The Pakleni islands (Pakleni otoci in Croatian) are a small group of islands just off the larger island of Hvar in Central Dalmatia. If you’ve ever climbed up to Fortica above Hvar Town for impressive views out to sea, you can’t have missed the little islands dotted about in the near distance. These are the Pakleni islands! But why and how can you visit them? Well, these small, uninhabited, car-free islands are an absolute must as a day trip from Hvar. They’re easy to reach and fun to explore; visiting them transports you to a magical place with a different, truly tranquil vibe away from the crowds.
There are 16 islands in this island group; the islands vary in size. The main islands that you are likely to visit are Sveti Klement (the largest), Marinkovac or Jerolim.
You may sometimes see the name of this island group translated as Hell’s islands as paklen means hellish in Croatian. However, the name actually derives from
Getting to the Pakleni Islands
The easiest, most straightforward way to reach one of the islands is by a taxi boat from Hvar Town. Enquire in the harbour; boats travel regularly. Taxi boats cost about €6 return; make sure the boat is going to the Pakleni island of your choice!
Alternatively, if you feel comfortable renting your own boat for the day, you could easily explore beaches and other places of interest on several of these islands. Ask at a local agency for more details.
If you are lucky enough to be sailing the Adriatic with a yacht of your own, be sure to make a stop on the islands yourself.
What to See and Do on the Pakleni Islands
By and large, you’ll come to these islands to do a bit of adventure exploring and relaxing! Not even the largest island, Sveti Klement, is all that large – it won’t take you long to traverse the paths and explore the island to its fullest extent. When you need a little breather, head to the nearest beach, lay out your towel and relax in the sun by the lapping water.
The largest of the island group, you’ll likely be taken to Palmizana marina to disembark your taxi boat. Palmizana is the name of the little settlement on this side of the island where there’s a beach and a few eateries, including the chic Restaurant Marina and the popular Bacchus. Nearby is also Meneghello Restaurant; the Meneghello family have a long association with Sveti Klement and established a guesthouse on the island as far back as 1820. The restaurant itself opened over 100 years ago. The Meneghello family have also done much to establish a botanical garden on the island which you can see in full bloom around their site.
If you head all the way south from Palmizana marina, you’ll reach a small beach next to Zori restaurant (recommended!) that faces a wonderfully picturesque small bay. Depending on the time of year you’re visiting, you may find numerous yachts and boats anchored here!
Stroll on the paths through the island, taking in the lush and fragrant greenery (almost exotic in places!) of the pine trees, rosemary and heather, and beautiful flowers. You may encounter a peacock or two…don’t be surprised to see one of them up a tree. (Certainly not something I’ve seen before!)
Other places for refreshments on the island include the family-run Dionis in the centre of the island and Pension Tonci by Vlaka bay which, as well as a restaurant, offers a small number of rooms should you wish to stay overnight on Sveti Klement.
If you’d like to stay on Sveti Klement, consider this secluded cottage that sleeps eight.
Jerolim is well known as a nudist beach destination – and that’s indeed why you may visit this island! However, you don’t need to completely disrobe to come to Jerolim…but do be aware that others on the beach may well be doing so. There’s also a pleasant bar/restaurant here for relaxing in the shade; you can also hire loungers/beach beds from them.
You may come to Marinkovac island if you’re a party-goer at Carpe Diem Hvar; their beach club is situated here and they transport guests here for cool daytime lounging or partying at night. Otherwise, if you come over to Marinkovac head to Mlini Beach which is set in a beautiful little cove. Another popular beach on Marinkovac is Zdrilca Beach. There are several eating options here including Tri Grede, Mamato and the upmarket Antonio Patak.
House Nicolina, sleeping five, is a great choice with sea views all around if you want to stay on the island.
Accommodation on the Pakleni Islands
There’s now a gorgeous boutique hotel, the Zori Timeless Hotel, in Palmizana on Sveti Klement. The hotel offers four luxury suites, each with a large terrace and a private pool or hot tub. The ultimate getaway!
You can find out more about this island group on the Pakleni Islands website.