The Paklinski Islands are a chain of 16 rocky pine wooded islands that stretch for about 10kms to the west of Hvar and start literally less than a kilometer from Hvar town. We had been admiring the islands from up the Spanish Fortress and the Napoleon Fort where you get a panoramic view of the sprawling islands.
Luckily the islands are very accessible from Hvar by boat and it was a no brainer that we would go visit and get personal with them.
On a beautiful morning, we met our boat operator Prospe to pick up the boat from Hvar and head out for our day trip to the Pakleni Islands (Paklinski Otaci in Croatian).
At only 5hp the boat didn’t require a boat license (apparently that requirement kicks in at 20 hp in Croatian waters) and it didn’t require you to hang on to your hat either!
It came with a sun shade, ice box (esky for our Aussie readers), full days worth of petrol, life jackets, a swim ladder, a map of the islands with tips on the best spots and can carry five passengers.
After a quick lesson from Prospe we were set to go exploring!
We were advised the best beaches to visit were on the south side of the islands - so we jetted off, OK, we putted off to Otok Jelolim.
Jerolim bay is the closest of all the islands and is a famed nudist island. We went around to check out Kordovan bay which is the island's most popular swimming spot.
Since it was early we decided not to anchor but to head on to Mlini for our first swim.
After Jerolim you come to Marinkovac island, this was our favourite by far in terms of swimming spots and beautiful waters.
Here we cruised through the calm waters of Stipanska bay and stopped to enjoy the views of the beach and the Carpe Diem Club before heading off towards Mlini.
We were lucky enough to beat the crowds, as when we arrived at the stunning waters of Mlini there was only one yacht, meaning we virtually had the place to ourselves. We took the opportunity to shoot some drone footage before anyone else got there, as you can see it was like our own private beach!
Mlini is a very protected cove that is quite shallow with a mix of sand and pebbles which gives the sea floor a bright reflection that makes the water look clear and bright. It really is a stunning place to swim.
After getting our fix of swimming at Mlini we popped around the corner to Zdrilca which is a very busy spot for yachts to moor. Several restaurants dotted the vibrant aquamarine cove while people dove off boats, swam around yachts and paddle boarded in the glorious morning sun. Even though we were still cool from the Mlini swim, we couldn’t resist joining everyone else - we anchored and dove into the sparkling water.
We actually liked Zdrilca so much that we made a stop there to soak in the beauty on our way back in the afternoon.
Saint Klement Island
The main island of the Pakleni island group is Ortaci Sv. Klement, or Saint Clement Island.
As it is such a big island and we had such a little boat, we decided to spend the afternoon just in the first four bays to the west of Mlini.
First up was a tour of Perna bay - quite a wide bay but with a nice V shape that culminates in a narrow pebble beach.
Then on to Palmizana in Vinogradisce bay. This is a wonderful bay that is well protected and has an amazing natural wharf on the right as you come closer to the restaurants. There is a rock ledge that is relatively flat that makes it easy to anchor the boat and go bow first to the wall to tie up and simply step off.
It was here that we decided to picnic for lunch, sitting on a nice flat rock under the shade of some big pine trees overlooking the sparkling Adriatic waters with bobbing boats and yachts - it was quite simply an idyllic spot.
After lunch we took a stroll to the beach front and had a look at some of the restaurants and bars. We were most taken with the Langanini Lounge Bar and Fish House which featured an amazing array of seating areas from small intimate lounges to medium and large cabanas for small groups - all with views over the stunning water. It seems you need to reserve a spot to get a really prized position.
We finished Palmizana with a refreshing swim, took some more photos and drone shots and were surprised to see that it was already 3pm! The day was flying by.
Off we chugged to Stari Stani bay and the twin coves of D. Bok and G. Bok. Again we gazed at beautiful azure waters sparkling in the afternoon sun. We anchored in Store Stone beach in G. Bok and swam up to shore and had a look around at the ruins of what was once a beach bar on the small rocky beach. After that little stop we cruised around the bay soaking it all in before making our way to the last stop of the day.
After Stari Stani bay is the bigger Talsce bay which is literally ringed with beautiful bright green water. We cruised around and wished we were on one of the yachts that was camped out for a few days there. We made our way up to the top left cove and quickly found a spot to anchor and dove right into the inviting water.
By this stage the day was getting long and we knew it would take 45 minutes to get the boat back, so we turned around, with the warming sun to our back headed to port and showed Prospe his boat was still intact!
Choices of Boat Trip from Hvar to Pakleni Islands
If you are wanting to get out to the Pakleni islands, you have several good options available depending on budget, comfort level on the water and amount of time you have available. Here are a few of those options:
Boat Hire | Hvar to Pakleni Islands
This is the option we went with. Pricing for the basic boat that we had starts at 350 to 400 kuna (we booked early and managed to get a bit of a discount). Pricing then goes up from there, with different styles and sizes of boat, for example a 20hp boat was around 1,000 kuna.
There are small private operators like Prospe that have a few small boats with varying power, then there are some larger companies where you can hire performance boats etc.
Not many of them have websites, but you will find the touts all over town, and especially down near the harbours.
This option is obviously the most flexible as you go where you want and stop for as long as you want.
It seems that the common hours of a day hire are anytime from 9am to 6pm.
Communal Water Taxi | Hvar To Pakleni Islands
If you don’t want to drive yourself, head on down to the Riva. Here you will find a range of water taxis that head on out to the islands. They work exactly like a bus, holding about 20 people and leaving at a couple of set times during the day going to a specific place, like Palmizana or Mlini and then returning at a couple of set times in the late afternoon.
They all seem to be priced at 50 kuna per person for a return trip.
Private Water Taxi | Hvar to Pakleni Islands
There are a range of really nice looking powerful boats that can zip from one place to another in no time. They are more flexible and can take you wherever you fancy. We have no idea about the pricing as we haven’t had any need for the service.
Boat Tours | Hvar to Pakleni Islands
Another option are small tour boats that take you out for a full day and stop at several of the most popular places like Mlini and Palmizana.
This is a great way to see several different places but also have a boat as a base for the day to leave dry clothes.
One operator charges 200 kuna per person for the day, or 270 kuna if you had lunch provided.
Self Catering or Restaurants when on Pakleni Islands
Whether you are driving yourself, taking a water taxi or joining a small tour of the Pakleni Islands, you have to make the choice of whether to self cater or whether to visit a restaurant.
For us, we chose to self cater as we found that to be more convenient and flexible. We packed some slices of Croatian cheese, some salami and a fresh baguette to make tasty sandwiches, combined with some fresh chopped veggies, fruits, biscuits and one litre PET bottle of beer - we were set!
You can buy ice for your cooler box on the self drive boat near the wharves, but we just filled and froze one of our empty 1.5l water bottles to give us a pretty solid chunk of ice that lasted all day.
On the islands there are a number of bars and restaurants available to visit and eat at. They have amazing views considering they all sit at the water edge! But as you can imagine, they come at remote island prices.
We loved our day out on the water, and highly recommend that when in Hvar, take a day out to the Pakleni Islands to soak in the beauty of the Croatian water and sun.