Susak Island, Croatia – sandy beach & tradition
Susak is Croatian island located in Kvarner bay archipelago on the north of Adriatic sea.
Susak island is made entirely from yellow sand and its been well-known for its wonderful sandy beaches and coves, unique traditional folk costumes and special local dialect.
Island doesn’t have any built roads, loud night clubs or beach bars there is only vast area of sandy hiking trails which connects local island villages with sandy beaches and coves.
Susak is perfect vacation spot if you are looking for quiet and relaxing holidays in Croatia combined with breathtaking nature and warm sea.
One of the main reasons why it is under radar in Croatia tourist offer is that Susak is relatively isolated and hard to reach which implies that lot of tourists in Croatia are not aware of existence of this island what makes Susak ideal as exotic soothing vacation spot on Croatian coast.
According to the census from 2011 Susak only have 151 permanent resident and during winter season island is practically abandoned while during summer there is about 2000 visitors on the island.
History of Susak island
Illyrians were first settlers on the island and they built thier resorts on higher parts of the island around 98 meters high Vela Straža hill. However name Susak was first mentioned by Roman travel writer Pliny who described it as little sandy island located nearby todays Pula.
In year 476 after the fall or West Roman Empire islands was under the direction of Ostrogoths. From period between 5-th to 10-th century area was under power of Byzantine empire and in 8-th century was populated by Croats and in that time becomes the part of Croatian Kingdom under direction of king Tomislav the first.
In that period island was donated to the monks of Benedictine Order who came from Monte Cassina and first convents from islands dates back from that time. Later as estate size number of monks grew convents was turned into abbey of St. Michael and Nicholas. First written documents dates back in 884 from “Venetian Chronicle” by Ivan Deacon. In past island has often been the target of pirates and in 7-th century first fortifications were built in order to protect island from their raids.
In early 18-th century Susak became part of Austro-Hungarian Empire. First summer residences , lighthouse and walkways that connects lower settlements with Bok cove dates from that period. In early years of 20-th century island became part of Italy and local population was forced to adopt Italian language as official. Despite that fact Susak in that period reached highest point of its economic prosperity. Big vine cellar and fish factory was built in that time and by the end of WW2 population of Island reached number of 1876 residents.
By the end of WW2 Susak become part of Croatia which was part of Yugoslavia at that time. Communist regime forced agricultural reform and confiscated all land what resulted total depopulation of island and slow death of the Susak island. Many families immigrated from island and great majority picked New Jersy, USA as their final destination and never saw thier homeland again.
After the fall of communist regime and fight for Croatian independence people who emigrated once again could visit their land of their fathers. Most of population on island are people who are retired.
The infrastructure on Susak is modest and you can find there a elementary school, two stores, post office, carpentry, lighthouse, one church, cemetery, small infirmary, one big vine cellar and just few restaurants and bars.
Things to see on Susak
Orgin of Susak name came from Geek work “Sansegus” what means oregano, as you probably assume oregano grows on the island. Beside oregano, furtile soil o island combined with mild Mediterranean climate enabling lush vegetation on island. Susak is mainly covered with wild grape bushes, grass, blackberries and various plants and on some parts of the island are covered with acacia forests.
Susak has limestone base which prevents sea erosion of yellow sand layer. Beside cascades that you will see on the island dont have natural origin, they were created by local farmers in order to prevent soil erosion and they were used to grow grapes and vegetables. Since the base of the island are made of limestone better part of of coastal area has been made of stone apart from north part of the island where are mainly sand or pebbled beaches and coves.
Susak beaches and coves:
Located on southern part of the island, cove is distinguished by vertical coastline and 15 meters high cliffs that falling straight to the 20-30 meters deep sea. Obis cove is perfect place for diving and jumping from reefs. Obis cove consist of two beaches. Big Obis with previously mentioned cliffs and Small Obis below small cave both of them are very nice places.
Spiaza beach is situated in shallow sandy bay and it is the largest beach on the island. Beach has a shallow water and soft yellow sand what makes it perfect for families with small children.
Spiaza beach is easily accesible and on beach you can rent beach umbrella, beach chair, paddle boat, play beach volleyball or relax in one of the local beach bars. Remember this is family beach and nudity is not permitted, so if you prefer privacy Spiaza beach is not right place for you.
Bok cove beach
Located right next to Spiaza beach and it also has soft yellow sand but unlike Spiaza beach there are no additional facilities or houses. Bok cove is commonly used as anchorage for smaller yachts and boats and this sandy beach is quite popular among tourist who are visiting Mali Lošinj. Bok sandy beach has been always considered as a nudist beach.
Located west from Spiaza beach facing Mali Lošinj, Baldarka is a small and nice pebbled beach with many rock plates which can be used for a sunbathing.
Coastline from Spaiza to this beach might be considered as one big cove, but main difference is that you on Baldarka will have more privacy than on previous two beaches.
It is not easy to reach this bay you will have to walk half of the circle to reach Potrnak cove. This small pebbled bay used to be a quarry and its mainly covered by tar.
Potrnak is a perfect spot for you if you like snorkeling because on bottom of this cove is made of cracks and holes and on left side you can find underwater hole with air pocket in which you can dive out. You have to be careful since rocks in this bay are particularly sharp.
Porat bay is facing open sea and it is quite popular as anchorage among yacht owners. Bottom of this bay is covered with specifically white sand which reflects sunbeams and makes turquoise blue color of the sea. In late evening hour Porat cove will offer you one of the most spectacular sunsets. Bay is also well-known safe anchorage during strong north wind called bura.
Due to large numbers of beaches and bays Susak is perfect holiday destination for all tourist likes outdoor activities like: hiking, jogging, swimming snorkeling and diving or simple island exploring.
All recognizable landmarks on Susak island can be visited by foot. While island church is regulary visited by tourist Susak lighthouse is regulary overlooked. Enjoy the view on Susak from its highest point Garba hill and also make a tour on old military posts and discover unique landscapes of Susak island.
How to get there:
By ferry: there are regular ferry line Mali Lošinj – Susak with ferry “Premuda” which connects Mali Lošinj with nearby smaller islands and it drives round twice a day. Ferry line schedule depend on which part of the year you will visit Susak. More detailed information can be found at www.jadrolinija.hr