The olive tree, revered for its rich symbolism and multifaceted benefits, holds a special place in Croatia’s cultural and historical heritage. For centuries, these ancient trees have thrived in the favourable Mediterranean climate, intertwining their roots with the country’s identity. Not only do they provide a delicious ingredient for the Mediterranean cuisine, but they also hold a deeper historical significance. Olive cultivation in Croatia can be traced back thousands of years, making it an integral part of the nation’s heritage.
Mediterranean destinations like Istria and Dalmatia boast magnificent olive tree sites that offer a glimpse into the rich history of olive cultivation in the regions. Although many olive groves have century old olive trees, there’s a very special one – Lun olive grove.
Located on Pag Island, known for its moon-like appearance, Lun olive grove is home to more than over 80 000 olive trees, some dating all the way back to roman ancient times! Amongst them, there are olives that are 1600-2000 years old! These natural, wild trees testified the arrival of the Romans, the passages of Liburnians and the final settlements of Croats. They stood the the test of time and are a living relics of long lost histories. These fascinating trees with a huge trunks and branches that spread out in all possible directions, are a living works of art.
But how can we know how old an olive tree is? It is fairly simple – the trunk of each olive grows, on average, one millimetre in width per year, in all directions. And the biggest tree in grove has a diameter of four meters, which means two thousand millimetres from the centre to each side, meaning that the tree is around two thousand years old. And as fascinating as their size, is the fact that these millennium trees still bear fruit!
As you wander through these ancient groves, take a moment to appreciate the symbiotic relationship between the olive trees and the stunning Adriatic Sea, which contributes to the unique flavours of the olives grown in this region. They are living witnesses to centuries of agricultural practices, traditions, and the resilience of the people who cultivated them.
Pag Island, located near Zadar is easily reachable and unique island, making it a perfect stop on your way from Istria to Dalmatia. With a lovely family boutique hotel, possibility to organise private picnic in olive groves with thousand year old olive trees, Pag is the place to go if you want to experience and see something different! For a real local immersion, Pag Island can be combined with less sought-out Dugi Otok, which lives up to its name – Long Island. Plenty of small fishermen villages where tradition lives to this day and several historic lighthouses, each with its own unique charm, Dugi Otok is a real escape from the crowds. Two islands are a perfect place for nature lovers, adventurers, and those seeking a tranquil escape.