National park The Brijuni Islands
National Park Brijuni is an oasis of perfect harmony between man, animal and plant life. The story of the island shows signs of five thousand years of human activity. By coming to the island in front of us in a harmony of plants, animal life and heritage which opens a part of heaven, an beautiful sight of turquoise-blue sea, green islands whose bays and hills are dotted with the white Istrian stone. Brijuni are an exceptional combination of natural, cultural and historical heritage with nearly 700 species of plants, 250 species of birds with a mild Mediterranean climate that makes this place enjoyable and healing. Located a few kilometers west of the Istrian coast, opposite to Pula, it consists of 14 islands and islets of the total area of 33.9 square kilometers. The two largest islands are the Big and Little Brijuni. The main and most interesting attractions are on Big Brijuni.
Besides the two main islands Big and Little Brijuni, there are smaller ones like:
- Krasnica (Vanga)
A little bit of history
Thanks to its sharp coastline, history and diverse plants and animals, on 27th of October 1983. Brijuni was declared a national park and since then, it became one of the favorite tourist destinations. Brijuni was the summer residence of Josip Broz Tito, who received guests in large numbers from all over the world – statesmen, government delegations and politicians. Marshal Josip Broz Tito was the Yugoslav revolutionary and statesman, leader of the Partisans and president of ex Yugoslavia. At Brijuni, several important state sessions and party forums, including the famous fourth plenum CK SKJ (1966) were held. Today, part of the national park is used as the official summer residence of the Croatian President and this part is closed to tourists.
The Brijuni islands are separated from the mainland by the Istrian Fazana Channel and the park can be reached by boat from Fazana, where the official park boats leave. Boats run daily at 9.00; 11.30; 13.30; 15.30. The trip takes around 15 minutes. Earlier, the Brijuni islands could be reached by local boats but today you have to join one of the official excursions. Ticket prices for the boat depend on the period of the year, so tickets are paid less out of season, ie. from November to March. Children and groups have certain discounts. Also if you book a hotel on the Brijuni islands, you get 15% discount on the ticket price.
Things to see and do
Among the attractions that you, by no means, should not miss are the famous observatories, once tourist attractions that are now outgrown by forests, but which are still a unique example of engineering culture.Then there is also the family mausoleum Kupelvajzer, also known as Kupelvajzers peace and walkways that emerged by clearing rocks. Alojz Čufar, forester and planner of all Brijuni walkways, brought the original ideas and breathed new life into this place. If you take one of the excursions by boat, the ticket includes a ride around the island (visit the safari park, Verige etc.), the Josip Broz Tito Museum, the Archeological Museum, the Church of St.Germans, etc.,and from 1st January 2013 you can visit the Mediterranean garden. Among the pearls of Brijuni archaeological heritage is a Roman villa in Verige, the largest Roman villa on the east coast. There are also many churches and other buildings which you can visit at Brijuni islands.
Brijuni for the most part can be also seen by the sightseeing tourist train, which is included in the price of the excursion ticket, and so enjoy the Brijuni landscape from which castles and viewpoints emerge, and later you can relax in the crystal clear waters and picnic in the shade of olive trees. Of course you can take a tour by yourself on a bike, but just don’t be late for the boat to Fazana. Who loves, can set off to explore the underwater world.
There, you have also great opportunities to play sports, like tennis and archery, or maybe golf. You can also rent a bike or go swimming in the clear sea. There is also a great attraction, a path with dinosaur footprints, over 200 of them. You have also great hotels where you can stay.
The islands are for many people ‘Paradise on Earth’ and the meaning of luxury and glamor. Maybe that’s why the slogan ‘The Mediterranean as it once was’ can best be applied to this national park.