Island Hopping in Dalmatia – Korcula, Hvar, Palmizana

Strolling through the old town, we stumbled upon a lovely little restaurant hidden amongst the stone walls. It was a tiny restaurant, cozy, inside a courtyard with open skies to the stars above. Once seated, we were presented with several fresh catches of the day, fish on ice, and we chose one, it was cooked fresh for us. We feasted and felt like we were a part of that old place.

The next morning we boarded a ferry to Hvar Island and were picked up by my muz’s old friend from middle school and her husband. They met us at the ferry with their 3 prized poodles and after a quick coffee stop in the main square, they showed us to their home, which is also a guest house. They have a popular business there and we were lucky to get a room there for 2 nights. The three days we spent in Hvar were heavenly. If I were to come back to this region again, I would spend more time in Hvar, and a little less time everywhere else. Hvar Town is similar to Korcula Town, except more modern, bigger, busier, more lively. It feels like a real city, whereas Korcula Town has more of that old village feel. The main square in Hvar is much wider and more open than Korcula, and feels more free. Its tourism scene is booming. Luckily we were there at the tail end of it. Dubrovnik felt far away at this point, and comparing it with Hvar, it was no contest, Hvar all the way. Dubrovnik felt so commercialized, so touristy, so crowded. you could see there was beauty there, but it was hard to appreciate, because it was covered up by all the glare of tourism. Hvar in comparison felt authentic, it felt fresh, and it was amazing.
Our hosts treated us to an amazing breakfast complete with all major homemade dishes – pastries from a bakery, olive oil, honey, cheeses, peppers, even wine and rakija. After the feast, we explored the old town, pausing the peruse the lavender on sale at the kiosks, a local speciality. We saw all the main points of the town, stopping to take in the history, the old wells, churches, etc. After another coffee, we stopped at the beach, my muz swam while I explored the island a little on my own. That night we ate at Posteni Djordje (Honest Georges), a great Italian restaurant on the main square. Conversation flowed freely like the wine, and we chatted for hours in the open courtyard, happy to be on Hvar.

The next day we took a little boat excursion to Palmizana Island, a small island among a group of little islands off the coast. A 20 minute boat ride took to you a paradise I only imagined existed. White pebbly beaches, a few lounge bars and restaurants, a handful of boats, were scattered before a backdrop of island jungle foilage. We lounged on the beach, we swam in the water, we let go of lifes stresses and sunk into the island life, if only for that day. We found the best lounge there, Laganini, where all the chairs were stuffed feed sacks, like bean bags, and all the tables were made of tree trunks. There was even a little treehouse lounge fixed into a large fig tree, and this is where we perched, sipping our drinks and watching the sun sink into the sea. It was perfect.

I swam in the water and finally connected with the water for the first time. This water really was special, it really was magic. It was pure, warm, calm, clear, clean, and so so soft. It was so clear I could see moss growing on rocks 30 feet away, I could see the gooose bumps on my knees it was so clear. I swam and swam and twirled and sank and floated and played like a baby dolphin. It was magic water. It was incredible.I felt how valuable it was, like the most rare resource, like the finest perfume, like expensive oil, like wars must have been fought over this water. It was soft to the touch, and felt almost alive. It was incredible.

After our perfect day, we returned to Hvar and had dinner by the marina before exploring the nightlife scene a bit. Tourists travel from all over the world to Party on Hvar Island and we weren’t ready to leave before at least seeing what the fuss was all about. We walked through pubs and bars and clubs, but it was nothing we hadn’t seen before. We shared a cocktail a “Karpe Diem” bar before returning our room.

The next day we hiked up to the top of the Fortress wall, taking in a great view of Hvar. We then found a great little cafe on the water complete with hammocks and lanterns, and great cocktails, Falko. It felt separate from Hvar, less European, more Jamaican, and so we took a moment there. Our hosts drove us away from Hvar Town to a great little fisherman’s village on the backside of the island called Milina where we sat 2 meters from the magic water and ate fish that was caught especially for us, ordered the night before by our host. We took in one last seaside view, one last fish meal, wine with friends, it was perfect.

We finally returned to Korcula for one more day before we started the drive back South. This day we met another couple of my muz’s friends. This one had been a local island girl that my muz and his brother had been friends with way back in the day when he spent his summers there. They were, as all of the people we had met so far, very warm and welcoming, and more than hospitable. They too, owned a guest house that let out rooms during the tourist season. They told us about a hidden little beach, off the beaten patch, and we drove to it, stopping to pick up some Canadian hitchhikers along the way who were lost and needed a ride to our same beach. We spent a few hours there, and I was glad to get some time to say goodbye to the Magic Water. That night, they treated us to a perfect Korculan dinner, in old town, they laughed and reminisced about old times, and I felt like I was one of them. It was great to be in touch with my muz’s childhood and past on this level.

Finally we boarded the ferry back to Orebic, back to our car, and we started the trip back down the coast to Rafailovic, where we would meet up with my muz’s parents. What a journey we had.

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5 thoughts on “Island Hopping in Dalmatia – Korcula, Hvar, Palmizana

  1. So much Serbian blood spilled for the liberation of Dalmatia first from Austrians in WW1 and then from Nazis, just to be later stabbed in the back, killed or expelled like the mad dogs.

    So many memories… so sad…

  2. My father was born in Dalmatia, May 15 1894, Name Lazar Mlenar, Mlynar, Mlinar. not sure of the spelling as we go by Mlinar her in the USA.

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