The infamous pirate nest, Senj (www.senj.hr) is situated 70 kms from Rijeka, in a valley wedged between Velika Kapela and Velebit mountains. Right above the town rises the 698 m high Vratnik peak. The old town is split into two halves by the Kolan creek.
Senj is a not too crowded, charming coastal town. Its fortress on the Trbušnjak hill is well worth visiting.



Senj has been inhabited since ancient times, it appears in a Greek record named as Attienities in the 4th century. The Roman period was the first golden age of the town's history: Senia was an important stronghold with Roman temples, aqueducts and a bath.

The bishopric of the settlement was founded in 1169. In 1248 the bishop of Senj was granted permission by Pope Innocent IV to use the Glagolitic alphabet and the vernacular language in liturgy. The first printing press in South Europe was also set up here in 1494.

Due to its geographic position Senj was already a 'popular' place in the Middle Ages. As well as the Republic of Venice, the Ottomans would have gladly seen it among their conquered towns. Also, Senj used to be an excellent present: in 1184 the Hungarian king, Bela III donated it to the Templars. One century later Senj belonged to the Frankopan family. The price for the popularity was paid by the inhabitants and was measured in human lives during the Venetian and Ottoman attacks. Those people who found shelter from the Turks here were called uskok. They built a fortress on the hill in 1558. This stronghold became the nest of their piracy of which main income was to lift the Venetian fleet. 

After the Ottoman threat was over, Senj was flourishing due to the newly built Josephina road (named after the Habsburg emperor, Josheph II.) which connected Karlovac with Fiume (today Rijeka) via Senj. But the golden age did not last long. The route of the railway bypassed the town and due to this Senj started to decline.

Getting here & around

By car

Zagreb (A1) – Bosiljevo junction (A1) - exit Žuta Lokva (road 23) - through the serpentine Vratnik pass - Senj.
Motorway tolls: Zagreb – Žuta Lokva     57 Kn
When arriving from the motorway drive in Kaetana Knežića road. Then take Stara cesta to get to the port. The road 8 leads from Rijeka to Zadar via Senj. You reach the town on Filipa Vukasovića road which changes its name for Obala Kralja Zvonimira at the old town.

By bus

Rijeka - Senj (buses run in every hour)  71 Kn

Zagreb - Senj (2 buses daily)              155 Kn

Tourist information

The tourist office can be found at the meeting point of Stara cesta, Bunjevačka cesta, Obala Kralja Zvonimira and Filipa Vukasovića roads.

Stara cesta br. 2.
Tel: +385 53 881 068

e-mail: info@tz-senj.hr

internet: www.tz-senj.hr

Working hours: 1 Jan-15 Apr Mon-Fri 8.00-14.00

                      16 Apr-1 Jun Mon-Fri 8.00-15.00, Sat 8.00-13.00

                      1 Jun-15 Sep daily 8.00-21.00

                      16 Sep-31 Oct Mon-Sat 8.00-13.00, 1 Nov-31 Dec Mon-Fri 8.00-14.00

Town Museum


Milana Ogrizovića 5.

Working hours:Jul-Aug Mon-Fri 7.00-15.00 and 18.00-20.00

                     Sat 10.00-12.00 and 18.00-20.00, Sun 10.00-12.00
                     in other months: Mon-Fri 7.00 - 15.00

Admission charge: 15 Kn (children 7 Kn)

A charming old house hosts the museum which guides through the history of the town from several point of views. On the ground floor the antique and medieval Senj come to life and town's rich shipping history is in focus. The other part of the exhibition is devoted to the local literary life and the natural history of Velebit mountain.

Great town gate

Statue of Nikola Jurisic

Trg Ćilnica.

A Classicist arch from 1779, it was renovated in 1843. The inscription „Finis Josephinae”  in the tympanum refers to the road  which connected Karlovac and Rijeka. The road bore the name of the Austro-Hungarian emperor, Joseph II.  

A few steps away from the gate the bust of Nikola Jurisič can be seen. Jurisič who is considered as a hero in Hungary for defending the Hungarian fort Kőszeg as its captain against the Ottomans, was born in Senj in a Croatian noble family.

On the opposite side of the square, at the corner of Trg Ćilnica the stronghold of the Frankopans, the Kaštel stood.

Fortress Nehaj

Nehaj fortress

Working hours: July and August, daily 10.00 - 21.00

                      May, June, September, October daily 10.00 - 18.00
Admission charge: 15 Kn (children 7 Kn)

The legendary fortress is easy to approach. From the old town (square Trg Ćilnica) walk under Velika Vrata, turn to the right and cross the bridge above Kolan creek. From here the path Milutina Cihlara Nehajeva leads to the top.

The construction of the quadrangual fortress, strengthened with corner towers was ordered by the captain of the Senj uskok, Ivan Lenković in 1558.

The museum set inside the 3,30 m walls recalls an uskok garnison. From the belvedere there is a splendid view onto the Venetian ships..er..the sea and the town.

Uskočka street

From Trg Ćilnica Svetog Franje street leads to this typical uskok street edged by uskok houses. Behind the gates Mediterranean gardens planted with Virginia creeper and ground ivy catch the visitors' eyes.

Cathedral of the Virgin Mary


Trg Cimiter

The three nave church was built in Romanesque style in the 11th or 12th century. By tradition, the bishops of Senj were buried in the cathedral's crypt. The most ancient tombstone dates back to the 14th century. The square's name refers to the graveyard of Senj that used to be situated around the cathedral until the 19th century.

The cathedral was seriously damaged in a bombardment in 1943 and rebuilt after the war.


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