The oldest houses in Ustrine line the very edge of a 180 m high ridge descending steeply towards a wide, well-protected bay of Porat, a known important anchorage in this part of Kvarner. From the highest point of Bojnak (222 m), north of Ustrine, the plateau gently descends towards the southeast of the island of Cres. The windswept rocky pastures are always somewhat cooler than the low-lying hilly peninsula of Punta Križa, covered by evergreen Mediterranean vegetation. For centuries, this area was the “suburbs” of Osor, the old island capital, made up of a number of both large and small shepherds’ dwellings, today mostly abandoned and dilapidated. The local population depended mostly on sheep farming and cutting down holm oak forests.
OUR LADY OF THE VINE
The path leading to the Church of Our Lady of the Vine passes through the traditional pasture parcels locally known as “ograjice”, where sheep graze to this day, which means you will come across traditional wooden picket gates. Make sure you close them behind you so they keep the sheep in. In the 18th century, the original Gothic church was turned into the entrance of a much larger church of an unusual cross floor plan with a trefoil façade. It is dedicated to the Visitation of the Blessed Virgin Mary, traditionally celebrated in these parts by a pilgrimage on the 2 July. At the nearby shepherds’ dwelling of Loze (Croatian for “vines”), the vines are long gone. They have been replaced by picturesque olive groves.
At the central part of Punta Križa stands one of the most impressive pit caves on the island of Cres – Jamina (na) Sredì. The travel writer A. Fortis compared it in 1771 to the famous Roman Pantheon for its nearly perfect spherical shape and the hole on the “vault”. Archaeological research carried out in the cave in the 1950s uncovered evidence of Paleolithic hunters and Neolithic farmers, similar to those found in the nearby Vela Jama hidden in the mountain of Osoršćica, but also elsewhere in the northern Adriatic, which was at that time still part of the mainland.
SONTE BAY & SLATINE OF OSOR
Already at first sight you know that the wide and well-protected Sonte Bay is an archaeological site based on the derelict wall extending deep into the shallow sea. The lush greenery hides the remains of a larger Roman villa rustica and a church dedicated to an unusual patron saint (St. Plato), characterised by an unusual floor plan (single nave with two apses). Not surprising, since nearby lies the “source of life” – a brackish “lake” enclosed with dry stone wall, forming the Slatine salt marshes of Osor. Once they were a precious source of water for cattle (among other), and today they are a haven for flocks of migratory birds and dragonflies of all colours.
• Via Apsyrtides trail system is intended for experienced mountain climbers and recreationists. The trails provide a basic level of walkability, without additional measures of safety and protection. Use these trails at your own risk!• Rugged landscape and climatic conditions of the island can be challenging. Assess your fitness level well and wear appropriate footwear and clothing!• Water availability in some villages is limited. Carry enough water with you!• Your responsibility is to follow the laws and regulations of the Republic of Croatia related to nature protection, accommodation and respect for other people's property.• Leave only footprints, take only memories! Dispose of garbage in the villages, in designated areas. Do not collect wild plants and do not disturb animals you come across! Keep the gates closed behind you!• You are in an area of high wildfire risk. Lighting open fires is strictly forbidden!
• Water: crossroads at the entry into Ustrine (white path) and in Osor (next to the bus stop, towards the bell tower)• Convenience store: in Belej and Osor. Working hours• Café: in Ustrine (open during the season) In Belej and Osor.• Restaurant: in Ustrine (open during the season). In Belej and Osor.• Pharmacy: in Nerezine (Smeraldo) and Mali Lošinj (Muškardin and Kaštel Fram)• Physician: in Cres and Mali Lošinj• ATM: in Osor (next to the bus stop, towards the bell tower) and Nerezine (next to the Marina Nerezine agency and the convenience store)
SAFETY INFORMATIONMind the strong Bura wind, especially in winter and pay attention to:
The section starts at Panorama buffet in Ustrine. Follow the markings – take the white path towards the church Majka Božja od Loze. You can use the public parking lot.
Sufinancirano sredstvima Europske unije iz Europskog fonda za regionalni razvoj
Long distance hiking trailCres & Lošinj Kvarner | Croatia
GRAD CRESCreskog statuta 1551557 Cres, CroatiaOIB 88617357699IBAN:HR5924020061805200006