October 10, 2020 – Continuing TCN’s look at the video tools available to explore Croatia’s tourism destinations, it is time to Discover Brac.
Way back on March 14 – several lifetimes ago – I published an article called Tourism in the Corona Age: 10 Virtual Ways to Discover Zagreb. The way I saw things, now was an OUTSTANDING opportunity for tourism promotion. People have time, they yearn for their freedom and former lives, so give them the tools to thoroughly research and enjoy your destinations, and you will have then longing to be there. And when they do come, they will have a deeper understanding of the destination due to their research.
South Africa and Portugal were the first to do their post-corona tourism promotion videos several weeks ago (Post-Corona Tourism Planning: Lessons from South Africa and Portugal), a trick which has been followed by other tourism countries, the latest being Croatia with the national tourist board campaign, #CroatiaLongDistanceLove, going live yesterday.
But while these campaigns create longing and market presence, they don’t really educate. People now have time to really get into destinations. And dreams of escape to somewhere more exotic are high on the list of priorities of many.
So TCN decided to help with that education with a new series called Virtual Croatia, where we will be helping you discover many of Croatia’s destinations with all the best virtual tools available on your self-isolating sofa at home.
We started with Tourism in the Corona Age: 10 Virtual Tools to Discover Hvar.
After this, we put our a press release (which you can read here in English and Croatian) offering a free article to any local tourist board in Croatia who would like the free promotion in our Virtual Croatia series.
The Sinj Tourist Board was the first to respond, and now you can see just how rich the tourism offer is in this proud Alka town – your virtual tools to Discover Sinj. This was followed by Discover Opatija, Discover Brela, Discover Rogoznica, Discover Stari Grad, Discover Klis, Discover Trogir, Discover Omiš, Discover Lumbarda, Discover Jezera, Discover Šolta, Discover Cavtat and Konavle, Discover Koprivnica, Discover Pašman, Discover Gradac, Discover Virovitica, Discover Bibinje, Discover Crikvenica and Discover Rovinj.
We have had several more emails from local tourist boards, who we invited to participate in the series by sending in video material about their destination. As with everywhere else, corona dominated the agenda at TCN during the summer, and we now finally have time to continue with the series, with perhaps the most ambitious article yet. I am very grateful to all 8 local tourist boards and offices on the island of Brac for sending me material for this comprehensive overview of this incredible island. So pour yourself a coffee, or perhaps something stronger, and learn just how magical Croatia’s tallest island really is.
Welcome to Brac – promo videos
Brac from the air – a spectacular overview!
Brac, island of Culture and Adventure.
Brac in 4k by Travel + Leisure.
Meet the main destinations…
Discover Brac in History
So how did Brac look in years gone by? Some things change, some stay the same. A selection of videos from yesteryear.
Bol promotional video 1960.
Brac in 1974.
1980’s promo video.
1990’s promo video.
Autumn as It Was Once – Brac in 1957.
Brac promotes itself as an island of culture and adventure, and there are certainly plenty of things to do on the island for those itching to get active after time on the beach.
Among the top activities is cycling, and the island has made great progress in recent years developing its cycling tourism offer. Here is it, being promoted along with Hvar by the Central Dalmatia Tourist Board.
A relaxing, safe, family-friendly cycling destination, where even British Prime Ministers are known to escape to.
There is plenty of action on the water as well, apart from swimming. Bol is one of the top windsurfing locations on the Adriatic.
The Central Dalmatian islands are havens for sailors, and Brac is included on most itineraries. Two harbours which are very popular are Milna…
… and Bobovisca.
There has been an explosion of interest in kayaking on the Adriatic in recent years, and Brac is no exception. A great way to explore all those hidden coves and bays up close.
And there is plenty to discover below the surface, with numerous scuba diving options.
Calling all kitesurfers.
Vanka Regule Festival (translated Out the Ordinary) based in the town of Sutivan, isn’t your everyday sports competition. It is more of an ad hoc gathering of like-minded individuals looking to have fun while enjoying extreme sports; mountain bike racing, free-climbing, and original mixes of various outdoor sports with the legendary tent-town (šator grad)as the centre of it all. Lonely Planet describes it as the X-games meet Woodstock. Need we to say more?
If you prefer views of the sea rather than being in it, Brac offers plenty of choice. Wherever you are, the views are just stunning. It is also a great island for hiking. If you have the energy of course, the peak of the island is the place to be. There is talk of a cable car from Bol to Vidova Gora in the future, but for now, the sense of achievement at hiking to the top of Croatia’s talest island will be rewarded with views to match your efforts.
Take some time away from the beach, and you will discover some truly unique things on Brac, particularly with regard to its heritage. Top of the list is the outstanding Blaca Hermitage Monastery, whose construction and history is beautifully told in one of the best videos I have seen about Croatia, above. I particularly liked the story of the monks somehow transporting the grand piano which resides there, consuming an alleged 56 litres of wine along the way.
Equally impressive, and even more unusual, is Dragon Cave, hidden away high above the hamlet of Murvica, close to Bol, and only visited by about 1,000 people a year. It is quite the hike, but the views are more than worth it, and that is before you see the spectacular (and still not fully explained) stone carvings in the walls of the cave. Check it out in the video above, or here is an overview of my visit a few years ago.
In Bol, there is the ‘house in a house’. The story says that the house was created in the 19th century when three brothers from Vuković family married three Spanish women and decided to build a big house (Paloc) on their land. However, there was already a house located there, built by a local peasant called Marko. The brothers offered Marko a handsome amount for the house, but Marko refused. Influential brothers then sought help from the local authorities but Marko had a huge fight and even threatened to kill the mayor. Fearing retribution, Marko fled to the Dubrovnik Republic and brothers began to build the walls around Marko’s house, planning to bring it down in the process. As they sailed to Venice to get the material for the building, they were caught in a storm and died in a shipwreck. Since they had no heirs, Marko came back to live in his old house, surrounded by the walls of the unfinished house that are still there today.
The olive oil museum in historic Skrip is a great addition to the island’s heritage and traditions, located as it is in an original olive mill. And the oil is excellent!
And don’t miss the spectacular Branislav Deskovic Gallery and its historic building in Bol.
Perhaps Brac’s most unusual piece of heritage – the recreation of Supetar in… Texas! Crazy but true – learn why in this video report from Time Magazine.
Brac has incredible food, and very healthy – just ask UNESCO!. Along with the island of Hvar and several other locations in Mediterranean countries, the Mediterranean Diet of the island of Brac was inscribed as intangible UNESCO heritage back in 2013.
Dalmatia is famous for its olive oil, and the golden liquid from Brac is highly prized. It is also the subject of a rather unusual competition each year – the Olive Picking World Championships, which are held in Postira. And with teams coming from as far away as New Zealand, competition is highly competitive!
Brac has a rich wine tradition, and today’s winemakers are producing some outstanding wines which are being exported nationally and internationally. There are two of note which offer very different tasting experiences.
Stina in Bol, right in the heart of the waterfront.
And Senjkovic in Dracevica, a charming rustic experience, complete with local dialect poetry from Magdalena Senjkovic.
Put the words ‘Brac’ and ‘beach’ together and what do you get? Zlatni Rat, of course. Easily the most famous beach in all Croatia, the ‘Goldern Horn’ lies a short walk from the centre of Bol, and it starred in the local tourist board campaign, SymBOL of the Adriatic.
But there are magnificent beaches all over the island, and you will not have to travel too far to find the perfect spot. To help you choose, here are 5 of the best.
Stone for the White House
One of the most famous claims about Brac is that its famous white stone was used in the construction of The White House in Washington, as well as several other notable buildings around the world, including Diocletian’s Palace, Liverpool Cathedral and Budapest Parliament. The island has a very rich stone tradition, one which is very much alive today in Pucisca, where the stonemason school specialises in this ancient craft, and pupils from all over the world come here to study. Visitors are welcome, and it is well worth the effort. Incredible place.
The hauntingly beautiful a cappella klapa singing is a highlight of any visit to any visit to Dalmatia, and many romantic memories are created to the sound of this UNESCO-protected type of traditional singing. Traditionally the preserve of male voices, there are a growing number of female klapa ensembles these days. Among the most beautiful promoting Brac is this one above from Klapa Neverin from Kastel Luksic, set against the stunning Brac backdrop of Skrip and Skrip dialect poetry.
Brac has several male klapa groups who sing with passion about their homeland and favourite island. Here is Klapa Braciera and ‘Bolska’.
Official Tourist Board Websites, and 25 Things to Know about Brac
There are six local tourist boards and two tourist offices on Brac, where you can find out more:
To learn more about this fantastic island, check out TCN’s Brac: 25 Things to Know about Croatia’s Tallest Island.
To discover more of virtual Croatia, you can follow this series in our dedicated section, Virtual Croatia.