Lighthouses of Croatia
There are more than a thousand islands and many coastal sea cliffs in the Adriatic Sea. Therefore navigation in these waters has always required special attention, and for this reason there are about 50 lighthouses, most of them built in the early 19th century.
The Romantic Guardians of the Adriatic
There is a curious legend about the origin of numerous lighthouses in the Adriatic Sea. As the legend goes, an Austrian count fell in love with a girl from Savudria, and in order to get to her safely by sea, he assured the Austrian government of the need to build lighthouses in this region, providing lists of the many shipwrecks that have taken place here.
In the age of automated control, it is no longer necessary for keepers to live in stone towers erected in the most remote and desolate regions of the Adriatic. Therefore, many of Croatia’s lighthouses, built under the Austro-Hungarian empire, are silent reminders of the times when the saving fire in them was maintained by man.
Some of them have been restored and now serve as tourist attractions, and in their ancient buildings can live all who wish to feel the “Robinsons” of the Adriatic.
Built in the middle of the 19th century, the lighthouse on the island of Dugi otok (Long Island) is very rightly called the most beautiful lighthouse in the Adriatic. Snow-white beaches with pebbles, picturesque bays with clear turquoise waters and a nearby beautiful pine forest make this place a true paradise on earth.
The tower of Veli Rat lighthouse rises to a height of 40 meters, for which it was originally called “the main guardian of Dalmatia”. If you stay here you can see the breathtaking panorama of your surroundings from such an impressive height. For relaxation in the lighthouse building there are two guest rooms for three and four people, and the tower itself is equipped with a heating system that allows you to stay within its walls even in winter.
Only 3 km from Veli Rat there are several villages with which there are good road links, so you can’t say that the place is cut off from civilization. Swimming in the coves of Dlinny Island and exciting Adriatic fishing are the most accessible water activities for the guests of Veli Rat lighthouse, the very atmosphere around which is conducive to a relaxing holiday. From here you can also get out to visit the nearby scenic parks – Kornati and Telašćica.
On the southern outskirts of the Croatian island of Lastovo a lighthouse of the same name was built in the 1930s on the edge of the Cape Struga cliff, which is now also available for tourists. Its walls can simultaneously accommodate up to 14 people. You can easily reach Lastovo island by sea from Dubrovnik or Split.
The tower of Struge Lighthouse offers a stunning panorama of the sea, and the northern side of the building is surrounded by a picturesque pine forest. These places are famous for excellent fishing. It is here that a giant lobster weighing 18 kg was caught, which the lucky fishermen sent as a gift to Emperor Franz Josef (the same after whom the Franz Josef Land archipelago was named). These places are also famous for the fact that in the 50 years of 20 centuries, the largest coral tree weighing 45 kg was found here in the waters of the Adriatic.
The lighthouse keepers in Strüge have been the members of the Quinta dynasty for three generations, who initially ensured its functioning, and now they are in charge of providing a comfortable holiday for tourists.
The lighthouse of the island of Susac
About 24 km west of Lastovo is another island in Croatia with an interesting lighthouse-hotel. Away from civilization and the main navigation routes, the island of Susic seems to be a piece of land lost in the depths of the sea, which creates the illusion of being on the edge of the earth. Two rooms, each accommodating 4 people, are available to guests in the one-story lighthouse building.
The lighthouse was built in 1878 to facilitate navigation in these waters. Its tower rises majestically at 100 meters on the steep cliffs of the southern coast. The southeast edge of the island of Susac is ideal for a leisurely descent to the sea. The water is incredibly clear, at depths of up to 30 meters, so that lovers of scuba diving can enjoy their stay in this secluded paradise.
It is one of the most distant from civilization lighthouses in Croatia, which was built on the island of the same name in 1875. The picturesque island is actually in the center of the Adriatic, and from the 90-meter high lighthouse in good weather you can see even the Italian coast. The easiest way to get here is from the island of Lastovo or from the port of Korcula.
In the spacious building of Palagruža lighthouse there are two guest rooms, each of which can accommodate up to 4 people. The local waters are famous for the abundance of fish, so fans of fishing will certainly find something to do, but diving is prohibited here. You can also take exciting boat trips to small islands and reefs, located in the vicinity. The island has two beautiful sandy beaches, one of which is suitable even for holidays with children.
The relief of the island is quite difficult and the lighthouse building is not in the most accessible location, so stay here is recommended only for those who have good health and can tolerate a certain physical exertion. For people of age it is not the best lighthouse-hotel in Croatia. During the high season (from May to September) vacation at the lighthouse Palagruža is available only if you book an apartment for at least a week. At other times, you can stay here and for a couple of days.
At 300 m from the island of Murter is a small island Prisnjak, which is considered one of the most picturesque in the Murter archipelago. In 1886 a lighthouse was built on it in order to facilitate the navigation of ships in the Murther Bay. Located surrounded by a pine forest, the lighthouse building with a spacious room and a large terrace is now available for tourist accommodation.
The water area of the island is rich in fish and if you want to spend your holidays on the lighthouse Prisnjak, it is best to come here in spring, while the most beautiful sunsets over the sea here can be admired in the fall. While on the island of Prišniak, you can also visit the Kornati Nature Park, 11 km away.
Built on Savudrija island in 1818, the lighthouse is considered one of the oldest on the Adriatic. In addition, it is the northernmost lighthouse in Croatia, located almost on the border with Slovenia and about 50 km from the Italian coast. If you believe the legend, it was built on the wish of the Austrian prince in honor of his beloved Croatian girl.
The two-story Savudrija lighthouse rises 36 meters above the sea and has one guest room within its walls, providing accommodation for up to six people. It is one of the most accessible lighthouses in Croatia and has the safest surroundings, so even couples with small children often stay here.
The proximity of the cultural center of Poreč and Novigrad makes the vacation at Savudrija lighthouse the most exciting and full of lots of colorful entertainment. The best way to get here in Croatia is to drive from Umag which is 9 km from Savudrija.
Lighthouses of Croatia
At the beginning of the 19th century the Austro-Hungarian Empire, knowing the peculiarities of the Adriatic coast, decided to create a network of lighthouses. Today, some of them are open to tourists and are ideal for a holiday in complete solitude. A vacation in a lighthouse provides hitherto unseen opportunities to enjoy the sea, swimming unattended, diving, fishing, etc.
Two hundred years ago, the construction of lighthouses proceeded as planned, and in 1899 the last of the lighthouses envisaged by the Austro-Hungarian project, the Rivanski sisters lighthouse in the waters of the city of Zadar, was erected. The political situation changed, but the work of lighthouses and ensuring the safety of maritime traffic remained unchanged. Today, the Croatian state firm Plovput is the legal successor of the Austro-Hungarian firm, taking care of maritime safety.
The lighthouses have survived to this day, and our task is to preserve them. With the introduction of automatic light control in the late 1990s, the watch posts were removed from the lighthouses, and the buildings where the keepers used to live began to deteriorate. Then they started looking for a solution that helped bring the lighthouses back to life.
The tourist offer of holidays in the lighthouses of the Croatian part of the Adriatic was supported by foreign tour operators.
So the holidays in the lighthouses of Croatia have become a unique and exclusive vacation. Some of the lighthouses were restored, apartments were equipped and categorized, and guests began to arrive.
Summer on the lighthouse
Holidaying in a lighthouse in Croatia is quite different from staying in private apartments in Croatia on the Adriatic, as guests must be prepared for the peculiarities of living in a lighthouse. At some lighthouses, where the keepers still live today, the surrounding area is constantly being improved.
Some lighthouses are on such small islands that it takes only a few minutes to get around, but the trip will last longer if you pay attention to the mesmerizing sunsets.
To live in some lighthouses, you need to stock up on food beforehand or dedicate yourself to fishing and enjoying the “Robinson” lifestyle. Some lighthouses are located near tourist sites, and providing the necessary products at them is easy and straightforward.
In the eastern part of the Croatian Adriatic there are 49 registered buildings in lighthouses, with a total area of 10435 square meters, of which 83% are for accommodation and 17% are auxiliary facilities.
Stone Bridge Project.
The goal of the Stone Bridge Project is to preserve all lighthouses on the Croatian Adriatic, as well as to find ruined lighthouses and buildings that used to be part of the maritime safety system, but have been removed from the registers over time. In the first part of the project, 11 territories have been selected where you can already spend your vacation today. These are the lighthouses Savudrija, Rt Zub near Novigrad, Sveti Ivan in the open sea near Rovinj, Porer in front of Premantura, Veli Rat on Dugom island, Prišnjak near Murter, Sveti Petar near Makarska, Susac, Struga on Lastovo, Palagruja and Sveti Andrija near Dubrovnik.
All apartments in these lighthouses are designed identically and energy consumers, such as refrigerator, stoves and freezers, are powered by natural gas butane. This eliminates the need for liquid fuel units. Lighting and other appliances, such as televisions, in the apartments are powered by solar panels and wind turbines.
Porer, Sushac and Palagruja lighthouses, due to their location in the open sea, attract tourists who have decided to spend their holidays away from civilization, in maritime isolation.
“The Stone Flower project is an integral part of the model of ecological tourism offer of Croatia, a model that gives funds for long-term support and preservation of lighthouse buildings, cultural and historical monuments.
Lighthouses in tourism in Croatia
Savudrija lighthouse was built in 1818 and is the oldest lighthouse in Croatia. It is located on the border with Slovenia, 56 km south of Trieste. Its light signal can be seen at a distance of 17 nautical miles or 32 kilometers, its height is 36 meters, and the lighthouse keeper and his family live there.
The third lighthouse, which has a tourist function is Sveti John / Sv Ivan, built in 1853. It is located on the most remote islet in the small archipelago near the town of Rovinj. It is a ridge of 70×50 meters with a relatively pleasant shore and shallow sea. The lighthouse tower is 23 meters high and it has a beautiful view. On the island there is a small pier and boat elevator for small boats.
Porer lighthouse was built in 1833 on the island of the same name, 2.5 km south of Istra in Premantura. Its tower is 35 meters high and is located in the central part of the stone building of the lighthouse.
On the northwest corner of Dugi otok, 35 kilometers west of Zadar is the lighthouse Prišnjak, built in 1849. It is surrounded by pine forests and beautiful coves with sandy beaches. This lighthouse is considered one of the most beautiful on the Adriatic. Prisnjak island is located about 300 meters from the west coast of Murter Island. In 1886 a lighthouse was built on it, designed to facilitate night navigation in the Murtera archipelago.
Sv Petar lighthouse was built in 1884 on the peninsula of the same name at the entrance to Makarska near the most beautiful beaches in the Adriatic. From the center of Makarska you can walk to the lighthouse on an asphalt road in 10 minutes.
Ploćica lighthouse was built in 1997 and is located on the island of the same name between Korčula and the island of Hvar and the Pelješac peninsula. It does not have a keeper, it is a kind of “Robinsonian tourism”.
In the middle part of the southern coast of Lastovo island, at the entrance to Skrivena luka bay, there is Struga cape, on which the lighthouse bearing the same name was built in 1839. Beautiful scenery and easy access to the sea through the pine forest make this lighthouse very attractive.
The island of Susac is situated off the important shipping lanes, 23 nautical miles south of Hvar, and 13 nautical miles west of Lastova. Sušac lighthouse, located on this island, was built in 1978 on a 100-meter high rock on the southeast side of the island. The rock falls steeply into the deep and clear sea.
Palagruža lighthouse was built in 1875 on the island of the same name, placed in the middle of the Adriatic sea, halfway between the Croatian and Italian coasts. The building of the lighthouse is located in the central part of the island at a height of 90 meters. In the lighthouse there are two lighthouse keepers working in shifts throughout the year.
Palagruza lighthouse video
What you should know when going to the lighthouse
Recreation in the lighthouses is specific precisely because of the conditions of accommodation:
- Accommodation at the lighthouse is only available Saturday through Saturday during the season. Until June and after September
- You can book weekends at Pločica, Struga, Veli Rat and Sveti Petar, Prišnjak
- Almost every lighthouse has a keeper, except for Prisnjak, Pločica and Sveti Petar
- The lighthouses recommended for visiting in winter are heated: Savudrija, Rt Zub, Struga and Veli Rat. In the remaining lighthouses there is no possibility of heating the premises
- in the territory of facilities provided cell phone standards 900 and 1800 MHz, including all European countries
- there is a TV in all apartments
- as part of the bathroom has a shower cabin
- apartments offer 2 large and 2 small towels, guests must bring their own personal hygiene products, in the kitchen there is a sink, stove, oven, refrigerator and kitchen utensils
- there are no satellite dishes, coffee makers, sun loungers and umbrellas in the apartment Food, spices and other products must be brought
- all lighthouses have lightning rods
- There is no drinking water in the lighthouses – you should bring it with you. There are cisterns and water is heated by solar collectors.
- if there is no sunshine for a few days in a row, there may be a shortage of warm water
- waste water is collected and treated in accordance with high environmental standards
- lighthouses have their own 220-volt power grid. The lighthouses Veli Rat, Sveti Petar and Struga are connected to the common power grid, so there are no restrictions on energy consumption. Lighthouses Porer, Sveti Ivan, Pločica, Susac, Prišnjak and Palagruža have their own solar-powered networks, so there are restrictions on connecting powerful electrical appliances such as hair dryers to the network. It is possible to connect power units for phones, laptops and other electrical appliances with low power consumption
- Medical care is available at nearby locations. In case of emergency hospitalization, a helicopter or speedboat will bring help from the nearest base.
- each lighthouse has a VHF radio station through which you can call for help or get advice on channel 16 (emergency and safety channel)
- All lighthouses have lockers with first aid supplies
Rent a Lighthouse for your holiday in Croatia
Grebeni Lighthouse 4* on the island of Grebeni – Dubrovnik Riviera
Distance to the nearest beach: first line from the sea Distance to the center of Dubrovnik: 5km
Distance to Dubrovnik Airport Croatia: 20 km Distance to Tivat Airport Montenegro: 62 km
Additional information: Grebeni lighthouse is located on a small island on the Dubrovnik Riviera and allows guests to relax in seclusion like a true Robinson. Built in 1872, the lighthouse was completely renovated in 2012 to accommodate guests.