The island of Zlarin is a hidden gem right in front of the town of Šibenik, one of the most known Croatian historical towns. Not a lot of tourists decide to go to Zlarin during they stay in Šibenik, but those ones who do, often decide to keep returning to Zlarin every summer. Here are just some of the reasons why they do:
The sunny hours
Who doesn’t like the sun, right? Well, Zlarin is one of the sunniest places in the whole of Croatia with more than 2700 sunny hours per year. That means that even when the tourist season is over one can still enjoy sunbathing for the rest of the year, so while other parts of the World survive through the grim days of autumn and winter, those who live on Zlarin enjoy warm and sunny days by the sea.
These are the reasons why during the tourist season the number of inhabitants of Zlarin encreases a few times from the 276 that live on it through the whole year, which also means that if you like peace and quiet, you should come to visit the island out of the season and still enjoy the benefits it offers.
Choose from one of the beautiful pebble beaches that have natural protection from all winds and are surrounded by crystal clear sea in which you feel the pleasant sand under your feet as soon as you enter the sea; or one of the “wild” beaches that will be especially liked by those who want peace and solitude and closer contact with nature.
No car traffic
There is no car traffic on the island, so once you step on it you can freely walk around and enjoy your sightseeing, completely relaxed, without being concerned that while you are looking at something you will get run over by a car.
The main means of transport on the island are bicycles, tractors with trailers, some unregistered motor and “club golf” car, but also carioles are important means of transporting food from the mainland and also suitcases of newcomers to the island.
The highest peak on the island is Klepac, 169 meters high. If you take a hike during the nice weather, you will be able to enjoy a beautiful view of the Velebit mountain on one side or the small volcanic island of Jabuka on the other.
Zlarin is famous for the extraction and processing of corals, small animals that are petrified as soon as you take them out of the sea. The first written traces of coral hunting on the Adriatic date back to the 13th century, in 1412 the people of Zlarin are mentioned as famous corals. They then extracted the coral and sell it unprocessed to Naples and Sicily. After the fall of the Venetian Republic in 1797, the control of coral fishing that Venice had continued, but the people of Zlarin were given the exclusive right to catch coral. The traditional way of making famous and valuable coral jewelry, by hand, is still preserved here. The importance of corals can be witnessed everywhere on Zlarin. In history, it was given as a gift also to newborns because they become white at elevated temperatures, and it was also believed to protect against spells.
Culture and heritage
In July 2018 one of the most significant projects began, co-financed from the EU fund. It is called „Croatian coral center Zlarin“ and it will include the renovation of the houses of Šara and Kažerma on the island. Within the Kažerma house, an exhibition space will be arranged in which visitors will be able to see a presentation of the coral tradition on Zlarin and the ecosystem of the Šibenik archipelago. In addition, a library dedicated to Vesna Parun, a famous Croatian poetess, born on Zlarin will be opened.
The central parish church on Zlarin is dedicated to the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary. It is a baroque church that preserves the relics of St. Fortunato – a martyr from the Crusades. There is a well in front of the church, some say that the water source passes under the main altar.
The church of Our Lady of Rašelj, located outside the center of the island, keeps the greatest cultural wealth of Zlarin. The first matriculation – written in Chakavian or Latin from 1456. The feast of Our Lady of Raselj is celebrated on the eighth of July and is especially celebrated on the island.