Known as the Coral Island, Zlarin is a lush island near the mouth of the Krk river. The island is clad with pine and cypress forests, figs and olives. You can walk peacefully along the 20km of roads as cars are prohibited.
The red coral for which the island is famed is largely exhausted. However, there’s still a small factory and museum where you can see it being turned in to jewellery and learn about coral diving. There are also several coral shops.
Zlarin has been inhabited since Neolithic times. From the early middle ages to the 19th century the island was largely under the control of the bishops of Sibenik. It was a successful agricultural and seafaring centre. The decline of the coral industry and loss of the vineyards (hit by disease last century) has resulted in an exodus of the population. In winter, once the visitors have gone, the average age of the population is in the 60’s.
Most of the inhabitants live around the port at the north end where you can moor your bareboat charter or flotilla yacht on the jetty. From here you can see the landmark clock tower, called the Leroj. In addition to the Coral Museum, there are several large churches you can visit. For those who fancy some exercise, the highest point of the island, Klepac Hill is less than a mile and a half’s walk. It offers some excellent views. Culture vukture may want to seek out the Museum of Vesna Parum, a well known Croatian poet who hailed from Zlarin.
Needless to say, you won’t go hungry. There are several restaurants and cafe’s, a grocers and general stores. Zlarin also has a post office and small medical centre. It even has it’s own website: www.tz-zlarin.com.
Useless fact: Zlarin was the birthplace of Ante Maglica who went on to produce the famous Maglite torches, used by American police (amongst others). It is perhaps a sign that tourism hasn’t truly hit Zlarin that as yet there is no Maglite Museum!