Trip to Blue Lagoon on Island Drvenik, next to Trogir
Trip to the Blue Lagoon (Krksnjasi, Krtnasi) can be on top of your bucket list. It has become a newly discovered summer paradise and hot spot in Croatia. Located on the south eastern coast of the Island of Drvenik Veli, just outside of the medieval town of Trogir. The Krknjasi bay resembles an exotic getaway with clear, azure-blue sea and natural sea beauties that can be found in it’s waters. The bay is surrounded and protected by two islands, Large and Small Krknjas (Mali i Veli Krknjas).
Location of Drvenik Veli, where trip to Blue Lagoon takes you
The coast of the island is constituted of many pebble beaches, but it also has some naturally sandy beaches. Drvenik Veli is situated between the channel of Solta northwest of the island of the same name and channel of Drvenik, 15 miles from Split and 7 miles from city Trogir. The island Drvenik Veli belongs to the cluster of Middle Dalmatian islands and stretches over the area of 11,36km2 with the coastal line 23,885km long. Buhaj is the name of the highest peak(178m) and the village Drvenik Veliki is the center of the island. The island administratively belongs to the Trogir county.
How to get to the Blue Lagoon
Krknjasi bay is located in the east side of the island. It takes 30 minutes to arrive there from Split and 15 minutes from Trogir. Ferries take visitors to the island but to reach the Blue Lagoon (Krknjasi) you have to take a speedboat. We suggest you our Split to Blue Lagoon private tour or regular Split to Blue Lagoon trip. The island has various “satellite” islands that are uninhabited: Malta, Mali and Veliki Krknjas, Macaknara and Orud.
History of Drvenik Veli
Drvenik Veli (Italian: Zirona Grande) is an island in the Croatian part of the Adriatic Sea. First mention of the island of Drvenik Veli are said to be from the 4th century BC, but under the name Proterio in a travel itinerary about the islands of the Adriatic. In papers of Croatian monuments from the 13th century, the island is mentioned as “Gerona” or “Giruan”. The island was formally inhibited in the late 16th century, when people sought shelter from the invasion of the Ottoman army and there remains a popular story that the island was protected from the Ottomans by a force of 80 women whom were living on the island.
The island remained inhabited with mostly Croats. There was a large Italian minority living on the island up until the end of WW2. Today, the island has a population of 150 residents. Mostly older people live on the island and younger ones just come for holidays, especially during the summer. The main industries are agriculture, fishing and tourism.
Krknjasi bay experience on a trip to Blue Lagoon
A boat trip to Blue Lagoon is a perfect way to spend the day with your family, eating fresh fish caught in the nearby bays and swimming all day long. If you rent a boat you discover a vast number of hidden beaches with a turquoise, clear sea just by a short ride. Far away from the city crowds you can relax while sunbathing on the boat. Or, of course on the pebble beach surrounded by pine trees, olives and tamarix trees. Beach bar “Haven” is nearby the beach so you can sip some cocktails and listen to the sound of the crickets. It is often possible to notice dolphins in this area. Therefore, it is recommended to have camera prepared to picture the magnificent moments as the dolphins play in this oasis.
Exploring the bottom of the sea
Sea is very transparent and there is plenty of different species of fish that is worth to see. So, take your time to explore the bottom of the sea. There are many kinds of sea urchins and starfishes. Of course, that is the indicator that the sea is clean and not polluted. Sea urchins move slowly on the bottom floor so they are not dangerous. But, you should only watch out not to step on them. As their spikes can easily penetrate human skin if pressure applied. Since the sea is very clear it is easy to see them and avoid stepping on them. Even without the snorkeling masks they are visible easily.
Where to eat
On a trip to Blue Lagoon you will see an excellent family owned restaurant that is specialized in Dalmatian cuisine in Krknjasi bay. It is on the coast right near the sea with an excellent selection of fresh seafood. It combines perfectly with homemade olive oil that Dalmatia is famous for. The restaurant itself is decorated in a typical Mediterranean type of living space called “konoba” that could closely resemble the Italian term trattoria or osteria. Konoba in the Dalmatian term of words means a living space where in the older times people would gather for drinks and food. Mostly fish and wine, and would keep their agricultural and fishing essentials and equipment. The walls are typically decorated with fisherman nets, seashells, dried urchins and sea stars, with old pottery and typically “naval” accessories like old petrol lamps, small boat figurines, wooden rudders and etc.
Restaurant on an island
Haven bar is newly opened, located also in the Krknjasi bay. On a trip to Blue Lagoon one can enjoy in cocktails, iced coffee and various refreshments. Also, you can have a bite to eat for example burgers, Caesar salads. Along with other classic food if one is uninterested in the above mentioned typical Dalmatian cuisine experience.
What to expect in a bay on a trip to Blue Lagoon
The most important factor for Croatian tourism is clear sea but also indented coast with numerous attractive islands and peninsula. Adriatic Sea is also very safe because there is no big predators. Besides, the currents are not too strong to endanger someone so that is one of the advantages. Another one is that waves almost never rise to high that it is not possible to enter the sea. Also, dangerous or poisonous fish are not very likely to be seen.
Snorkeling in blue lagoon
Snorkeling is probably the best one of the activities in the sea. Good thing is that it is also easy to do it. Importantly, because it is not expensive and it is available to everyone. Snorkeling mask and a snorkel is all you need to explore the sea on a trip to Blue Lagoon. Snorkeling mask needs to suit to your face well so that it does not pass the water or get blurry. If it is possible to wear a diving suit, it comes handy. Indeed, it keeps the body warm and protects from the sun. This is an activity that is done on the surface of the sea, otherwise it would be consider diving.
During summer, the weather is sunny and warm, usually around 30 degrees. Sometimes it rains but mostly raining starts in September. In the summer afternoon often blows a wind called Maestral, or as the islanders say “Mestral” . For that reason, the sea is usually wavier in the afternoon that it is in the morning. Mornings are known for “bonaca” which represents a very calm sea without any waves, looking all flat. Higher wind velocities are more often recorded in cooler months along the coast. Generally as the cool northeasterly “bura” or less frequently as the warm southerly “jugo”. Near the sea is colder than it is on the inside part of the island. People used to build houses very close to the sea. Due to that, sometimes it would happen that waves would rise so high that they would even touch the walls of houses.
Around 6000 plant and 7000 animal species are now registered in the Adriatic Sea. They are the product of various climate, biological and geological changes that have shaped the sea over 10 millions of years. Marine life, transparent and shallow sea, wrecks and caves are one of the things that are attracting tourist.
People on the island often go fishing and have seafood for lunch or they sell it. Undoubtedly, be sure if you stop by to a restaurant on island that the fish is freshly caught. There is plenty of fish on islands, especially the ones that are not much inhabited, such as Drvenik Veli. Citizens from Split and Trogir usually go fishing around Drvenik Veli island as it is famous for the clear sea far away from the city pollution.
Both local islanders and visitors also love to eat date shell. Their color is yellowish and brownish and their shape is similar to shape of fingers so they are called “prstaci” in Croatian, coming from the word “prst” which means finger. It takes 15 to 35 years for them to grow and reach 5 cm length. These species can be found in northeast Atlantic Ocean, the Mediterranean Sea, the Red Sea, Adriatic coast of Croatia and Montenegro. They bore into marine rocks, and they are forbidden by law to eat, sell and extract in Croatia. Despite that, people from time to time like to indulge in this specialty, usually for some special occasions. It requires the destruction of the rock and natural habitat for some animals and that is why they are forbidden so that the ecosystem is not destructed.
The language differences
Since the village is spread throughout a few bays (Grabule, Artic, Bobvisce, Crljenice and Teketa) and the upper parts that are not directly on the coast but actually are more up to the hills (Povrh Selo, Krce, Draga, Brce) there do exist slight differences in pronunciation of words, but nothing radically different that would be uncomprehendable. It is interesting that the language on the islands differs depending on the island. People from cities such as Split often do not understand anything what islanders say due to the fact that there aren’t anymore those so called “fetivi” or in English “the people whose ethnic origins are from Split and Split only”.
Due to migrations, most of the townspeople of Split and nearby smaller cities like Omis and Trogir have suffered great loss in vocabulary specificity because of cultural absorption from incomers from villages of Sinj, Imotski, Drnis and Hercegovina. Even though the “real” coastal-Dalmatian culture is not even at the slightest end of which it was around 30 years ago, the islands today remain partly untouched and still rejoice in their specific ways and traditions that make up the Mediterranean part of them a whole.
Living on the island
Locals living on the islands, especially old people, often use the sea for various things, such as washing their hair in the sea. The purpose was to prevent the lack of water because the islands do not have much water nor a natural spring of water, while saving up water being specially a problem for smaller islands like Drvenik Veli is. Nowadays the situation with water is better due to different arrangements of water supply. But, people still have to save it up. Because of the history of not having much water to spare, it has become “inherit” to local people to cherish and save up water instinctively.
There is something charming about locals on the islands. Even funny in some ways. They speak in a specific Dalmatian dialect and use many words that you will not hear in a formal speaking. The Dalmatian dialect is specific for its vast vocabulary and accents, being infused with a lot of Italian words. That is due to the fact that Dalmatia was populated and influenced by the Italians and their culture from the times being. Inside Dalmatia, however, there exist various sub type of dialects based on the position of the place. For example, on the island of Brac, people from 2 different villages have totally different vocabulary and accents. Sometimes they can have difficulties in understatement! When it comes to Drvenik Veli, there also do exist some differences thought it formally has only one inhibited village.
What people do on island
The dialect spoken on the islands in particular also consists of a lot of curse words, so for example old people do tend to curse a lot which can be funny. Basically, Drvenik Veli is a “he said, she said” type of an environment. Everybody knows everything about others on the island, because it is a small place. Many families are also blood related and there are not much things happening on the island. So people just hang around and put their noses in other people’s business like in every small community.
Grandmas gossip and grandpas play cards or drink beer in front of the local store. Young people can sometimes get annoyed by all the gossiping. They always have to behave very polite so that “people do not talk about them”. Also, there is not much things to do so that is why they usually only visit in the summer to spend a few days there, relax, tan and swim in the crystal-clear sea. That mentality of the locals can be interesting experience for the tourist if they have the time to stay more days and meet some people. Usually they are friendly and act towards others nicely offering some desserts.
Island Drvenik Mali lies on the north-west side. Its highest peak is Glavica (79m). The island of Drvenik Mali has a few smaller locations to explore: Borak, Vela and Mala Rina, Dolici, Petomavar and the inner island has Vela and Mala Kuknara. The island is popularly called “Ploca” amongst the locals of Drvenik Mali, Veli, Trogir and nearby locations. That is due to the fact that the island is literally flat with “ploca” meaning “flat tile”. You can see most of the houses as there is not much hills. While on the hill of Gracina on the island of Drvenik Veli, on a sunny day the whole entire island of Mali Drvenik is visible. Both islands Drvenik Veli and Mali have a tradition of building white-stone houses with red roofs and green windows. Thus contributing to that specific style of house building on that part of the Adriatic.
The islands are filled with specific plants all whom have played an important role in the agriculture. They are specific for the Mediterranean cuisine and lifestyle. Both islands, Drvenik Veli and Mali have a huge amount of olive trees in the spirit of the Mediterranean agriculture. Olive oil, wood tree and other types of goods produced from it are a great source of income and trade among the locals. The process of making olive oil is specific from family to family. Everyone has their methods when it comes to the process of cultivation, harvest and production.
The most important Dalmatian, and at the same time Croatian variety is “Oblica”, both for its quality and for its share in the total number of olive trees. It accounts for about 60% of the total Croatian cultivars. In Dalmatia this is 75-80%, while together with “Lastovka” and “Levantinka” they make up 90% of the total varieties of Dalmatian olive groves.
Climate suitable for olive trees
Climate of Dalmatia is ideal for the growth of olives because it provides them lot of sun. The type of climate in Dalmatia is Csa type of climate according to climatic classification and the World Meteorological Organization calls it the olive climate. South areas and sea influence are creditable for the finest quality of olive oil which is bitter in moderation and has strong smell of olive fruit.
Samphire on island
The island of Drvenik Veli is filled with samphire plants that grow near the rock. In spring and during the first part of June they taste the best. They are picked like asparagus. It can be picked later in the year when it grows yellow flowers but then the leaves have heavier taste. It was used as a medicine for digestion problems. Moreover, it was so called “the food of the gods” in ancient myths. It is great for detoxification and helps in weight loss. There are many different ways it can be used in food because of its salty and aromatic taste. It has a specific taste because it grows on the rocks or in the sand near the sea.
Samphire in cuisine
Since the samphire is already salty there is no need to put the salt into the water when boiling it. It makes a tasty combination with vinegar, olive oil and garlic as a cold salad or added to lettuce or rucola. It is good combined with the fish and seafood. Also, a cooked potato but can be combined with eggs and cheese. Out of it you can make a sauce and add it into the bread or a pizza. It can also be frozen or dried.
Other plants on island
One of the other plants and herbs that are very common on the island is lavanda. It has very specific scent and often used for essential oils and to keep the moths away from the clothes. Also there is rosemary, sage, carob tree, and many other herbs. For instance, oregano and basil that are considered essential in the Dalmatian and Mediterranean cuisine.