Brac Island, Croatia, is the perfect Goldilocks vacation place.
It’s not too big or too small. It’s not too touristy. There is adventure and nature. Small towns and good restaurants. Goldilocks would love it here because it’s “just right” – and so did we.
So, when planning a trip to Croatia, save time for this island.
There are more than enough things to do on Brac Island to keep you content for a week!
We spent five days in Brac (after leaving Hvar and before visiting Split) – and we could have happily enjoyed more time on the island.
But no matter how many days of your Croatia itinerary are spent on Brac, you’ll be happy you went.
Where is Brac Island, Croatia?
Brac is an island off Croatia’s Dalmatian Coast in the Adriatic Sea. It’s smack in between the famous mainland town of Split and the sexy island of Hvar.
Yet while it’s Croatia’s third largest island, it barely sees the level of tourism of either. Which is a good reason to visit, in and of itself.
But with so many Brac attractions, there are at least 15 more reasons (which we get into below).
Is Brac worth visiting?
You bet your sweet bippy it is!
Most people are lured to Brac Island by Zlatni Rat, one of the most famous beaches in Croatia.
But Brac is so much more.
It’s a very authentic island with medieval villages like Bol to wander through and adventures galore.
And goats – 5,000 of them. And olive trees and vineyards.
And beautiful white stone for sculptures and buildings! (The stone used to build Diocletian’s Palace in Split way back in Roman times was mostly excavated on Brac.)
Fun fact: The amount of stone cleared from the island’s fields is more than seven times the amount used to build the Great Wall of China!
Anyway, there are many great Brac activities that make the island worth visiting.
Day trip from Split to Brac
Brac is just a quick hop from Split via a 60-minute ferry ride, so one day in Brac is feasible.
A great way to visit Brac on a day trip from Split is on a guided tour.
Check out this two-island boat tour that will have you swimming in secluded coves on both Brac and Solta and exploring a picturesque fishing village.
Lunch and an open bar with local Croatian wine and beer is included.
Or jump on a ferry transfer from Split to Bol and spend the day adventuring on your own.
Best things to do on Brac Island
Okay, let’s unwrap the best of Brac now!
1) Visit the Olive Oil Museum
Spend a few hours up in the hills in Skrip, the oldest settlement on the island.
Not only is it picturesque with its 16th-century castle, but there’s also a family-owned Olive Oil Museum, located in an olive mill dating back to 1864.
The museum showcases the old press for making olive paste, as well as other tools used in the ancient process.
Back in the day, they used the family donkeys to carry all the olives to the mill to be processed. But now, the process is a little more modern.
Even still, every fall, the family’s 2,000 olive trees are hand harvested.
We learned about the entire process, from tree to oil.
And since it’s still a working olive oil factory, we tasted a few different oils and their black olive liqueur. Oddly enough, the olive liqueur tastes a little like coffee liqueur.
2) Ogle the views from Vidova Gora
Go for the cooler air and stay for the views.
At 2,559 feet above sea level, the top of Vidova Gora is the highest point on the island.
Because it’s more grassy and less stony, herders bring their sheep here to graze.
And those views of Hvar Island in the distance and Zlatni Rat below? Mesmerizing.
You can drive to the top of Vidova Gora. Or if you love to hike, you can go on a 6-hour guided hike from Dol to Vidova Gora.
Alternatively, you can bicycle down from the top of Vidova Gora to the seaside on a guided bicycle tour. On the way, you’ll stop in Skrip and visit the Olive Oil Museum (#1) and the ancient stone village of Splitska.
3) Spend the day at Zlatni Rat Beach
Zlatni Rat (Golden Cape or Golden Horn) is the beach on Brac. And possibly one of the most beautiful beaches in Croatia – which says a lot.
It’s easy to understand why.
This V-shaped pebble beach juts out into the most transparent turquoise water, which leads to the deepest sapphire blue ocean. So many blues!
Rent a sunbed and chill. Or try stand-up paddle boarding. Do that in the morning, though. As the day wears on, it gets windier.
Also, one side is windier than the other, so do a test drive first to find your perfect spot for the day.
Spending time at Zlatni Rat is one of the top things to do in Brac.
4) Walk the promenade from Bol to Zlatni Rat Beach
There are a few lovely ways to get to Zlatni Rat Beach from the town of Bol.
First, there’s a tourist train. It looks like a toy train and is quite fun to ride.
And there’s a water taxi that costs just a few dollars. It feels so movie-star-ish to pull up to a beach in a boat.
Or you can stroll along the wide seaside promenade under the shade of hundreds of pine trees. It only takes about 20 to 30 minutes.
The ocean views along the promenade are splendid, and the many life-size stone sculptures along the way (made from Brac stone) are interesting to look at.
5) See amazing stone sculptures at Jaksic Gallery
If you want to buy unique souvenirs, head to Donji Humac, one of the oldest settlements on Brac, known for its traditional stone masonry.
We popped into the Jaksic Gallery. It’s run by a family of artists who use the stone in different ways in their work.
The mother is a fashion designer turned jewelry maker. Her son is a sculptor. And her daughter uses the stone as a canvas for her paintings.
You’ll discover everything from wearable works of art to small stone flowers that would make the perfect gift, even if it is for yourself.
You’ll need to rent a car, or better yet, take a tour (see #6) to get here.
6) Do a jeep tour of the island
One of our favorite things to do in Brac was this all-day island jeep tour with Explore Brac.
We hopped in a 4-wheel drive Land Rover and drove through the untouched countryside. Imagine rugged rolling hills blanketed with shrubby pine forests and olive groves.
The first stop was the Olive Oil Museum in Skrip (see #1).
Then we went to Nerexiscs, a tiny town known for its minuscule church with a black pine growing through its stone roof. Which is somewhat of a miracle in itself.
Next stop was Vidova Gora (see #2)
But the real highlight of the day was our time spent swimming and lunching in a secluded, centuries-old house in Smrka Bay.
We floated in the pristine water while waiting for our lunch, which was soon served at a shaded rustic table overlooking the azure sea.
We started by tasting different liqueurs – walnut, almond, carob and cherry.
An appetizer plate of fresh-baked flatbread with cheese from the local sheep was then served, along with a charcuterie plate. That was followed by lamb and fish grilled on the barbecue, accompanied by fresh organic salads and wine.
After our three idyllic and lazy hours of swimming and lunching, off we went to the Jaksic Gallery (see #5) before returning to our hotel.
If there weren’t so many places to visit in Brac, we would have been happy spending the entire day swimming and dining in that sublime setting.
However, if you want to see a lot of this Croatian island in one day, this jeep tour is the best way to do it. Indeed, we think it’s something you must do in Brac!
7) Hike to the Blaca Hermitage
During the 16th century, when the Turks invaded the Dalmatian Coast, two Glagolitic monks from Poljica fled to the island of Brac. They found shelter in a cave up in the hills.
After establishing a monastic community, they were finally given permission in 1570 by the bishop to build a monastery (hermitage) and church on the surrounding land.
And so it began.
Although housing only three monks, 30 workers also lived here at one time.
Besides building the awe-inspiring monastery, they planted immense olive groves and vineyards on the sheer cliff face, eventually producing 13,200 gallons of wine per year.
They also cultivated more than 6,600 pounds of honey annually.
From all their liquid gold, the monks became very wealthy.
They traded their bounty for anything they desired, including 8,000 books in five languages.
Also, fine walnut furniture, an 880-pound piano and a star-gazing telescope were acquired from Europe in trade for a year’s worth of produce from their farm.
For 400 years, the monastery was used as a farm, a school and an astronomical observatory.
The last monk lived there up until the 1960s.
Currently, one lone caretaker gives tours to anyone who makes the trek to the hermitage.
You can only reach the Blaca Monastery on foot.
We took a boat-and-hermitage-hiking tour with Frane to get here – and loved every moment.
The wooden boat took us from Bol to a small cove (Uvala Krusica) on the southwest coast of Brac.
There we first entered an old Yugoslavian submarine tunnel.
Then we tied up to a tree, and hiked to the monastery on the same path the monks did for centuries. It’s a 45-minute hike up the stony path and worth every second.
Blaca Hermitage is one of the most jaw-dropping historical sites, and its history and ability to thrive and persevere are remarkable.
8) Taste wines at Stina winery
It’s been a busy trip. And you’re thirsty. We think you should taste some local wine!
There’s nowhere better than Stina Winery. And wine tasting is another one of the best things to do in Brac.
Tour the grounds and cellars while tasting their most popular wines. Their waterfront location makes it that much more appealing.
Stina has about 78 hectares of vineyards throughout the island, producing about 359,000 bottles a year.
They make delightful Posip (white wine) and Plavac Mali (red) grape varietals. But their signature wine is Plavac Mali Masterpiece, a red Zinfandel derivative.
And since you’re so thirsty, who could blame you if you grabbed a seaside table outside with an Adriatic view, settled in with a bottle and watched the sky turn from blue to pink to midnight under the glow of the moon.
9) Watch the windsurfers
The walk from Bol to Zlatni Rat is peppered with beaches along the way.
Rent a lounge chair, or pop into a cute café and watch the windsurfers who flock to these beaches when the wind picks up in the afternoon.
The way they zip along the water at high speed is one of the most fun things to see in Brac!
Or, if you’re feeling adventurous and want to join in the water activities, take a lesson from one of the pros.
Or rent a SUP board in the morning when it’s calm. Much easier.
10) Eat Croatian food
For its size, you wouldn’t expect there to be so many good restaurants on Brac.
And you know we love good food! It’s half the reason we travel.
These are our four favorite Brac restaurants:
Mali Raj, which means little paradise, is all about the setting. And it is indeed a little paradise (near Zlatni Rat). The lush garden is reason enough to go here.
The menu, albeit expensive, features traditional Dalmatian cuisine.
We couldn’t stay away and went back twice.
This local restaurant just outside the center of Bol is a great spot for tasting the spit-roasted lamb the island is known for. You need to call ahead and pre-order it (+385-21-635-635). It’s that good.
Head to Taverna Riva for a lovely night on the Bol waterfront. Get a seat on the terrace and treat yourself to some lobster.
11) Swim near a Dominican Monastery
Just a 10-minute walk from Bol, you’ll find a Dominican Monastery flanked by two pebble beaches.
Each beach has a small restaurant, and there’s lots of shade, so you can really disconnect and stay a while.
The monastery was founded in 1475, but the neighboring chapel was built around the 9th century on top of 6th-century ruins.
So yeah, there’s some history here as well.
12) Rent a car for the day
If you’re more of an adventurer and prefer to drive yourself to all the places on this list, it’s very doable.
There are a lot of beautiful beaches in Brac and renting a car means you can go beach hopping, or village hopping. Or both.
Check out the lovely town of Pucisca and Lovrecina Beach cove on the north of the island. But make sure that the road down to the beach is drivable. It’s quite steep and narrow.
13) Visit the village of Milna
By now, you shouldn’t be wondering what to do in Brac anymore. But another little excursion you could make is to Milna.
There isn’t a lot here, but it’s a sweet little fishing village with a picturesque harbor.
It’s less touristy than Bol and, therefore, super authentic. Perhaps pop over for a swim and a seaside fish lunch.
14) Admire the art at the Branislav Deskovic Gallery
Right in the center of the Bol seafront is a Renaissance-Baroque palace-turned-gallery. The gallery showcases 20th-century Croatian artists and sculptors born in or inspired by Bol.
It was named after a famous Brac-born sculptor Branislav Deskovic.
Look for the huge dog statue by the entrance. You can’t miss it.
15) Sip Aperol spritzes by the Bol Marina
The sun is setting. Head to the marina to people-and-yacht watch as you sip refreshing Aperol Spritzes.
Several bars and cafés here have the perfect view of the Adriatic.
Practical information for visiting Brac, Croatia
How to get to Brac
Getting to Brac from some other Croatian islands is a bit awkward. (We wanted to go to Bol from Hvar Town on Hvar. But the scheduled ferry was canceled for the season.)
So the best way to get to Brac – if you want to go directly to Bol – is to take the ferry from Split on the mainland.
Jadrolinija is the main ferry company in Croatia and runs between Bol and Split.
Other companies that offer passenger-only ferries from Split to Bol include:
- Kapetan Luka
- Adriatic Fast Ferries (aka Split Express)
- TP Line (though it may stop at Hvar first; check the schedule)
Be sure to make reservations in high season.
Getting around Brac Island
You don’t need a car on Brac if you stay in Bol. It’s very walkable.
And you can take tours to explore the rest of the island, like we did.
Where to stay in Bol, Brac Island
There are so many things to do in Bol (and nearby), there’s no reason to stay anywhere else.
The other main town, Supetar, is pretty commercial (read = less attractive) and not as walkable.
Plus, Bol is a magical medieval village and isn’t that the vibe you’re looking for in Croatia?
We stayed at the 5-star Villa Giardino Bol, a lovely 3-story stone villa-turned-boutique hotel. It’s the best small hotel in Bol.
The pics on their website pale in comparison to the real thing. Trust us. We wouldn’t steer you wrong.
Our superior room was lovely, with plush towels monogrammed with a gold “G” and argan oil bath toiletries.
The bath/shower combo was a bit awkward, with the faucet in the middle of the tub, but that must be a European thing.
Start your day with a hot or cold breakfast (which includes a selection of fresh-baked Croatian cakes and desserts) on their flower-pot-filled terrace.
And end your day at the Stina Winery (see #8) just a five-minute walk away.
That’s it for our Brac travel guide!
See! We told you! There are a lot of fascinating things to do on Brac.
The captivating museums, the quaint fishing villages, the authentic vibes of the island, and, oh, those beaches! We know you’ll fall in love with it as we did.
Just writing this makes us dream of going back. Even if it would be our fourth time in Croatia…
Save this Brac activity guide for later on Pinterest!
Photo credits: All photos © Janice and George Mucalov, SandInMySuitcase (except 1, 3, 5, 9, 12, 31, 35, 36, 39, 40)