Things to see
To be honest, apart from it’s unique geological structure and nice beeches, Susak doesn’t have much to offer when it comes to site seeing. In architecture it does not differ much from other villages and towns in the coastal region of Croatia. Nevertheless there are things you might want to check out while you are there.
This unavoidable part of island village is the first thing a newcomer will set his eyes on as he disembarks. Susak’s harbor is typical in every way: it’s halve empty during the winter and packed in the summer.
There are three piers: a “big”, “medium” and a “small” one - they are called by that names. The “big” piers is the one on which all the big ships land, including the catamaran from Rijeka and ship Ozalj from Mali Lošinj. 10 years ago it was thoroughly reconstructed, and made suitable for docking catamaran. During the day kids use it as a beech, since it’s a great place diving - the only place in Spiaza bay where the water is deep enough. In the evening it turns in a promenade and a fishing spot. The “big” piers encloses the harbor from the north and protects it from the Bura wind.
The “middle” piers encloses the harbor from the east and is also a place a lot of kids use as a beech. Yachts visiting Susak are anchored along it’s inner side, while the outer is used by the tourist ships on their one day trip to Susak.
The “small” pier is in fact what is left from the biggest pier. This one was probably used during the era of the fish factory. Now all that’s left is a pile of scattered rocks. Right next to the harbor there’s the old vine factory, which is now being reconstructed to be turned into a hotel.
All in all, not much to see.
You might ask yourselves what’s so special about a staircase. Well the significance of the Susak’s staircase lays in the fact that for many years it was the only path which connected the two villages. Apart from the main street leading from the harbor into the village, the staircase is the most frequent path on the island. Most of the people ascending to the upper village take a short brake on the little bridge which is halve way to the top.
Majority of the people who visit Susak usually see only the main staircase which features the scenic view of the lower village and the Spiaza bay. There are however another two less known staircase. All three join at the same place in the lower village, but lead to different parts of the upper one. Make sure you have a look at all three of them…
The church is located on the north-west side of the upper village, just above the staircase, making the church visible from miles away. Todays church of saint Nicolas was built in 1770 atop of ruins of Benedictine abbey. Altar of the holy mother of Carmel is located on the same place as abbey’s sanctum. The only traces of Benedictines which remained are stone fragments displayed on the church wall.
Among other relics the most important is a cross called “Veliki Bouh”, meaning “big god”. The story goes like this: A long, long time ago there was a big storm which lasted a couple of days. The next day when the storm settled, villagers found a cross on the shore. They took this cross into the church and after a while they wanted to take it out for procession. However they couldn’t do it - the cross was to big for all the windows and doors - it just didn’t want to leave.
Susak’s cemetery is considered to be one of the cleanest and whitest cemeteries. It was established in 1887, when the old cemetery behind the church was moved. A chapel of the Holy Mother of Sorrow is located at the back of the cemetery, in which all the Susak’s priests are buried.
You can reach the cemetery on foot - it’s maybe 5 minutes of walk from the upper village.
There are three sacral buildings on the island. In addition to the first two mentioned in the previous chapters, there’s also the Annunciation of the Blessed Virgin’s chapel. It’s secluded on the cape Artu, just outside the Bôk bay. It was built in 1930. Once a year there’s a procession starting at the Saint Nicolas church in the upper village.
To get there follow the path to Bôk bay, but instead of turning left at the last crossing go straight and walk another 10-15 minutes.
The lighthouse was built in 1885 during the Austro-Hungarian rule. Two years later surrounding buildings were built. Before being replaced by an automatic system, it was driven by a mechanism powered by weights. The weights needed to be rewound at midnight to keep the light turning until the morning. Before the electricity was made available, the light was produced by burning propane-butane gas.
Although it’s operated automatically, the lighthouse keeper and his family still live there. They are very friendly people and will be glad to show you around.
There are two paths running to the lighthouse: one from the lower and one from the upper village. If your starting point is the upper village, first head for the cemetery. When you get there, turn right and just follow the path. It will take you about 30-45 minutes to get there. The path from the lower village starts from an alley behind the pastry. The first 100 m is very steep, but once you get up there you’ll be able to enjoy a great view of the lower village.
Probably the smartest thing to do is to make a round trip starting from the upper village. While you are there you can visit the observation post - it’s described below.
The Observation outpost
The observation outpost is maybe 10 minutes away from the lighthouse. It was built by the Yugoslav army somewhere in the mid 20th century. It served as early warning post for the military base in Mali Lošinj in case Italy invaded Yugoslavia (back then all the surrounding countries were considered potential enemies).
The building or what’s left of it is surrounded by a 3-meter wall (10 feet). Inside there are a couple of rooms: offices, kitchen and sleeping quarters. In the center of the building there’s a small watch tower on which can be climbed from inside of the building (which is not safe - some of the bars are loose). The building was deserted probably deserted once the army bought radars.
Today the building is used by the locals as a shelter for sheep. Meadow in the area which surrounds the outpost is full of narrow paths leading in all directions. They were made by sheep, so it makes no sense to follow any of them.
To get there head for the lighthouse. If you are coming from the upper village, you should be able to see it on your left as you approach the lighthouse. If you are coming from the lower village, you need first to get to the lighthouse and then just follow the path. After 2 minutes you should see it right in front of you. On the way from the lighthouse to the outpost you will need to cross a wooden fence - don’t worry, it’s there just to keep the sheep in.
In the nineties an Italian wine maker Cosulich came to Susak and bough a lot of land from the locals. For first time after many years wine was again professionally produced on Susak. In the only vine cellar belonging to mister Cosulichs you can buy some of the Susak’s typical vines: Iliria, Liburnia and Trojišćina.
You will probably spend most of your time on the beeches. As I mentioned in the text dedicated the subject of beeches, the first few days of your stay on Susak you should use for exploration. Read more about the beeches HERE.