There is something captivating in the image of a lighthouse, solitary monuments raising from the sea level, giving hope to seamen and lost sailors alike with shining beams of light that cut through the darkness. It is no wonder, then, for their so prominent depiction in many paintings and other works of art.
Luckily, there is no shortage of lighthouses on the Croatian coast, in fact, there are 56 of them, all dating back to the times of Austro-Hungarian empire when the people in charge decided to make seafaring a safer endeavor which, subsequently, was reflected in increased prosperity of coastal cities in decades to come.
Until recently, sailing to lighthouses was reserved for the selected few, but with the rapid development of nautical tourism in Croatia, it is now available to everyone wanting to visit mostly desolate islands and islets and have a peak in the life of peculiar people called lighthouse keepers while spending a night there.
It is not possible to make a list of most captivating Croatian lighthouses without including the most famous one, located on the furthermost Croatian island, right in the middle of the Adriatic sea: Palagruža.
Located on the biggest island of Palagruža archipelago, overlooking the distant coast of Italy as well as many Dalmatian islands scattered across the Adriatic, this island was even visited by the Pope Alexander II in 1173 during his cruise across the Mediterranean sea.
Built in 1875, at the altitude of 90m, the lighthouse warned sailors of Palagruža treacherous waters and rocky shores. When approaching Palagruža, it is recommended to announce your stay to the lighthouse keeper, the only inhabitant on this small, rocky island. If you decide to stay the night, it is possible to choose between two apartments available for rent, although you should be careful to choose favorable weather conditions, since the weather is unpredictable and the unforgiving sea hides sharp rocks below its surface.
Those visiting this furthermost jewel of Adriatic may choose to spend their time traversing the island, admiring many endemic species of plants as well as bathing on two lovely beaches.
Built-in 1833 on the islet of Premantura, 2.5 kilometers southwest of Istria’s southernmost tip, this is a true diamond on our list. The islet is only 80 meters wide and can be traversed under a minute, which is something that makes visiting the lighthouse so special. While visiting, you can choose between two apartment studios available for rent, while staying at this 35 meters tall lighthouse and admiring the breathtaking view of surrounding Istria’s coast.
The island of Dugi Otok boasts of the highest lighthouse in the Adriatic. The lighthouse of Veli Rat was built in 1849 on the southwestern cape of the island and is 42 meters tall, providing a 22 NM light range. It is easily accessible, provided it is located only 34 kilometers west of Zadar and is surrounded by beautiful pine forests and beautiful sheltered coves perfect for swimming or scuba diving. You can also choose to spend the night there since there are 2 apartment-studios available so you may enjoy the hospitality of lighthouse keeper and his family.
According to legend, the thick lighthouse walls contain thousands of egg-whites to make them more resistant to wind and sea.
Image source: https://www.camping.hr/campsites/pineta-savudrija
Built in 1818, Savudrija is the oldest lighthouse on the Adriatic, according to a local story it was built by count Metternich for a beautiful Croatian noble lady with whom he fell in love at a Viennese ball. It is also the northernmost Croatian lighthouse, located 9 kilometers from Umag and right next to Slovenian border. When you take into consideration the nearby garden, captivating pebble beaches and 4 apartment-studios available for rent, the lighthouse of Savudrija seems even more beautiful!
While staying there, strong winds and mild currents surrounding the island make it a perfect place for water sports.
For those willing to spend their time away from conventional navigation routes, visiting the island of Sušac and its lighthouse is a must. Operated by two keepers and located on a small, yet specific island, atop a 100-meter high rock with a breathtaking view of the endless surrounding sea which crashes on the rocky shores of the island, the trip to this island is well worth the time. Endemic species of plants can be found while taking a stroll around the island, but you will find no supplies on this remote piece of land in mid-Adriatic. However, it is a beautiful piece of nature which will captivate those of adventurous spirit. On the northern side of the island, there is a seawater lake which can be reached by diving through a cave!
The islands unique scenery enchanted many, so much so that it has been the location of some famous movies.
Although modern times brought automation and have digitalized the lighthouses, there is something iconic in the picture of a lighthouse, shining light in the dead of the night, giving hope to sailors.
The altruistic reasons for their existence, safeguarding of life and property has carved the symbol of a lighthouse in our culture as something positive. Maybe that is the reason why there are still crews living a solitary life on remote islets and rocks on which they are located. Maybe they have found something we still have yet to discover.
So, charter a yacht and explore for yourself these distant diamonds of the Adriatic. I wish you a calm sea and a strong mast!