The Brijuni islands are one of the 8 national parks in Croatia, situated in Istria, at the northwestern outskirts of Pula’s port. The national park consists of two larger islands, Veli and Mali Brijun, and 12 islets. Only three kilometres wide Fazana channel divides them from the Istrian coast. The best way to reach the islands is by ferryboat which goes from Fazana port to the national park and vice versa 11 times a day (during the summer season).
What to do at the National park Brijuni?
The number of options of what you can do at this national park is quite large, varying from excursions, doing sports like golf and tennis, to even having wedding receptions (20-80 persons).
Excursions: There are several excursions you can take while visiting the national park of Brijuni:
- Veli Brijun excursion – includes a ride by tourist train, visit to the remains of the Roman villa rustica from the I century B.C. in the bay of Verige, and the safari park which breeds the following animals: zebra, Somali sheep, zebu (the holy east Indian humped ox), dromedary, llama and elephant
- The Path of Good Vibrations – a walk and bike trail for self-sightseeing of specially selected locations that provide a place for relaxation, contemplation of beauty, serenity, love and good feelings with the aim of a positive shift from the daily life. The excursion includes the return ticket Fazana – Veliki Brijun and free bike rental for 3 hours.
- Cycling Heaven on the Brijuni – the program includes the admission to the National Park and bike rental (for 3 hours) on the island of Veliki Brijun; reservations in advance are required
- Brijuni Archaeology Pearls – professionally guided sightseeing tour of the most important archeological sites of the Brijuni introducing the visitors to the rich past of the islands through various cultural and historical periods, from prehistory through antiquity, Late Antiquity and Byzantine period to the Venetian era.
Sports: If you are looking to rest a bit from sightseeing but still want to be active and use your time in this beautiful national park as best as possible, you should try playing golf. The tickets can be bought at the Brijuni Tourist Service office in Fazana (green fee). Or if you are more of a team player, you can opt for playing tennis on one of the 4 available courts. It also exists a tennis school for individual person or group of 2, 3 or 4 persons. Other sports offered on the island are badminton and bocce.
Other activities: To get around the island besides by foot or by bicycle, there is also a possibility of renting an electric car. Its original purpose of making it easier for golf players to get around slowly changed, so the electric car has become a means of transportation for anyone who wants to save their energy while sightseeing.
The interesting fact which few people know, is that the islands were the residence of Tito (the former dictator of Yugoslavia) during the second half of the 20th century. So if you are more interested in political-historical background of the island, you can check exhibitions dedicated to Tito.
How to get to the National park Brijuni?
By boat: The only way to reach Brijuni National Park from the mainland is getting on a boat from previously mentioned Fazana, which has regular boat service to the island of Veliki Brijuni. Journey time is around 20 minutes. Boats travel daily in both directions throughout the year, although there is a much higher frequency during the summer months. (see the timetable of boat transfers here). Alternatively, you can also visit the Brijuni islands by joining an organised tour from the mainland.
Arriving by car: Since there is no ferry boat that transports cars to the Brijuni islands, you should consider leaving your car on parking lots in Fazana which cost 3 kunas per hour (5 kunas during the summer season)
In the National park Brijuni it is possible to stay in hotels or villas:
- The “Neptun-Istra” Hotel
- Hotel ‘Karmen’
- Villa Lovorka
- Villa Primorka
- Villa Dubravka
Good to know when visiting the National park Brijuni
- It is recommended to book your excursions in advance, especially during the summer season
- Dogs are allowed, but they have to be on the leash all the time, and are NOT allowed in the tourist train, museums, exhibitions, churches, shops and restaurants. They are also not allowed in the „Safari park“ area
- Make sure to stock on food and beverages because some people may find the restaurants a bit pricey