Veli Kamik, the Hidden Romantic Wedding Gem on Hvar’s Southern Shore

Total Croatia News

March 6, 2020 – Meet Veli Kamik, a small rock in a divine spot with quite a history on Hvar’s southern shore – and an increasingly popular wedding destination. 

When I first bought a house on Hvar back in 2002, I had only heard of the island for the first time three days before. I moved to Jelsa and slowly started to discover that I really had found Paradise on Earth. 

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There was very little information available at that time about destinations, and so each new trip was a genuine discovery. I was particularly fascinated by going to the south side of the island. There was the most insane tunnel near Pitve that was literally carved out of rock, single lane with two passing places, and no lights. One of the great undiscovered film locations of the world. On the other side of the tunnel lay the southern slopes of Hvar, whose south-facing vineyards into the Adriatic I was to learn had some of the best Plavac Mali vineyards in the world. My initial trips through the tunnel took me to Zavala, Gromic Dolac and Ivan Dolac, until one day I decided to follow the road right to the end, and then I saw it. 

Sveta Nedjelja. 

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A small village which really was like no other Surrounded by sheer cliffs above (where one could find a monastery built in a cave high above the village), with the majestic vineyards of Zlatan Otok, one of Croatia’s top wineries, the things I remember the most from that first trip were the extraordinary sunset and a photogenic tree on a tiny rock which had been connected to the rest of the island by a tiny bridge. I learned later that it was called Veli Kamik. 

It was one of the most romantic places I have ever seen. 


It turns out that it was quite a famous tree as well, one of the most famous in all Croatia, as Zlatan Otok adopted it for their iconic logo to celebrate their Sveta Nedjelja roots. 

I was surprised to learn that Sveta Nedjelja was only connected by road in 1975. Before then, everything came by boat only. I have been meaning for years to find out more about the village’s history, especially that of this magical Veli Kamik tree and rock, and I am grateful to Vilma Plenkovic Plazonja from Villa Perka in Sveta Nedjelja, for not only providing me with information on the history, but also introducing me to a romantic part of Veli Kamik I was unaware of – a hidden gem of a wedding destination. 

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(The view from Villa Perka)

Vilma’s family first got into tourism back in early 1960. Access to the village was either by boat or on foot over the top of the island’s peak of Sveti Nikola. Guests would arrive in Hvar Town, and Vilma’s family would bring them by boat to Sveta Nedjelja, quite an additional journey for those who had travelled from Germany, Austria and Italy. Guests would come year on year, typically for three weeks. There were no restaurants back then, and her mother would prepare three meals a day. A different era. 

But it was when we got talking about Veli Kamik and its history that things got really interesting. I really had no idea of the history of its pier of connection to the main island. 

The pier on Veli Kamik was built in 1924. It was used for boarding of the loads onto the larger boats, that were unable to dock in Sv. Nedjelja, at the location where the marina is today, because of the insufficient depth. At the time, Veli Kamik was connected by a wooden bridge, and only in 1938 was a concrete bridge built on the wooden base.

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You can still see the sign today, it says ‘The Bridge of the Peasant Unity / Faith in God and Peasant Unity / August 20, 1938’ (Most seljačke sloge / Vjera u Boga i seljačka sloga/ 20.VIII 1938). At that time the organisation Peasant Unity was active, organising and managing project which were of public importance. 

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On August 20, 1988 a big party was organised to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the bridge. A local chronicler Ćiro Milatić described the event:

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“For the 50th anniversary of the bridge being built, a big party was organized. Three lambs were roasted on a spit, and almost a hundred litres of red wine were drunk. 500 plastic cups were acquired for the occasion. There was as much of bread, salted sardine and sweets as anyone might’ve wanted. Jumping from the bridge was organized, as was a donkey race, running in lavender sacks, singing, tug of war and many other types of entertainment. The prettiest girl was also chosen, and in the finale of the pageant there were two foreign girls and a local girl. The concrete bridge was completed on August 20, 1938 and the wine was mostly boarded onto ships which docked there. Each household paid 5 dinars back in the day to have 100 litres boarded on ships. At the time, a litre of wine cost 2 dinars. 

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In 1948 a permanent boat line was established. Twice a week, in the early morning hours, a steamboat which sailed between Vela Luka – Zavala – Sveta Nedjelja – Hvar – Split docked here, and in the evenings, it was returning to Vela Luka. During the rough weather, when the boat couldn’t dock there, two locals transported the passengers on their boat “Pčela” and were paid for their services by Jadrolinija. They were obligated to take the passengers to Hvar any time it was necessary, especially so that they could visit the doctor. The boat line was discontinued in 1961, and after that only the local people maintained the line to and from Hvar.

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(The pier at Sveta Nedjelja in 1972, where today is the marina and Bilo Idro restaurant)

Fabulous stuff.

And the attractions of Veli Kamik continue.

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Among the Villa Perka guests last June were Czech model Denisa Dvorzakova and her crew who did a photo shoot for the cover of Elle Magazine. And you don’t have to be a model to take your selfie there – it has become a very popular spot for holiday snaps. 

This charismatic rock is also attracting more daredevil tourists, and it has become one of the prime spots on Hvar for adrenaline jumping into the sea. Check out someone who is braver than me in the video above. 

And I was very pleased when Vilma told me about another aspect of tourism which is growing at Villa Perka as I remembered those first romantic memories of Villa Perka all those years ago – it is now an emerging wedding destination. 

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Thanks to Vilma for sharing these GREAT photos (with permission from the happy couple) of a Swedish wedding, which took place last year. The guests stayed at Villa Perka, and the ceremony was conducted under the famous tree on Veli Kamik. 

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This is what I love about the private sector in Croatian tourism – taking the initiative to create new products. 

As part of her offer, Vilma offers the services almost akin to a wedding planner. Her local knowledge on the island connects the couple to photographers, florists, hairdressers, translators, the registrar, the consulates in Split, as well as local suppliers such as Hvar Chef in Stari Grad. 

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Having the main wedding party housed in one place such as Villa Perka obviously has its advantages for the wedding party, as well as allowing her to concentrate on looking after one booking of 14 guests, rather than different families. Additional guests are housed in nearby accommodation belonging to Vilma’s contacts. 

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I can think of worse places to spend a wedding and honeymoon…

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The wedding industry is becoming increasingly personalised, with people choosing to do their own thing, and with many more locations now available. 

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And Veli Kamik certainly ticks all the boxes for couples looking for an extraordinary location totally off the beaten path.

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A little rock with a very big heart and almost 100 years of giving to the people of Sveta Nedjelja and the many tourists who visit. 

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Many thanks to Vilma for taking the time and effort to research Veli Kamik and this little gem of Hvar history. If you are thinking of getting married and looking for a great location – or even if you aren’t, she has many more stories, just one of the great additional services on offer at Villa Perka.  And check out more photos at the Swedish wedding party at the Villa Perka reception, below.

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