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I really didn’t know what to expect when we went to Brac in Croatia. I wanted to visit a Croatian island, it was convenient, so off we went. What a great decision it was. Brac is brilliant! And now I am left wondering why I hadn’t heard anything about this gem of a place before.
We caught the ferry to Brac from Split. I imagined a flat little island. Misconception number 1.
Brac is quite mountainous and bigger than we expected especially because of the mountains. The best thing about this was the spectacular views which seemed to follow us everywhere. We had an idyllic few days exploring this island and with the tips below, we hope you do too!
Below you will find what to do in Brac, the best Brac accommodation and how to get to Brac island.
Here is our list of what to do on Brac during your stay. However, take into account the best part about Brac is relaxing with a glass of wine and just taking it all in!
This beach has been declared one of the most beautiful beaches in Europe and it is easy to see why. The stunning location is quite unique. It is a spit of land that stretches into the Hvar Channel with over 600 metres of beach and a pine grove. At the end of the spit, the two sides of the beach come together and it’s a beautiful sight.
It is a pebble beach which initially brought out the Australian beach snobbery in us. This was until we were sitting on the beach taking in the views that were all around us. It really is beautiful! And thankfully the pebbles are small so it didn’t hurt our feet and there is the bonus of no annoying sand to clean off!
The water is crystal blue and we had fun splashing around. It was calm enough that Miss 5 and J were swimming some laps.
We have basically avoided tours on this Europe trip as we worry how the kids will handle it and whether we will just end up stressed and disappointed. This tour, however, worked out very well and yet again we feel like we have underestimated what can work with young kids.
Our tour was booked through our hotel, the Bluesun Hotel Elaphusa. We spent a half day with a great guide, Mario, and the four of us were escorted around Brac to see two of the three things that Brac are best known for – olive oil and stone. We met up with Mario again the next day to see the third thing – more about that below!
We spent the morning visiting a stonemasonry school, a traditional olive oil factory, the original castle on Brac and some absolutely stunning views. More about these places to see in Brac below – attractions 3 – 8 can be visited on this tour.
The tour made things ultra easy and meant that we could enjoy some fabulous food and drink in the olive oil factory. Everywhere can take longer to get to than you might imagine in Brac thanks to the hilly roads and it was great to have someone drive us around, especially as then I could appreciate the views as well instead of worrying about staying on the road!
You can find more information on the tour here.
Brac is famous for its stone and stonemasonry and for good reason. Their work is impressive! Brac stone itself has been used in many famous places including the White House in Washington DC!
The Brac town of Pucisca is home to a specialised stonemason school which was founded in 1909. Students come from across Croatia to do a 3 or a 4 year course to learn how to be stonemasons or stonemason technicians with a great emphasis on manual techniques.
These people are amazing. The work is brilliant and I admire their commitment – I pointed out a piece to a teacher at the school and he explained that it would take several students a few years to do it by hand!
The town which is home to the stonemason school is absolutely stunning – and without many tourists. It is definitely worth taking the time to have a stroll around town and a drink.
In a 17th century building in Skrip is an Olive Oil Museum where you can see an old olive mill and how they used to produce olive oil traditionally.
The equipment is all set up and the knowledgeable owner walked us through what used to happen – it sounded like very hard work! I found it especially interesting to learn about how important and central olive oil was to their lives in this village. They would use it as currency and the oil mill would often be somewhere to hang out!
The kids particularly loved meeting Esther the goat and the dogs here.
The Olive Oil Museum is not just a great place to come to learn about olive oil, but to try Croatian foods and drinks! We had a leisurely morning tea (more like a banquet!) after touring the museum.
We had some great olive oil, bread, dips, jams, cheese, wine, sherry and some other drink that I unfortunately don’t remember the name of. It was fabulous though! They also had some kid friendly snacks and juice for the kids.
After eating and exploring the Olive Oil Museum, it is worth having a little walk through Skrip. This town is over 300 years old and is where people first settled as they were worried about attacks and the town is located in a good position to defend. There is the first castle built on the island as well as great views.
Vidova Gora, at 778 metres, is the highest peak on Brac and actually on all of the Adriatic islands. It gives great views down to Bol and Zlatni Rat Beach as well as beyond to other islands.
The third thing that Brac is known for is wine. We were happy to learn more about this as well!
Stina Winery, in the middle of the waterfront at Bol, was formed as a cooperative from the grape growers of Brac in 1903 for producing wine from their grapes to get a better return on their crops. You can visit where the wine is made and, better yet, the cellar door wine shop. We had another tour with Mario, who took us around the factory. It’s pretty small – most of it is vats and barrels of aging wine – and the tours are interesting but short. The winery itself has regular tours run by their staff if you want to see it but don’t want to book a tour through someone else.
Most of the action is at the cellar door where there are tastings of some very good wine. You can buy wine by the glass or bottle or have a small taste if you’re trying to find the right wine for you. There’s also some great tasting platters on offer, or just some bread and oil to help clear the palate. I’m no expert but I preferred the whites, especially the Posip, but best of all is the desert wine – Prosek – which is a bit like an Australian muscat – that is to say really delicious.
Hotels guests at the Bluesun Hotel Elaphusa can get 10% off wine purchases.
This beautiful little town near Zlatni Rat Beach is a beautiful spot and worth a visit as well. There are cute shops, restaurants and churches and the waterfront itself is quite scenic.
The main thing to do in Bol is to walk along the promenade to Zlatni Rat Beach. This promenade is just awesome. It winds along the coastline between Bol and Zlatni Rat Beach, is nice and wide, shaded with pine trees and super easy with prams.
There are some little park bits along the way, stone sculptures, lots of park benches and plenty of places to take a dip. There are also souvenir stalls and plenty of places to eat or have a sunset drink, especially by the Bluesun hotels.
If you have kids, there is also a great play area with trampolines, inflatable equipment and little ride on cars.
It’s a great place to chill for a moment, enjoy where you are or people watch.
This pretty little town is located on the northern side of the island where the ferries come in from Split. It is worth sticking around after arrival to have a walk around, perhaps a dip at the beach and a meal. That is what we did!
There is a cute marina, many shops, restaurants, bars as well as water activities.
I was surprised how popular cycling is on Brac since it is such a mountainous island and the temperature was in the thirties when we visited. It is not for me but there are many places to hire bikes and many people riding around the island.
There are many many boat tours from Brac. There are the ferries to other islands – so you could day trip to Hvar, Split or somewhere else – as well as boat tours to these places or just cruises around Brac or to other parts of the island.
The sea is one of the best places to really take in the beauty of Croatia’s Dalmatian coast. It had me spellbound on our ferry trip here.
We found these in Supetar and Bol (by Zlatni Rat Beach and Bol promenade) and we are big fans!
I grew up watching a show on TV called It’s a knockout where they would have races on things like this and I so wanted to go one! Needless to say, they are much harder than they look, but lots of fun! This is definitely just one for older kids and adults though.
This item might be listed last but it is definitely one of my favourite things to do on Brac island. I have never felt so relaxed! Is there a better way to enjoy a a holiday than in a day spa?
Thalasso Wellness is a massive wellness centre located in the Bluesun Hotel Elaphusa. It covers 4,000m2 with treatment rooms, saunas, a water world and relaxation zone. I have never been so impressed by a day spa.
I had a Madagaskar massage which I have never heard of but was probably the most relaxing massage I have had. I followed it up with entry into the “wellness and spa oasis” area.
I have never experienced anything like this – it is a collection of saunas, small pools and a relaxation area. There is a recommended order and time for each but you can do whatever you like and I had fun working out what felt best – it turns out hot saunas and ice cold pools really do work well together! And ceramic beds are actually the most comfortable I have ever laid on.
This place was just the perfect antidote to my travel weary body. I felt run down and and like I was coming down with a cold when I walked in. I walked out feeling totally relaxed with my cold gone.
You can find more information here. Currently a three hour pass to the wellness and spa oasis is only 90 kuna which is a steal! You don’t need to be a hotel guest to access this great centre, but you will save 10% if you are.
Brac is honestly the perfect destination for a family holiday. Brac attractions are low key, mostly outdoors and work well with kids. Which kid doesn’t like having a swim or throwing rocks in the ocean?
They also loved doing other things as well. The stonemason school in particular captured S’s imagination. The whole half day tour actually worked surprisingly well especially as our guide interacted very well with the kids.
We stayed at the Bluesun Hotel Elpahusa which is just perfect. It is located between Bol and Zlatni Rat Beach which means it is a quick walk between either. It has great rooms and good eating options – we went the full board option which made things ultra easy.
There are a crazy amount of facilities – a great pool with kids’ pool, gym, Thalasso Wellness, kids mini club, activities, night club, kids’ mini disco, bars, restaurants – even an indoor bowling alley! It was the perfect place for us to relax and soak up the island when we weren’t sightseeing.
My favourite part though – the fact that I could see Zlatni Rat Beach from our balcony. Read our full review here.
It is super easy to get to Brac. There are flights as well as many ferry connections
We took a car ferry from Split with our car which runs often and only took about 45 minutes.
I had been worried about getting a ferry after reading many disastrous reviews about the system not working very well on the internet. We had no problems in mid September however.
We bought our tickets the day before in Split from Jadrolinija. You can also buy them on their site. Keep in mind that you can’t buy tickets for a certain crossing, just the day. They recommended turning up an hour beforehand which worked well. There were cars that turned up only ten minutes early for our crossing and still got on. However, the ferry was full, so I wouldn’t recommend this.
Our ferry arrived at Supetar. It was then about a 45 minutes drive across to Bol on the opposite side of the island.
It cost 242.50 kuna for the 4 of us and our car.
Since we were heading south after our stay in Bol, it made more sense to catch a ferry from the southern end of Brac (Sumartin) to Makarska. Jadrolinija runs this route too.
Sumartin is just a small (but picturesque village). We were concerned when we arrived an hour and a half early to find out the ferry only takes 25 cars and does not run often. Thankfully, we got on the next ferry but there were already many cars waiting when we got there. The advice of one hour beforehand was still valid but if these things make you nervous, like me, then I’d suggest a bit earlier.
This ferry was not as big as the one from Split and involved either reversing on or off which was slightly stressful for someone who doesn’t reverse very well at all! It all went well though and it was quite interesting watching them load the boat.
It cost 242.50 kuna for the 4 of us and our car.
We had a fabulous time on Brac. I wanted the Croatian island experience and I don’t think I could have had a better one!
The island is nice and cruisey and a great place to spend a few days or a week if you are lucky enough to have the time. There are some nice attractions to visit but not so many that you run out of time to relax and enjoy. In fact, I recommend taking the half day tour so you can see a lot and learn more about the island quickly so there is more time to do the relaxing and enjoying 😀
Brac is a nice central location as well so it would make for a great base to explore more of Croatia on day trips. Everywhere is pretty and scenic.
Is a Croatian island on your bucket list?