In the heart of the beautiful – and Croatia’s biggest Island – Cres, perched high upon a cliff lies a very unique village. Lubenice is a place of unique charm and beauty.
I was there back in 2001 and this summer I wanted to make a stop to see if it was still the same. Of course, it was packed with tourists and nowhere near calm as it was that winter over 20 years ago. But summers are like that.
A Glimpse into Antiquity
The history of Lubenice spans over four thousand years, marking it as one of the oldest settlements in the region. Furthermore, as you wander through its narrow lanes, you’ll encounter stone houses that have weathered centuries, with their facades which tell stories of generations long gone. Additionally, the Church of Lubenice, also known as the Church of St. Mary, dates back to the 16th century. Moreover, it stands on foundations that are much older. Its architectural style is a blend of Romanesque and Gothic influences, highlighted by its robust stone walls and a beautifully adorned portal.
History of Lubenice
Lubenice boasts a long history dating to ancient times. Archaeologists have uncovered Bronze Age settlements here. Illyrian tribes inhabited the area before the Romans, making it one of the island’s oldest settlements. Legend speaks of a king living on the island; his daughter loved a young man on the hill where Lubenice stands, adding mystique to its origins.
In the Middle Ages, Lubenice thrived as a bustling town, encircled by protective city walls and gates. These ancient fortifications still stand, providing a glimpse into the village’s medieval past.
Lubenice Village today
Lubenice are now nearly abandoned. There is life only in the summer and it can get pretty busy when tourists are flocking here from both Losinj and Cres.
If you enjoy exploring abandoned places and savor the nostalgic charm of the past, consider visiting Lubenice during the off-season. For hiking enthusiasts, the surrounding area offers an ideal destination. Whether you prefer hillside hikes or more challenging treks down to the stunning Sveti Ivan Beach (also known as the Beach of St. John), Lubenice has something to offer.
If you are in the area, Lubenice should be high on your list but drive carefully up the curvy road as it is not wide enough for modern traffic.