Cape Kamenjak, what a wonderful place to spend a day in nature! If you haven’t traveled to Croatia, Istria, Pula and surrounding area, you probably haven’t heard about the nature park Cape Kamenjak. This is the place which revokes all your senses, and I mean it!
When you look at the Google maps, or any other app of that sort, look at the very tip of the Istrian peninsula. There, on the southernmost point of Istria, you’ll find another peninsula, that is the Cape Kamenjak. It’s a place where Istria ends and the Adriatic sea spreads in all directions. This little protected nature reserve has many things to show you. The word “kamen” in Croatian language means “stone” or “rock” and there you’ll see exactly that. Lots of small bays engraved in the stone landscape, rocky cliffs and caves. Even though it may sound and look rugged at a first glance, it has to offer a lot more. If you give it a chance and some time to explore it, the Cape will show you all its beauty. It will show you the beautiful blue colour of the sea, specially inside the cave, crystal clear water in every bay, 11 small uninhabited islands and many rare plants, including orchids.
Ways To Explore The Cape
There are more ways to explore the peninsula. From the sea side exploring can be done by kayak, SUP board, boat or even some kind of self-build raft, if you are that type of adventurer (but please ask locals about weather conditions before you decide to go out on the sea). We are somehow keen to use our own muscles and we encourage other people to do the same. No motor boats, only human power! If you’re willing to give it a shot, we can take you for a kayak or SUP ride. During the colder months (November-March), the options are somewhat limited because most rentals and tour operators are closed. Other than the sea, you have an opportunity to explore the Cape from the land and it can be done all year round. For the not so sporty types, there is an option of exploring by car (that’s not our favourite one of course). Each vehicle needs to pay an entry fee during the summer. From autumn and until mid spring the entrance is free of charge. If you choose a non-motorised form of transportation, like a bicycle or you own feet, then the entrance is free of charge all year long. When you choose a bicycle, please make sure it’s a MTB because, like it was mentioned before, it’s all just stones around, with lots of bumpy ups and downs. Mountain biking at Cape Kamenjak can be very thrilling and exciting, but if you really want to look around, use your feet and walk. Take your time and absorb the views, sounds and smells around you, go to the deepest secret corners and enjoy the power of nature.
Our Kamenjak Adventure
On this chilly end of November, sunny weekend day, we decided to do just that, take a nice long walk. We parked our car inside the reserve (cause sometimes we get a bit lazy too :p), just short drive from the entry ramp, by the crossing to Polje bay. We picked up our backpacks with snacks and drinks (don’t forget your small first aid kit people!), let Boni and Terry out of the car and were ready to start our 10 kilometers hike. Boni, our 9-year old Husky mix breed dog was super exited and eager to start running and exploring. She’s been by Tea’s side since she was a small puppy. Terry is the newest member of our little team, a 3-months-old ginger tabby kitten. Our little feline friend didn’t quite share the canine enthusiasm for adventure. She was suspicious and frightened as cats usually are. With just the dog, the round would’ve been quite fast, but with the cat, we had a nice slow warm up. Kamenjak is so beautiful that no living creature can remain indifferent. Soon the kitty started jumping out of the backpack and running around enjoying the views, the beauty of the plants and trees and chasing the bugs. Boni was chasing every pebble that made a splash in the sea.
East Coast & The Wind
We started down the east coast. Luckily, we were well bundled up in layers of clothing for the occasion that the wind Bura (international name Bora) provided. This type of wind is strong, gusty and cold, blowing from the northeast. It can reach gust speeds over 200 km/h (in extreme cases like in 2013.). Bura closes roads, cuts off the island connections, isolates towns by the coast. However, when it’s not so strong, it makes a lot of windsurfers and kite boarders happy. It brings sunshine after the rain and clears the air from all the dirty stuff. That’s why we had a wonderful view all day long. Super fresh clean air, clear view of the Medulin bay and the islands in it. On this day the bay was not decorated with colourful sails because the wind was already going down and was not sufficient for surfing. The wide view spread from the islands of Cres and Lošinj and all the way to the snow cowered peaks of Velebit mountain range.
As we were moving more south and inward the peninsula, away from the wind, so the layers of clothing began to come off. First the hat, then the Buff and soon after the shell jacket followed. Upon arrival to the Mali Portić bay it was like we suddenly found ourselves in a completely different place. The wind and wave battered rocky coast was replaced with perfect tranquility and warmth of small hidden sandy cove surrounded by trees. To be there completely alone was a true blessing. Just us, our pets, birds and some butterflies. This is why autumn and spring are the best time to visit.
The Southernmost Tip Of Peninsula
After Portić bay we decided to head directly to Velika Kolombarica cliffs, just above the beautiful cave with the open ceiling, where the sun rays make unforgettable visual experience in summer. This is where Istria ends and the sea begins. The view is always amazing and exciting, especially during the south wind storms. In those conditions, the nature shows you all its brutal power and raw beauty. Giant waves bashing against the rocks, slowly changing the landscape with every hit and every drop of water, not noticeable to the observer. This natural theatre can give you a spectacular show; just beware and admire it from the distance, beauty can be deadly too.
West Coast & Beaches With Pebbles
Even though we met plenty of people along our way and saw a few fishing boats at sea around the lighthouse Porer, comparing to the summer months, it was crowd-free. In autumn, you can really enjoy the view of the nature, but it’s too cold for snorkelling though. I was hoping to see the dolphins, which sometimes happens, but no luck today.
We concluded our tour following the west coast through the beautiful pebbled bays of Njive, Plovanije and Polje, enjoying the warmth and the colours of the slowly setting sun. The cat finally got tired enough to put her back in the backpack and took a nap, so we hurried back to the car before the warmth disappeared. If you are a romantic soul, take your time and watch the sunset. After that, you’ll never forget Kamenjak.
Small advice for the end: in the summer time, all beach bars are open. There is one in almost every bay, so refreshments are available on every step. But, when visiting in the off-season, make sure to bring snacks and drinks with you. Layered clothes are a plus too because it may be warm on one side of the peninsula, but cold and windy on the other. Have fun, stay safe and subscribe to our newsletter!