5 PLACES YOU HAVE TO VISIT IN CROATIA THIS SUMMER

BY: MARITA LOVRIC

1. THE PAKLENI ISLETS

The Pakleni Islets are located off the southwest coast of the island of Hvar, opposite the entrance to the Hvar (town) harbour.

The name is popularly translated as Hell's islands (pakleni = hellish), but it originally derives from the word paklina, an archaic word from which pakleni too is derived, which means tar, referring in this case to the pine resin once used to coat ships, which was harvested on these small islands.


Aerial view of Pakleni Islets

From the south, the uninhabited Dobri island closes Soline bay. On its east side, it offers a couple of beautiful strands and nooks, while on the west side, given the lack of a strong maestral northwest wind, it has a superb harbor for anchoring.


Pakleni Islets


2. THE GREEN CAVE

On the south side of the island of Vis, near the bay of Rukavac, the small island of Ravnik is situated. Its southwestern part hides a true natural wonder – the Green Cave.

The rays of sunlight pass through the gapes of the cave's ceiling, creating green-hued reflections within the cave.

The cave is called Green because of the green algae, located on the rocky base of the cave's entrance.


Woman in a green cave


The Green Cave has two wide entrances, which enable visitors to easily explore its interior. Swimming is permitted inside the cave, as well as diving.

As an exceptional natural phenomenon, this cave is an extremely attractive and unavoidable diving destination. The beauty of the Green Cave is not as known among tourists, which is the reason why it managed to preserve its pure and natural traits.

Sailing towards the green cave


Apart from people, this amazing underwater game of sea and light is also enjoyed by seagulls.


3. THE BLUE CAVE

Covering only 6 km2, the tiny island of Biševo would hardly be noticed if it was not for its remarkable Blue Cave.

With 10 caves around Biševo's coast, this one is the most outstanding.

Inside the blue cave

During a bright, sunny day, the rays of the sun illuminate the cave with a blue light, while passing through an underwater opening. At the same time, the objects beneath the surface shimmer in silver and pink.


The cave is 24 m long and 10 - 12 m high. There are two entrances: the smaller one, artificially widened so that boats could go through, and the underwater passage, where the magical game of light is performed.

Aerial view of the cave

4. MLJET NATIONAL PARK

Mljet is a place of hidden lagoons, pine woods and splendid sea. Its area borders two saltwater lakes: Great Lake and Small Lake. In the middle of Great Lake is a former Benedictine monastery, which functions as a cafè – restaurant today.

Aerial view of Mljet national park


The national park includes the western part of the island, Great Lake and Small Lake, Soline Bay, and a sea belt 500 m wide.

The nice, shaded walkways are ideal for cycling or strolling. To get around, you can rent a bicycle in Pomena, Polae, and Mali Most.

Mljet

Kayaking is also permitted, so you may rent a kayak at Mali Most (the tiny waterway that connects two lakes) and paddle around both lakes.


5. DINGAC

Dingac is a wine-producing region on the Pelješac peninsula.

It is a highly regarded area for growing the indigenous Croatian red grapes, Plavac Mali. The karst land and the high level of sunlight make ideal conditions for red wine grape growing, whose plants are planted from a sea level of up to 300 m.


Dingac on the coast of Peljesac


The wines from this area carry the special "stamp" of geographic origin, and the region itself was the first protected wine region in Croatia.

Dingac

The area is not very accessible, but small, rural roads go through the vineyards and offer an exclusive opportunity to enter this special paradise.