur swimming marathon of 3,100 m takes place here in July. It is organised by a handful of enthusiasts from Risika and starts at Vrbnik’s harbour.
The Zgribnica town beach is located in the
centre of Vrbnik, at the foot of Gospoja Park.
It consists of a natural pebble beach and
landscaped concrete terraces, and it is equipped
with sanitary facilities and showers, plus sun
loungers, sunshades and pedal boats can also be
The dining option offers refreshing drinks and cocktails, as well as fast food and grilled meals. In the evening you can enjoy live music some nights. You can reach the beach from two directions, one from Gospoja Park and the other from the area of Vajavina. Both areas have car parks.
Useful suggestions and instructions: Before your departure, please check the weather forecast, wear strong sports or hiking shoes, and adjust your clothes according to the ¬season (lighter for summer, cap or hat against the sun, jacket, or thicker jersey for springtime and¬ ¬autumn and sweater or raincoat for the winter months). Bring along enough liquids, food, a knife, adhesive bandages, watch, ¬mobile phone, sunglasses, camera, and this map. Start your journey with a group, follow the field signs and walk along the marked paths. Please be so kind and do not throw waste, light fires, damage or jump over dry stone walls, please open, and close all gates along your path, and refrain from picking grapes, figs, and protected plants, and chasing sheep and wild animals.
SECRET BEACH – POD KOVAČ
Hidden behind a passage through the rocks, it is an ideal location for diving beginners. The entrance to the sea is long and shallow, and after a few minutes of diving there is a steep cliff that reaches 30 metres deep. The location is rich in sea flora and fauna.
SILENT BEACH – KOZICA
The quiet bay of Kozica in the middle of a pine forest is still one of the divers’ favourite destinations. A pebble beach and access to the sea are suitable for diving courses and beginner dives. The rocky and sandy bottom and steep underwater cliffs that fall to 28 m deep provide vivid underwater landscapes and access to the rich sea life.
100 STEPS – VAJAVINA
The longest diving route with a dive from a rock at Vajavina. The divers follow the path marked by steep cliffs toward the shallower waters to the destination at Kozica.
GASTRO: TAVERN LUCE
Vrbnik is a place of contrasts that complement
each other perfectly. A town of literature and
wine, spirituality and hedonism, hard-working
common folks, and well-respected intellectuals.
To refer to it as a town sounds pretentious, but
our ancestors always called it that way. Even
though they have worked their fields as a main
source of existence, they pursued cultural
accomplishments even outside the boundaries of
our Golden Island.
The Vrbnik just described provides an opportunity for a multifaceted experience from exploring traces of its past and traditions to hedonistic pleasures for gourmets and lovers of quality wines. This is precisely the mission of the constantly growing number of Vrbnik entrepreneurs, mostly wine growers, winemakers, and caterers; to provide a quality product and an unforgettable experience.
In the past, the life on the island was completely different. People were modest and caring, practical, and wise, they had to learn to survive in difficult living conditions. They did not live in abundance and rationally spent what they had. In the days when there were no refrigerators, they ate seasonal vegetables, salted fish, and dried meat. They used olive oil and sea salt, and everywhere they turned they would be immersed in the aromas of laurel and rosemary. Fish was eaten very often, and meat was served on Sundays and holidays.
For special occasions women made pasta, especially šurlice or makaruni, with wild game or lamb stew (zvacet). They also ate sheep’s cheese and prosciutto, as well as seafood. Sweet treats were simple: laži during Carnival, friti for Christmas Eve and Good Friday, orihnjača for Christmas, pogača for Easter and presnec for the Feast of St John the Baptist, Ivanja. Figs were dried in the sun and eaten as the only year-round dessert. Today, authentic and some new and original dishes are prepared from traditional ingredients and served in the local restaurants and taverns.
Vrbnik Žlahtina is a part of life in Vrbnik, an unmissable companion in celebrations and bereavement. These golden drops are soaked with the sweat of Vrbnik’s farmers, they have been providing for Vrbnik’s families for centuries and are still the reason for the young families to stay in their hometown. Vrbnik Žlahtina successfully grows in the Vrbnik field, which spreads over 211 hectares in the fertile valley to the northwest of Vrbnik.
The deep and fertile ground, favourable climate and protected position have created good conditions for agricultural production. The grape is considered a native sort of Krk vineyards, and its name comes from the Slavic adjective žlahten which means noble. The golden-green grapes are transformed into Vrbnik Žlahtina — a smooth white wine with a light refreshing taste of discreet varietal aroma enriched with floral notes of wild rowan berries, immortelle, and apples. In the last decades, the wine has become a staple of wine lists of prestigious restaurants, hotels, and wine shops. Let Žlahtina awaken all the noble, hearty, and merry amongst you!
SPARKLING WINE VALOMET
Valomet – a sparkling wine unrivalled by anything in the world! This exceptionally drinkable sparkling wine with a low level of fine bubbling is made from Vrbnik Žlahtina and is kept at a depth of 30 m at the foot of steep cliffs (valometi) where Vrbnik is perched. Thus, the ideal underwater conditions have been used for the maturation of this sparkling wine, and each bottle gets the unique signature of the marine world. It is perfect for special occasions and makes a special gift with a unique story, appearance, and superb taste.
VISIT VRBNIK WITH KREMENIK
With the beautiful beaches and a lot of wonderful intact nature, the youngest will have a treat with the ride by train, where little older one will enjoy in the abundance of domestic wine and cheese! Kremenik also has a Caffe bar with lots of awesome cocktails, so sit back, have a Mojito, and enjoy the ride!