Winter walks – Vir Island

Vir Island is not known for its nature and history. It is usually regarded as the place of the ugliest development on the Adriatic coast but I would say there are many more places that can compete for that title these days… Narrow streets, ugly buildings of all colors and shapes make Vir just a terrible example how NOT to build.
And once, it was a lovely island north of Zadar. Then came the idea of building a nuclear power plant on an island by the Yugoslav authorities back in 1980s. Someone came up with a counter-idea that the locals should sell their land cheap so many people build their summer homes on the island and make a pressure on the authorities not to build the nuclear power plant on the island.
If you ask me, nuclear power plant would look much, much better than the island looks right now and would be probably much better for people’s health than the waste their guests produce in the season…

Kastelina fortress in Vir
Kastelina fortress in Vir

And the crowds and the mess are the reasons why I usually visit Vir only in the winter time. We always first visit the ruins of Kastelina fortress that was recently restored and preserved. It is an impressive fortress built in 1620s by the Venetian governor of Dalmatia who was always ruling from Zadar. This the coats of arms of those governors’ families: Molina and Pisanio. Below theirs is the coat of arms of the famous Zadar noble family of Grisogono.

Coats of arms
Coats of arms

Kastelina is a bit strange in design. It is basically just a walled structure with two towers on a small rocky point. Not sure what the original purpose was as it looks just like a possible shelter from land only attack…

“Inside” the fortress
Venetian lion on north tower
Venetian lion on north tower

Next to Kastelina fortress is one very interesting beach. It is not a regular rocky or sandy beach. It is geologically very different from any of the beaches we saw before in this region. It is a mix of clay and sand stone creating some surreal shapes but the beach itself is made of colorful pebbles while there is sand in the sea.

Kozjak Beach
Kozjak Beach
At Kozjak beach
At Kozjak beach
More strange shapes
More strange shapes
Colorful pebbles
Colorful pebbles
Abstract textures
Abstract textures

Then we moved away from the town and went to see the beaches on the north side of the island: Biskupljača and Duboka Draga. While the island is pretty much ruined with aggressive construction, there is definitely a charming side to it and I see how it was probably a very beautiful destination before 1980s. Now, the devastation continues as we saw the asphalt road destroying the coast on the northern sides right to the sea. For no particular reason. It could have stayed a simple dirt road and the beaches could have stayed untouched.

Same pattern is now applied to the beach of Biskupljača where the local authorities are trying to make a parking space.

Biskupljača beach
Biskupljača beach

All these beaches are open to Velebit mountain so bura wind is not light here. The beaches are sandy  and great places for families with small children no matter if you are getting there by car or by a boat.

Duboka draga
Duboka draga

In general, Vir – always different but still always a pleasure. For winter walks and hikes, that is 🙂

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2 thoughts on “Winter walks – Vir Island

  • Hi Alan, fantastic pictures of Vir !
    Imagine, those “strange stripes” once were in an upward position, layered over time, before they were turned “upside down” by tectonic forces. I see many of those layered structures here, these however are both amazing and beautiful !!!

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