Croatia includes 1,185 islands off the mainland. Reading through the Lonely Planet guidebook, each one sounds
deserving of at least a week’s worth of exploration. We had a really hard time narrowing down our itinerary.
Our first stop was Bol, on Brac
Island, home of the famous Zlatni
Rat beach. Soon after finding a room
to rent, we headed straight for this
beach. It is unique for a couple of
reasons, first being its shape. It is
really like a narrow peninsula jutting
straight out into the Adriatic Sea,
surrounded by water on three sides.
The shape of the beach changes
from season to season, based upon
the direction of the wind and waves
as they carve away at the coast.
Second, the beach is made up of
small, smooth white stones. When
we first spread out our towels and
plopped down we were not huge
fans of this. Needless to say, it is
hard to get comfortable on a bed of
rocks. However, I feel obliged to
point out a few of the positives that
we came to appreciate. First, stones
do not stick to you. Therefore, you
do not find sand in your shoes, bag,
and swimsuit after leaving the
beach. Second, when a small child
runs past your towel, you don’t get a
face full of sand. That’s definitely a
positive in my book. And last, there is
no need to shake out your towel at
the end of the day, knowing that no
matter how careful you are,
someone downwind is going to be
covered in a fine mist of the sand
once contained in your towel. The
last benefit of a beach made up of
small, smooth stones is the
opportunity to return to your youth.
Jarrod and I spent a good portion of
our first afternoon on Zlatni Rat
Beach recalling the skill of skipping
stones. I’m embarrassed to share
(but I will) that the next day our
throwing arm shoulder muscles were
a little bit sore. I guess we had not
used our stone skipping muscles in
quite a few years.
Bol's Zlatni Rat Beach on Brac Island
Jarrod and Erin relaxing on Zlatni Rat Beach
Luckily, the rain did not follow us from the other side of the island and we were able to enjoy Zlatni Rat beach and
the village of Bol for three days. There are roughly 1,000 people who live in Bol and I’m pretty sure we saw 90% of
them. By our last day, Jarrod and I were describing residents to each other by what color moped they
drove or the restaurant where they
worked. There is just not that much
going on in Bol! This freaked us out a
little bit at first, as we were coming
from Prague and Budapest which
have millions of people and millions of
things to do. It took a day or two to
switch gears and unwind. But once
we did, we really enjoyed Bol’s
atmosphere.  If you have seen the
ads from Croatia’s tourism board, you
know their tagline is “the
Mediterranean as it used to be”. We
think that is right on for Bol. Beautiful
beaches, pristine water, warm
sunshine, fields of vineyards and
olive trees and gracious locals.  

After our third day we caught the
ferry to Hvar Island. Hvar Town, one
of the villages on the island, was
recommended to us by a friend we
made on our Sahara Expedition. It is
Bol's picturesque harbor and "downtown".
an incredibly sunny and green island. Our
guidebook even says that hotels give a
discount on cloudy days! Hvar Town boasts
a pretty happening “city center” with lots of
cafes and shops along a promenade lined
with palm trees. The harbor is set right in
the middle, complete with small, colorful
wooden boats, luxurious yachts, and beat-
up working class fishing boats. A day could
be easily spent poking around the stores,
admiring the beautiful bell towers of the
churches, and climbing up to the Fortress
Spanjol which overlooks the city and the
surrounding islands.
We took a water taxi to one of the
uninhabited naturalist islands surrounding
Hvar Town called Jerolim. In the height of
tourist season, this island sees up to 1,000
people a day. The driver of our water taxi,
the only transportation available to the
Aerial view of Hvar Town from Fortress Spanjol
the island, informed us that Jarrod and I would be two of only four people on the island that day. It is probably as
close to being on a deserted island as we will ever come. At least I hope so.

We stepped off the boat with an apprehensive smile at the driver who vowed to return five hours later at 4pm to
pick us up. If he didn’t, it would be a long swim back or a long night on the island. We cut to the back side of the
island in search of a beach area. After staking out our territory (who knows where and when those two other
pesky visitors to the island might turn up) we decided to walk around the perimeter of the island. We picked our
way over and around the rocky coastline until I heard Jarrod, who was in front of me, suddenly inhale sharply and
freeze. He had turned a corner and come face to face with a pack of scruffy looking mountain goats. Or island
goats, since there were no mountains to speak of on this island. As we stood frozen in our tracks, the mountain
goats must have put out a silent war cry to their peeps inland. Their numbers began increasing steadily. Suddenly
we were looking at a small herd of these rangy looking animals. I can’t imagine what they have been eating lately
on this rock-covered island (it had been almost a full year since the last tourist season), and I had no intention of
becoming their next meal. We slowly and surely backed away and hightailed it back to our safe beach area. For
the remainder of the day we kept one eye blissfully closed and one eye on the far edge of the island to make sure
they were not staging an attack.

Despite our encounter with the island’s wildlife (we like to refer to them as “the Others”) we spent an extremely
relaxing day by ourselves, reading, staring at the turquoise waters, and watching the occasional sailboat pass by.
We were at the same time relieved and sad to hear our water taxi pull up at 4pm, as our day on our almost
private island came to a close.
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Island Hopping in Croatia
Hvar Town Harbor