Pakleni Islands – true beauty of Dalmatian Islands
Pakleni Islands, sometimes also called Paklinski Islands, are among the most visited islands in the Adriatic.
Located just off the coast of Hvar Island, many say that the reason why Hvar is such a popular tourist destination is because of Pakleni Islands!
The locals just call the island chain Škoji, meaning islands.
The name of the islands literally translates to Hell’s Islands! You might wonder why such a beautiful archipelago has such a terrible name.
The origin of its name is an interesting story. In the old days, pine resin from the trees on the island were used to produce paklina, a kind a of a tar that was used to coat the hulls of ships to make them waterproof.
The paklina was said to be black as hell, and which led to the islands getting their name!
Pakleni Islands, just like the other settlements on Hvar Island, has a long history. There are remnants of a Roman villa on the island of Soline, attesting to the long history of people living on Pakleni Islands.
Pakleni Islands archipelago
There are about 20 islands in the Pakleni Islands archipelago, and are considered to be the most beautiful part of Hvar Island’s tourist offerings.
Pokonji Dol on Paklinski archipelago
Starting from the east, Pokonji Dol the first island you will encounter. This tiny little islet stands guard, with a lighthouse, built in 1872, guiding seafarers safely through.
This little island is one of the most photographed places in Croatia!
Just a few hundred meters away from Pokonji Dol lies the island of Jerolim. This island was named after the ancient hermit, Jerolim Grivčić.
There are stunning bays on both sides of the island, however the one on the south side, called Kordovon, is the more popular one.
Jerolim island was exclusively given over to naturists back in the 1960s, and has been named one of the top nudist beaches in the world.
There is a small bar, called Mare’s Place, located near the beach at Kordovon, where sun bathers can get refreshments during their time there.
There are a number of other rocky and shady beaches around the island that offer a place for visitors to rest.
And interesting, unspoken tradition on Jerolim is that once you have claimed your spot, it is considered rude for someone else to take over it!
Island of Marinkovac
This is the most happening island in the region. The world-famous Carpe Diem bar is located here in Stipanska cove, and thousands – yes, thousands of people congregate here for the wild summer parties.
The famous Ultra Europe EDM (electronic dance music) Festival’s beach party is held at this club.
Ždrilca cove on Paklinski Islands archipelago
Ždrilca, on the west side of Marinkovac, looks more like a fancy boat show in summers, rather than the docking port it is.
This is because the harbor is in a stunning little lagoon which is ideal for a boat vacation. Added to that are the restaurants close by. Tri grede, Patak and Mamato are known for their exquisite cuisine.
Further down south is Mlini Bay, which many say is the most beautiful place in all of the Pakleni Islands.
There is a tiny, unnamed island in the bay, and depending on the tide, changes from island to peninsula and back.
There are a few stone cottages on both Mlini as well as Ždrilca.
Planikovac and Borovac islands
Located to the west of Marinkovac, just a few meters from the coast, are the two islands Planikovac and Borovac.
With tons of shade and a stunning view, these islands are perfect for quiet relaxation.
You can lie down on the grass and fragrant pine needles and while your time away!
If you are visiting the islands on your own vessel, then be warned that the shallow gap between the two islands is only for smaller boats.
Sveti Klement is separated from Planikovac and Borovac by the Malo Ždrilo passageway.
This is by far the largest island in the archipelago, and it is the only one to offer accommodation, and is called Veliki otok (meaning: Big Island) by the locals.
Tourism started on this island in 1906, when the Meneghello family built a house as well as an inn. Since then, the family has expanded its tourist offerings on the island to include luxury accommodation, two fantastic restaurants, an art gallery, an arboretum as well as cultural programs in the peak summer season.
Replete with many bays and inlets, this is also the most popular island for day visitors. There are three villages on the island – Palmižana, Vlaka and Momica Polje.
Palmižana right vacation spot for beach lovers
Palmižana is the most popular of the three settlements and it has a fully-equipped AIC marina.
The only other place in Hvar to have such a marina is Vrboska. Here, you will also find excellent food, pebble beaches shaded by thick pine trees, and the air is heavy with the scent of rosemary and lavender.
If you have been in search for those rare sandy beaches, then head over to Perna Bay, which is located right next to Palmižana.
In the southern side of the island is Vinograndišće, which is also referred to as Palmižana.
Some of the best restaurants in all of Dalmatia are right here!
And if you go to Vlaka, then you need to visit Dionis, a restaurant that offers you the most amazing food ever! You can also visit the remains of an old Roman villa rustica while you’re there.
As mentioned earlier, the oldest building in the Pakleni Island is located on this island.
This building was originally constructed as a Franciscan quarantine station, whose monastery was located in Hvar Town. The Venetians, during their reign of the region, had built a jetty on the island, and the Austrians later built a fort.
Today, the island of Galesnik is a stunning eco-island, home to a restaurant that serves the most delicious food you could ever taste.
The view from the restaurant is breath-taking, making the whole experience magical.
There are no residents on the island, though, until recently, the sole inhabitant of the island was Mercedes the donkey.
Sadly, she passed away, and not there is no one who lives on Galesnik.
This tiny island shot to fame after a former Mayor of Hvar offered to rename it Facebook if Mark Zuckerberg would come to visit their islands!
The other islands in the archipelago are called Vodnjak Mali, Vodnjak Veli, Travna, Paržanj, Dobri otok, Stambedar and Gojca and they all offer lovely beaches for the day visitor.
Just as Pokonji Dol guards the east, the Vodnjak islands guard the western front of the Pakleni Islands.
This is the best place for scuba diving because of its exotic sea life.
Things to Do on Pakleni islands
The Pakleni Islands are not just beautiful and meant for party-goers or sun-bathers.
It is also a popular destination for adventure seekers.
You can go kayaking, scuba diving, trekking, cycling, and so much more.
How to Get to Pakleni Islands
The best way to travel to the Pakleni Islands is on your own boat or yacht and dock it at Palmižana at the ACI marina or at Ždrilca.
If you are traveling like most tourists do, then you can use the daily passenger ferry from Hvar Town.