THE PAKLENI ISLANDS – THE GECKO EXPLORES
Gecko tours provides a fantastic ISLAND HOPPING TOUR http://www.gecko-tours.co/tours/island-hopping-tour/ which includes the Pakleni Islands as its centrepiece. Why not book with us now …
Most visitors to Hvar Town gaze across the crystal-clear waters at the hidden beaches and deserted lagoons of the Pakleni Islands (Pakleni Otoci). The chain of islands is approximately 10 kilometres (6.2 miles) long, comprising more than 20 separate islands and is formed of limestone, with a very indented coastline and low pine forest comprising black pine, and aleppo pine. The highest point on the islands is 94 metres (308 ft).
You heard it here first – well …
The name of the islands ‘Pakleni Otoci’ is often mistranslated as ‘Hell’s Islands’ when in fact the name derives from the Croatian noun ‘paklina’ that is the melted down pine resin used to coat the hulls of the ships that sailed these islands many hundreds of years ago. The Gecko has however reflected on the fact that the former explanation sounds much more interesting and so is prepared to stay silent and thereby give generous license to those who wish to tell a better story!
The closest of the Pakleni islands islands to Hvar is Jerolim, which has a popular naturist beach. Stipanska bay. The island was recommended by CNN in 2012 as one of the top naturist beaches on the planet, so one not to be missed. The nearby island of Marinkovac also has a “clothing-optional” section, although it’s better known for its raucous beach club.
The Gecko blushes at the very thought of all this nudity and recommends Kodovan bay for its rustic, wooden sculptures created by local artists that offer a more traditional vibe compared to the glamour of many of Hvar’s other beaches The taxi boat journey from Hvar is the shortest and cheapest at just 40HRK.
The largest of the Pakleni Islands, by far, is Sveti Klement, which supports three villages in its 5 sq km. It costs about Kn60 by taxi from Hvar. Sveti Klement is one of the largest and most popular islands, but for very good reasons. If you want to opt for something luxurious then choose Palmizana bay.
The island is a result of the work of explorer Matteo Meneghello, who, after enjoying the pleasures of Hvar’s mainland, decided to purchase a huge estate on the once bare island. From this point onwards, in around 1820, he began work on large-scale and elaborate gardens as well as building the stunning guesthouse Palmizana Palace. He aimed to create a world of exoticism through plants and forests and he succeeded. Tourists have been heading to the island throughout the year ever since.
Today, Palmizana allows you to enjoy a combination of natural, unspoilt beaches and beautifully designed restaurants and bars. These beachside hideouts let you enjoy the freshest seafood possible alongside cocktails and wines. There are endless restaurants and even an art gallery so Palmizana is well-equipped to look after you. However, it’s not all hustle and bustle as you can take one of the many trails around the island to find some peace and quiet and uncover some of the awesome exotic plants and trees growing there – the perfect alternative to the buzzing bars and beaches around Palmizana bay.
For those in search of action and great music then Marinkovac Island is the perfect for you. Head to Stipanska Bay where you’ll find the famous Carpe Diem Beach bar
with its reputation as one of the hottest nightlife spots in Europe. By day, the up-beat atmosphere continues even if you are feeling a little precious from the night before. There’s a pool with a bar, beach volleyball and soccer facilities and music playing all day, so if you’re not a fan of lying on the beach for hours, Stipanska bay is ideal to have a more active day out on the Pakleni islands.
But Carpe Diem is not all that Marinkovac has to offer, there’s also a wonderful spot situated just 200m from the centre of all the action. Mlini beach is well-loved but only by the few people that know of it – a hidden gem on an otherwise busy Pakleni island. Follow the signs through the island and you’ll reach a bay of extremely clear water, a traditional stone-built restaurant and a beautiful pebble coast line shaded by the pine forest that dominates the island.
A view from the air – Pakleni islands