12.07.2012 - 16.07.2012 35 °C
Having seen the impressive Dubrovnik on the mainland, we decided to spend some time traveling between some of Croatia’s many islands as we work our way northward along the coast. There are 1244 islands up the nearly 2000 km coastline of Croatia; while many are uninhabited, some of Croatia’s top attractions are found in the pristine waters and private coved beaches of these islands.
Our first stop was to Korčula, a beautiful old town built in the 15th century, with winding marble streets and impressive Renaissance and Gothic architecture. Marko Andrijić, the architect who built Saint Mark’s Cathedral in Venice, was both born in Korčula and designed the bell tower in the town’s central square. The towns greatest claim to fame, however, is that the explorer Marko Polo (who is often incorrectly described as Italian), was actually born in Korčula, and many little shops sell trinkets associated with the adventurer.
We had a charming little room overlooking the crystal blue waters of the Adriatic Sea. Settling in, we spent our time in Korčula touring the adorable little town and its mazes of narrow streets, bougainvillea lined windows and tiny sea-side restaurants, mainly serving pizza and gelato. We wandered the beaches and took photos, before climbing the bell tower shortly before sunset for a panoramic view of the town and nearby islands. Our regular nightly stroll led us into busy streets full of tourists eating and laughing, with large yachts mooring in the tiny harbour, drawing in the well-to-do for a visit to the peaceful little Korčula.
With a catamaran ferry service, we easily made our way up the Dalmatian coast to Hvar, which we soon learned is the European hide-a-way for the ridiculously rich and famous. Hvar boasts 13th century walls and Gothic palaces, all surrounding a beautifully sheltered bay. The marble streets are vehicle free and draw a vibrant tourist scene and night-life. The harbour is also regularly full of yachts, which our host explained were owned by actors and actresses, or owners of certain basketball or football franchises. Now, we have seen our share of large yachts in our travels and at home in beautiful Victoria, but none can rival the likes of the gargantuan yacht that spent a day in Hvar harbour. Inquiring about the vessel, we found out that it was 70 meters in length, with five levels and eighteen staff aboard to service the owner of this 85-million dollar yacht.
There is no question why this island draws such wealthy visitors, with its countless private beaches around the many little islands in Hvar’s near vicinity, as well as the historical backdrop of the cathedral, the elegant bell tower, and the imposing Citadel. Fortified against the once invading Turks, the old walls remain from what was at one time a medieval castle, and is built high atop the hillside, keeping a watchful eye over the town below.
Beaches abound in every direction around Hvar town, and finding a relaxing place to suntan and swim was an easy task. Our days were filled with sun and sea, overlooking the shocking colour-changes of the Adriatic, with no transition from a bright, light turquoise to a rich marine blue. Hiking the hill to the fortified old-town proved to be worth the climb as the breathtaking view of Hvar-Town, the bay and surrounding islands became visible. In the evenings we strolled the marble streets and promenade, taking in the sunset as well as the lively night crowds.
From Hvar we continued on to the island of Brač, staying in the sea-side town of Bol. Bol has Croatia’s most recognized beach, found on countless postcards being referred to as the “sexiest beach in Croatia.” The tongue, or v-shaped protrusion of beach, stretches out into the sea and is the main highlight of this island. The beach, called Zlatni Rat, draws huge crowds of tourists over the summer months, which unfortunately takes away from its splendor; however, only a short walk past this sight lie the quiet coves of the beautiful nudist beach. We decided that, ‘when in Brač…,’ and spent days ridding ourselves of tan lines and basking in the freedom. No pictures will be attached to this portion of our vacation, sorry folks.
A long stone walk follows the coastline from the center of town all the way to Zlatni Rat, making a beautiful place to stroll under the shade of the pine trees. Leading in to the town of Bol, the walkway wraps through the little harbour, full of tiny fishing and row boats. The town itself is a cute, sleepy sea-side place with winding stone streets meant only for pedestrians, a large public farmers market and little restaurants wafting smells of freshly cooked sea-food. Our days consisted of food, walks and sun tanning. With our portable speakers playing our favourite tunes in the seclusion of our own little bay, we read and swam away our time in Bol.
With these three islands explored and enjoyed to the fullest, we continued on to the mainland to see Split, a couple incredible national parks and Zadar… but that can wait until the next blog.
Love to friends and family,