Foodie Guide to Brijuni Islands

on August 15, 2019

The Brijuni National Park, consisting of 2 islands and 12 islets near the SE coast of Istria, is a quick getaway from mainland to an exclusive star-studded resort turned presidential summer retreat on an island. Brijuni is a historic preserve with artifacts dating back to dinosaurs and Romans. Protected for more than a century, and pronounced a national park in 1983, the waters and landscapes remain pristine making this a fabulous destination for swimming and enjoying nature. For foodies, the Istrian cuisine on the island won’t disappoint.

How to get to Brijuni

The boat to Brijuni leaves from Fazana. You can buy tickets online or at the Brijuni tourism office in Fazana. The office gets busy before the boat leaves so either buy tickets online or get there 30 minutes early.

If you’re driving to Fazana, there’s long-term parking by the port for 110 kn for 24 hrs. If you don’t mind walking about 15 minutes, you can find free parking outside the Fazana center.

The cost of the boat round-trip ticket is 220 kn for adults, 110 kn for children 4-14, and free for children under 4. The ticket price also includes a train tour of Brijuni as soon as you arrive at Brijuni. The boat ride is about 15 minutes long with a beautiful view of Brijuni, Fazana, and the Fazana channel. The boat runs regularly throughout the day with first boat leaving Fazana at 9:00 and last boat leaving Brijuni at 23:00 (see full schedule).

 

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After docking in the Veliki Brijun port, you will be welcomed by a guide to board a tourist train to explore the world of Brijuni archipelago. Typically there are about 4 guides, each one conducting a tour in a different language: Croatian, English, German, and Italian. The train tour is about an hour long and tours Brijuni highlights, including the Safari Park with exotic animals from all over the world that were gifted to President Tito (see detailed information about the tour).

Brijuni Tourist Train

If you’re staying at the Istra -Neptun Hotel, where President Tito’s guests once stayed, you can quickly drop off your luggage in the luggage area of the hotel lobby and still catch the tourist train.

To make the best of your experience to Brijuni, staying at the hotel for a night is highly recommended as the Brijuni experience is best in the evening and early morning when day-trip visitors are gone.

Istra Neptun Hotel

What to do in Brijuni

Brijuni has long been a resort for the elite, starting with rich Romans, as evidenced by remnant Roman country residence in Verige Bay dating to 1st century BC. In 1893, Paul Kupelwieser, an Austrian industrialist, bought the islands, eradicated malaria that plagued the islands, and once again Brijuni became a destination for European high-society. After World War II, from 1949 to 1979, the largest island, Veli Brijun (large island), became the official summer residence of Yugoslavia’s president Josip Broz Tito. Here he retreated to work and rest, and hosted world leaders, famous stars, and other high-profile guests. Brijuni was designated a national park in 1983 and opened to the public.

After the Brijuni train tour, you can retreat to pristine beaches and beautiful nature. If you like adventure and sightseeing, there’s a lot to do and see as well:

Brijuni Zebra

Foodie guide to Brijuni

Although there aren’t a lot of restaurants on the island, you’ll still be able to enjoy delicious Istrian cuisine. The beautiful views, fresh air, and sea breeze will further enhance your dining experience.

Galija restaurant has a large menu with delicious Istrian specialties. Here are some of recommendations of sea specialties, as we’re on an island after all.

Branzino salad

 

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Scampi and caviar

 

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Marinated sardelles

 

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Risotto with scampi

 

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Orada with spaghettini

 

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Kupelwieser cake

 

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Kremsnita cake at Cafe Brioni

 

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Where to stay in Brijuni

Brijuni has two main hotels and few villas:

  • Istra-Neptun Hotel: Istra section has been remodeled while Neptun section is largely preserved. If you want a room with an authentic Austro-Hungarian vibe, which includes high ceilings and huge balcony, stay in the Neptun section of the hotel.
  • Rooms Karmen.

Both hotels are situated by the sea in the harbor and have breathtaking views. The hotel prices include accommodation, breakfast, and boat transfer.

istra-neptun-hotel-brijuni

Additional tips and resources about Brijuni

Additional tips:

  • Stay at least a night at Brijuni for an unforgettable experience.
  • Electric cars are wonderful way to explore the island. Book after 17:00 for an extra discount.
  • Electric scooters have been added in 2019 and are fun for entire family.
  • During the summer, Mali Brijun can be visited for the wonderful Ulysses Theatre performances which are staged in an abandoned fort.

Additional resources:

Saluga Beach Brijuni

Have a wonderful trip to Brijuni! Tag Istria Gourmet (@istriagourmet) and Brijuni National Park (@npbrijuni) on Instagram with your photos of Brijuni.

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