Brac Island is situated in the Adriatic Sea, south of Split. At 396 square kilometres, it is the largest island in Dalmatia, and the third largest in the Adriatic, for all you geography nerds out there. The largest settlement is Supetar, with a population of just over 3000 and the other settlements are sparsely populated with locals and tourists. Brac is a fairly unpopulated island in comparison to the other Croatian islands, and a far less touristy destination. This is good as it is a great island getaway for relaxing and enjoying the sun, but it is also very close to the Southern coast of Croatia. With great transport links, it is very easy to travel by boat to one of the larger cities of Split or Dubrovnik if you fancy a day out exploring mainland Croatia. Where the other islands are more dominated by tourists and boats, Brac is relatively quiet and peaceful in comparison. Of course, this does not mean that the entire island is deserted, it can still be very busy in certain areas, and at most harbours, it can get very lively in the evenings.
Speaking of harbours, they are all essentially identical, the only varying factors being the general amount of people and boats. It’s great to be in a busy harbor like Milna or Bol when you’re out for a meal as it creates a great atmosphere, but when you want to be by the beach or swim in the ocean, it’s best to find a more secluded spot with fewer boats. For one thing, swimming in an ocean dominated by boats it often feels like you have to dodge an entire bloody navy at times. While the Golden Horn beach in Bol is a beautifully scenic location, set against the backdrop of the mountains and staring out at the turquoise sea, the copious amounts of boats and people make it hard to find a relaxing spot where you aren’t surrounded by families setting up camp about an inch away from you. Another thing to remember about the beaches is that there are no actual sandy beaches, despite the false pictures raising your hopes. Instead, they are all mostly pebbled beaches. It is the scenery along the coast that is the main attraction, as well as the clear blue sea itself.
This goes for the island as a whole. There is not a lot to do other than relaxing on the beach, go for meals, or drink copious amounts of cheap alcohol (the best option in the sun if you are unable to lie down on a beach for more than 25 seconds like me). But, the scenery of the island makes it a great place to explore, safety in the comfort of your air-conditioned car, unless you’re some kind of a maniac who loves heat exhaustion and extensive sunburn. The lush green mountains are ideal for overlooking the ocean as well as the distant blue mountains across the water. Hidden away in these mountainous regions are small villages, which are also oddly similar like the many harbors. All of these little villages contain a bell tower surrounded by old stone buildings adorned with orange rooftops. A word of warning about these bell towers… They may look perfectly innocent and nice to look at, contributing to that idyllic setting you are in search of, but Jesus Christ they don’t half ring a lot. It’s great to have a bell tower that rings every hour, informing you of the time, but when it rings 47 times at 6 O’clock in the morning, you start to go a little insane. If you are staying in a place near to a bell tower you better be ready to block it out or spend endless nights plotting creative ways to destroy the damned thing (if only somewhere sold cans of petrol to aid in my construction of a petrol bomb).
Croatian food, or ‘Dalmatian cuisine’, (no it’s not 101 fried dogs) is also rather odd. The menus across Brac Island and Dubrovnik are essentially identical, consisting of black risotto, cuttlefish risotto, shrimp risotto, steak (usually blue or pretty damn raw), pork, or fish. Fish is the pride of the Croatian coast, and the islands tend to specialize in fish which they catch locally in the mornings. So, if you are a fan of fresh fish and actually know what the different kinds are (Red Scorpio fish anyone?) then you will be a happy customer. Yet, the fresh fish comes at the cost of meat which is always pretty rare, which is great if you have cannibalistic tendencies I guess. The starters are the weirdest part of the menu, namely the so-called cheese or prosciutto selections. When I ordered the cheese starter, which was described as a ‘selection of cheeses’ I was given a board of about 25 slices of the same cheese and some lettuce. Now I’m no food expert, but I am pretty sure that a ‘selection’ means more than one kind of cheese. And let me tell you, once you’ve eaten about 10 thick slices of ‘pag cheese’, you really lose interest in the other 15. My mouth felt like a bloody dairy farm on acid. The issue surrounding the cuisine in Croatia is that there are two options really. Either you go for the more expensive actual restaurants, which are mainly located in the larger cities of Split and Dubrovnik, or you go for the cheaper local spots. Of course, the problem is that you can’t always afford the expensive restaurants, and these still have almost identical menus. Their main attraction is their atmosphere and setting as well as generally better food. The smaller restaurants that survive on tourism can still have a great atmosphere and nice food, but they are a bit hit or miss. Some do not understand what a burger is, meaning it will come as just the meat without a bun next to some lettuce and chips, and others are a bit too literal with their concept of a salad. For instance, in one place a tomato salad consists purely of tomatoes. God knows what a green salad was then…
Top 5 Places To Visit:
- Milna: Located on the West of Brac Island, Milna is a beautiful little settlement situated on a harbour. Relatively quiet during the daytime, the harbour livens up during the evenings as tourists and locals flock out to the bars for a drink, or 9.
- Bol: Bol is also located on a harbour and is more touristy than Milna due to its location right next to Golden Horn Beach. A bustling little village, Bol has a lot of restaurants and bars that gaze out over the ocean.
- Golden Horn Beach: One of the most famous beaches in Croatia, Golden Horn Beach is a large beach set against the backdrop of lush green mountains and staring out over the deep blue ocean. Golden Horn Beach has a lot to offer for the whole family. There are restaurants, bars, a water assault course (what more could you ever want?), and boats that tour the coast of the island.
- Postira Beach: A smaller beach than Golden Horn, Postira is tucked away in a more secluded spot, but still prone to becoming very busy. There is a great view and it is easier to swim in, as well as the option of walking along the coastline. The beach is situated close to Postira itself, a small Mediterranean town on the Northern side of the island.
- Rent a boat: A great plan for a day out is to rent a boat (unless you are luckily enough to already own one) and get yourself out on the water. There are plenty of secluded harbours and smaller beaches to discover along the coastline of Brac, and who doesn’t love going for a swim somewhere that isn’t dominated by tourists?
Leave a comment if you are planning on visiting Brac, or have visited yourself and have any other ideas on what to do!