Palmizana and the Pakleni Islands

Pakleni Islands: Yachts at anchor

Pakleni Islands: Yachts at anchor

Many yachts use Palmizana and the many nearby anchorages around the Pakleni Islands as a means to visit Hvar without doing battle in it’s busy harbour. Despite its alternative name, Hell’s Islands, it’s a beautiful spot.

A water taxi service from Palmizana makes this a much more relaxing way to see Hvar. The water taxis return with visitors drawn to the many excellent beaches around the Pakleni’s.

The pine clad slopes of the Pakleni Islands provided resin which was melted and used to coat wooden ships, the resin being called paklina.

Tourists first reached here with the establishment of botanical gardens in the 1900’s. Many exotic plants were established and the rosemary now found widely across the island originates from here. The gardens now form the grounds for a boutique hotel.

Palmizana exists for tourists and the 190 marina berths are usually full in summer. The only Croatians here are present to meet the visitors needs so don’t expect any local culture. It does however, feature one of Croatia’s more modern cultural aspects – it’s a popular spot for naturists!

Despite being a scant 2 nautical miles Hvar you could be forgiven for thinking you are nowhere near one of the hottest destinations in Croatia as the ACI Palmizana Marina is surrounded by trees and oozes serenity.

Although straightforward to enter, it pays to be careful when manoeuvring around the marina as depths are uneven and the berths are reasonably tight. If you need help call VHF channel 17.

The marina is open from April to October and prices vary throughout the season. For a 12m boat you can expect to pay 74€ in the low season but prices rise to 88€/night between 01/06-30/09 (2016)

If a bora is forecast do not book a night here. The marina is normally very well sheltered but suffers a large swell under such conditions. A better option should these winds arise would be to make your way across the channel to Vela Garska on Hvar Island.

The marina has all the facilities you would expect (power, water, toilets and Wifi) plus a bar, restaurant and small grocery shop if you don’t fancy catching the water taxi across to Hvar. The water taxi will cost around 100 kuna per person (return price 2015) based on five people taking the taxi. Any less than five and the taxi won’t go. Their operating hours are approximately 8am till 2am. For those that don’t mind a short walk there are a couple more restaurants across the island.

There are plenty of very pleasant walking trails around the island if the crew need to stretch their legs or you want a swim on the other side of the island.

Otok Marinkovac

The island of Otok Marinkovac is one of the tiny islands in the Pakleni group that lie opposite Hvar. Pleasantly treed and surrounded by crystal clear water, the island offers a somewhat sophisticated yet understated sanctuary from the hubbub of Hvar. If you can’t find space in Hvar and don’t fancy paying the higher prices for the marina, Otok Marinkovac makes a good alternative to head for.

 Most yachts seek out the anchorage and mooring field located between Otok Marinkovac and Otok Planikovac which provides adequate protection in settled weather. Having anchored here several times I can honestly tell you that this is a lovely spot and extremely conveniently placed for Hvar but it is not without its challenges.

Somewhat narrow, the seabed between the two islands is part sand, part scoured rock and part thick seaweed so choose your anchoring position wisely! If you can’t see sand, try the southern end of the channel. Make sure your anchor is well in if you plan on leaving your yacht here for any length of time or pick up one of the restaurant buoys. Some yachts choose to longline to the islet of Otok Planikovac. This is an excellent idea but make sure your anchor is well in as strong gusts can hit you side on as they race through the channel on their way to ruffle the feathers of the bigwigs in Hvar.

Sailing Choices Top Tip

This channel is subject to fast flowing currents, particularly if thunderstorms or strong winds are active in the area. It is also worth noting that there is more tidal activity in this area than you would expect of the Mediterranean.

Keep a close eye on the position of your yacht when manoeuvring around moored vessels and do not anchor too close to other boats… collisions do happen.

Also keep a close eye on swimmers and dingy operators as they often find themselves a long way from where they intended to be!

The best spot to anchor in is the back eddy in the southeast end of the bay near the beach bar. This is a particularly sheltered spot and has a good sand bottom. It also keeps you out of the main channel which is very busy during the day. Some moorings are also available here as well as in front of the two restaurants.

Ashore there are the two afore mentioned restaurants, both of which are happy to bring you from, and return you to, your yacht after dinner if needs be. The beach bar to the south of the restaurants is a very laid back affair or you can take a short walk south through the woods to a more sophisticated and luxurious bar/café.

Otok Marinkovac is the most visited island of the Pakleni Islands and water taxis to Hvar run from various points in the channel. During the day the island is teaming with day trippers and quite a few sunbathers of the naked kind as the platter rocks between the southern end of the bay and the upmarket bar/café are designated FKK (Freikörperkultur – Free Body Culture) or a naturist zone. The water taxis also run during the evening but it pays to tee up times with the driver regarding return journeys as they sometimes are not intending on coming back from Hvar later on in the night.

There are no shops etc on the island so if you need supplies you would be best to nip over to Hvar early in the morning to re-provision.

Otok Marinkovac is most famously known for Sipanska Beach located on the south side of the island and the Carpe Diem which offers some of the hottest nightlife in the Adriatic with 5 star service. It is not possible to walk from the anchorage in the channel to this beach but you can catch a water taxi or take you own yacht round and anchor off the beach if the weather is benign.

It’s well worth a visit though you will probably end up wishing you visited 50 or more years ago before everyone else found it.

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