brac-island

Island Brac

Island Brac is one of the closest islands to Split port. It is the largest island in Dalmatia and the third largest in the Adriatic. Because of its proximity to the mainland, it is a very popular holiday resort, offering a lot of facilities mainly for families with children, but also for those who wish to spend a day sunbathing on an island and come back to the mainland in the evening.

Good ferry and catamaran connections from Split give you the possibility to visit Supetar – the main town or to go directly to the most famous beach on the island – Zlatni Rat in Bol town, which are the two most visited towns on the island of Brac.

Brac is known for its mild Mediterranean climate with dry and warm summers and mild and rainy winters. Average air temperature during summer months (from June to September) ranges between 26 and 34 degrees Celsius during the day and 24 to 28 during the night. The sea temperature is usually between 23 and 27 degrees Celsius during summer.

Brac is not so popular or touristy as Hvar or Korcula islands but it still has a lot to offer.

If you plan to visit Brac, this guide will give you all the necessary information regarding the island, its beaches and campsites, party places, travel information and of course the detailed list of things to do during your stay.

Getting to Brac

Island Brac has the most daily ferry and catamaran departures to and from the mainland, depending on how you travel (by foot or with car) and to which place on Brac island you are travelling from / to; there might be several ferry / catamaran options to consider.

Please note: several of the connections listed below only operate in the summer season, so click on the links provided to check the timetable for a specific travel date.

Bol: the main direct connection to Bol on the south side of Island Brac is a catamaran operated by Jadrolinija from Split to Jelsa on Hvar which goes via Bol, unfortunately this catamaran connection is not suitable for a day trip to Bol as the catamaran sails from the island in the morning and returns in the late afternoon, but there is another catamaran from the company Krilo during the summer and this one departs from Split early in the morning and returns from the island in the afternoon. Here you can see the timetable Split – Bol and here the schedule from Bol to Split.

Milna: this town, which is located on the northwestern end of the Island, is connected with catamaran to Split and Hvar during the summer season; here you can search for the timetable for a specific travel date from Split to Milna and here is the timetable from Hvar to Milna. One of the catamarans sailing via Milna also continues to Korcula, Mljet and Dubrovnik.

Sumartin: located at the southeastern peak of the island, this town has a year round operating car ferry connection to Makarska on the mainland; during the summer season there are up to 5 daily departures between the towns and here you can see the timetable Sumartin to Makarska and here is the list of departures in the opposite direction. (Remember to pick a travel date).

Supetar: located on the northeastern part of the island, Supetar is the main connection between Split and Island Brac, each day year round there are several car ferry departures between the towns, during the summer season there are up to 10 daily departures in each direction. Here you can search for departures on specific travel dates between Split and Supetar and here are the departures in the opposite direction.

Another option to reach the island is to fly there directly. Island Brac has its own airport, located close to the town of Bol, offering some seasonal and charter flights so keep that in mind, in case there is a connection from your city. Mostly these connections are to Graz, Vienna, Innsbruck, Linz, Bari, Naples, Deauville (charter flights) and Zagreb, Brussels, Ljubljana, Bern, Rotterdam and Luxembourg (seasonal flights). So if you plan to spend your summer vacation on Brac island and you can fly from some of the above mentioned cities, you can compare the prices and maybe use that option as well.

Getting to Brac from Split Airport:

From Split airport you should take the airport bus, the bus takes you to the bus station in Split (travel time 30 minutes) which is just next to the ferry port in Split, so very easy, even if you have luggage to carry. If you are going to Bol or Milna during the peak season (July and August), you may consider taking a speedboat from Split airport directly to the island, this only takes you about 45 minutes, but as the speedboats are quite pricey (you pay for the whole boat) there should be more people riding to make this an affordable option.

Aerial photograph of famous Zlatni Rat beach in Bol, Brac Island

Getting around the island

From the 4 above mentioned cities with ferry connections, there are buses operating (in most cases) according to arrival and departure of the ferries and catamarans; the buses do not run between all the cities so you might have to change the bus on the island. The bus stops are in all cases located near to where the ferry / catamaran arrives, and you can find more details about buses on Brac island here.

Apart from using the island buses, you can always rent a car or scooter to drive around the island and explore all the towns and villages, hidden bays and coves that are the true gems of every island.

For those that are interested in hiking and cycling, it is possible to rent a bike and explore the island in a more adventurous way.

Of course, since it’s an island, you can rent a small boat and drive around exploring the hidden coves that are only accessible by boats.

In case you are thinking about these options, don’t forget to bring your driving/boating licenses with you.

Historical sights

Even though Brac island doesn’t have that much historical value and ancient remains from Greek and Roman times as Hvar does, there is still a lot you can see when visiting the island. On the southern side, between Bol and Milna towns, there is a very special sight called Pustinja Blaca (Monastery Desert Blaca), once a famous desert of monks, nowadays turned into a museum and archive where you can see the entire inventory of the old monastery library (cca. 11000 books, most of them written before 1800) and the second biggest telescope in Europe, unfortunately currently not in use. The desert monastery was established in 1551 in Ljubitovica cave in this steep valley, when 2 priests came from the mainland and started to build their housings. In the monastery you will also find the remains of an old school that once was the main school for the area.

The oldest settlement on the island Brac is called Skrip (from latin scrupus = sharp large stone) and as the name suggests, Skrip settlement is located just above the quarries from where the stones were collected for Salona and Diocletian Palace that were built in the ancient Roman times. The stone was cut from the quarries and shipped over to the mainland, and even abroad. Some stories suggest that even the White House in Washington was built from the stone that was cut in Skrip quarry and shipped over to the U.S. However, there is no evidence to back up this story.

When on Brac, you should visit the remains of the old church of Saint Vido, dedicated to the ancient Slavic god. The church was built close to the top of Vidova Mountain, the highest peak of the Adriatic archipelago (780 m) where you will get the most stunning view of the area and nearby islands, and if the weather is clear enough you might even see the Monte Gargano in Italy. To reach the Vidova Mountain peak, you should follow the hiking trails from Bol or Supetar.

Top beaches on Brac Island

Island Brac has a lot of beaches to offer. They are mostly rocky-pebble beaches, but there are also some natural sandy beaches that are suitable for families with children. Beaches on Brac are located in different bays around the island, among the pine trees so you will be able to find shades to avoid getting sunburnt.

Of course, the most popular beach is the one in Bol town – Zlatni Rat beach (Golden Horn beach), long pebble beach that naturally changes the direction of its top, depending on the strong sea currents that move the pebbles from one side to the other. The beach has been awarded the Blue flag which guarantees its sea quality and thanks to the wind that constantly blows on one side of the beach this is a surfers’ paradise and the most popular beach for windsurfing. If you prefer to have a more relaxing day at the beach, you can have a massage or sip some cocktails at one of the cocktail beach bars.

Martinica beach is another beach in Bol town, located next to a monastery. It is often referred to as the “home beach” as it is used by the locals. This beach is also suitable for families with children since, during the summer, swimming lessons for children of all ages take place here. There is almost no shade on the beach itself, but the monastery’s courtyard houses a restaurant and a beach bar where you can get away from the hot sun.

Near Bol, some 5 km away, you will find two beautiful secluded beaches with fine sand in Murvica village, just under a cliff where the village is located. You can reach the beaches by boat, from the seaside, or if you park your car in the village, you then have to descend on foot, through a steep walkway.

Lovrecina beach is a popular sandy beach located near Postira town, approx. 4 km away, in a deep cove, on the northern side of the island. You can reach it by car, by boat or on foot. Since it’s a sandy beach, it is suitable for families with kids. It is surrounded by pine trees so you don’t have to worry about the heat. Also there is a beach bar where you can sit down and relax with a cold drink.

In Postira town, 4 km away from Lovrecina beach, you can find several bays and coves that stretch along the coast and are perfect for swimming and sunbathing.

On the north-eastern part of the island, you will find Povlja town, a small town surrounded by pine trees, bays and coves where you can find some beautiful beaches like Tatinja, Ticja Luka, Smokvica and Travna. This is a good place for families with children, but also for those seeking an active holiday with diving and sailing options.

In the vicinity of Milna town, on the western part of the island, there are four coves with pebble beaches: Osibova, Maslinova, Pasika and Lucice beach. The beaches are surrounded by pine trees that provide a natural shade in the summer heat. This part of the island is protected from the northern winds so the sea is almost always calm which also makes it ideal for fishing, sailing or scuba diving.

The area around Blaca desert offers some beautiful coves and actually the same cove where you will find the old monastery is the one that offers one of the most beautiful beaches on the southern side of the island, located deep in the cove, surrounded by a dense pine forest.

island-brac-beach

Camping on Brac

Many people enjoy spending their vacation in nature, lying in the shade of pine trees listening to the sound of waves and crickets. It really is a peaceful and unique experience, especially if you are spending your summer vacation on a Mediterranean island surrounded by beaches of crystal clear sea and you can get the best of it if you decide to spend your vacation camping instead of booking a hotel room.

Since there is no possibility of wild camping on island Brac, because it is illegal, there are some smaller and larger campsites along the coast and near the bays with pebble beaches and are well equipped offering facilities like showers and bathrooms, restaurants, water and electricity, kitchen etc. so you won’t have to worry about a thing during your stay.

There are several campsites on the island, mostly near Bol town, along the coast. The largest campsite on Brac, and also the one with the best facilities, is Auto camp Aloa – Bol.

Other campsites include Camp Mario, Camp Kito and Camp Kanun, all located in or near Bol town. You can check the detailed information and price lists for all of them on the links provided.

Brac hiking trails

The most interesting hiking trail is the one leading to the top of Vidova Gora (Vidova Mountain), the highest peak of the Adriatic archipelago (780 m). There you will find the remains of an old church dedicated to Saint Vid, an ancient Slavic god. Also, you will be mesmerized by the most stunning view over the area, you will be able to see the Zlatni Rat beach in Bol town and other bays on the island, the nearby islands (Hvar, Vis, Korcula, Peljesac), and if the weather is clear enough you will even see the Monte Gargano in Italy, on Apenini mountain range.

To reach the Vidova Mountain peak, you can follow two hiking trails, one starts in Bol town, from the church of Gospa Karmelska and lasts for 2 hours, while the other one, which is actually more popular, is 18 km long and starts from Supetar and goes through the villages Nerezisca, Knezeravan (with the shepherd stops, especially worth seeing is the one in Gazul) before it reaches Vidova Gora. This hiking trail goes through the endemic vegetation of Brac island so you will definitely enjoy climbing all the way up the hill.

Besides these two main hiking trails, there are some smaller trails you can explore: Olive track near Mirca in Supetar area; Road to Hercules just above Splitska bay and Dolcevita trail that covers the hillside area around Donji Humac village. You can see the details of each route on the following map of all the best hiking and cycling trails on the island.

Brac cycling trails

Brac is a great cycling destination, with over 20 cycling trails that in total cover 1026 km which makes Brac the island with most extensive cycling surface on the Adriatic.

These trails are grouped around four parts of the island and therefore you can find West, East, North and South trails which will lead you through the charming towns of the island, along the beaches and bays and up to the highest peak of the Adriatic islands, Vidova Gora.

You can start the route in the center of Bol town and ride west along the paved road past Zlatni Rat Beach, then through the small village of Murvica all the way up to the Farska Bay. There you will turn to the right and head straight up a steep ascent to the top until you reach a plateau. From there you should head to Blaca with the famous Blaca Desert Monastery, and then just follow the signs to Vidova Gora. It is a steep climb to the top (780 m) but it is definitely worth a try. You will be rewarded with the most wonderful view of the archipelago.

All the trails and the details of each route can be seen on the following map of all the best hiking and cycling trails on the island.

diving

Snorkeling and diving on Brac

Island Brac has an interesting underwater life, with flora and fauna that were influenced by the winds and currents as well as the sunlight. It is important to mention that the north and south shores are different, both on the mainland and in the underwater world. Most dive sites even include some underwater entrances to caves and grottos that are otherwise not easily reachable. The optimal time of year for scuba diving on Brac island is between May and October, when the sea is calmer and weather conditions good.

Some of the most interesting dive sites include Lucice Cave, on the southeast side of the island which is popular because of its two underwater tunnels and a spacious chamber that gives the area the look and feel of an underwater desert; Cape Drasine which is a good location for beginners in scuba diving, located just 1 nm from Bol, where you will find the remains of a Roman mosaic and the underwater colours will leave you breathless; Golubinja Spilja, with a sandy bottom, is also located near Bol (just 1.3 nm away) and has a rich underwater life including sea bass, cuttlefish, eels and other creatures.

Zlatni Rat beach is the most popular beach on the island and therefore you will find a lot of divers around even though the underwater life there is not the most interesting one. If you go a bit deeper you might spot different algae and shellfish, mostly oysters and pen shells.

Other interesting diving locations can be found near Hvar island, which is just a bit further away so you can even check them out if a diving center offers that option.

If you are interested in scuba diving and wish to find more info about how to book your dive and wish to check different offers and dive centers, or book your dive in advance, you can do that on the following websites, official websites of diving centers on Brac island: Big Blue Diving, Diving Dolphin and Fun Dive Club which are some of the most popular diving centers on the island.

Snorkeling, on the other hand, doesn’t require that much preparation and physical shape nor the theoretical and practical knowledge important for scuba diving. Snorkeling equipment can be rented at the beach or from many different rental agencies in towns/camps, or you can even buy it from the stores/stands in the main towns.

Water sports and equipment

Besides diving and snorkeling, there are other interesting water sports and activities you can partake in during your stay on Brac island. Zlatni Rat beach in Bol is a heaven for windsurfers so all the windsurfing enthusiasts from around the world will enjoy this special location.

If you want to do something more exciting you can try parasailing, water-skiing or kitesurfing, while for those who prefer the standard activities there are numerous options to choose from: stand up paddle surfing, kayaking or canoeing, jet skiing, etc.

All the necessary equipment can be rented at the beach. However, have in mind that it is not offered on every beach, but on the bigger ones in Supetar, Bol, Sutivan etc. If you are staying in a camp, you can probably rent some of the equipment there, if the camp is located near the beach, or you will get more information from the front desk staff.

You can even rent a small boat and drive around the island, visit all the hidden coves and explore their beautiful beaches, but make sure you have your valid boating license with you.

blaca-desert-brac-island

Festivals on Brac Island

Island Brac is not that popular for partying but there are still numerous events and festivals taking place during the summer. From June to October there is the Supetar Summer Festival, the largest cultural manifestation on the island that offers different exhibitions, concerts, folklore and traditional klapa evenings with dalmatian a capella songs. In July, there is the famous regional boutique graffiti and street art festival, Graffiti na gradele, part of the traditional Bol Summer Festival, where all the artists, designers, skaters and hip-hop musicians from around the region gather to present their work.

During the summer season, there are also numerous village festivals called Ribarska noć (Fishermen night) where you will have the chance to try some of the local fish on grill, listen to the local bands and party with the locals. These village feasts are organised all over the island, in Supetar, Bol, Sutivan, Sumartin, Pučišća, etc. so try to ask your hosts if some of those nights will be held while you are visiting the island.

In August, there are two main festivals on the island, Brac Film Festival (as a part of Supetar Summer Festival) and Voi’sa Urban music festival on the famous Acapulco beach in Supetar. Here you can find something for everybody, from funk, soul, dub, disco and house music to reggae and latin rhythms.

To round up the season, there is the International Brac Summer Carnival at the beginning of September, held in Supetar, so go crazy and enjoy a day in this unique masquerade event.

cocktails

Brac nightlife

Brac is not that popular for partying as the nearby Hvar island, so you might find it hard to find the right locations to explore the nightlife on the island. However, that doesn’t mean there isn’t any. Supetar, as the main town, has a lot to offer to all generations – restaurants, bars, concerts, exhibitions, you will definitely be able to find something to fill your hot summer evenings.

The most popular bars and pubs are all located alongside the main promenade so you will find them easily. The most popular are Roso lounge bar, Benny’s bar (known for its beach parties) and Beer Garden pub.

Bol, as the most popular town on the island, has a long tradition of nightlife and if you are more into partying, this is the right spot for you. During the day, there are several cocktail beach bars on Zlatni Rat beach, e.g. Auro Cocktail Bar, Fruit bar, Beach bar Potocine, while for an evening gathering there is the Cocktail bar Bolero and the Noa bar, alongside the main promenade and Varadero bar near the port, just at the end of the promenade. In case you are up for a late-night snack, there is a cocktail bar/restaurant Vendetta by Vagabundo close to Varadero bar. Also, there is a bar called Marinero Cafe and Bar, popular among both tourists and locals, with live music in the evening. You will find it in Rudina street just above the waterfront, near Stina Winery, also a place worth visiting if you wish to try the local wine in an elegant setting.

Food and supplies

Brac is a relatively big island, and also one of the most inhabited islands in Croatia. There are supermarkets, bakeries, pharmacies, souvenir shops, newspaper stands, butchers and fish markets, you can buy whatever you want and need right there on the spot so you don’t have to bring anything with you. Of course, the biggest offer is in the main towns – Supetar, Bol and Milna. If you will be staying in some of the smaller bays or villages on the island, it would be best to stop in Supetar to do some shopping before you reach your destination.

There are also numerous restaurants around the island and you can always eat outside. As for the local food, you should definitely try some of the fish specialties, like grilled fish or scampi, “black” risotto with squids, octopus with potatoes baked under the lid on an open fire… Dalmatian cuisine is a Mediterranean style cuisine which is similar to the Italian one, so you will find a lot of olive oil and herbs like rosemary and sage, garlic and tomatoes in almost every sauce, a lot of vegetables and fruit, etc.

If you are not that keen on fish, you can always try some delicious meat dishes, and Brac island is known for its various lamb specialties: you can try roasted lamb with potatoes and rosemary, Vitalac – lamb intestines on skewers wrapped in lamb sheath, Butalac – stuffed lamb’s leg rubbed down with scented grass and splashed with wine or prosecco, lamb stew, etc. There is of course the homemade prosciutto served with fresh local cottage cheese and olives, and you can always find some grilled steak with fresh vegetables, or some typical pasta dishes.

Food

ATMs and exchange offices

The official currency in Croatia is Kuna and it is generally required to have local currency on you when travelling around the country but in all the larger tourist places on the coast and on the islands it is sometimes acceptable to pay with euros or credit cards. However, to be on the safe side, we recommend having Kuna in cash on you, because not all the restaurants and bars accept credit cards. While in larger supermarkets and pharmacies you can use credit cards, it is generally impossible to use them in bakeries or family-owned mini markets, at newspaper stands etc.

In case you need a bank or an exchange office, or you wish to withdraw some money from an ATM, you can find them in the main towns on the island: in Supetar, Bol and Milna. Also, there are some ATMs in Sumartin (in the ferry port) and one in Postira town and one in Povlja village. There are some post offices where you can exchange money, also located in the three main towns – Supetar, Bol and Milna. In case you are not able to reach one of those banks, you could try to exchange some money at the hotel you are staying in.

The banks’ working hours depend on the season, but you should go there in the morning, just to be on the safe side, and have in mind that during the weekends and national holidays they might be closed. ATMs are available and usually located in the port, on the main promenade.

island-brac

Emergency contact info

If you by any chance should need medical assistance during your vacation, you don’t have to worry, there are several services available on the island. All the clinics are located in bigger towns – Supetar, Bol, Postira, Milna, Sutivan, Selca, Nerežišća and Pučišća where you will find a general practitioner to help you in case of a problem. If you will need a dentist, you can find one in Supetar and in Bol.

Pharmacies are located in Supetar, Bol, Sutivan, Pučišća and Selca so you will be able to find some quick help there as well.

If you will need assistance for your pets, it is good to know that you can find a vet in Supetar.

In case of an emergency, or if you require immediate assistance of any kind – medical or police assistance, fire department, mountain rescue services, you can call the toll-free number 112 from any location in Croatia (the calls can be made via landlines, cell phones or phone booths) at any time of day or night.

If the situation requires further urgent assistance or hospitalization that cannot be provided on the island, a speedboat or helicopter will be sent for the patient and take them to the nearest hospitals in Split.   

Foreign citizens/tourists coming from countries that are signatories of the Health Care Convention don’t have to pay for medical assistance in Croatia, while patients coming from countries that are not signatories of this convention, must pay for medical assistance provided, according to the valid tariffs.

FAQ – Island Brac

Q:  Can I bring my bicycle on the catamaran or ferry?

A: You can bring your bicycle on the car ferries to either Supetar or Sumartin without any problems, but you will have to buy a separate ticket for the bike. Bringing a bicycle on the catamarans is in most cases not possible, as there is simply no space available.

Q: Can I buy / reserve ticket for a specific departure?

A: In case of catamaran departures, you can buy tickets for a specific departure, and in case of the car ferry you can buy a ticket for a specific travel date, but not for a specific departure.

Q: Can I make a day trip to Bol from Split?

A: Yes, especially in the summer season, where there are very early catamarans from Split to Bol and fairly late catamarans back to Split.

Q:  Can I bring my dog on the ferry / catamaran?

A: On catamarans you can NOT bring your dog, but on the car ferries you can, but you are not allowed to take them into the closed areas where passengers are sitting.

Q: How much luggage can I bring?

A: On ferries up to 100 kg, on catamarans up to 20 kg but as no one is weighing the luggage, there are normally no issues if you bring a bit more.

Q: How do I travel from Split to Brac with a car?

A: There is a car ferry from Split to Supetar on Brac island, departing every two hours on average. You will need to buy a special ticket for the car in order to board the ferry with your car; during the summer season it can get very crowded with lots of people traveling with cars, so you might want to reach the port at least one hour before the departure time, and you will have to queue in front of the dock. Don’t worry, you will get assistance from the port authority staff.

Q: Which airport should I fly to if I want to go to Brac?

A: You should fly to Split airport because you can then easily take the ferry or catamaran to Brac that departs from Split ferry port, which is just 40 minutes drive from the airport.

Island Brac has its own airport, located close to the town of Bol, offering some seasonal and charter flights so keep that in mind, in case there is a connection from your city.

Q: How far is Brac from Split/Split airport/Zadar/Dubrovnik/Makarska?

A: From Split airport there are shuttle buses to Split ferry port, and from there you can take the ferry to Supetar which will take about 50 minutes or the catamaran to Bol town or Milna town which takes about 30 minutes. So naturally Split is the nearest town on the coast and Brac is located in its archipelago. Zadar is located a bit further away, it takes about 3 hours by bus to reach Split ferry port from Zadar bus terminal and there are no direct connections between Zadar and Brac. If you wish to travel to Brac from Dubrovnik, you have a direct catamaran line (to Bol town) on your disposal during the summer season (May-October). Otherwise, it takes about 4 hours by bus to reach Split from Dubrovnik bus station and then you can take the ferry/catamaran from Split port to reach Brac.

Since it is very close, you can reach the port of Split from Makarska quite easily, but there is also a direct ferry connection from Makarska to Sumartin town on the island Brac. During the summer season, there are up to 5 daily departures between the two towns.

Q: How to get from Brac to Hvar/Korcula/Mljet islands?

A: Unfortunately it is still not possible to do the island hopping in Croatia, because not all the islands are (well) connected but in this case there are daily direct lines from Brac to Hvar, Korcula and Mljet islands with a seasonal line operated by Krilo catamaran company. They depart from Brac in the morning and come back in the afternoon so you might even be able to make a day trip. There are also two catamaran lines to Hvar island – from Bol to Jelsa and from Milna to Hvar town with Jadrolinija company.

Q: Is it possible to go on a day trip to Hvar from Brac island?

A: It is possible to get there but you might have to spend the night before you come back to Brac. Catamarans from Bol depart in the afternoon and from Jelsa they depart in the morning, and as for the other line, catamarans from Milna to Hvar and vice versa only operate on Tuesdays so you will be able to reach Hvar town on a Tuesday morning but since the return departure time is almost immediately after the arrival of the catamaran, you might have to find another solution to come back (e.g. go to Split from Hvar and then take the ferry to reach Brac again). However, the Krilo catamaran company offers the daily seasonal line that departs from Brac in the morning so it might even be possible to make a day trip. Of course, you can always rent a boat or take a taxi boat / UberBoat to travel around the islands, just keep in mind that this option will be quite pricey.