The Perfect Hideaway – The Croatian Island of Palmižana

Earlier this month, my husband and I found ourselves on Croatia’s Dalmatian coast again. Having spent a good three years in the country, we had already covered the crowd pleasers like Dubrovnik, Split, Trogir and Hvar, and were looking for something new.

Don’t get me wrong, I count these stops amongst the best places to visit in Croatia, but I was ready to fall in love with some place new. That’s when we stumbled upon the tiny island of Palmižana.

Palmižana, also known as the island of St. Klement, is part of the Pakleni archipelago. It is situated just off the Dalmatian coast, approximately a ten minute boat ride from the Island of Hvar.

The island has an interesting history. During the early years of the 20th century a botanist from an influential family, Professor Eugen Meneghello, purchased a 300 hectare estate on the isolated island. He procured exotic plants – include pines, palms, eucalyptus, olive, cacti, rosemary – from all over the world for his botanical garden. This garden continues to be one of the island’s high points.

He also built a guest house, constructed from locally available stone, and organized holidays for his visitors – he took them sailing, fishing and hunting – and come evening provided them with the best local catch and wines. The guests have been coming since.

The professor’s family continues to manage the island even today. Their tourist complex comprises of a group of stone villas and bungalows, two terraced restaurants and the beaches they overlook, as well as the botanical preserve.

During the summers these waters are frequented by charters, and day-trippers from Hvar. The local marina is also pretty busy, with 200 boats and constantly plying taxi-boats. But at this time in early May, Palmižana is quiet and devastatingly beautiful. I’m pretty sure I’ll be back before the summer is out.

More Tips for Things to Do in Croatia

We’ve lots more tips on what to do in Croatia on Europe a la Carte.