Vrbnik : Krk Island : Croatia

Vrbnik : Krk Island : Croatia

This was originally posted in August 2019, so all pre-Covid, when we could all travel much more freely…

As well as family and friends coming out to visit us in Istria, we now have the opportunity to meet up with people who come to Croatia on holiday. We still find this very exciting as we get the best of both worlds – entertaining and travelling. Good friends from Didsbury were returning to Croatia, this summer, for the second year running and their final destination on their island hopping trip, was Krk. As we can reach Krk in about 90 minutes, we arranged to drive over and spend an evening with them, in the beautiful little town on Vrbnik, on the eastern side of the island.

Krk is a very accessible island. It can be reached by one of the many ferries which cross between the northern islands, or from Istria, there is a roadbridge from Rijeka. You pay to cross to Krk but not when you leave. Once on the island, roads are very good and because the island is small, you can tour it quite easily in a day. On this visit, our destination was Vrbnik and the road took us through vineyards and crop fields and around the bay of Soline, famous for its salt pans which date back to the pre Roman period, and healing black mud. It’s quite a sight to drive around the bay and see people wading ankle-deep in the shallow waters, plastering themselves in the mineral-laden black mud…

Vrbnik was first mentioned in 1100, and is thought to be one of the oldest towns on the island. Its inhabitants were mainly farmers, then navigators and fishermen, but today the most important product is its golden yellow wine – the Žlahtina. Originally a walled town, it is situated 50 metres above the Adriatic Sea on a dramatic limestone outcrop – and now is a labyrinth of winding cobbled streets. Including, allegedly, the narrowest street in the world – Klančića passage – only 17 inches wide…

Vrbnik, Krk, Croatia

There are approximately 1000 full time inhabitants in Vrbnik, as well as numerous holiday apartments in the middle of the old town – but we have absolutely no idea how anyone manages to get any furnishings into these properties. I imagine even getting back from the car with a load of shopping would prove to be a challenge! However, the narrow streets and tiny doorways and windows and quirky architectural features, make this town an unmissable delight.

Many of the beautiful old dwellings have been refurbished and are now boutique style accommodation or very pretty shops, many selling traditional arts and crafts, olive oils and the famous Žlahtina wine. We bought a couple of litres of this from a very tiny winery, straight out of a cooling stainless steel wine tank. Can’t say it lasted too long, but it was very nice!

Vrbnik, Krk, Croatia

Vrbnik, Krk, Croatia

Because Vrbnik is perched on the top of a cliff, the drops down to the sea are stunning. As with most of Croatia, there are very, very few sandy beaches. Most coves and beaches are either rocky or pebbly and many are only accessible by boat. Even if you don’t get down to any of these beaches, we’d recommend just soaking up the azure blue waters below. As clean as a whistle and supposedly populated with dolphins. Although sadly, they didn’t make an appearance when we were there.

Vrbnik, Krk, Croatia

Every corner you turn around, reveals another sight to behold. I loved this door, with the utterly gorgeous metal frame, affording both beauty and privacy. I think it’s an idea I might like to incorporate somewhere along the line…

Vrbnik. Krk, Croatia

Vrbnik, Krk, Croatia

Vrbnik, Krk, Croatia

Vrbnik, Krk, Croatia

Vrbnik, Krk, Croatia

The city walls are still remarkably intact in places, with fully formed turrets, reminding you that this was obviously once a town which was in danger of attack. Also within the city walls, you can still walk through the doorways – which are so small. Hundreds of years ago, people must have been very short of stature.

Whenever we used to go on holiday, usually to Greek islands and so islands quite like Krk, we always used to wish we could stay and not have to return to the rainy north west. Now, that has become a reality. It is now very surreal leaving such an idyllic location and knowing that we are now returning to the house we’ve been renovating. Sometimes dreams do come true…

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And, if you have dreams of moving somewhere idyllic – or owning a holiday home – you may be in luck, as we have now found another property, very close by to renovate. Meaning that our current home (above), located in northern Istria near the borders with Slovenia and Italy, is for sale…

 

 

 

House For Sale In Istria

House For Sale In Istria

We bought our Istrian stone house in 2016 and made the full time move out here, from Manchester, in March 2017. We bought it because we saw the potential of the house. It had benefited from some recent renovation works, including a new red slate roof, and overall was in sound condition, structurally. It had been used by the family we bought from as a place to come to in summer months, but it was far from fully renovated, and so the potential was what we bought into.

Externally, although the new roof had been done and new guttering and downpipes installed, it all looked a bit sorry for itself. Because it hadn’t been lived in full time, it needed quite a lot of TLC. The shutters needed to be painted, the patio cleaned up, the grass and vines around the house, cut back. And, life injected into it.

House for sale in Istria, renovated stonehouse for sale, prpoerty for sale in istria

Internally was where we had to really look through the current condition. It was dark – the internal walls were mostly bare stone, and in places walls had been half plastered but unpainted. Floors were mostly pine. Rooms still had furniture and furnishings, which came with the property, but which we knew would go. It felt cold and in much need of refurbishment.

But, four years on, it’s a bit of a different story. As the house has been our full time home, we’ve worked relentlessly on it and it is now a fully renovated, fully functioning, beautiful home in the most beautiful part of northern Istria…

Why are we selling then, if we love our renovated house so much?

Well, the answer is quite simple. We’ve driven past a property, very close to our house, for last four years and we always used to comment on how it would be an amazing renovation project for someone. Then, we had a light-bulb moment. Why couldn’t that “someone” be us? So, we viewed it – and that was it. We had exactly the same feeling about it, as we had when we viewed our house in 2016. This new one though is a bit of a challenge – an old industrial unit. But when you have that feeling, it won’t go away and so the decision was made to put this house on the market, and start all over again…

If we’d not seen the other property, the idea of selling here would not have entered our heads. We’ve invested so much into this house and we think it’s pretty perfect. The way we’ve decorated it may not be to everyone’s tastes, but a lick of paint will solve that. New owners can be rest assured that they will be purchasing a property which is unusual and which has been renovated to a very high standard. And which we continue to look after and upkeep.

So, if we’ve piqued your interest, do take a look at the website we’ve designed for the house or visit our blog – this details everything we’ve done since we first viewed in 2016, so nothing is hidden, no secrets. There’s a contact form on the website if you want to get in touch, or if you prefer, you can email me directly – helen@escapetoistria.com – and I’ll answer any questions you might have.

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