Visiting BELI, Cres
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  Posted July 6th, 2017 by Zdenko  in Travel | 2 comments

Traveling Croatia

By: Zdenko Kahlina

Summer holidays in Croatia
Leaving behind our summer base, V. Losinj, we headed towards the ferry in Porozine, on our way to Labin in Istria.
DSC_6529The main road over the island of Cres leads us to the island’s highest point, the 650m high Hill of Sis. But not everything went according to our plan. The lineup for the ferry was 8 km long. So, we made a quick decision to visit nearest village on the island. Taking a right turn, we descend to a village called Beli – a hilltop surrounded by green vegetation and clusters of houses. Underneath the village there is a 130m high cliff, the sea, a small harbour, and a pebble beach.

Belej (Beli) is a village on the northeastern coast of the island of Cres (Cherso); population 107 (in 1972). Perched on an isolated, wooded hill (130 meters) it is exposed to south and northeasterly winds. Down by the sea, below the village, is the small port of Odbeli with a single beach which can be reached by a steep footpath. Beli has poor communications with the rest of the island; the inhabitants are chiefly occupied in farming and livestock production. 

DSC_6518Typical Istrian style houses in Beli


The town draws its roots from pre-historic times, being mentioned even as early as 4000 B.C., while the fortified wall protecting the town’s exposed northern part speaks of the town’s long history. That is why the Romans gave the town the name “Caput Insulae”, which evolved into Caisole. This tradition of having dual names, represents a virtue that shuld be cherished and preserved. The Croatian version of the name – Beli, stems from the time of Bela IV. who sought refuge here from the conquering Tartar hordes.  DSC_6527


Entering this particular microcosm, one gets the impression that some hidden internal clock has been ticking away for centuries, marking the rhythms of time and life. Witnesses to this are the remains of the Roman period and the fortifications of the Middle-Ages, the Roman-Gothic style churches, old balconies, house facades and decor, and the Glagolic inscriptions on the tombstones.

DSC_6531Collecting water during the hot summer is very important… 

DSC_6535 House with the view…

Especially impressive is the cemented area situated on a slope, similar in appereance to an amphitheatre, and surrounded by seats made of stone. This was a place where villagers met, a sort of a town square, the lone remnant of the ancient and short-lived democracy when Beli was an independent commune around the year 1000 A.D.

DSC_6538Port of Beli 

DSC_6541Beli is an ideal spot for anyone that wants to spend his vacation in a peaceful atmosphere and in harmony with nature. Here the locals will offer you their hospitality in clean and tidy rooms, while there is also a well-kept camping site for camping enthusiasts by the beach. 

DSC_6545Main beach in Beli.

DSC_6543Summer houses – Beli style, right on the main beach.


Cres is also one of the last habitats of a rare bird species – Griffon vulture. There are colonies of the Eurasian Griffon vulture near Beli, to the north of the island. Conservation of the birds lies with the Eco Centar Caput Insulae – see their website for more details. 

Bjeloglavi_sup_CresGriffon vulture  

Bjeloglavi_sup2_CresGriffon vulture near Beli 

The Cres-Losinj group of islands, situated in the Kvarner Gulf, is the largest group in the Adriatic. It is made up of 36 islands, islets and reefs.

The cause underlying the formation and current appearance of the islands of the Kvarner was the transgression of the Adriatic Sea in the last 12-6 thousand years.
Some 20-30 thousand years ago the whole Kvarner underwent elevation, including northern Dalmatia and the Italian coast of the Adriatic. With the melting of the icebergs, at the end of the Ice Age, there was a rise in the level of the Adriatic Sea of about 100m, and the mountains and hills of the mainland became islands, the higher hills became smaller islands and the lower hills became underwater reefs and rocks.


Cres and Losinj, with their neighboring islands and islets, are a continuation of the Cicarija mountain range, that is, of its southern extension – Ucka. The extension of the highest part of the Ucka range can be connected with the range to the north of Cres (Sis – 638m). The southern part of the Ucka range (Sisol – 833m), via the cape of Masnjak, extends to the cape of Pernat onto the chain of hills west of the Vrana Lake (Helm – 483m), and further south to Losinj, via Osorscica (Mount Osor – Televrina – 588m), to finally end on the island of Ilovik. The extension of the hilly formation south of Labin is breifly suggested by the islands of Unije and Srakane (N. Strazicic, 1975).

 Chalk limestone and dolomite of very diverse content and resistance is dominant in the geological composition of the islands. This played an essential role in the forming of the present relief. Thus a more compact and purer limestone, recognizable by its craggy and rugged rock, is located on the island of Cres near Beli, in Lubenice, and on the island of Losinj, in the mountain mass of Osorscica. The locations of impure limestone, mixed with dolomite, is where valleys were formed due to erosion. Examples of this are the valleys where the town of Cres or the settlement of Martinscica are located. Dolomites in which the greatest breakdown and erosion is taking place are located in the entire area surrounding Vrana Lake as well the entire stretch tot the southeastern point of the island of Cres. Here the coastline is very indented and forms fjords which deeply cut into the land, for example, the points of St. Dumjan and Kolorat or the deeply indented Jadriscica Bay. This phenomenon can also be seen around the port of Mali Losinj.

Hope you have a good summer!

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2 comments to “Visiting BELI, Cres”

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