PAKLENI ISLANDS NEAR HVAR – BEST BAYS TO VISIT
Pakleni islands hide numerous beautiful beaches and bays. Here are the most beautiful ones.
Pakleni islands hide numerous beautiful beaches and bays. Here are the most beautiful ones.
When in Hvar, Pakleni islands are the one thing you should not miss!
The most popular island of Croatia, Hvar, would not be what it is today if it wasn’t for the Pakleni islands archipelago, located only a 5-min boat ride from Hvar port. Pakleni, also known as Paklinski islands are a group of islands famous for their intact nature and beautiful secluded bays. The islands got their name because of paklina, a type of pine resin that local shipbuilders used throughout the past as a binding tool for boats. The Pakleni islands are generally uninhabited, except for the summertime when seasonal workers abide there.
The best way to visit the islands is to rent a boat or book a private boat tour and visit the best spots, all in one take. Here is the list of the must-see locations on Pakleni islands. Each location is special in its way, so whether you are traveling with your partner, your friends, or your family, we guarantee you will find something that fits your taste.
Pakleni islands map – courtesy of pakleniotoci.eu and the Tourist Board of Hvar.
If you take a look at the map of Pakleni islands, you will notice the multitude of tiny little areas of land. However, the most popular among the visitors are the largest three: St. Klement, Marinkovac and Jerolim. Those are the only ones of Pakleni islands where you can find restaurants and beach bars, but they are also big enough to find private spots and secluded bays.
One of the most famous naturist islands in Croatia, St. Jerolim is the island where travelers (and locals) come to escape the busy city life, and enjoy the intact nature and crystal clear sea. You can leave your boat on either the northern side of the bay (but be careful that it does not get in the way of taxi boats) or even better, on the southern side of the island; you will see many rocks on the side of the Kordovon beach, where you can safely dock your boat. The island Jerolim is small so you can explore it by a 10-minute walk. The beach on the south side is beautiful and very popular among nudists. You will also see the Kordovon, a Robinson-style beach bar, where you can relax, have a drink or snack, and enjoy the shade of the pine trees.
Beach on the south side of Jerolim island
A bay well-known as the ultimate party destination, Stipanska owes its reputation to the famous Carpe Diem beach bar. During the daytime, you can enjoy the sun chairs, have lunch, have a massage or you can experience special treatment in the beach bar’s VIP area. In the nighttime, the Carpe Diem beach bar turns into a wild, open-air nightclub, which hosts various famous DJs every night during the busy summer season. The entrance ticket to the island during nighttime will cost you around 40 euros, and the ticket price includes a taxi boat return trip. As lines to get inside the island can get quite long (frequently they go from the ferry stop all the way to the Arsenal building), you can book a taxi boat service with Mario rent, which will get you there in no time!
These two bays are an ideal place for families and those who just wish to find some shade and enjoy the crystal clear sea. Mlini and Ždrilca are connected by a walking path, so it will only take you 5 minutes to get from one bay to another. You can leave your boat in either of these bays, but also beware you don’t block the taxi boat stop. One of our favorite spots is Mamato beach bar, located in Zdrilca bay, which offers great lunch options in a beautiful olive garden. If you’re traveling with children, Patak’s place is a great option since it has fun amenities like a trampoline, etc.
Mlini beach on Pakleni islands, courtesy of Taxi boat Zdrilca Mlini beach
This tiny sandy beach is a truly special spot. Located right before the famous Palmižana, this tiny sandy beach is often overlooked. It is easy to get fooled though because when observing it from the distance, it doesn’t seem like there’s much going on in this bay. However, once you approach Perna bay, you will be amazed by the turquoise water and fine sand. We suggest turning off your engine and throwing your anchor or tying your boat to one of the many nearby rocks. One thing to keep in mind when visiting Perna is that this tiny bay does not have any shade, so bring some sunscreen and seek some shade in your boat.
Perna, Pakleni islands
The most famous of all the bays on Pakleni islands is certainly Palmižana. An important thing to note when visiting Palmižana is that there are two ways to reach it: from the north and from the south. In fact, what confuses many visitors is that the Palmižana that we all love and adore is actually called (and labeled on maps) as Vinogradišće, and it is located on the southern side of Pakleni islands. So if you are aiming at spending time in the famous Laganini beach bar or any other of the many restaurants in Palmižana head south and search for Vinogradišće on the map. From the northern side of Vinogradišće is Palmižana marina, so you can also boat there, and walk to the southern bay (5-minute walk). However, if you wish to keep an eye on your boat, going straight to Palmižana (south) might be a better call.
Laganini beach bar on Palmižana
Located on the south, a bit further from the most popular bays, this beautiful bay offers peace and privacy. There are no facilities in the bay, so it is perfect for those who like Robinson-style locations and naturism.
When booking your boat, Vlaka is generally the furthest point we advise you to go to. It is the westernmost point on the southern shore of Pakleni islands that still has a beach and some dining options. In fact, dining options are among the best ones on the island, just check out Dionis (check out their specialty aubergine pie) or Fisherman’s house if you are a fan of local cuisine and quiet ambiance, both of these restaurants are completely immersed in nature. It will be a 10-minute hike to reach these restaurants, but the walk itself is very picturesque. Vlaka also hides some other interesting sights, like the remains of the Roman spa as well as the mud which locals rub on their skin because of its alleged health benefits.
When visiting Vlaka, or any other secluded bay on Pakleni islands, in fact, make sure to bring everything you need with you: a towel, some drinks and snacks, and maybe some hiking shoes, if you’re down for a walk.
This was the overview of all the most popular and most beautiful bays of Pakleni islands near Hvar. If you have only one day to spend on Pakleni islands, we advise to visit only about 3-4 of the locations suggested above, unless you wish to spend most of your day boating around.
An example of a good itinerary with which you would cover all the main spots around Pakleni islands would go like this:
Assuming you are sailing out of Hvar port, the first location to visit would be Jerolim island on Pakleni islands. Go to the southern side of the island and have a swim and a coffee in Kordovan bar. If you don’t feel comfortable in a naturist ambiance, visit Stipanska instead of Jerolim. After either of these two islands, work your way west. Sail to Perna and, if you are lucky or early enough, there won’t be (m)any boats there. Throw your anchor and do a one-hour snorkeling/swimming stop in the beautiful sandy bay. Right after Perna is Palmižana, Palmižana is the most popular one, but it is also very beautiful and has the most dining options. Laganini is a beautiful beach bar and has exclusive arrangements, so if it fits your taste and budget, we would advise stopping for lunch there, but make sure to make your reservations in advance, otherwise, you might lose your table. If fine dining isn’t your cup of tea, and if you prefer something more autochthonous and quiet, work your way further to Vlaka bay. Overthere you can visit Dionis or Fisherman’s house restaurants, and you will not regret it. After Vlaka, it is time to head home slowly. We advise against going all the way around Pakleni; instead, it is best to follow the same route that brought you to Vlaka, that is the southern route. On your way home make sure to stop at Mlini for a quick swim, or if you have time, visit Vela Garška bay on Hvar’s mainland, west of Hvar town. This beautiful bay is very peaceful and favored among the locals. Its beach bar Calma is the perfect place t and enjoy the sunset as you head home.
IMPORTANT NOTE: an essential part of planning your itinerary is checking the wind strength and direction and planning your trip accordingly. Given that the itinerary suggested above is mostly located on the southern shore of Pakleni, it is not advisable to pursue it on days when the local JUGO (strong south-easternly wind) is blowing, and in that case you should alterate your itinerary to visit north of the Pakleni islands.
To be on the safe side, here are some basic rules you should keep an eye on when boating around Hvar and Pakleni.
We cannot stress this enough: controlling for wind conditions is the most important thing to do when choosing your itinerary. Some of the most frequent mistakes are going to the south shore of Pakleni islands when jugo wind is blowing. This can be quite dangerous, especially if you are sailing with smaller boats. Stick to the area that is shielded from the wind, so for example go to the south side of Pakleni when northern wind is blowing and vice versa. Some of the areas that are almost always protected are Mlini and Ždrilca, so you can visit them in most wind conditions. To find out more about things you need to know when renting a boat in Hvar, read our article here.
Speeding within 300m from the shore is not only very inconsiderate and dangerous for the swimmers and divers near the shore, it is also the easiest way to get yourself a ticket from the marine police. To avoid any unfortunate events, make sure to drive your boat slowly and speed up only once you are far enough from the port (and shore in general).
A stuck anchor can be a real pain, but it is something that happens quite often in the areas around Hvar. If you select a sandy bottom for anchoring (which is advisable), you will eliminate the risk of getting your anchor stuck. However, the sandy bottom also means that your boat will not be so firmly anchored, so make sure not to go too far from it. If your anchor does get stuck, the main thing you have to do is to turn off your engine. This will prevent the cord from getting stuck in the propeller and will also allow you to take a dive to try to get it out (remember: swimming near the running propeller is strictly prohibited!). If you are having a hard time pulling out your anchor, you can consider the following options:
The most popular bays on Pakleni islands are the following:
Palmižana, Stipanska, Mlini and Ždrilca, Jerolim.
The southern shore of Pakleni islands has more to offer, but you should not discard the northern side either, especially if you prefer more private bays.