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Everything you should know before visiting the Briuni Islands National Park
Brijuni Islands is one of the best tourist destinations in Croatia. The islands receive thousands of visitors from different parts of the world annually. There are hosts of activities and sites to experience in the Brijuni Islands. The National Park is also home to incredible plant and animal species and underwater sites and sceneries. The destination is also known as the Brijuni National Park. If you plan to visit the destination, this guide will do you a lot of good.
The Brijuni archipelago (a collection of islands) is made up of 14 islands and islets. The destination is famous for hosting some of the most diverse plant and animal species in Istria. The archipelago is also known for its outstanding sceneries and hosting some of the best Croatian National Parks.
Of the 14 islands and islets, the most frequented island in Vrijuni is Veliki Brijuni. It is also the largest Brijuni island where you can visit the Safari park, explore dinosaur tracks, and some of the most delightful mouflons.
Before getting more into the national parks and sceneries in the Brijuni Islands, there are a few things you should know about the Croatian destination. The archipelago was a dwelling place for humans from ancient times. The two ancient Romanian villas in the archipelago are proof of this fact. The islands were owned by the Republic of Venise in the Middle Ages. The Republic of Venise used the quarries from the islands to source materials for building palaces and bridges with stones around them. At the beginning of the 19th century, the archipelago became part of the Austrian Empire, like the rest of Croatia.
The Brijuni Islands were the summer residence of the Yugoslavian president, Josip Broz Tito, after the Second World War. The Yugoslavian president also offered the islands to other vital officials in Yugoslavia. Other politicians, celebrities, and public celebrities, like Elizabeth Taylor, Richard Burton, and Sophis Loren, also visited the islands during this era. The Veli Brijun island currently still hosts a presidential villa. It is worth mentioning that the Islands were completely inaccessible to the public at this time.
After the death of the Yugoslavian president, Tito, in 1980, the Brijuni Islands was named a National Park. This happened in 1983. The following year, the National Park was opened to the public.
When Croatia gained its independence in 1991, the National Park remained part of the country.
The National Park hosts some of the rarest Mediterranean floral species. This has made it one of the leading Croatian National Parks since 1983. The islands also host many local animals from all over Istria and some exotic ones too.
You can take two approaches to enter the Islands, depending on where you are coming from.
The islands are located around 7 kilometers away from Pula. If you are heading to the Brijuni National Park from another country, the Pula Airport is the nearest one to use. From the airport, you can quickly get to the islands. The Pula Airport Airport has good connections from most destinations in Europe. You can get to the island from the airport by taking a car or public transportation to Fazana. From there, you will take a boat.
There is only one way to access the islands and the park, which is taking a boat ride from Fazana. Finding a boat at this location is easy. You can find a boat to and from Fazana and the park at any time of the day throughout the year. The ride to the main park takes around 20 minutes. If you are traveling by car, you would have to park it in one of the parking spaces in Fazana for the duration of your trip to the Islands. There are no berries to transport cars to and from Fazana and the parks. However, you can rest assured that your vehicle will be safe in the parking lots. The lots only charge 3 kunas per hour and 5 kunas per hour in the peak summer season.
Entrance fees to the park vary depending on the season and the types of activities you want to partake in. Between July to August, the main entrance fee is 210kn for adults and 105kn for kids between 4 to 14 years. The purchase of a ticket only includes access to the central park and does not include any other activities.
Other than the incredible beauty you will witness and experience at the National Park, you will also get the chance to go inside the Ulysses Theater that was founded by the Croatian actor Rade Serbedzija. You may know this actor from some of his hit films like Harry Potter and Batman Begins, among other local and international movies.
The National Park is also a go-to production destination for your favorite local and international movies. Most productions running in the Brijuni Islands occur in the summer. Therefore, if you visit the islands in summer, you might catch one.
The islands are also a significant part of Croatia’s history. From being the official summer residence of the president after World War II to hosting some ancient phenomena, the islands are a great place to learn about the history of Croatia. The best way to explore the historical sites in the Islands is by joining a guided tour with a group. You can also go on the tour on your own. The tour usually occurs aboard a tourist train, which is a small motorized train. The train will take you to some of the most iconic and historic sites in the park and all around Veliki Brijun.
While on the train ride, you can observe some iconic wild animals in their natural habitat. There are many animals to see, including zebras and some uncommon ones like llamas. Most of these animals were given to the islands as presents to the Yugoslavian president at the time. Other things you will see during the tour are the Roman Villa remains from the civilization that was established there in the first and second centuries BC.
Now that you know of some of the fascinating things about the National Park let’s take a detailed look at some of its top attractions. There are several incredible things to see and do at the National Park. For instance, you can go on excursions like biking and playing golf and tennis sports, among others. Some visitors also pick the destination as a wedding reception destination. Below are some things you can do when visiting the Brijuni National Park;
The National Park features many pathways and trails to go on walks or bike rides on. Walking in the National Park is akin to walking inside a nature storybook. For instance, you will experience some of the awes of nature’s beauty, like the beautiful stretches of beaches and the immensely blue waters surrounded by the complimenting shades of green of the woodlands. You can take a walk along these pathways at your own pace or join a guided tour. The trick is to choose a path depending on the sites you want to see.
The park also features numerous bike trails you can explore. You can rent a bike for a small fee and explore the bike trails. These trails will lead you to spots where you can experience deep relaxation and contemplation. A particular path called the Path of Good Vibrations features a collection of walkways designed to enhance your experiences. The path highlights the already beautiful natural scenery. There are five other paths you can take in the Veliki Brijun area. However, these paths require booking as other activities on the island, including the entrance fee.
If walking and biking is not your forte, you can rent an electric car and go around the various sites and attractions in the Brijuni National Park. The electric vehicles were initially meant for golfers to move around the golf course. However, they are now available to all visitors of the National Park for touring different locations of the islands.
Another great activity in the Brijuni National Park is underwater tour adventures. This activity will allow you to enjoy some extra special features in the park. The National Park is home to some incredible underwater archeological sites along the coastline. You can put on your swimsuit and go on underwater adventures on your own or take part in a diving tour. The tours usually last about 45 minutes and start with activities like snorkeling.
The tour guides provide you with the necessary equipment and an audio guide to direct you as you swim. Some of the things you will see underwaters are the Romanian villas that were submerged by the gradual seal levels from the time they were constructed. You will also see a wide range of sea life, like fish and other types of crustaceans like crabs, sea sponges, and cucumbers.
Diving down to these underwater sites is easier than you may assume. Therefore, all you need to do is know how to swim. You may want to document your underwater experience by taking photos and videos. If you do not have a waterproof camera, you can rent one. The best underwater adventure tours are usually available between April and October.
The Safari Park is one of the most visited destinations in the Briuni National park. It is the go-to destination if you love wild animals. You can book a Safari Park tour where you will visit places and witness wild animals move freely in their natural habitat. This is a refreshing experience compared to zoos where wild animals are kept in captivity. You will see some of your favorite animals eating, drinking, interacting, and moving around in a natural environment.
The Safari Park is located on the Veli Brijun, toward the north. The enclosed area features 9 hectares of land, providing plenty of space for the animals to move around freely. If you are afraid of the animals, you can stay seated on a protected vehicle as you go through the fields. However, most of the animals are harmless.
The Safari Park also features numerous exotic plant eaters like the Indian Elephant Lanka. Other unique animals like the Steppe and Mountain zebras at the Safari Park. The original herd was donated to the archipelago in the sixties by Guinea’s Seku.
The Safari Park also hosts the Zebu or Indian Holy Cattle, which was gifted to the islands by India’s Nehry in 1959. The Zebu is a dwarf version of the Indian Holy Cows.
Apart from the indigenous and exotic animals, the park also features conventional animals like elephants and llamas.
The Safari Park is an incredible destination if you are traveling with kids. The kids will enjoy the sites and the animals and learn something new from the trip. Nature and animal-loving adults also enjoy visiting Safari Park.
It is worth mentioning that entrance to the Safari Park is not included in the general entrance fee to the Brijuni National Park.
Your trip to Brijuni would not be complete without a trip to some of its historical and cultural sites. The National Park is home to historic and culturally rich archeological sites. Two of these sites are;
You can also go on a guided tour of the historical sites sites where you will see the sites and learn about their history.
There are numerous holiday activities you can do at Brijuni National Park aside from the activities and attractions above. Below are some incredible holiday activities you and your family can do at Brijuni National Park;
The National Park features an 18-hole golf course that golf enthusiasts can enjoy. The course is unique from others. There are tennis, bocce and badminton courts you can visit. You can choose from the four tennis courts and take quick tennis lessons if you are new to the game. This way, you can learn a new skill in your vacation.
Therefore, if you plan a trip to the Brijuni National Park, you may want to pack your golf clubs and sports gear. However, if you did not come prepared to partake in these activities, you could rent sports equipment.
It would be wise to take up some sports and exercises in-between the tours and nature adventures at the Brijuni National Park. You can rent an electric car to help you navigate the golf course as you play.
There are also great outdoor spaces that allow visitors to partake in a host of activities like sports. The national park is the perfect setting for several outdoor activities.
If you are an exercise fanatic, you also have the opportunity to stretch and do your exercises out in the grass fields.
One of the most commonly asked questions by potential visitors to the Brijuni National Park is whether pets are allowed. Pet parents are often looking for a place to visit with their fluffy companions. Sadly, a lot of destinations do not allow pets in. This is far from the case with Brijuni National Park.
Yes, pets are allowed in Brijuni National Park. However, there are some guidelines you must follow if you want to visit the park with your furry baby. Some of these guidelines are;