Tips for Visiting Cape Kamenjak
“Kap Kamenjak “- the wild beauty on the southernmost point of Istria, Croatia. The area is a nature reserve, and it’s only 10km away from Pula. Lonely Planet actually rated Cape Kamenjak Nr. 7 of the Mediterranean Sea’s most beautiful, hidden coasts.
Sure we had to visit this little off the beaten path gem – and I can only recommend you to do so, too. In this post, I’ll give you some tips for visiting Kamenjak National Park.
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Some general Information
The Kamenjak Peninsula is a Nature reserve with a 30km coast line, primarily known for its natural beaches and coves. The water surrounding the 6km long and 1km wide cape is crystal clear and perfect for a beach day with cliff jumping, swimming, snorkeling, and water sports.
Inside “Rt Kamenjak, “you’ll also be able to go for a hike or ride the mountain bike on the paths through nature with its large plant diversity. The Nature reserve is being protected because of its undeveloped protected nature. Some places are even accessible by boat only!
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How to get to Cape Kamenjak
Cape Kamenjak is located only around 10km from Pula, right underneath the city “Premantura. ” Premantura is a small village with many tourist attractions. (It seems like there are more tourists than locals – but that also means the infrastructure for rentals, tickets, and souvenirs are well.)
When entering the park with a vehicle, you have to pay a fee for those. A day ticket costs 80kn per car, 150kn campervan, 30kn per motorbike, and 500kn per bus.
Tickets can be bought at the entry to Cape Kamenjak national park or in the tourism office in Premantura. Once you’ve bought your ticket, there are two entrances to the park.
Parking is only allowed in the designated parking spots. Leaving the streets and paths is forbidden due to the protection of nature.
Pros: Changing your location inside the park is very easy, and you can bring all your stuff with you without needing to carry it around.
Cons: Sometimes, it’s not easy to maneuver on narrow paths, and bigger cars might have accessibility problems at some point. It’s expensive and not good for the environment in there.
You can also take the bus from Pula to Kamenjak: the arrival-stop would be in Premantura. The most common line is number 28, which is running around once in an hour.
Pros: You don’t need to pay any fees for vehicles and can access the park directly without queuing for the ticket. It’s relatively easy and, of course, better for our environment.
Cons: The ride does take some time, and the time tables aren’t the best. Since you have to walk from the bus stop in Premantura, you can’t bring that much equipment with you. If you’re not renting a bike after getting off the bus, you’ll also have a hard time hopping from beach to beach since the area is quite large.
Riding the bike is another easy way to get inside the park. (but not too easy!! Ugh,… those paths are going up and down.. lol). If you want to rent a bike, you can do so in Premantura for one or more days.
Pros: It’s environment-friendly and for free. Plus, you’re incredibly flexible inside when it comes to changing from one beach to another or to the safari bar in the south. It’s way quicker than walking all the way.
Cons: The paths aren’t too easy to drive, and you’ll be covered in dust after your ride. You’ll also have a limited amount of stuff to bring into the park
Infrastructure inside Cape Kamenjak
The orientation inside is relatively easy. There are many signs along the paths that guide you along the hiking/mountain biking trails and beaches. The designated parking spots were easy to find, and google maps worked incredibly well in there! (We found google maps to be better than the map they handed us)
The streets themselves (or better: paths) are relatively narrow and dusty. If you’re coming by car: it’ll be covered in dust… and if you chose to bike or walk through Kamenjak National Park: you’ll get covered in dust by the cars passing by.
Getting around by car
Driving your (or a rental) car through the park is an easy way to reach every part quite quickly but let me tell you… it also may give your designated driver a little heart attack if not prepared for this.
We took our own (brand new) SUV with us on this trip, so we thought we’ll just gonna be okay, that’s “the perfect car for a park anyway “.. NOT! Those paths turned out to be so narrow the closer you got to the beaches. Once, we nearly got stuck at a very “hidden “part of the peninsula (it was an official “road, “though). After we made it out and to the desired parking spot, our car nearly got scratched from the low hanging tree branches. I can still hear my poor boyfriend cursing me for making him drive his brand new baby into that park. We made it out without any scratches, though.
The parking spots were easy to reach, but you always need to walk a little further to the bays since they’re not directly accessible by car (of course).
Getting around by foot
Exploring Kap Kamenjak by foot is also an easy and cheap way to get around. If you’re up for a hike: great! You’ll find many trails guiding you through the beautiful nature while conquering your fitness.
If you’re walking around the park because you arrived by public transport and just want to go to the beach – please bring enough water, sunscreen, and a hat. Some paths are not covered with trees, and it can get incredibly hot. Don’t underestimate the area’s size and the time you need to arrive at your desired beach!
Arrive early and don't stop at the First obvious beach already
Since “RT Kamenjak “is gaining more and more popularity, it is also getting a little crowded during high seasons. If you’re going to Kamenjak on a Saturday in July, you might have trouble finding that “peaceful, hidden beach. ” I’d recommend to arrive early and walk a little further down the coast to explore the surroundings until you find a nice, peaceful spot.
Cape Kamenjak Beaches
There are many beaches you can choose from! All the beaches are either pebble- and/or rock beaches. The caves and cliffs along the coast are simply stunning. Many official beaches also offer beach bars and water sport facilities. Here’s a little comparison of where to find what:
If you want to jump off some cliffs, Velika Kolombarica & Mala Kolombarica will offer you some great possibilities with jumping heights from around 3m to 13m
Uvala Skoljic and Uvala Podlovka are offering sandy seabeds. This might be better when you didn’t bring any water shoes or spend some time with smaller children. Veliki & Mali Portic are partly sandy on the seabed.
Uvala Pinizule, Uvala Skoljic, and Uvala Skokovica are the beaches for water sports activities. At Uvala Skoljic, for example, you can rent a paddleboat or go windsurfing.
Of course, there are many more caves and beaches. In general, the bigger the beaches (like the ones with the restaurants), the more crowded they are. While many of the easily accessible beaches are great for families with kids, I’d recommend taking a little walk along the coast to find some hidden spots that offer more privacy.
→ Here’s where we ended up:
After driving around for a while, we parked our car at Školjić Beach and walked along the coast until we found a little bay with some trees (you gotta have some shadow!). It’s been directly in-between Školjić beach and Mali Portić beach on the east coast, and it’s been beautiful. Here are some impressions and the exact location:
In general, all the beaches aren’t secured, so using them is always at your own risk. Besides that, here are some beaches you might want to skip:
Uvala Drazice: In this area, you have a high amount of sea urchins (ouch!). If you decide to come here, be extra careful and bring your water shoes!
Velike Krsine: This is a beautiful bay, but it also has a powerful current. Please be careful when getting into the water there.
Depending on where you’re from, you might be used to this already: Inside the Kap Kamenjak, it is totally fine to be completely naked. Nudist bathing is allowed and quite common here. So if you’re not used to it: don’t be surprised! 🙂
Some other attractions in the park
- Dinosaur Path: This is a 600m long path quite close to Grakalovac Pinizule and especially great to visit with kids
- Lighthouse „Porer“: This is a famous photo spot in Kap Kamenjak. You can get a nice view of it from Kršine beach.
- Flora & Fauna: The nature reserve is home to around 580 different kinds of plants and 192 kinds of animals like birds, shellfish, fishes and sea urchins, and the Mediterranean monk seal. On special pedestrian „education“ paths, you can learn a lot about the park and its „inhabitants. “
- Istrian Farm: The Istrian Farm is located at Polje Bay. Many animals live here (like donkeys, pigs, and chickens). It offers traditional Istrian cuisine while showcasing the typical Istrian agriculture concept.
Restaurants inside Cape Kamenjak
A long day of cliff diving and swimming does make me hungry for sure. If you didn’t bring your own food, there are some restaurants/beach bars at the following beaches: Uvala Skokovica, Uvala Debeljak, Uvala Njive, Uvala Pinizule and Uvala Skoljic.
Besides that, it’s also allowed to have your own barbecue in particular designated areas. If the weather is too dry, it might get forbidden due to circumstances.
But the coolest restaurant and a definite must-see in Cape Kamenjak is the Safari Bar!
Safari Bar Cape Kamenjak
They say you haven’t been to Kamenjak if you didn’t visit the Safari Bar!
It is located in the south, right above the Kolombarica bay. In-between the plants, you’ll sit on handmade bamboo furniture while enjoying fresh fish, specialties from the grill, and refreshing drinks. The safari bar area is quite spacious, but still, every part is hidden inside the plants. Besides food, there is also a swing hanging from the branches, wooden playgrounds, and a little tower. By far, one of the coolest spots! (so instagrammable, too!)
Got some trash?
When entering Cape Kamenjak National park, you’ll be handed a map and a waste bag. Throwing away waste is forbidden in the park, so you have to collect all of your trash in the waste bag and take it with you. As there are no waste bins around the area, it’s essential to not lose your waste bag. If you’re a big group or family with a lot of food to snack on during your stay, you might even want to bring a second bag from home. Take care of our environment, guys!
What to pack for a day in RT Kamenjak
- Change: all of the beach bars we visited (including the Safari bar) didn’t accept card payment, so make sure you bring enough change with you for getting food and drinks.
- Water shoes: This isn’t only important for Cape Kamenjaks beaches since you’ll have many more rock and pebble beaches in Istria. Walking into the water without water shoes isn’t only painful and quite risky since the stone plates can be very slippery. And don’t forget about the sea urchins: they are everywhere. I even managed to step into one so hard it stepped through my water shoes.
- Snorkeling gear: If you have, bring some snorkeling gear with you. The water is extremely clear, and the biodiversity at Kap Kamenjak is excellent.
- A good mat or even a tent: since the ground is mostly rocks, I’d recommend bringing a good mat to put underneath your towel. There are rock formations that are relatively even plates. Still, if you’re at the pebble beach part, it’ll get uncomfortable over time. If you’re sensitive to the sun and not used to rock beaches: remember you can’t just stick a parasol into the sand! Beach tents are a great option here.
These are some water shoes I just mentioned. They keep your feet from getting hurt by the rocks or the sea urchins. Definitely a must-have for a vacation in Istria! You can find them on Amazon for for example.¹
We had a wonderful day inside Cape Kamenjak National Park, and I’d love to go back any time soon. It’s incredible to see how much they care about the park and it’s well being, and of course, this pays off. The untouched nature you get to see is impressive and makes you feel a little like Robinson Crusoe. We’ve been lucky that the park wasn’t really crowded once we visited (due to the pandemic), so I can definitely say it’s been such a peaceful place. I don’t know how crowded it can get on maximum operation days in the summer season, but since the area is quite big, I’m sure you’ll find a lonely place somewhere.
If you’ve been to Cape Kamenjak already, I’d love to know how you liked it. And if you’re planning on going there soon, I hope this article helped you a bit when it comes to planning your trip!
As always, stay happy and healthy!
See you soon,