Things To Do In Bol: Brac Island Croatia

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Things To Do In Bol: Brac Island Croatia

Travel to Croatia, and head to Bol. It’s the bewitching port town in Brač Croatia. Brač Island sits on the Dalmatian Coast, Croatia, easily reached by ferry from Split or Makarska in Dalmatia.  This guide of top picks for things to do in Bol will help you plan that annual family holiday, romantic getaway or that once-in-a-lifetime trip with friends. We’ve selected places with authentic Croatian food, the best local experiences and tips for the beach and must-see cultural attractions. Ready to start your Dalmatian island getaway?

1. Zlatni Rat Beach

Croatian holidays must include at least one beach trip – and I think of all of the things to do in Bol – the prettiest beach in Croatia is Zlatni Rat Beach.  Long, golden, and covered in pebbles, this beach protrudes over 500 meters out into the Adriatic Sea in a v-shape, surrounded by deep blue and turquoise water. The shape of the beach changes with the wind and water current, which makes it one of the unique in Croatia.

Check out our advice on how to get to and get the most out of  Zlatni Rat Croatia.

2. Try The Local Wines Of Bol

A day at the beach can make you very thirsty, so we suggest a visit to Stina Winery, situated on the main promenade. The Stina Wine Project began in 2009 when local winery Jako Vino leased a cellar from the Agricultural Cooperative of Bol and began purchasing grapes from the local vineyards. The newly formed winery is a blend of new and old traditions that serve up some of Croatia’s finest wine.

Things to do in Bol Croatia -Stina Winery - Chasing the Donkey
Things to do in Brac Croatia. Visit the Stina Winery in Bol

3. Step Back In Time At Blaca Monastery

In the early 16th century, two Glagolitic monks fled the Turks and were offered protection and shelter in a cave in Bol. After receiving the certificate of ownership, these founding monks built a church surrounding the cave, and the jaw-dropping Blaca Monastery was born.

Now a museum, the monastery has dozens of eye-opening artifacts, including 8,000 books, many written in Glagolitic script. Be sure to opt for the guided tour, and you’ll be shown many exhibits, among which are paintings, armor, a 400-kilo piano, and a telescope. All of these were acquired using payment in the form of wine, olive oil and honey from the monastery’s farm, shipped to Blaca via boats from Italy and Vienna, and carried up the mountainside by workers.

Things to do in Bol Blaca- Travel Croatia like a local
Things to do in Bol – Blaca

4. Get Caught Up In The Mystery Of The Dragons Cave

Known as Zmajeva Spilja to the locals, Dragon’s Cave is one of four monasteries in Bol, and there are some theories about its age and original purpose. Our guide told us that many believe the cave dates back as far as the 4th century, but most claim it to be from the 15th century.

Choose between these disputing theories during your visit to Dragon’s Cave – tours start in town and requires a 1.5+-hour hike up some fairly steep terrain overlooking views out to the sea. Not for the faint-hearted or unfit, but undoubtedly suitable for those interested in ancient Slavic history and conspiracy theories. Carefully examine the carvings to your left and see if you can spot where one theory suggests the original carving was changed hundreds of years later. Travel to Croatia like the Bender family and when you do, tell us what you think about the climb to Dragons Cave.

5. Eat Croatian Cuisine

Visit Croatia, and you’ll enjoy many eating opportunities – especially if you are Island Hopping in Croatia. As silly as it may sound, you absolutely have to try Croatian food. But where?  There are so many choices of places to eat in Brac. In Bol you can eat like a local in many places, these three will be sure to serve you the best of Croatia.

Vagabundo Restaurant & Bar | Serving up exceptional Croatian dishes with a modern twist. Vagabundo has an extensive wine list, a great children’s menu, and incredible views. We could not agree on what the standout dish is – just try them all. Bonus. Vagabundo offers free wi-fi| website

Konoba Vallum. Traditional Mediterranean food served in a cozy and inviting Konoba. We especially enjoyed the fish soup | Visit: Bracka Cesta 13

Terasa Santo. A family run restaurant with a spectacular view of the port. Don’t pass up the fish platter for two |website  

Things to do in Bol Where to eat in Bol
Things to do in Bol Croatia- eat of course!

6. Go Back To School

The art of lapidary, a centuries-old tradition, is kept alive in Bol at the Sculpting Academy in Pučišća. It is here where students learn how to take enormous slices of Brač stone and transform them into decorative pieces. Amazingly, it’s the only stone masonry school in Europe and best of all you can check it out while school is in session and watch how the stone comes alive.

Fun Fact: The Roman Emperor Diocletian had a palace built in Split made from Brač stone. The stone was quarried by Roman slaves over many years. You can find out where else Brač stone is said to have been used by checking out these facts about Croatia.

7. Spot The Sculptures

With the stone masonry school on this part of the Dalmatian Coast, it comes as no surprise that the town is covered with sophisticated works chiseled from Brač stone, including many sculptures that are dotted around the picturesque town. See how many you can spot along your travels.

Things to do Bol - Travel Croatia like a local
Visit Croatia, and go sculpture scouting

8. Wander Along The Promenade

Stroll along the Bol Promenade, which takes you along the seashore from the town of Bol all the way to Zlatni Rat Beach. The route is lined with Brač stone and shaded with large overhanging pine trees. I’d suggest wandering along with ice-cream in hand on your first day to pick out your favorite beach spots.

 

9. Get A Brač Stone Souvenir

Clocks, mortar, and pestles, candlestick holders and magnets are just a few Brač stone souvenirs cut, sanded, polished, and waiting to be taken home with you. One of the best places to pick up a souvenir is at one of the several kiosks along the beach promenade.

Things to do on Bol | Travel Croatia like a local

 

10. Sip Coffee At The Bol Marina

Simple, but mandatory. The port is small and has more than a handful of places to drink Croatia’s finest brew. See if you can spot the 15th-century palace with Gothic windows.

Things to do in Bol - Chasing the Donkey Croatia
Things to do in Bol Croatia – The Marina

11. Head Up High To Vidova Gora

The highest peak on the Dalmatian Coast is Vidova Gora on the island of Brač. Drive up to the top, and you’ll be rewarded with panoramic views of the town of Bol, Zlatni Rat beach and out to the brilliant blue sea.

12. Take A Day Trip From Bol

Hvar, Makarska, Split and many other places are all accessible as day trips from Brač Island Croatia. Popular tours include lunch, drinks, and transport, meaning all your have to do is sit back and enjoy the sites. A tour of Croatia would be incomplete without visiting one of the Croatian Islands – so why not make it to more than one?

Zlatni Rat from up high - Chasing the Donkey
Vidova Gora – Photo Credit – On the go

13. Explore The Other Side Of Brač Island Croatia

Though not quite as charming as Bol, Supertar makes a fun day trip to the other side of the island, 45 minutes away by road. Head to the marina, take a stroll around the town and catch a glimpse of the 18th century Church of the Annunciation to see partial remains of 6th-century mosaic work.

14. Get Out On The Water

You can windsurf, dive or try your hand at stand-up paddleboarding (SUP) in many of the Croatian Islands – but,  Bol has special powers along this stretch of the Dalmatian Coast. The Maestral Winds that blow along the southern part of Brač Island make for perfect conditions for those looking for wind and surf sports.

Both experienced windsurfers or those looking to start should check out the team at Zoo-Station (thanks for the photos guys) for equipment hire and windsurfing classes in Bol. For kayaking and SUP hire, reach out to Big Blue Sports who have equipment for hire at an easy to find location.

Windsurfing is just one of the many fun things for kids to do in Croatia that we recommend.

things to do Bol - Zoo Station - Travel Croatia Like a Local
Island of Brac Croatia – WindSurf like a boss!

15. Rent A Bike In Bol

With an abundance of things to do in such scenic surroundings, you should get on two wheels. A detailed bike map of Bol can be printed off or pick up a copy at the tourist office. If you want to arrange bike hire for your Croatia family holidays – there are many places on this Croatian Island to do that, ask your hotel about the closest place to rent a bike in Bol.

16. Get Pampered At The Spa In Bol

Make a booking at one of the largest and best wellness centers in Croatia. A welcoming team of masseurs & beauty therapists awaits to pamper you at the Thalasso Wellness Centre.

Stretching out in 4,000 m2 of glorious relaxation space, the spa at Elaphusa is one of the largest wellness centers along the Adriatic. I can recommend you book one (or all!) of their unique olive oil treatments. I had both the olive oil facial and the full-body massages in this luxurious spa. Both left me feeling hydrated and wishing I had more time.

Bluesun things to do in Bol Elaphusa Spa - Travel Croatia like a local
Things to do in Bol – Thalasso Spa

 

17. Visit The Churches Of Bol

There are several churches for you to admire in Bol. The most famous is the Gothic-Renaissance church, Our Lady of Grace from the 15th century (currently under renovation as at June 2014). Standing at the altar is a renaissance painting of Madonna and Child with Saints, painted by famed Jacopo Tintoretto. The altarpiece was restored in 2003 at the Croatian Conservation Institute, and I was fortunate enough to see the painting in an exclusive private viewing earlier this year. Once open again to the public, I would encourage you to visit to appreciate this intricate portrait close-up.

18. Visit The Local Market In Bol

Scout out the place known as the ‘Kings Stairs’ and you’ll find the heart of the city, where fruit and vegetables can be purchased. Locals are here daily with the season’s best offerings. The Kings Stairs where the markets are were built in honor of Emperor Francis Joseph in 1875.

19. Marvel At The Branislav DešKović Gallery

The Branislav Dešković Gallery is complete with over 380 exhibits collected over 50 years from artists born in or inspired by Bol. The gallery is positioned in the port of Bol, in a 17th-century renaissance-baroque palace. Named after the first Impressionist sculptor in Croatia, Dešković of which there are a number of his sculptures on display. You can’t miss the gallery if you look out for the huge dog statue by the entrance.

As the trees rustle, and the waves lap against the shore, don’t forget to take the time to daydream while in Bol.

Is Brac Island Family-Friendly?

The Island of Brac and Bol, in particular, are excellent for families. With safe beaches and a friendly and welcoming attitude for your wee ones. Deciding if a Croatia holiday is the right choice for your family can be made easier with this useful guide to Croatia for families. Hint: we think that Croatia family holidays are perfect for kids of all ages, even teenagers – yes, we said teens!

So, after you tour Croatia – well okay, Bol you’ll need a place to rest you head. Where shall you sleep?

Accommodation In Brac

Now that you know of just some of the things to do in Bol, you’ll need to know where to stay in Brac. Because Brac Island is so much more than just Bol, there are several places you can find beach accommodation, luxury accommodation, or perhaps you need budget accommodation. Croatia vacation rentals are also available on Brac Island – you just need to your Brac accommodation book in advance to get a good deal and nab the best-of-the-bunch.

Croatian villas can vary in price, from ones with many zeros at the end, to a bunch that are very budget friendly. The Brac villas on offer are booked well in advance, but there is an abundance of them.

Accommodation In Bol

Enjoy 4-star luxury accommodation at the Bluesun Hotel Elaphusa; it’s where we enjoyed views to Zlatni Rat and one of the other Croatian Island hotspots – Hvar. Family-friendly Croatia resorts come no better than Hotel Elaphusa. It is a 10-minute leisurely stroll to Zlatni Rat along the shaded promenade and provides exceptional service. It has our tick of approval.

Bluesun Hotel Elaphusa

Beachside accommodation in Bol

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What to do on Brac. Elaphusa | Croatia Travel Blog
What to do on Brac. Stay at Bluesun Elaphusa

More Bol Accommodation Options

Beach accommodation right by Zlatni Rat Beach costs a little more, so think about booking vacation rentals just a few streets back to save some money (and avoid the late-night noise).

We’ve selected a range of accommodations in Bol to get your search started:

There is also one hostel, Hostel White House Bol.

Whatever you choose, just compare accommodation using a map of Croatia as some the cheapest accommodation like Hotel Amor is in Supetar, which is a 45-minute drive across to Bol.  

Getting To Brač Island On The Dalmatian Coast

Bol is situated in the southern part of Brač Croatia, and there are a few ways to get to Island. After all, Croatia Island hopping is a part if the experience while visiting Croatia.

Fly. A German airline,  Express Airways announced the opening of three new direct routes connecting Germany and Sweden with Brač Island, Croatia. Flights start May 2015.

Ferry:  There are regular ferry connections from many places, including Split. Look for ferry connections to Supetar, which is on the opposite side of Bol, and then you can drive or catch a taxi or bus and arrive in Bol 40minutes later. Or look for the catamaran connections to Bol.

To find out more about Bol Croatia, visit the Tourist Board website,  and if you still need convincing see what Landlopers had to say about Bol.

With so many things to do in Bol, which will you try first?

In Partnership With Bluesun Hotels

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This post is part of a series For Bluesun Hotels. All transport, accommodation, meals, and guides were provided by the Bluesun, but all opinions are mine. All recommendations are given wholeheartedly and without bias.

 
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Comments (58)

  1. Hi Sarah-Jane.
    On our first day in Bol we discovered this web page sitting on Zlatni Rat beach. For sure we will check out the other 18 recommandations, as this was the first in your list.
    Greetings from Belgium

  2. The town of Pucisca on the island of Brac is a gem and famous for the famous Brac stone used to build the many beautiful stone buildings around Croatia. The neighbouring town of Milna is also stunning. Brac is ghe best island in Croatia for beautiful old small towns. Everyone should try and visit them and will be easier when the airport opens there shortly

  3. Now i’m grateful that i stumbled onto your website! We are planning a trip and i have so many new places to think about going now.

    1. So glad you found us! We have lots of places that we have been to, and have not yet written about – so ask away if you need help with something you can find.

  4. Picking up a Brac stone souvenir actually has more meaning to it than meets the eye. Perhaps Two of the worlds most famous building in the world THE TAJ MAHAL in India and the WHITE HOUSE in Washington are made from Brac Stone.

  5. We *sort of* went to Brac. We had a swim stop just off the island. It was beautiful. We were there for an entire morning. It was my second favourite swim stop on my trip– my favourite was between 3 deserted islands where we spent a couple of hours swimming from island to island. Careful to avoid the sea urchins tho!

  6. Wow! There is a lot to do there! I love all things history and my boyfriend loves anything that is photogenic, so we would have an amazing time there, it seems. I think my favorite from the list would be visiting the old churches. I just love them.

  7. I shouldn’t read your blog, this makes me want to skip my other travel plans and head to Croatia… 😉 That said, maybe that is a good thing! Right now especially that spa in Bol is calling my name….

  8. I’m picking stone sculpture making and sculpture-scouting – seems like the most unique of local activities 🙂

  9. So many great things to see and do! I’d probably just end up on the beach if it weren’t for posts like these 🙂

  10. I went to Croatia just once on a cruise and only saw Dubrovnik and the countryside.
    Bol looks absolutely amazing!

  11. I have been to Croatia just once and can’t wait to go back. Bol looks like a lovely place to spend some time, especially for that food and those views!

  12. That looks like just too much to bare, however do you cope? 🙂 food by the water would be top of my list!

  13. I dig those 360 videos you have with this post and now of course, I’m starving after having gazed upon those amazing dishes. Croatia is a definite must do!

  14. I had no idea there was so much to do in Croatia. I always love the beach, adventure activities, and trying the local food, but the monasteries look really interesting. Hope to make it for a visit someday!

  15. Sculpture scouting… what an interesting activity! Great suggestions, will have to keep these in mind if I am ever in the area!

  16. Zlati rat looks beautiful. I have never heard of Bol and am glad I am planning a future trip to just spend in Croatia so I can add this to the list and not be in rush around the country. Thanks for sharing these great tips!

  17. I’d love to do any of these! Beaches, coffee, the cave, wine tasting…it all sounds so wonderful!

  18. Okay, lets just talk about this cave here for a minute…. HOLY COW!!! I mean, firstly, kudos on the sweet play toy. As if the turquoise waters and craggy cliffs didn’t make me a believer, now you have cave carvings named after the likes of a dragon. Like, I’m betting when I get there, you’re going to have to peel me off the pavement to go home. What an amazing place. I’m telling you Sarah, mark my words, you’re going to be stuck with being my tour guide at some point! HAHA! <3

    1. Thanks Sabina! I have loads of info I have yet to add to the blog (I need another 24 hours in the day) so just ask me if you have any questions 🙂

  19. Great tips, but Zlati Rat is where I would be spending my time I guess. Even though a spot of wine tasting and some lunch sound great too, and the monastery and masonry school sound worth a visit!

  20. A masonry school! How awesome would that be to see. I would also love to go around and photograph all of the different statues in that area.

  21. Bol looks like a great place to visit, so many things to do. Some of the hiking, monastery, and caves sound fun!

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