27 August 2019 – Hear It From Locals is an interview-based website where they talk to people from different cities around the world to get local recommendations. The aim is to also help bridge the gap between wanderers and locals by offering some insightful tips.
Romana Tomljanovic gives some local tips about the town of Senj. The 3,000 year-old settlement is located by the sea at the foothills of mountains Kapella and Velebit in the Lika-Senj County.
What are the top three must visit places in Senj?
Although most of Senj got destroyed during the bombings in the World wars, some of it has been preserved till date. These are some of the most visited spots in Senj town.
Nehaj Fortress: When you arrive in Senj you immediately see the Nehaj Fortress on top of the hill. It has witnessed the number of attacks on the natives of Senj by the Turks and saved Europe from the invasion of Ottoman empire. This fortress was built in the sixteenth century by a collection of materials from kirk, monasteries and structures situated outside of the town of Senj. The Uskoci (Croatian guerrilla warriors) who were fighting against the Turks are national hero’s and are honored each year at the Days of the Uskoks. During this event they recreate the 16th century attacks and battles which the Nehaj Fortress has witnessed.
Senj Town Museum: If history of a place intrigues you, you must visit the town museum of Senj also known as the ‘the House of Mary Theresa’. Situated in a beautiful palace built in Gothic and Renaissance style, the town museum will give you an insight into the long battling history of Senj. The palace belongs to the Vukasovićs’ the most reputable and powerful family in Senj. You can find there a large collection of coins, weapons like Venetian swords, Austrian sabers, Turkish yatagans and other military equipments.
St. Mary’s Cathedral Treasury and Library: The Cathedral of the Virgin Mary is an eleventh century church built in Roman style. During second world war this cathedral and infact the whole of Senj was damaged. In the St. Mary’s cathedral you can also find the tombs of former Bishops – Bishop Ivan de Cardinalibus and Bishop Leonard de Cardinalibus. Visit the treasury and library for its architecture, paintings, furniture, remains from other churches and the keys to the town gates of Klis.
What are the best day trips for nature, culture and history from Senj?
Velebit National Park: Velebit is the largest Croatian mountain range and is famous for its mesmerising natural beauty and the amazing views over the Adriatic Sea. If hiking is what you enjoy, the Velebit National park is the right place for you. It stretches for hundred kilometres and covers about two thousand square kilometres from Senj to Zadar. Select the perfect trail for yourself from the various options available there. If it’s a longer hike you can stop at any of the mountain huts.
The large mountain range consist of 2 national park, Northern Velebit and Paklenica. The Northen Velebit is easy to reach from Senj. The entrance from the national park is close to the village Krasno, the ticket costs you 4 kuna and is valid for four days. Close to Krasno is the village Kuterevo which is famous for its Bear Refuge.
Krk Island: You can see the island of Krk from Senj, it is only 10 km away. The only problem is that you have to cross the sea. There are many different companies in the harbour that offer boat tours to the beaches on Krk island and to the island Goli Otok. They bring you first to Goli Otok. The island is not inhabited but is a significant tourist site because of its prison. Visit the ruins of the prison which was operational when Croatia was under the rule of Yugoslavia.
The second stop you can make is at Baska or Vela Luka beach. A beach town, Baska is a fun place filled with visitors. You can relax at the any of the numerous bars you can find there. If you are adventurous, try surfboarding, pedal boats or motor scooters, if relaxing on a beach is your idea of fun just rent an umbrella and deck chair to laze around. You can also visit the nearby Vela Luka beach if time is not a barrier. A day tour to these islands should cost you around €30/€40 per person. If you prefer being your own boss, rent your own boat at any price between €100 and €200 a day. Oprna and Zala beach are the most beautiful beaches.
The island of Krk can also be reached by a car through its two kilometre long bridge. The island is beautiful with favorite spots being Malinska and the small village of Vrbnik. The village is famous for its Zlahtina wine made out of the locally grown Zlahtina grape by wine farmers there. You can also visit the popular restaurant Nada which provides good food with superb view.
Plitvice National Park: A drive to the Plitvice National park from Senj takes around 50 minutes. It is a very popular national park in the whole of Croatia with more than a dozen natural lakes and close to hundred waterfalls. It would take you more than a day to see all that this park has to offer. If time is not a barrier assign at least one complete day to explore this UNESCO heritage park with unbelievably beautiful flora and fauna and soothing turquoise water.
Can you suggest a place from where one can get the best view of Senj?
Yes! In my opinion the view of the city is one of the most beautiful things in Senj. The old town, the hill with the Nehaj fort and the Adriatic sea with all the island, it’s the best.
For a view of the city you can go to the Nehaj Fortress. From the hill you have a nice view but from the top of the Fortress the view is even better.
There is a better spot that most of the tourist don’t know about. You need a car to get to this spot because you have to drive through the city and take the road to Krivi Put (which means wrong road). You are on the right road because from this road you will have an amazing view. There are some viewpoints along the road, not real viewpoint, just some gravel next to the road where you can park your car. If you don’t have a car you can climb the first small hill behind the city. You have to walk till the end of the street Damira Tomljanovica Gavrana and the hill is on your left side. There is no path just climb over the rocks to the top of the mountain, it’s a 20 min hike to the top.
Romana, a Croatian by birth and nomad by choice runs the blog The Nomad Life. Her father was born in Senj and mother in The Netherlands. She studied Hospitality management and Tourism in the Netherlands so she could do something with the tourism in Croatia. She loves to stay in Senj because she feels this small town on the Adriatic coast is the perfect place to sneak away from all the tourists and experience the real Croatia. This gives her also the opportunity to travel around the country and explore the most beautiful places.
You can check out the full interview with Romana on Hear It From Locals here.