Discovering Dalamatia

An overview of the sites and locations along the Coast of Dalmatia in Croatia.

The Dalmatian Coast of the Adriatic covers four counties in Croatia. It has long been the playground for Europe’s who-is-who during the Austro-Hungarian empire and during the days of Yugoslavia. The collapse of the former Yugoslavia and the proliferation of discount airlines have opened up this jewel of the Adriatic to the rest of the world. This summer section mates from OB and OF decided to test the waters by island hopping in Central Croatia.

While there are many ferries run by the national ferry line Jadrolinija, the best way around the Adriatic is by your own (or rented) boat. If you were birthed in the sea and tie a bow-line knot in your sleep then you can rent a bare boat from one of the many local companies or international one such as Moorings or Sunsail. If relaxing on the trampoline of you 40ft Cat (For the less nautically inclined readers – A Cat aka Catamaran is a dual pontoon boat that looks like an H) is more your style then you can hire a skippered boat to sail you around the islands.

It is said that there are over a thousand islands along the Dalmatian coast but the main ones for tourists are : Brac, Hvar, Vis and Korcula. While each of the islands are very unique they share many common features that reflect the changing tides of power that this region has experienced over the course of history. Many of the cities are set in sheltered bays. The stone paved streets lead to a light house, an ornate cathedral. The Town is usually set next to the sea with a massive stone castle or other bastion set on top of hillside to protect the town. While the casual tourists never look past these similarities a seasoned traveler finds the differences.

The Island of Brac is probably most famous for the beach at Bol. The beach is a giant golden Sandbar in the shape of V (called Zlatni Rat in Croatian) and draws sunbathers from all over Europe. The town of Bol itself is a rather lively for it size with many open air restaurants and bars. The best part of Bol is that with the right timing just about anyone can pull right up to the dock right on main street and stay for a couple of nights.

If Bol is down to earth and approachable, Hvar town on the island of Hvar is an exclusive club with velvet ropes- it’s rumored the Nicky Hilton was there the week prior to the author’s arrival. Getting a Dock spot is combination of the size of your boat (apparently size does matter to local dockmasters when you’re paying by the foot), how well you speak Croatian and your ability to negotiate. Nonetheless with a bit of persistence even a 40ft sailboat can get a docks spot along the likes the 121 ft Northern Spirit and so on. Hvar has had a history of catering to traveler with the first hotel being founded in 1868.1 The town continues to cater to the jet set crowd with the majority of the action along the main strip by the docks. Not to missed however are the spectacular views of the city, outlying islands and sunsets from the ramparts of Hvar Castle set above the city.

The town of Komiza on Vis has a homely old town feel. Komiza in its heyday used to be a center for lobster and other fishing activities. We were informed that during the early 20th century sea planes landed by the minute to cart away fresh lobster from Komiza to all over the world. Nowadays a spectacular dining experience (and lobster the size of a small child) can be had at Konoba Jastozera, an old lobster farm where the tables are set on wooden planks overlooking the waves.