Pakleni Islands: your guide to Hvar's stunning archipelago
Our day trip to the Pakleni islands was one of our favourite of Hvar. Here’s our guide to the stunning Pakleni Islands, including where to swim, where to eat, and the best day tours.
“This looks perfect”, I said, gliding our boat into a delightfully deserted lagoon off Sveti Klement, the largest of the many islands that make up the Pakleni Islands archipelago off Hvar.
"I think we’ve just found paradise!”, Mim shouted back, a wide smile on her face.
The lagoon was picture-perfect; the bright blue water was crystal-clear, the bay surrounded by green Mediterranean pine, complete with the sweet summer sound of humming cicadas.
“We have!”, I shouted back, before diving headfirst into the cool Mediterranean waters.
The Pakleni Islands (Paklinksi Islands) are a stunning chain of wooded isles that sit just off Hvar town on Croatia’s uber-famous Hvar Island. Pakleni Otco literally translates to hell islands, but the Pakleni islands are anything but hell.
Complete with picturesque coves, hidden beaches, stunning restaurants and its fair share of FKK beaches (nudist), they’ve long been a beacon for travellers who’ve enjoyed them as part of a day trip from Hvar.
Unsurprising, then, that our day exploring the Pakleni Islands ended up being our absolute favourite thing to do on Hvar Island.
Setting off early, we hired a 5hp Pesara boat and before long were navigating the narrow Hvar strait, putting our newly acquired seafaring skills to the test.
After a slightly terrifying (and humorous) 30 minute ride, we arrived at our first bay, turquoise and achingly clear, for our first swim.
That swim set the tone for the rest of the day; we'd find ourselves a beautiful, quiet bay, drop our anchor and jump straight off the bow into the clear blue waters, before relaxing in the beautiful mediterranean sun.
It was paradise, and a day dreams are made of.
Whether its hiring your own boat, or joining a day tour from Hvar, visiting the Pakleni islands is one of the best day trips from Hvar, and one which we recommend to all visitors to this island paradise.
We’ve put together this detailed guide to the Pakleni Islands to help you get the most out of your day to this ridiculously beautiful archipelago.
our Pakleni islands guide | the perfect day trip from Hvar
BEYOND THE Pakleni Islands - EXPLORING MORE OF HVAR ISLAND
After spending six weeks living on the island of Hvar, and got to know it pretty darn well.
Not only is it one of the most beautiful places we’ve ever visited, there’s also an incredible amount of things to do on Hvar Island and in Hvar town, as well as a huge selection of amazing beaches to chose from.
Below is a selection of our top posts from the island, which should have all the information you need to have an incredible holiday, including where to stay, what to eat and places to visit.
HVAR ISLAND | 18 incredible things to see and do in Hvar Island during your stay
STARI GRAD, HVAR | 11 amazing things to do in Stari Grad, Hvar Island’s beautiful rustic gem
Where are the Pakleni Islands (Paklinski Islands)?
The Pakleni islands (otherwise known as the Paklinski Islands) are located south of Hvar Island.
Hvar itself is located in the Adriatic sea, off Croatia's famous Dalmatian coast. It's surrounded by a number of islands including Brac, Korcula and Vis, and is around an hours boat ride from Split. The island is the longest and sunniest in Croatia, and has around 11,000 in habitants.
The Pakleni Islands are a short boat ride either of Hvar town’s main harbours.
When to visit the Pakleni Islands
We're massive fans of visiting Hvar Island (and the Pakleni Islands) during the shoulder seasons (April - early June, Sept - Oct).
Not only are the days still long and the sea warm, but the crowds are smaller and more manageable, making the island extremely pleasant. What's more, the prices of food and drinks are cheaper during the shoulder period.
The Pakleni islands themselves are one of the main tourist attractions on Hvar, so expect to see a lot of day-trippers visiting the islands.
If you’re hiring your own boat, which we totally recommend, you’ll have the opportunity to leave early and arrive to the various coves and beaches before the throngs of tourists.
It also provides you the opportunity to escape to hidden coves should the crowds get too much.
How to get to the Pakleni Islands
| Hire a boat |
We hired a Pesara boat (5hp) for the day and it was the best decision we ever made. We could control when and where we wanted to drop anchor, and didn’t have to deal with other tourist or passengers.
As the pasara boat is so small, you won't need a boat licence to operate it, however you will get a lesson from your vendor, which we definitely recommend you listen to, as it takes a while to get used to the steering and engine.
You can also hire a ice box to store food and drinks, as well as snorkelling gear.
Cost | 400 kuna for a 5hp Pasara boat
Book | We used Hvar Boats, which provide good quality boats at a competitive price
Tips | Pack your own lunch, water, beers and sunscreen. Make sure you take back all your litter and dispose of in the bins in town. Don't get drunk, whatever you do!
| Hvar to Paklinski Islands Taxi boat |
Taxi boats are commonplace on the islands of Croatia, which can get you from A to B quickly and affordably.
A taxi boat service operates between Hvar Town (the port near Hvar main square) and the Pakleni Islands regularly throughout the summer season.
Transfers only take 15 minutes, and can drop you at any of the major islands in the archipelago, including Jerolim, Marinkovac or Sveti Klement, or to Stipanska (Carpe Diem club), or Mlini beach.
Cost | 60 kuna return to Pakleni Islands
Book | You can book directly with any of the taxi operators in Hvar harbour
| Private tour of the Pakleni Islands |
If piloting your own boat isn’t your thing, why not join a boat tour from Hvar which takes in the Pakleni islands, as well as the famous Blue cave on Bisevo and Green cave on Ravnik.
You’ll get to see more than just the Pakleni islands, on your own private speed boat.
Cost | From €71 per person
Book | Book this Blue and Green Cave tour here
| Kayaking the Paklinski Islands |
Something we wish we did on Hvar Island was join a sea kayaking tour of the Pakleni Islands.
Not only does it allow you to discover hidden coves and beaches, but you also have a guide to talk you through the Islands history.
The half-day tour also stops at one of the beautiful restaurants, before heading back to Hvar.
Cost | From €52 per person
Book | Book this sea kayaking tour of the Pakleni Islands here
Tips for renting a boat from Hvar to the Pakleni Islands
If you’ve chosen to hire you’re own boat, good decision!
But there are a few things you should know before jumping aboard and sprinting across to the Pakleni islands:
Insurance | It's important to note that, while the boat is insured, the propeller and anchor are not, so you'll liable for any damage (which is easy on the rocks).
Safety | If you’ve never piloted a boat, make sure you get a lesson before heading out in to the open sea.
Keep an eye out for large ferries and boats operating in the area - it's the main route from Split to Hvar and Korcula, and the ferries are deceptively fast. Don’t try to take them on, just slow down and wait for the ferry/larger boat to pass.
Whoever is piloting the boat, we recommend they stay sober. Not to be party poopers, but in the afternoon the waves can get prettttty choppy, and it’s just not worth having an accident if you’ve had a few too many.
Respect others | We had a few instances of people coming into bays and being general nuisances - playing loud music, shouting, and being idiots.
We’re all for fun, but if you’re going to party it up a little, find your own bay and don’t disrupt others. On the other hand, if the bay is rocking, jump on in!
Pack for the day | Some of the boats come with a cooler box, so bring your own food, drinks and fruit. Unless of course you want to eat at one of the amazing restaurants…
Don’t litter | Don’t even think about throwing your litter overboard. And if you see any rubbish floating in the sea or nestled in coves, pick it up and take it with you - leave this environment better than you found it.
More Pakleni Islands boat hire tips:
Check life jackets are provided, just in case
Does the boat have an oar? Make sure it does, just in case
See if you can get a boat with stairs at the back - it’s far easier to get back onto the boat
Things to do on the Pakleni Islands
| Swim in the Pakleni Island’s gloriously clear waters |
The crystal-clear waters surrounding the Pakleni islands are perfect for a dip… or ten.
There are many hidden coves around the archipelago which provide the ideal spot to spend a few hours enjoying the Adriatic. If you’ve packed your snorkel and mask, it’s also a great opportunity to explore the underwater life.
Some of our favourite bays and beaches included:
The two large bays on Sveti Klement after Vinogradisce Bay (unfortunately they don't have a name)
Zdrilca beach, located on Marinkovac Island
Mlini beach, located on Marinkovac Island
READ | Explore all of Hvar’s best beaches with this post!
| Stop for lunch in Mlini beach |
While there are a few wonderful places to eat delicious local fare on the Pakleni Islands (Dionis, on Sveti Klement, for instance), but Mamato bar on Marinkovac, is our pick of the bunch.
Located right on the beach and nestled amongst the trees, Mamato bar overlooks arguably the most beautiful bay on the Pakleni Islands.
While the food might not be the best on the islands (it’s still bloody awesome), the views and vibe are second to none, and it’s the perfect place to while the afternoon away with a few beers or cocktails, before heading back to Hvar Island.
Where | Mamato Bar
Opening hours | 11:30am - 12am
| Sunset drinks at Carpe Diem Beach club |
Hvar’s most exclusive beach club is located on the island of Marinkovac, a ten minute boat ride from Hvar town.
Set amongst the Mediterranean pine and rocky coves, expect relaxed afternoons sipping cocktails to chilled trop-house, before watching the golden sunset.
Then, at midnight join the throngs from Carpe Diem Bar as the party ramps up of the evening, with world class DJ’s pumping tunes till sunrise.
Carpe Diem is pretty exclusive, and very expensive, so just be prepared.
Where | Carpe Diem Beach Club
Opening hours | Day club: 10am - 7pm, Nightclub: 12:30am - 5am
Cost | Cocktails start from £8
| Get nude at the world’s number 1 nudist beach(if you’re that way inclined), Jerolim Island |
Naturist, nudist, or just wanting to try something a little different?
Head to Jerolim Island in the Pakleni Islands, which is home to one of the most famous FKK beaches in the world.
Jerolim island itself is a beautiful little island, covered in low lying pine, sheltered bays and coves, perfect for swimming, and a little restaurant which welcomes naturists.
There are also many places to shade yourself should the searing sun prove too much.
ARE YOU PLANNING TO VISIT HVAR SOON?
We have a heap of essential reading before you travel to the paradise island of Hvar:
HVAR ISLANDS | Top things to see and do in Hvar Island
HVAR’S BEST BEACHES | Our complete guide to Hvar’s best beaches
STARI GRAD, HVAR | 11 amazing things to do in Stari Grad, Hvar
TRAVEL INSURANCE | Don’t leave home without travel insurance (seriously, don’t!). Click here to get the best deals with World Nomads, our trusted travel insurance provider
PHOTOGRAPHY | Love our photography? Wondering what gear we use to get all of our photos around the world? Click here to view our detailed photography gear guide, as well as our top travel photography tips!
ECO FRIENDLY PACKING ESSENTIALS | Don’t leave home without our favourite eco-friendly travel essentials
Have you been to the Pakleni Islands? Help your fellow travellers our by sharing your favourite things to do in Paklinski Islands, Croatia in the comments below!