Another Dalmatian island which has it all: welcome to Brac. From stone for The White House and a UNESCO diet to Dragon’s Cave and Blaca Monastery.

Of Washington, Scotland and Peru: welcome to Brac!

It is one of the most accessible islands of all, as well as having an original and diverse range of sights and activities. Little wonder then that Brac is the favourite island of choice for many Croats and tourists alike.

Its most famous export is its gorgeous white stone, which is said to adorn parts of The White House, as well as plenty of famous historic buildings. These include Diocletian’s Palace, Liverpool Cathedral and the Hungarian Parliament, which sits on the Danube.

Yes, as gorgeous as the island is, it too suffered crushing emigration in the 19th and 20th centuries. It is said that there are now more people from the island in Peru than the current population.

Perhaps economic hardship had its part to play in the islanders’ famous care with their money – people from Brac are known throughout the rest of Croatia of being a little stingy.

But don’t let that put you off, far from it. The welcome is warm, the island gorgeous, and for a slice of true Dalmatian heaven, this island truly is one of the absolute best.

How to get to Brac

Brac is the most accessible island in Dalmatia without a doubt. The main ferry connection from Split to Supetar goes 9 times a day during the winter. The one-hour commute is perfect for many islanders, who work in the city and live on the island.

There is a smaller, less frequent daily ferry also on the east of the island, which links Sumartin to Makaraska. This is the one to head to if you are coming up from Dubrovnik.

Bol has a daily catamaran connection to Split (one hour) and Jelsa on Hvar (25 mins), which goes all year. Be prepared for cancellations in bad weather. The other catamaran connection which is looking more permanent these days connects Milna to both Split and Hvar Town.

Brac is also blessed with its own airport. Facing closure due to lack of traffic just a few years ago, Brac Airport is now undergoing a renaissance. 2018 saw direct flights to the island from no less than 7 countries. With plans to further expand the run and terminal, this traffic is set to increase in the coming years. Here is the Total Croatia guide to the airport.

5 things not to miss on Brac

Where to start? This island is AMAZING. Here are 5 things not to miss.

Dragon’s Cave

dragons cave brac

If you are reasonably athletic, do not miss the hike to Dragon’s Cave above Murvica near Bol. The incredible stone carvings in this cave high above the see have never been properly explained. Zoran, the very enthusiastic and only licenced guide for Dragon’s Cave, provides an outstanding experience. My experience was something like this.

Blaca Monastery

blaca monastery brac

Not far away, and equally amazing, is the incredible Blaca Monastery. It is quite a hike to get there, but the experience is more than worth it. Spare a thought for the monks who carried the 400 kg grand piano, which you can see at the monastery. Quite how the piano made it intact across the hostile terrain is anyone’s guess, even more so when one hears than 56 litres of wine were consumed by the monks en route. Our friends at Chasing the Donkey had a very comprehensive overview.

The stonemason school at Pucisca

brac stonemason school pucisca

The island’s rich stone heritage is best seen in the gorgeous coastal town of Pucisca. Here, the local stonemasonry school is world-famous, and the quality of work of it pupils is quite breathtaking. Take a peak inside with TCN.

Skrip

Not far from the main town of Supetar is the oldest settlement on the island – Skrip. It is a divine little village inland, whose historic buildings have real character. The island of Brac museum is there, offering a wealth of inside into the island’s rich past. it was joined in 2014 by a fantastic olive oil museum, which a local family opened in the original olive mill. Skrip is a fabulous day out, and this was how much fun we had olive oil tasting and hearing stories of the past.

olive oil museum skrip brac

Vidova Gora

Have you ever wondered what it feels like to be on top of Paradise? Vidova Gora is the peak of the tallest island in Croatia. As you might expect, the views are divine. If plans are realised, there will be a cable car from Bol all the way to the top. But for now, you will have to make a little more effort, or drive.

Beaches on Brac

beaches on brac

Mention the words ‘beach’ and ‘Brac’ in the same sentence, and you will inevitably talking about perhaps Croatia’s most iconic beach – Zlatni Rat in Bol.

What looks like a sandy beach from the air is actually small pebbles. The beach changes its shape with the winds and tides. And when it is windy, it can look quite different.

There are plenty of other beaches to enjoy on the island, which are far less famous and crowded. Here are the TCN top 5.

Where to stay on Brac

The hotel scene has improved immeasurably on the island in recent years. Nowhere is this more true than in Bol, where Bluesun has transformed the town’s fortunes.

The 4-star Elaphusa boasts the largest wellness spa on an Adriatic island. It is also the only island hotel to host a WTA tennis tournament. Owned by the same company which has invested heavily in the airport and Stina winery, the Bluesun experience has added a lot of quality to Bol in recent years.

The other main hotel provider on the island is Svpetrvs in Sutivan, an American-owned enterprise which offers all-inclusive holidays. For true luxury, the boutique heritage Lemongarden Hotel in Sumartin has quickly established itself as one of the finest places to stay on the Adriatic.

As with most other places in Croatia, private accommodation forms the backbone of the accommodation offer. There has been a marked increase in luxury villas in recent years.

Getting around Brac

There are very few coastal roads on the island, and if you are going from A to B, you will have to head inland on the connecting roads.

The roads are generally in reasonable condition. Island drivers have their own specific rules, so be prepared for some erratic driving. Many visitors find the best way to get around the island is by scooter. Other rent a car – learn more about the pros and cons of renting on an island versus the mainland.

You can also travel around by bus. Most of the main destinations are on the bus routes. For times and online ticket purchase, check out the Arriva bus website.

Things to do on Brac: food, wine and olive oil

Healthy Dalmatian recipes are at the heart of food on Brac. So healthy indeed that in 2013 the island’s Mediterranean Diet became intangible UNESCO heritage, along with Hvar and 7 other locations in other Mediterranean countries.

Brac has its own specialities as well. It is famous for its succulent lamb, which is perhaps the most highly-prized in the Dalmatian region. And if you are looking for a real local speciality, look no further than vitalac, skewered lamb offal. A dish very much native to Brac. Check out how it is prepared in the video below.

Looking for something authentic for dessert? Try Brac’s ‘sweet aphrodisiac’, as the local cake speciality is sometimes known. Hrapocusa is a very local affair, and each family heritage boasts its own special recipe. Here is a little more about this delightful island treat, with family recipe included.

Although the island has a rich wine tradition, professional winemakers are few and far between. Just three in fact. But what quality there is on offer!

The Bol wine cooperative dominates the town’s waterfront and dates back to 1903, but take a look inside and you will see something altogether more modern. The Stina winery is quietly producing some of Croatia’s best wines, and its iconic labels have won international acclaim. Learn more about the wines of Stina.

Head inland to the centre of the island and the fabulous Senjkovic winery. A young and delightful married couple, one an island poet, the other a former professional footballer, the Senjkovic’s have put together an impressive collection of island wines, including a signature rose and the first sparkling wine from a Dalmatian island.

You can visit both wineries by appointment, as well as on organised tours from Split.

The olive oil from Brac is of excellent quality. As mentioned above, the olive oil museum in Skrip records this important aspect of Dalmatian history. The olive oil on sale is also outstanding. The island’s international olive standing rose considerably in 2017, with the launch of the first Olive Picking World Championship in Postira.

Things to do on Brac: culture and activities

Brac successfully branded itself as ‘the island of culture and adventure’ a few years ago, and it certainly has plenty to offer. Bol has become an important centre for adventure tourism. It offers some of the best windsurfing and kitesurfing on the coast, as well of course as the ATP Bol Tennis Open.

Cycling has really taken off in recent years, and the island is now considered to be one of the best cycling destinations on the coast. Many agencies now offer island-hopping tours which includ neighbouring island such as Hvar and Korcula as well.

Hiking, kayaking, climbing, the list goes on.

Whichever way you look on Brac, there is culture and tradition. The stone villages have centuries of stories to tell, and the island’s stonemasonry tradition is in evidence all over the world.

Each destination has its own array of tourism sights, but there have also been some innovative attempts to highlight less obvious aspects of tourism here. These include a map of religious trails, which take visitors to some of the island’s exceptional religious treasures.

Day trips from Brac

With so many things to do on the island, there is really little reason to leave. But if you do want to explore further, there are plenty of opportunities.

With no less than four ferry and catamaran departure points, the there is plenty of choice. The main ferry terminal makes Split extremely accessible, less than an hour away. With Diocletian’s Palace so close, it makes for an ideal day out (and you can marvel at the island’s famous stone in the UNESCO World Heritage Site.

The island of Hvar is also extremely popular, with two options in particular. There are daily tourist boats which offer day trips from Bol to Jelsa (about 90 kuna return, journey time one hour). This is a great way to get a taster of Croatia’s premier island and its wine town of Jelsa. In addition to wine tasting, there are also great beaches and restaurants. There is the additional transfer option of the daily catamaran from Bol to Jelsa. This leaves Jelsa at 6 am and continues on to Split, before also returning via Bol at around 5 pm.

Many prefer to go further afield to the most popular place – Hvar Town. You can either take the bus from Jelsa, rent a scooter or take advantage of several organised tours.

The other ferry option which gives even greater flexibility is the Sumartin to Makarska route on the east of the island. The Makarska Riveria is one of the great beach havens of the Adriatic. Makarska also has great nightlife and is the perfect springboard to check out Biokovo Nature Park and inland Dalmatian destinations such as Imotski.

Festivals on Brac

There is a lively social activity on the island throughout the year, both for locals and visitors. For the best guide to what’s on when you plan to visit, check out the Best of Brac event guide. It is by far the most comprehensive I have seen, and you can also download it as an app.

Meet the destinations – Supetar

Perhaps the island’s most unusual international association lies in Texas. For there in Mckinney, Texas, you will will find an entire Croatian village based on a replica of Supetar. Check out the Time video above for the full story.

Nothing quite beats visiting the original, however, and Supetar is perfectly located for those who want to get a taste of island life but are short of time. The regular Split ferries take just under an hour, and this allows plenty of time for a great day trip.

The Supetar stone waterfront is a very pleasant and relaxed entry to island life. There are also some exceptional treats in the surrounding villages, such as Splitska and Skrip. Read more about the full options available in Supetar.

The SymBOL of the Adriatic

The famous Zlatni Rat beach may be the most famous attraction in Bol, but it is far from being the only one. On a family stay there is 2015, I was so busy enjoying the other things that I did not have time to visit the iconic beach.

From visiting The White House, Bol edition, to wine tasting at Stina, a wine massage and even tenpin bowling, take a look at Bol beyond Zlatni Rat here.

Meet the destinations – Pucisca

brac pucisca

It is just over three years ago that Pucisca was named as one of the top 10 most beautiful villages in Europe.

And it really is.

I had already lived on Hvar for a decade before my first visit to Pucisca, and I had visited MANY stone villages on the water in that time. But there was something different, more perfect, about this one.

The answer, of course, lies in the stonemasonry tradition of its famous school. The whole village seems to take pride in keeping up the very best stone traditions. Add to that a truly gorgeous harbour, and the rest is history. Learn more about this wonderful destination.

For more information about Brac

Keen to learn more about Croatia’s tallest island? Here are 25 things to know.

For more information about what is happening on the island, check out the dedicated TCN page for Brac.

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