Fish, Beaches and the Tudor Legend in Croatia: Milna on Hvar
A lazy fish lunch at the beach in Milna is one of the indulgences required on a holiday to Hvar, where all the locals go by the name of Tudor. Royal blood?
For tourists looking to venture out of Hvar Town, the first port of call should be the supremely located fishing village of Milna, about 4km along the new road to Stari Grad. While the village itself is not the prettiest on the island, its setting most certainly is, south-facing with ample family beaches and a selection of waterfront fish restaurants to die for.
Milna Becomes a Tourist Destination
Milna is a relatively new settlement which expanded rapidly in the 1960s when the inhabitants of neighbouring inland village Malo Grablje decided to move en masse to the coast to eke out a better existence from tourism and fishing, building on the foundations of smaller tourism initiatives. Villa Solituda, a 1911 summer house buily by Dr. Vjekoslav Boglic was one of the more prominent houses in Milna in the early 20th Century.
With the new road from Hvar, tourism has boomed in Milna, which is the first inhabited bay tourists encounter when venturing east. With wide family beaches and restaurant seating down to the water, and the island of Vis in the background, it is perhaps the best place on the island to spend an afternoon, watching the children swim while relaxing with a glass or two or wine.
All the restaurants are excellent, although the first one on the left, Milina, probably edges it for its proximity to the beach and friendly service. Many tourists do not realise that there is another beach (and more restaurants) to the right, a less crowded part of Milna.
The Tudor Legend
A curious anomaly about Milna is the most popular surname in the village, the very non-Croatian Tudor. One legend has it that an illegitimate son of Henry VIII was shipwrecked off the coast of Hvar, met a local girl, and who together founded the village of Malo Grablje. The most famous Tudor descendent is Igor, who had a distinguished career for Croatia and Juventus.
A more poetic version appears on the Hvar Town Tourist Board website. A Tudor queen had two sons, one of whom went off in search of adventure, which culminated in his ship losing his sails and coming ashore in Milna, where there was a young local girl washing clothes. The young Englishman fell in love at first sight and, given the language barrier, gave her a note in Italian.
The young girl took the message to the Franciscan monks in Hvar who explained that Tudor had fallen in love with her, had popped off to Venice to fix his ship, and was then planning to return to start a new life with her.
Eleven sons later the Malo Grablje dynasty was born, and their descendants moved to Milna, where the legend continues. Many tourists can see more than a passing resemblance with the distinctive Tudor features in their local hosts, especially after a good fish lunch and a glass or two of the local red...