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Croatia’s third-largest island, Brač’s laid-back pace of life and limestone landscapes lure visitors keen to enjoy the sun, sea and traditional lifestyle. The island sits just 18 km (11 miles) from Split and many islanders commute to jobs in the city, but from April to November Brač’s population swells as visitors enjoy the pebble beaches, idyllic fishing towns, small-scale wineries and rugged hiking and biking.

Pučišća, BračFerries from Spilt arrive in the fishing village of Supetar on the north coast. It’s a handsome but sleepy spot with an unusually grand cemetery with a host of monuments sculpted from the local white limestone.

Many visitors head directly for Bol on the island’s southern coast. An unassuming town of old stone houses and narrow lanes, it has what is possibly Croatia’s most impressive beach. Meander from the old town along the tree-lined promenade, and you’ll reach Zlatni Rat, a triangular spit of smooth white pebbles that extends out into the turquoise sea.

Bol is also home to the Stina winery which is set in a large warehouse right on the waterfront. You can drop in for a sample of some of Croatia’s indigenous varietals in their modern tasting room or take a guided tour. Alternatively, visit the Branislav Dešković Art Gallery which is housed in a Renaissance-Baroque townhouse and displays a collection paintings and sculptures by 20th-century Croatian artists.

Another good base is Sutivan, a historic town in the northwest of the island. The typical Dalmatian houses here alternate with Renaissance palaces, Baroque summer houses and a number of churches.

Sutivan, BračLook out for the 17th-century Marijanovic Castle near the port and the 16th-century fortress on the bay. On the cape is the 6th-century Church of Saint-Ivan, while the late Renaissance parish church has a Baroque bell tower and open loggia.

The island’s interior is a patchwork of karst uplands interspersed with fertile valleys. There are plenty of walking and cycling paths around Sutivan that lead into the vineyards and the olive and mandarin groves that surround the town. You can visit family-run wineries and olive presses, hike across limestone hills and bike through dense pine forests.

Alternatively, the island’s highest point at 778 m (2,552 ft), Vidova Gora, makes a good destination on foot or by bike. Follow the winding forest road from Bol and you’ll be rewarded with a sweeping view of Hvar, Vis and Biokovo. Another worthwhile destination, but on a rough, unsealed road, is the Blaca Hermitage, a 16th-century monastery built into a cliffside.

Wherever you go, you’ll see piles of limestone scattered across the fields where farmers have cleared the land to grow crops. Brač’s distinctive white limestone has been exported for thousands of years and has been used in the construction of everything from Diocletian’s Palace in Split to the vestibule of the United Nations Headquarters in New York and the Hungarian Parliament Building in Budapest.

Best time to visit Brač

Brač is at its finest between April and June and in September and October when the weather is warm and dry, the streets are quieter and the sea is warm. July and August can be hot and crowded, and the island all but closes between November and March.

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Map of Brač

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