You get home from your adventures in the Mediterranean.
Your hair is laced with honey-like highlights.You are feeling invigorated, rejuvenated. In your mind’s eye, you can still picture the effervescent dazzle of the Adriatic in the noon light, keeping you calm and centred as you return to everyday life. You know you’ve been to somewhere remarkable. And your body is optimally browned from summer days spent lounging beneath enveloping warmth.
Isn’t this kind of the dream?
And it’s true: when envisioning sunlight in Croatia, it’s hard not to use words like “effervescence” and “honey”. It’s a very special kind of sunlight. I would even go so far as to call it intoxicating.
Who hasn’t felt themselves growing drowsy with tranquility as they soak up rays on the beach? It seems to bathe everything with an encompassing sense of bliss. Like a mellow song, a mother’s hug, a bitter beverage: it soothes the mind, caresses the skin, and perhaps even sends you dosing into trance-like ecstasy. It sounds like I’m being a bit extreme here, and it’s true — it is, after all, only sun — but the pleasure of tanning beside lush green palm trees and glistening Mediterranean waters is universal knowledge.
In fact, I’m not sure you can visit Croatia without having “sun-bathing” as an underlined point in your itinerary.
Sunlight is a way of life here. It permeates the very air with a sense of animation. It’s part of what defines this place as such a dazzling holiday destination. After-all, few places in the whole world have this much pleasant sun. While of course there are more heady (and by more heady I mean more unbearably humid) summer locations, the island of Hvar has the definite advantage of a summer that is, overall, constantly, enjoyable. The sun does not scorch, burn, or blister (probably thanks to there being just that little bit more of an ozone layer here than other places in the globe). Instead, it radiates warmly, sensitively, like an ever-present lover. The hottest temperature recorded for Hvar was 37° C, reached in 1935, and even then, the heat is not smothering like some places in the tropics. And even better, Hvar has, on average, 7.7 hours sunlight in a day to make the most of it.
So, if you’re a sun-lover like me (and I can’t understand why you’ve come to Croatia if you aren’t), you are now probably wondering: where should I go to best enjoy this local delicacy? And if this is indeed what you’re contemplating, then you’re in luck, because I’m about to tell you. And please note: there are a positive abundance of sunbeds in Hvar. They litter bends in the road, rocky outcrops, and almost every beach; so alas, I cannot detail them all. What I can do is tell you the best.
The Franciscan Monastery in Hvar is a contemplative beige-stone exterior, looming, like a past encaptured, next to a popularly frequented pebbled beach. It provides a contrast to the the flocking tourists, buzzing restaurants and bleach-white tanning beds, and gives the area an air of history and novelty (it is, in other words, ‘insta-worthy’). This is a beach that is hard to miss, being only a five minute walk from the centre of Hvar Town, and directly around the corner from the port. It is for this central location that it is such an ideal place to rent a sunbed: surrounded by fine-dining restaurants, you will be nestled in the ambiance of clinking coffee-cups, jovial conversations, and the reassuring background noise of thriving island life. If you feel peckish, you can simply order a fruit-laden crepe from the ever-present crepe stall; and wherever you are staying, it is surely not a long trek, so if you wish to include sunbathing in a full day itinerary, relaxing for an hour or so beside the Franciscan Monastery is not a time-consuming exercise.
And how much you might ask? Quite a typical price: the sign reads “50 kn per day”, with an additional 20 kn for if you would like to invest in an umbrella.
Pokonji Dol beach is equal parts quaint and delightful. Roughly a twenty minute walk from the centre of Hvar, one must navigate along a rocky path downhill to discover it, but luckily, it is well worth discovering. The view of Pokonji Dol from the top of said hill is cinematic, expansive; charming enough to perhaps even warrant stopping to take a snap.
You can see the waterfront restaurants, the glistening turquoise waves, and the generally dense throng of sunbathers. The sunbeds cover the beach — it’s pebbled and seaweed-laden and not really a conducive environment to simply throw down a towel. So if you are seeking a little bit of comfort as well as some sunshine, renting a sunbed here is essential.
But, in my opinion, quite worth the 60 kn. The water is cool at Pokonji Dol — a refreshing way to prevent overheating, so if you wish, you could back-and-forth between swimming and tanning all day.
The restaurants serve Long Island Iced Teas and hot espressos and even cream-heavy iced coffees. Locals lounge with their dogs, children splash in the waves, and ringing the perimeter of the beach is a walkway dappled by shade. Pokonji Dol is a location best suited to a few hours commitment, given the walk it takes to arrive there, but with so many options for exquisite cuisine and such a pleasant ambiance, I don’t see why you’d want to spend any less.
The Pakleni Islands, located off the southwest coast of Hvar island, are less than fifteen minutes away by taxi boat. The name, “pakleni”, derives from a pine resin that used to be used to waterproof boats. Lonely Planet describes the islands as “a chain of wooded isles”, and Jerolim is the closest of these isles. It’s a little bit of a special place. Let me explain why.
Have you ever returned home from holiday, pleased with the tan on your legs, your arms — but alas, your body is now patterned with these pesky little things called tanlines? If you’re one for perfection — a complete, all-over, natural tan — then Jerolim is the place to venture for you, because it just so happens to be naturist. That is, nudist. Upon first venturing to Jerolim beach, you will be met with a sign proclaiming: “ ALL NUDISTS WELCOME: SINCE 1896 ”. And the sign sure isn’t lying.
The beach, the woods on the beach, the whole island, is full of naked people! Which may not be your cup of tea (and this is fine); but the thing is, people go to be in their own space. It’s expected, understood, and respected. If you’re prepared that you may see people, and that they will be seeing you, then you may be pleasantly surprised by the reality that it is quite a peaceful — almost introspective place — to carefully position your towel on the rocks and doze off in the sunlight.
And that is an option, of course: if you are seeking more seclusion, simply follow the path leading right when you first arrive on the island, and you will find dozens of rocky outcrops strewn here and there with sunbathers. On these rocks it is not sunbeds so much as “sun-bean bags” that can be hired for the day, for the cost of 50 kn, which is just as comfy and awesome as it sounds.
But if you’re game to try being a naturalist in a less secluded space (or are game to sunbathe around potential naturalists), then Jerolim Beach itself is beautiful, and sunbeds are for rent here for 60 kn. Bikini optional!
BOKO d.o.o. za ugostiteljstvo i turizam
Lucije Rudan 7, Hvar 21450
Trgovački Sud u Splitu, MBS: 060327248,
član uprave: Ivan Boko,
upisani temeljni kapital uplaćen u cijelosti: 20 000,00HRK
Račun otvoren u Privredna Banka Zagreb d.d.
IBAN: HR 16 2340 0091 1107 1541 6