Brač is most well-known for its famous Zlatni Rat beach, the poster-child for Croatian tourism; however, this is just the tip of the iceberg or in this case – beach. Brač island has thousands of years of history. Covered in cypress trees, olive groves and vineyards, it is a lush green paradise begging to be explored.
Being that Brač is the ‘tallest’ island, a hike to Vidova Gora will leave you breathless in more ways than one; on a clear day, one can even see Italy. Unique culture and local legends leave plenty to be discovered, like a Dragon’s cave, hermitage monastery or a village dating back to the 3rd century. Every island has its own traditions and gastronomy and Brač is no exception, attend the unique ‘night regatta’ in Postira, or sample the famed lamb or ‘Vitalac’. Hungry for adventure? Hiking, biking, wind or kite surfing… there is something for everyone. From magical bays to stunning nature, rich history and tradition, to the weird and wonderful, Brač will delight and surprise all travellers who take the time to get to know this island.
Evidence found on the island suggests that the history of Brač stretches as far back as the Bronze and Iron ages. The history timeline of Brač reads similar to much of Dalmatia – Romans, Croatian, Venetian, Austro-Hungarian, a brief period of French rule (1805, 1807 – 1814) and Russian (end of 1806), Yugoslavia, then finally independent in 1991 following the Croatian War of Independence. At various points during WWII, Brač was also occupied by Italian and German forces, though locals are proud to tell the story of how local rebels fought an effective guerrilla war against the occupiers.
Brač had a thriving population until the 20th Century; unfortunately, the first big emigration came after Phylloxera destroyed much of Brač’s wine industry, and following WWII, more than 8,000 people emigrated from Brač. Today, Brač has a population of around 14,000 people. Like most of Dalmatia, the economy of Brač is based mostly on tourism, fishing and agriculture (wine and olives).
Where to Visit
During the off-season, Milna is a sleepy village but in summer it transforms into a busy harbour full of life. In the 18th and 19th Centuries, navigation was the backbone of the economy. There were two shipyards in Milna and most of the inhabitants were shipowners, captains, sailors, shipbuilders and fishermen. People from Milna are proud of their heritage – the industrious people who made Milna what it is. Residential buildings tell the stories of an era of noble families, and the impressive 18th Century Baroque Church of our Lady of the Annunciation, speaks of the importance of Milna. With its proximity to Split, secure anchorages outside the bay, plus two marinas and a town quay, Milna is a popular destination for tourists and sailors today. Milna has a family vibe and its own charm. Enjoy the local atmosphere, do an olive oil tasting (with century-old family history) or dine at a local tavern.
A darling town on the NE coast of island Brač, famous for its stonemasonry school and nearby stone quarry. Did you know that stone from Brač is rumoured to be in the white house? And though this is unconfirmed, Brač stone IS in Diocletian’s Palace and numerous buildings around Europe. Unsurprisingly, the town also boasts many fine stone houses, a picturesque town if ever there was one. Strolling around Pučišća is like taking a step back in time. Guests love the slower pace and authentic vibe. Visit the century-old stonemason school which is filled with impressive works by the students. There are few berths here to spend the night, many yachts dock alongside to allow their guests to explore for the afternoon before moving on to another anchorage.
The town of Bol is the home of the famous Zlatni Rat beach, which has won numerous ‘best beach’ awards worldwide. Zlatni Rat beach is a natural phenomenon, its recognisable V shape stretches 500 m into the sea, and the shape shifts depending on the currents. Surrounded by pine forests, with the backdrop of lush green Brač hills, and framed by brilliant turquoise and blue waters, it is easy to see how this beach wins hearts. For adrenaline junkies, the Maestral wind that flows through this channel makes Bol a kite and wind surfer’s heaven.
The harbour here is very busy, there are few berths and they are usually full by early afternoon. Strong winds through the channel also mean these berths are exposed and because they are in town, it is worth noting that it is noisy in the evening. However, if you do dock, it is perfect to explore Bol town. Meander the paved promenade all the way to Zlatni Rat beach, along the way, you will find galleries, museums, cafes, local boutiques and even a winery. If you don’t stay for the evening, many yachts anchor near Zlatni Rat beach, so guests can enjoy the view or an afternoon dip.
Supetar is the main town on island Brač, it is the transport and administration centre, rich in cultural and historical sights. One of the most important sites of the town is the elegant 18th Century triple-naved baroque Church of Annunciation with its 35 m bell tower that dominates the town centre. The harbour promenade is lined with shops and friendly konobas, always busy thanks to the regular ferry. However, if you wander from the main promenade, you will find small alleys and cobblestoned streets with cute cafes and konobas – a respite from the heat and crowds.
Travel inland to visit this historical gem with archaeological sites spanning 3,000 years of history. Walking through the town you will see remains of the old defence wall, a castle, sarcophagi, a 3rd Century mausoleum, a Roman temple and much more. This is also the location of the Brač Museum and the Olive Oil Museum – where guests can learn about the traditional processes of olive oil production, taste, and buy products. A trip to an olive oil museum may not have been on your must-do list, but trust us when we say it is a brilliant experience, the family are wonderful hosts, passionate and knowledgeable, and this quickly becomes a highlight for our guests.
Croatia really is a sailor’s paradise, with hundreds of islands, stunning bays and its indented coastline, it means there are numerous possibilities when it comes to anchoring. Like Bobovišća, a small peaceful harbour on the western coast of Brač island which offers mooring buoys. Lučice bay is only 1 mile south of Milna, with several mooring buoys and a restaurant set on the water’s edge. Blaca is another small bay perfect for anchoring so guests can hike up to visit the Blaca Monastery. Smrka bay is a tiny bay (only a few yachts can fit inside) near an old Military tunnel.
Where to Eat
Unlike some destinations like Hvar, Brač doesn’t have as many ‘fancy’ restaurants or trendy bars instead, it has quality local konobas (taverns) and unique experiences in stunning settings.
Restaurant Taverna Riva, Bol is situated in the middle of the main promenade. This restaurant has a gorgeous setting and menu to match. Here you will find dishes like fish carpaccio, tuna tartar, fresh seafood, traditional peka and more. This restaurant is known for its excellent service and presentation.
Restaurant Mali Raj, Bol offers a different setting, away from the main promenade and summer heat, tucked into the pine forest near Zlatni Rat Beach. This restaurant is built entirely from Brač stone, and tables are set in a gorgeous green garden.
Winery Senjković in Dračevica this inland restaurant and winery is most definitely off-the-beaten-path but a superb experience for foodies – and always booked weeks in advance. This is a tiny restaurant and winery that is run by the passionate husband-and-wife duo, Sasa and Magdalena. The menu is a 5 – 7 course tasting menu matched with their wines, enhanced by their storytelling. A truly unique experience.
Konoba Kopačina in Donji Humac – one of the oldest settlements on the island, is another inland restaurant which means braving some old and windy roads but trust us when we say it is worth it. Guests are rewarded with stunning vistas over the hills from the terrace. The speciality here is Brač lamb, done in a number of ways, including the famous Brački Vitalac. Finish with the local dessert Hrapaćuša – a divine cake made with honey, lemon and walnuts!
Konoba Vinotoka in Supetar is another local gem, tucked away from the busy promenade down an unassuming alley, this Konoba sits atop large steps surrounded by greenery. This is a family-run restaurant, famous for its seafood – particularly because the family has their own fishing boats. The restaurant also serves its own wine and olive oil, the service is friendly and professional.
Where to Drink
Drink – anywhere with a view! You will find local bars and cafes along all main promenades, in squares and down most alleyways. Sitting with a cold beer or crisp glass of wine and watching the world go by is a pastime here. Doing wine tours usually requires planning a day or half-day tour but if you are in Bol, stop at Stina winery which is on the main promenade. Here, you can enjoy a wine tasting and cellar tour of exceptional award-winning wines.
Where to Beach
As the third-largest island in Croatia, Brač offers a number of beaches, from fine sand to pebbles and large rocks or hidden bays. For the most part, forget big extravagant beaches, and think instead – small pockets of paradise. Sailing around Brač, your captain will know the best spots but here are a few –
Zlatni Rat – obviously. Murvica beach, a few kilometres west of Zlatni Rat, has the same fine pebbles and stunning views of Hvar Island but offers more privacy. Lovrečina beach near Postira is a sandy beach that attracts many sunseekers and families. Punta beaches Pučišća are a series of small secluded beaches around the eastern side of the bay. Povlja bay provides a number of small beaches set in coves. Thanks to Brač’s rich vegetation and dense pine forests that hug the shoreline, most beaches are protected and offer shade and tranquillity.
What to Do, Activities and Attractions
Visit: The Stonemasonry school in Pučišća, Zlatni Rat beach in Bol, the Olive Oil Museum in Skrip, the Jaksic Gallery in Donji Humac or the Ivan Rendic Gallery in Supetar.
Attend: The Little Night Regatta in Postira. Every summer a special night breeze ‘Gažul’ blows from Vidova Gora to the tiny port of Postira, making perfect conditions for night-time sailing. Picture more than a dozen boats sailing in a tiny port to the soundtrack of Mozart’s String Serenade no.13 – A spectacle to behold! Summer Festivals, the Sumpetar Summer Festival is the largest cultural manifestation on the island with numerous exhibitions and concerts happening all summer. At the Sutivan Jazz Festival the port becomes an extraordinary stage where you can enjoy incredible musical performances with the best backdrop. Try to catch one of these events during your sailing itinerary for a real taste of the Brač spirit.
Hike: To the top of Brač – Vidova Gora, the highest point for incredible views. Hike to the 16th Century Blaca Monastery and museum which houses a unique collection of artefacts and shows the advanced community that lived and prospered here. Hike to the Dragon’s Cave above Murvica where you will be greeted by an unusual set of reliefs and carvings – including, (of course) a dragon, believed to have been sculpted in the 15th Century by a friar.
Get Active: try windsurfing, kite surfing or watersports in Bol. What about sunset kayaking or scuba diving? The mountainous terrain of Brač also makes it perfect for adventure mountain biking.