Pakleni Islands: Your Exotic Escape in Croatia

The Pakleni Islands, an archipelago of 16 islands, lie directly across from the town of Hvar, the capital of Hvar Island. The proper Croatian name for these islands is Paklinski Otoci.

Some people refer to them as the “Hell Islands,” translating from the Croatian words “Pakao” (Hell) or “Paklen” (Hellish).

However, this name doesn’t fit the islands’ true nature. A more appropriate name would be “Paradise Islands,” as they are indeed a paradise as you will see if you get here. And, since you’re reading this article, chances are you will!

The islands got their name long ago due to the pine bark (paklina in Croatian) used to produce bitumen, a thick resin for sealing ships.

Also read: Lovran, Croatia Travel Guide

Pakleni Islands Map

The map above shows all 16 islands spread out in front of the Hvar town port. The largest islands are St. Klement, Jerolim, and Marinkovac.

Listing all the bathing spots and countless small, secluded beaches is nearly impossible. But I am sure that once you get here, you will love trying to find as many of them as possible.

Apart from the regular bathing spots spread over the small islands, there are also plenty of nudist beaches here. These well-established naturist beaches are equipped with showers and shops. Beyond these, the islands offer many isolated spots where you can meet other nudists and nautical naturists.

If you’re interested in the naturist side of Croatia, I recommend reading about the Best FKK Naturist Resorts in Istria or the Guide to the South Croatia Naturist Beaches.

Getting to the Islands

The only way to reach the Pakleni Islands is by boat. Boats to the islands depart from the main pier in Hvar town (check out the best beaches in Hvar here), located at Arsenal, one of the town’s key landmarks. Here, you’ll find small taxi boats that shuttle passengers to the larger Pakleni Islands.

The boats operate several times a day from Hvar harbor to Jerolim, Marinkovac (Stipanska Beach), and St. Klement (Palmizana Bay).

Departures are approximately every half hour from 9 AM to 1 PM, during the season, with return trips from 4 PM to 6 PM. Boats to Stipanska and Palmizana leave hourly starting in the morning.

Boat Taxi Prices

  • Jerolim Island (Amo Beach): The shortest and cheapest journey starts at around 5 Euros for a round trip.
  • Stipanska Bay (Carpe Diem Beach Bar): A morning departure with a return in the afternoon costs about 10 Euros.
  • Palmizana Bay (St. Klement): For a more luxurious experience, the round trip is around 10 Euros.
  • NOTE: Double check these prices, as current inflation can see them skyrocket without notice.

Passionate about visiting islands in Croatia? Then make sure to also read my article about Visiting Kornati Islands.

Where to stay on the Pakleni Islands

Amfora Hvar Grand Beach Resort
Photo from Amfora Hvar Grand Beach Resort, recommended below

While the Pakleni Islands themselves don’t offer many accommodation options, visitors can easily find excellent places to stay in Hvar town, just a short boat ride away. Here are my top recommendations:

  • Adriana Hvar Spa Hotel: This luxury hotel offers stunning views of the Adriatic Sea, a rooftop bar, and a full-service spa. It’s perfect for travelers seeking comfort and convenience.
  • Heritage Hotel Park Hvar: Located in a historic building, this hotel combines modern amenities with classic charm. Its central location makes it easy to explore Hvar town and catch boats to the Pakleni Islands.
  • Amfora Hvar Grand Beach Resort: Ideal for families, this resort features a private beach, a large swimming pool, and various dining options. It’s a great base for day trips to the islands.

Pakleni Islands Beaches

While many of the beaches in the Pakleni Islands are rocky or consist of small pebbles, there are options for those who prefer sandy beaches.

Perna Beach: Located on St. Klement, the largest island in the Pakleni archipelago, Perna Beach is perfect for sand lovers.

It’s situated just around the bay from Palmizana and can be reached by taxi boats or by renting your own boat. This beach is especially suitable for families with small children.

The Hvar Town Tourist Board provides pictures that capture the stunning beauty of this beach.

Jerolim Island: Relax on naturist beaches, ideal for those seeking a laid-back atmosphere.

Plenty of small beaches: Probably the main charm of the island is the large number of small, usually secluded beaches on offer. These don’t have official names, and sometimes can only be reached by boat, making the entire experience even more pleasant.

Activities and Attractions

Apart from soaking up the sun and enjoying the amazing water on Pakleni Islands, there are a few other things I recommend doing while in the area:

  • Hiking and Nature Walks: Explore the scenic trails and pine forests on the islands.
  • Water Activities: Enjoy snorkeling, diving, kayaking, and paddleboarding.
  • Dining: Discover local restaurants and bars, especially in Palmizana Bay. Croatian food is delicious and the small taverns on the island offer great traditional food, especially seafood and fish.

Local’s Tips for visiting the islands

To make the most of your visit to the Pakleni Islands, here are some practical tips and local insights:

What to Bring

  • Sun Protection: Bring sunscreen, a hat, and sunglasses to protect yourself from the strong Mediterranean sun.
  • Swimwear and Towels: Pack multiple swimsuits and quick-dry towels, as you’ll likely be spending a lot of time in the water.
  • Water Shoes: Many beaches are rocky or have pebbles, so water shoes are a must.
  • Snacks and Water: While some islands have bars and restaurants, it’s a good idea to bring your own snacks and plenty of water, especially if you plan to explore more secluded areas.
  • Cash: Some smaller establishments may not accept credit cards, so carry some cash for small purchases and tips.

Best Times to Visit the Pakleni Islands

  • Season: The best time to visit is during the late spring to early fall (May to September) when the weather is warm and the sea is perfect for swimming.
  • Weekdays: If possible, visit the islands on weekdays to avoid the weekend crowds.
  • Early Mornings or Late Afternoons: Arriving early in the morning or later in the afternoon can help you avoid the peak tourist times and enjoy a more peaceful experience. Plus, it’s healthier, since the sun and UV rays won’t be as bad.

Wrapping Up

The Pakleni Islands offer a unique and tranquil escape in Croatia. With easy access by boat, a variety of beaches to explore, and the stunning beauty of Perna Beach, these islands are a must-visit for anyone traveling to Hvar in particular, or Croatia in general.

If you have further questions or comments about these paradise islands, don’t hesitate to leave a comment down below.

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