Croatia had been on my bucket list for years… however, the husband took some convincing. But following the advice of a friend to check out Milna on Brac Island and my discovery of the seemingly perfect villa, he was sold. We were looking for a sleepy coastal village with sufficient amenities but without falling into the tourist trap and I think we found it.
The trouble with holidaying on any island is that it is never going to be a super straightforward journey but Milna, in fact, is not too tricky to navigate your way to. We flew with Easyjet from Glasgow to Split where we hired a car (I have no advice on this other than do NOT use Carwiz – they were cheap but atrocious) and drove to Split ferry terminal in around thirty-five minutes. It is worth checking the ferry timetables here but you basically have two options – the car ferry from Split to Supetar or the foot passenger catamaran directly from Split to Milna. We took the car ferry which gave us a good opportunity to also stock up at the only large supermarkets on the island – Konzum (my preferred option) or Lidl in Supetar. From Supetar it was a beautiful thirty minute drive round the coast to Milna.
Whilst this might have been relatively uncomplicated we still spent around twelve hours door to door travelling on day one. We flew on a Sunday and in May which did impact the regularity of ferries but it is certainly worth doing some research and factoring this in if you are contemplating a shortish stay. We did ten nights though so it was not a major issue.
Scroll down for tips on where to stay, eat and what to do…
We absolutely lucked out with our Airbnb villa. You can see the listing here and take my word for it that it is just as good, if not better, than the photos and reviews. It was right in the heart of the old town of Milna, beautifully appointed inside with original stonework and the outside space was just incredible – three levels comprising pool with outdoor shower and sunbathing area, outdoor cooking and dining area with sofas perfect for coffees and sundowners as well as more loungers and the upper level, a favourite with Hunter, with trampoline, table tennis, small play area and wicker seating.
The house itself is also set over three levels with the top floor offering the most spectacular views of the bay and an outdoor, rooftop terrace. The car parking it at the water’s edge but the Airbnb host met us upon arrival to help tote the luggage up the hill and get us settled in.
Sadly, although all my photos are bathed in glorious sunshine, our weather was extremely mixed with equal parts torrential rain, cloud and sun. But this villa was our saving grace and when the sun came out and we could make the most of that outdoor space, we were in heaven.
If you are looking for a hotel there are just two in Milna; the adults only M8 hotel and Olife hotel both of which are relatively central and look to have good reviews. I cannot give any personal experience of staying in either but I will say that we dined at Olife one evening and the food was disappointingly sub par and overpriced.
Our first choice for dining was al fresco at the villa and we adored our outdoor oven. The highlight was the day the husband wandered down to the harbour early enough to buy fresh fish straight from the boat and we grilled it that night with lemon and herbs from the garden – such a treat.
To tell the truth I was not overwhelmed by the food in Milna and that, combined with the fact that we were holidaying with a toddler, meant that we chose to eat in when we could. From our experience of the other villages we visited on the island which were slightly more developed, the food quality was much better but, equally, we did not try them all.
We did, however, have the most delicious and fresh pizzas from Pizzeria Slika which has a gorgeous spot right on the edge of the water with boats bobbing and sunset watching. We had a decent meal at Omo in the most gorgeous setting but I think perhaps the atmosphere was a little lacking for us as we were the only people in the whole place – worth noting that May is QUIET in Milna. I would have loved to try Bago but the weather was not on our side, or perhaps it was too early in the season, but it appeared to be closed both times we wandered past… And whilst I really had high hopes for Olife, the food and the service was a huge let down – please don’t waste your money on a meal here but do stop in for a cocktail or a coffee on the beautiful over water terrace.
Milna is a slow village. In May at least. We were told that come July and August the streets are full and the atmosphere quite different but, truth be told, I think this would still be the perfect place to avoid the hoards of tourists that flock to the more popular spots in Croatia each summer. So you embrace the slow, you wander and you stop for coffees and pick up your bread from the local bakeries for lunch (oh boy, the bread was good) and you admire the traditional buildings of the old town which are seemingly pretty much untouched for decades. Milna is not one of those villages where you need to seek out the old town to find the pretty – the whole place is the old town with cobbled alleys and big stone steps and the church with its bells that keep time on the hour every hour day and night. And yes, certain spots, particularly a couple of old derelict buildings on the waterfront, could use some tender loving care but surely that is part of Milna’s charm, part of what keeps her real and true.
Whilst all the photos here are of Milna we did a couple of day trips to occupy ourselves on the more inclement days and they were wonderful. I highly recommend a wander round Supetar with lunch at Palute and Bol was utterly charming with plenty of spots to choose from for drinks or lunch by the water on a sunny day. The famous Zlatni Rat beach is a must see but save it for a sunny day because in the rain and gloom I can tell you it is not quite as special. I understand you can easily do day trips by boat to Split and Hvar from Milna, both of which look amazing, but personally we saved our sunny days for living our perfect villa life.
Have you been to Croatia? I would love to know where you stayed and if you would recommend it – just leave a note in the comments and I will check them out. Forever thinking about my next adventure…