Croatia’s largest island (pronounced “kirk,” with a strong Scottish burr) is also the country’s most developed, especially in the north where the island is connected to the mainland via a mile-long toll bridge. Add Rijeka’s airport, an oil storage facility, and an oil pipeline to the mix, and you have the ingredients for an industrial region.
Tourism destinations on “The Golden Island” (Krk’s official nickname) are mostly on the island’s coasts, and they run the gamut from partially walled historic Krk Town on the west coast, to the long curving beach with promenade that is Baška in the south, to the rather less appealing package resorts in Omišalj, Njivice, and Malinska on the northwest coast.
Krk Town’s settlement followed the familiar Illyrian-Roman-Byzantium-Venetian-Hungarian chain of control that is characteristic of many coastal cities. In the 11th century the city became an important center for the country’s Glagolitic script, which was used until the beginning of the 19th century. At that time, Austria-Hungary took Krk from the Frankopans (the dukes of Krk, a powerful feudal family), who had held it since the 12th century.
As with most of Croatia’s islands, tourism is an economic mainstay for Krk, though there is some agriculture, and the island is particularly noted for its Vrbnička Žlahtina, a crisp white wine produced in the village of Vrbnik on the east coast.