Sailing in Croatia: Holidays in Vrboska on the Island of Hvar
Sailing is Croatia provides access to the stone towns of Dalmatia, such as Vrboska, with its canal, fortress, bridges and nudist and non-naturist beaches.
A highly recommended temporary base for those sailing in Croatia is the pretty town of Vrboska on the island of Hvar, also known as Little Venice and home to the main marina on Croatia's sunniest island.
Vrboska boasts a well-preserved old town, with a good selection of cafes and restaurants on the waterfront. While away from the water, the most impressive building is the church/fort of St. Mary, which dominates the central square of the old town. It dates from the 16th century and was constructed by the people of Vrboska as a fortification against the Turks. Recently renovated, its most curious feature is the giant stone triangular fortification which juts out from one corner of the church.
There are other, smaller churches to be discovered in the narrow and atmospheric back streets, but the town's fishing museum, situated on the waterfront, is also worth investigating. The museum has exhibits of traditional fishing equipment, as well as tools for the fish processing plant, and even a reconstruction of an old fisherman's house, giving an idea of how tough life was for the Dalmatian fisherman.
Hvar's smallest town is also known as Little Venice, but tourists expecting a gondola ride will be disappointed as the only canal peters out soon after disappearing from view from the centre of the town. It is an extremely pleasant walk, however, with some picturesque foot bridges, as well as various original features such as the steps down to the stone plateau after the last bridge, where clothes used to be hand washed.
The centrepiece of Vrboska's tourism industry is sailing, however, and the town's capacity to accommodating boats has been greatly increased with the expansion of mooring spaces by ACI Marina, which runs the marina. As the largest marina on the island, there are several boats permanently moored in the harbour. Even with the expansion, Vrboska is very popular for sailing holidays and it is advised to make prior booking arrangements in season.
Beaches in Croatia: Soline
While one can swim in the village opposite the marina, a much more popular option is Soline beach, a pleasant ten-minute walk through the pines. This wide beach of small pebbles is an extremely popular place for families, with its child-friendly approach and facilities. There are also various sporting facilities, including a volleyball court, and windsurfing can also be organised. Thirsty tourists can avail themselves of the bar, or grab a bite to eat at the restaurant. There is ample (paid) parking in the pine forests (Top Ten Beaches in Croatia).
Naturism in Croatia: The FKK Nudist Beach and Campsite
On the northern side of the Glavica peninsula is one of Croatia's most popular nudist beaches. Parking in the same place as Soline, the beach is a 5-10 minute walk through the pine trees to a more private beach comprised of rocks. Although there is no shade, many of the rocks are isolated, making it ideal for naturism. More adventurous naturists may want to check out the tiny island of Zecevo nearby.
Vrboska is also popular as a naturist holiday due to the nudist campsite, which is located 1km from the town close to the naturist beach. The camp has a capacity for 420 guests and facilities on site include restaurant, shop, gas service and various sporting activities (Guide to campsites on Hvar).
Accommodation in Vrboska
For such a popular resort, it is perhaps surprising to find that there is no available hotel in the town (Hotel Adriatic has been rented out to a Czech organisation in recent times). Yachties have the option of sleeping on their boats or taking advantage of the wide range of private accommodation on offer, of which the best selection of officially registered apartments can be found through the excellent Vrboska Tourist Board, whose office is opposite the old town by the main bridge and next to Restaurant Lem.
Easy Day Trips – The Town of Jelsa
Vrboska is an ideal base from which to discover the rest of the island of Hvar, with car and scooter hire widely available. The glamour of Hvar Town is less than half an hour by car, while the ancient town of Stari Grad, dating back more than 2,300 years, is ten minutes away. The most popular excursion is to the nearby town of Jelsa, which is a delightful thirty minute stroll along a coastal road, which takes in several coves, and offers some more remote options for swimming. Alternatively, sail into the pretty harbour at Jelsa, moor up, and enjoy a cappuccino on the town's main square, before lunching at one of the excellent waterfront restaurants.