Updated: Feb 19, 2019
"Because of the storm wind, with strong blows, traffic is allowed only for private vehicles on the Adriatic magistral way from Karlobag to Sv. Marija Magdalena." The words of Croatian meteorologists and road conditions reports bring the name of Karlobag to every corner of Croatia. They all heard about this small town in Podgorje, below the mighty mountain of Velebit. When we pointed out our departure to Karlobag at the beginning of the strong wind bura, our friends looked suspiciously at us and wondered if we wanted to stay until the end of the winter in this windy place. Because when bura starts, the best thing to do is not to move anywhere.
We will immediately say: one has to come to Karlobag! This place has a special charm, which we have had the opportunity to experience in the interplay of wind, sun, sea and stone. During the week time of staying in Karlobag we experienced everything: from the mighty bura that carries the sea to the shore of the island of Pag and almost winter temperatures, through the summer heat, all the way to the autumn sunrise and sunset, and pleasant spring cooling while the sun is still sending goodbye to late summer vibe. The colours are spread throughout the day, until the first stars start to blink on the sky, even more than usual as the purity of the air is incredible.
We sit with the director of the Karlobag Municipal Tourist Board Ivanka Šegota-Brujić and managerof the Tourist Agency Vegium Ivana Delač-Tomljenović and we plan this reportage. The coffee that we drink is really windy - along the entire main alley stretching through Karlobag, blows the cold wind from Velebit. A few steps away there is the famous capuchin monastery and the church of St. Joseph. The monastery has a library with theological literature from the 16th, 17th and 18th centuries, has a beautiful yard with a preserved water well, and the church itself impresses with its altar.
Read more: Baške Oštarije - Heaven beneath Velebit
People of Karlobag (named Bažani and Bažanke) do not only worship St. Joseph, but almost every other famous saint. When nature is threatening you with literal blasts, this is really important. Although St. Joseph is the parish church, the most famous symbol of Karlobag is the yellow tower of St. Charles Borromeo, built in 1710 on the remains of the former church of St. John. Here is a cemetery and part of the church wall that was severely damaged in the Second World War. Beside this church there is a monument to Šime Starčević, author of the first Croatian grammar written in Croatian language. On the opposite side of the town lies the Calvary, the elevated space on which in 1727 the chapel of the Blessed Virgin Mary of seven sorrows was built, from where one can capture a beautiful view of Karlobag and the island of Pag.
The beauty of this area is inspired by automotive companies from all over the world to film their ads in Karlobag. Besides car makers, Karlobag also likes motorcyclists. They drink beer on a stone square between the hotel Velinac and the Municipality hall, recount how many twists and turns have been counted on their journey through the Adriatic magistral road, and perhaps look awkwardly towards the sea which is already coldish with last night's bura blowing restlessly. Despite the wind, with which this town is constantly living, Karlobag has long been inhabited. As a Roman settlement Vegium, it had military and traffic importance, and after the Gothic invasion the population drifted to the island of Pag. Due to the similarity of pronunciation, the town was named Bag.
Croatian rulers, then Kurjaković noblemen, were here, and the development of the city was stopped after the turbulent penetration of the Turks. Later, under the Austrian administration, came capuchins; churches, port, school began to be built, and in 1920 first signs of tourism emerged. Together with the surrounding places (Ribarica, Cesarica, Barić Draga, Lukovo Šugarje and Baške Oštarije), Karlobag today builds tourism using Zagreb Hotel, which is particularly favourite among our group members with all-inclusive amenities, mostly served at the bar. During the tourist season from the port of Karlobag several times a week a boat sails to the island of Pag, which is certainly an opportunity that should not be missed.
Read more: Dairy beneath the Velebit mountain
Karlobag people are very relaxed and hearty. The city does not count more than 450 people, and almost everyone knows each other well. At the intersection of the road routes, the powerful Velebit guards them, which is the source of all admiration and sighs of visitors. The town stands firm to this stern mountain and opens to the sea that delights with its blue and purity. So, do not worry too much: head to the Adriatic magistral road and visit Karlobag - the city of bura, rock and sea.