Lately, Croatia has been everywhere on Pinterest and Instagram with its music festivals, gorgeous beaches, and romantic red-roofed cities. So, when I had the opportunity to visit this summer, I knew I couldn’t resist! I spent the majority of the trip on Brač Island, staying with an amazingly hospitable Croatian family. Brač Island is the largest of Croatia’s many islands, and it contains the highest island mountain as well.
To get to Brač Island, you will need to take a ferry from the mainland. I took the Jadrolinja ferry (car ferry) from Split to Supetar (in the North of Brač). The ferry costs 33 Kuna ($5.30) as a foot passenger or 160 Kuna ($25.50) for a small car. There are also ferries to the south of Brač from Makarska, but they’re a bit smaller. During peak season Jadrolinija also runs ferries between Hvar (the island of Ultra festival fame) and Brač. Exploring the island is easiest by car, but you can also take the bus.
So, now that that’s all explained, let’s talk about my favorite places on Brač and what to do there!
My home base on Brac was just outside of Sutivan, a beautiful village on the northwest side of Brač. It’s a very small town, but it absolutely delivered on my essentials: gelato, coffee, and historical charm. Croatian coffee (or Espresso really) is absolutely delicious. I loved getting to slow down to island time and chat over coffee with Maja and Ivica, my lovely Croatian family. While I was there, the weather was hot enough (around 100 F/37 C) that breaks out of the sun were absolutely crucial to avoid roasting (or becoming a lobster for the paler among us).
The beach in Sutivan has incredibly clear, calm water. I’ve lived in the Caribbean, so I thought I knew beautiful water, but Croatia completely blew me away. My favorite thing to do on Sutivan beach was to jump on a floaty and slowly float down the coast. There’s enough of a current to make it a perfect lazy river 🙂 One thing to be aware of is that most beaches in Croatia are rocky, with smooth stones. If (when) I visit again, I’ll make sure to bring shoes, because there are urchins and crabs that you can step on!
Supetar is the largest town on Brač, and its beach has every sort of activity or watersport you could want! This beach’s stones are a bit sharper than those at Sutivan, but it’s sandy in the middle of the bay. From the beach, you can watch ferries go into the town harbor, but they’re far enough out not to cause any wake or danger. The water is super salty here, so it’s easy to just float and relax. Pedalo (paddleboat) and paddle board rentals are fairly cheap here, and it’s a very sheltered, safe place to use them.
Impulsive adventurer that I am, I decided it would be a great idea to rent a paddle board and try to make it to town. On the way there, I was flying! Given my balance issues and general clumsiness, I couldn’t believe how easy it was. Unfortunately, as I went to turn back, I realized that it had been the current (not me) doing all the work. I think I fell roughly 10 time getting back before I gave up and sat on the board to paddle. Oops! Lesson learned.
Vidova Gora is the highest peak in all the Adriatic Islands with an elevation of 2280 ft (700m). It has gorgeous views over Bol, Zlatni Rat, and the island of Hvar. The hike from Bol is very steep, and takes around 2 hours (for an average person). As I was with kids, we chose to drive up and park at the top. It’s a stunning (read: terrifying) drive, with many cliffs at the side of the road. If you did hike up, there’s a place to get a stamp for completing the hike. Get a booklet to collect these in if you’re staying to hike elsewhere in Croatia. There are lookouts, picnic tables, and plenty of rocks to run around on at the top of Vidova Gora. What a perfect spot for a break from the beach!
Zlatni Rat (Bol):
Finally we’ve made to my favorite beach: the famous Zlatni Rat! This is the beach on every Croatia postcard, and it’s famous for good reason. The stones here are small and incredibly smooth, perfect for laying partially in the water. No shoes needed here! 🙂 Zlatni Rat has bars, snack shops, lockers, and watersport rentals available. We ate at the Zlatni Rat beach resort because the views were to die for! My wallet cried a bit at the prices, but my four cheese Gnocchi was delicious. Be aware that every place on the beach will charge you for water, so you should bring your own. At night, Auro cocktail bar frequently has DJs, so you can dance the night away right in the middle of the beach. Croatia truly is paradise <3
There are light waves here and a constant breeze, which is a welcome respite from the heat. It’s ALWAYS crowded (yeah, the empty photos you see on Instagram are a lie), but beach is large enough that you’ll easily have space to call your own. The shape of Zlatni Rat changes throughout the day, so be careful if you’ve set your stuff near the water! The water here does have a strong current, so be careful not to swim out too far if you’re not confident in your abilities.
Overall, Zlatni Rat was by far my favorite beach on Brač and I’d happily spend a week just there! I highly recommend camping near the beach or staying in nearby Bol if you’re visiting Brač Island. I had the opportunity to visit other islands while in Croatia, and Brač was by far my favorite.