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Luxury in Croatia: Why Brac Island is simply the best destination to head for

Brac Island

Brac Island is fast emerging as a bolthole for barefoot luxury on Croatia’s Dalmatian Coast. This pristine island escape is an alluring option being the largest and closest island to the mainland with on demand speedboat transfers taking just 20 minutes. Once on the island, you can be scooped up and transferred to your island accommodation of choice – feel yourself take your foot off the pedal the minute you step off the boat. As Dalmatian islands go this is about as quintessential as they get with pretty, sea edge villages and small towns set in sparkling turquoise bays.

Milna or as the Venetians called it “Valle di mille navi” (the bay of a thousand ships) is located on the north-west side of the island

Brac is home to the most famous Croatian beach, Zlatni Rat Beach, a beautiful, shapeshifting phenomenon that attracts visitors from far and wide and was named as one of the top ten best beaches in the world by Lonely Planet in 2009. There’s world class kite and windsurfing to be had straight off the beach or choose to just watch the high octane pursuits from a sun lounger instead. With bohemian cocktail bars under the pine trees and VIP seats for after beach parties, you can spend all day and evening on this intriguing and beguiling beach. For ultimate access, Villa Ella is in Bol, just metres away from Zlatni Rat itself.

For a more laid back atmosphere, you cannot get a more perfect eating spot than Ribarska Kucica. Hidden away at one end of Bol Town, on one of the Monastery beaches, this is a highly recommended Croatian restaurant. Its simplicity and jaw-droppingly beautiful location are what make this place so special. Try the octopus salad, the seafood spaghetti and local speciality “Gregada”, a heavenly fish stew with wine and tomato sauce – extremely more-ish washed down with some local wine. Try ‘Pošip Stina 2015’ from Bol itself, which won the gold medal at the oldest and most prestigious international competition of winemakers in France, the Challenge International du Vin. You will be hard pressed to move from this beach for the rest of the day! In fact, the best idea here is exactly that! Just sidle on to a sunlounger on the little private beach next to the restaurant and enjoy your surroundings. Mindfulness at its purest!

Monestary Beaches, Bol, Brac Island 1
Monestary Beaches are jaw-droppingly beautiful and certainly worth a visit

Croatia truly is “the Mediterranean as it once was” and Brac is laced with stunning coves and deserted beaches so leave the hustle and bustle of Zlatni Rat behind you and get off the beaten track. Choose from a growing selection of exclusive and eclectic Brac villas to indulge in an exclusive holiday location with a dazzlingly high quality natural environment.

For the original Brac blueprint head for Sumartin Bay. A quaint and authentic little place with a soporific pace of life, Sumartin is a perfectly formed little bay with cozy coves and fabulous pristine beaches. Just on the edge of Sumartin, Puntinak comprises a smorgasbord of pretty little turquoise inlets, complete with little beaches and millpond sea. Beachside Villa Oceana is the ultimate luxury Croatian Villa- one of a new breed, complete with daily use of power boat and maid service. Its sumptuous interior leaves no expense spared. Outside, the cool infinity pool offers views to Sumartin and Mount Biokovo on the Makarska Riviera beyond. It’s a breathtaking place to spend time..

Ribarska Kucica Restaurant, Bol, Brac Island (22)
A Dalmatian seafood extravaganza awaits at Ribarska Kucica Restaurant in Bol

Ever fancied your own private concierge service? Villa Godistar sits just a bit further round the bay above its own little cove and a private beach. The villa offers a superb and highly thought of concierge service – nothing is too much trouble for guests and the guest book is brimming with praise for its welcoming hosts, home cooked food and fantastic traditional 4 course dinners. A ‘must-try’is the traditional Dalmatian pašticada – slow-cooked beef prepared in a rich red, sweet and sour sauce, usually served with gnocchi.

During your stay you must make the most of the private speedboat with skipper – be whisked off on an exclusive excursion to Hvar Town and Palmizana Island or let them take you bay hopping around Brac’s various crystal clear, immaculate bays, stopping to sample mouth watering seafood, island cheese, peppery olive oil and prosciutto at various waters’ edge eateries – like the sublime Konoba Kala in Povlje. If the natural environment inspires you, Povlja is also the perfect place to get creative – English couple Tim Betts and Julie Montgomery run The Raku Garden, here which offers relaxing alfresco pottery courses by the sea – they are much in demand though so book well in advance.

For the original Brac blueprint head for Sumartin Bay

If food and wine are high on your list of holiday exploits, why not combine sightseeing with a food tour or winetasting tour? These family run trips are a great way to get to the heart of island life.

For a simple, vibrant and luxurious beachside location, head to the other side of the island to the idyllic Mirca Bay. It’s a peaceful and picturesque spot, but just 5 minutes to the town of bustling Supetar and the ideal ‘best of both worlds’ location. Indulge in some serene sunbathing on Mirca’s picture perfect crescent beach next to its one and only beach bar, or for more of a hip vibe head to Beach Club Rosso on Supetar’s beautiful lagoon bay.

Villa Aspire, Selca, Brac Island (207)
Villa Aspire is located in Selca

Villa Corrine is tucked just back from the water’s edge in Mirca Bay. You can speed boat in from Split and have your suitcases expertly ferried to the villa by its staff from the jetty on the little fishing boat harbour. The villa concierge is delightful and ready to expertly arrange anything you desire from hire cars, wine tasting, chef service/catering, massage therapist, baby sitter, chauffeur, skipper, swimming teacher, trainer or local guide.

The surrounding area is simply outstanding with Postira, Sutivan Bay and Splitska Bay all close by. Cycle to Lovrecina Beach from Postira which certainly has the wow factor with its sweeping bay and Roman villa remains.

Villa Corrine, Mirca Bay, Brac Island (73)
Villa Corrine is located in Mirca Bay

When you’re feeling peckish, head for an aperitif at funky Bokuncin in Sutivan Bay – their black olive grappa is certainly a talking point – and delicious. Then move on round the bay to Restaurant Lemongarden. Chef Ante Udovicic transforms regional, seasonal ingredients from their organic mountain garden into homemade dishes in an eclectic way – the herbs are from their herb garden and the fish is caught metres away. With a stunning location on the sea edge on the pretty harbour, it’s fine dining in a very fine location. For more rest and relaxation, be transferred by golf cart to their private beach or just lounge around their pool and lush gardens.

This is a personal list compiled by Saron Lease. Saron is the founder and Managing Director of Croatia Gems, a company she started in 2004. One of the first companies to offer villa rental in the country, the company is now one of the market leaders with an extensive portfolio of exclusive properties.