Day 13: Krk to Novalja, Croatia
Jack Richards, August 10, 2011
Today I took a break from a standard relentless day in the saddle and instead flitted between some of Croatia’s islands. Only 100km of riding but more than 200km of progress took me across several islands that direct and easy route as the ferries sucked up some milage.
I first rode south on Krk towards the ferry at Valbuska. Krk is a nice island with lots of trees and a surprising amount of green. I then had a long 1.5hr ferry to Lopar on Rab, during which I soaked up the sun and looking out at bright blue sea and surrounding islands.
Arriving on Rab into a small idyllic port, I found shop and picked up some lunch provisions. I then went exploring, taking a small back road to a dead end, the road terminating at a small beach. I sat in the bright sun and ate. I really enjoyed riding on Rab; some punchy little climbs, plenty of vegetation and pristine coast. Yachts cruised off the coast, and I did for a while think that this might be quite a pleasant way to spend a holiday.
From Misnjak, the southern ferry terminal on Rab, I jumped on a ferry back to the mainland. Sprinting to catch the ferry, I leapt on just as the ramp was about to be raised. Only a few minutes later I was rolling off the ferry and up a steep 300m climb to the main coast road that was tough going in the midday sun.
The heat here is fantastic, always warm enough without being too hot. Rarely in Croatia have I broken out into a torrent of drenching sweat like I had in Italy. I battled against a very aggressive headwind down the coast to Prizna where I jumped on my third ferry of the day to the island of Pag. The ferries have worked really well today and are inexpensive. It’s great having the mobility on a bike to be able to see several islands in one day without the cost penalty of taking a car.
Pag is much more barren than the other islands I have been on, made up mostly of rocky hills with almost no vegetation. A short rode to Novalja and upon hearing that my planned campsite 20km south is full, I stopped at the camp here. It’s super touristy and the town is overdeveloped and nasty. Thankfully I only needed to head into the town for cash before escaping to the campsite.
It’s been a very casual day in paradise. I have seen a lot of varying countryside with Rab being my favourite island of the day. It will be interesting to see what the rest of Pag is like once I clear this town.