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Pilgrimage: Camino Krk – Hiking under the sign of the shell

Way of St James in Croatia: Camino Krk - Hiking under the sign of the shell
© experiencekrk.com

We regularly report on harbours, marinas, filling stations on the water and more here. But we also like to share cultural and sporting offers for skippers who are travelling with their boat in Croatia and are always on the lookout for something new. Today, our author explores the question of what the blue signs with an abstract yellow shell, an arrow and the words Camino Krk that we saw on the island of Krk are all about.

A blue sign with an abstract yellow shell, a directional arrow and the words Camino Krk in the centre of the Croatian town of Krk on the island of the same name, seen in the summer of last year, made us curious: what is this mysterious sign all about?

After a lot of questions and in-depth research, we were able to unravel the mystery: following the tradition of the Croatian Brotherhood of St James, which has been supporting pilgrims on their way to Santiago de Compostela since 1203, the Brothers of St James began revitalising the medieval pilgrimage routes to Santiago de Compostela a few years ago.

The island of Krk was chosen as the first section of the Croatian Way of St James and officially marked with arrows and traditional symbols. As experiencekrk.com informs, all pilgrims who want to walk this route now have an official Croatian identity card (the so-called pilgrim’s passport) at their disposal.

A pilgrimage is practised by many today as a special form of hiking

The reason for a pilgrimage such as the Camino on Krk does not always have to be an imposed penance, an effort to gain an indulgence, the fulfilment of a vow, a specific request, spiritual deepening or the repayment of thanks (at least that is how Wiki defines pilgrimage); it also states that in today’s secularised societies, pilgrimage is also often simply practised as a form of walking.

At least in this sense (but of course also in the original sense), the route of the Camino Krk can be highly recommended to all Croatia fans (not just the sports skippers among them). The description of the 150-kilometre route states that it offers “spectacular natural scenery, forests, hills with magnificent views, old castles and churches, abandoned villages, small medieval towns and beautiful beaches”.

Every day offers a “unique opportunity to find inner peace” and a “chance to reflect”. We add: there could hardly be a better opportunity than this beautiful hiking trail to really explore the country without the hustle and bustle of tourism, to discover new places and landscapes in peace and quiet and to get really close to the local Croatians.

 

 

The hike takes seven days and leads around the entire island of Krk

As an itinerary, experiencekrk.com recommends dividing the hike, which leads once clockwise around the entire island, into seven stages = seven days: Day 1 Krk – Brzac, Day 2 Brzac – Malinska, Day3 Malinska – Omišalj, Day 4 Omišalj – Čižići, Day 5 Čižići – Vrbnik, Day 6 Vrbnik – Baška and Day 7 Baška – Kornić.

 

Way of St James Croatia: Camino Krk - Map
TIP: Click on the image to open the interactive map.© visit-omisalj-njivice.hr

 

If you take your mobile phone with you on the route, you can install the GPS route file there. This requires the maps.me app, which is available for Iphone and Android mobile phones. The question remains: where to sleep along the way? This question is justified, as there are currently no special pilgrim hostels (yet); accommodation is mostly in holiday flats, according to experiencekrk.

Good to know: the Croatian identity card (pilgrim’s pass) is available from the tourist office in the town of Krk. Each pilgrim must assess for themselves whether they are able to walk around 20 kilometres per day (four to six hours, depending on their walking pace).

 

Way of St James in Croatia: Camino Krk - Hiking under the sign of the shell
© visit-omisalj-njivice.hr

 

The SeaHelp editorial team says: a great opportunity to get to know Croatia better, relax and get some exercise – perfect in combination with a boat trip before or after – or completely separately.

INFO CAMINO

The Camino de Santiago road network, which leads to one of the three leading pilgrimage centres in the world that hold the relics of St. James the Elder, is widespread throughout Europe and is usually marked with a stylised shell as the saint’s primary attribute. The Brothers of St James in Croatia have been supporting pilgrims on their journey since 1203.

In cooperation with the Croatian Brotherhood, work began in 2019 to mark the official Croatian Camino route in order to become part of the overall European pilgrimage route network of St James.

The Camino Krk is a circular route of just over 150 kilometres that runs along existing hiking and cycling trails across the entire island. The starting point is in the centre of the island – the town of Krk and Krk Cathedral. The destination is appropriately located in the village of Kornić, in the parish church of St James.

The route is divided into seven pilgrimage chapters, seven days to be precise – “that’s how long you need to experience the historical, cultural and especially the sacred heritage of the island in the midst of impressive natural landscapes and unique urban units”, it says on visit-omisalj-njivice.hr (where the route is also described in great detail day by day with all its natural beauty, cultural monuments and other sights. It also provides information on the exact length of the route and geographical features such as inclines and declines).

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