I drift in the water of the Adriatic Sea, my body floating with my arms in a T shape. It’s just me, the water, and the sky. I pick up the distant whir of an engine under the surface. Lifting my head from my bed of waves I see a small boat zip by. I look around and see blue, orange, cream and green. They are the colors of Pučišća. Even the swimming rope is made of floating spheres of orange and cream. The rolling hills of trees create the green, while the sky and water frame everything in blue. The town, made completely of stone, is all cream with orange roofs. I notice the sun starting to fall behind the nearest hill and my perfect spot loses its warmth. I spy another beach on the opposite side of the bay and decide to walk around to it and chase what remains of the sun.
On the way, I spot a stand selling beach items and buy a bright pink blowup raft. After huffing and puffing on a new ledge of cream stones, I edge into the sea with my new float. I paddle far out and relax into the water again. I’m reminded of my youth, spending entire days on the canal we lived on near the St. Clair River. I was a fish back then, everyday was spent exploring that canal and swimming until my fingers were pruned and the sun set. This is how I feel now, like I could stay all day. It’s the perfect temperature in the water and I don’t want to get out. I watch sailboats drift into the harbor and children endlessly jump into the sea. It really is the perfect place to swim. I climb up on my raft and look down. Suddenly I am surrounded by hundreds of silver fish. As far I as I can see into the blue, they swim. A school surrounds me and flashes, dives, flutters, gleams in the sunlight. It’s simply amazing. I’ve seen schools like this on television, but never so close that I can almost touch them. They glide by for a moment more and then are gone, leaving me smiling at this first time experience.
Part of me realizes one day this place might be taken over by tourists, but for now it’s wonderful. There are only a handful of shops and restaurants. I didn’t have to fight crowds to get places or wear my backpack to the side to protect myself from pick pockets. I wandered up and down the small stone streets enjoying every view in peace. A sense of community happened in the evenings, as one night there was a local water polo match where I have never seen such enthusiasm from a crowd. Flares were lit, chants of victory were heard. I think I was the only tourist watching. Then on the next night a choir sung outside and the whole town showed up to watch. The beautiful music rang through the whole bay with the surrounding hills making a perfect amphitheater. The beaches are free, clean and gorgeous. In Italy I had to pay for my beach time or else lay on the tiny public beach full of cigarettes in the sand and litter. If I wanted fresh water to rinse off in I had to pay for it as well as the bathroom. Here in Croatia, that’s all free. I didn’t see one ounce of litter and the water is crystal clear. I feel more free here as well. I have memories of my youth swimming with me as I dip my head back into the sea, drowning out all sound and letting the coolness of the water completely take over. Paradise just might be in Pučišća.
Tips and Helpful Information
You can reach Pučišća from the city of Split by a 50 minute ferry to Supetar, then take the local bus about 40 minutes to arrive in the town center. Tickets are sold at the ferry dock. Arrive 30 minutes early and if you bypass the smaller stand out in the sun, there is a larger office that is air conditioned in the bigger building beyond. Once the ferry is almost to Supetar, grab your bags and head downstairs. Go straight ahead once you exit off the ferry. The bus ticket office will be on the right hand side past the gas station in a small hut near the buses. It can get busy, so it’s best to try and be near the front of the ferry when it docks.
Food options are limited. This was the one downside for me, as I like to be a healthy eater and mostly vegetarian. There are only a few restaurants with very similar menus of beef and veal, pasta and pizza. Some have fish(with heads) and squid as well. This is totally fine for some, but for myself it was a challenge without access to a kitchen. There are a few grocery stores in town which were useful, the biggest being under my hotel.
I found the service here to be the friendliest and they had some salads on the menu. An added bonus are the donuts. They have a little stand out front where they start selling fresh donuts around 8pm. They are sprinkled with powdered sugar and stuffed with melted chocolate. I’m not much of a donut girl but these were divine!
If you are a light sleeper, bring earplugs and buckle up. This town is in love with its church bells. One time, they went on for 30 minutes in the evening, rapidly clanging like a record on repeat. It felt like the two churches were battling each other from across the harbor. I wish they would tone it down a bit.
There are options through booking.com and airbnb.com. However, I found my lodging the day I arrived through the tourist office and stayed at Hotel Porat. My view couldn’t be topped with shutters opening up to the bay, framing the church and boats each sunrise and sunset. My bed was the most comfortable one I’ve had so far with great pillows to match. The service was friendly and helpful. When I couldn’t have the complimentary breakfast due to the fact I don’t eat meat, they gladly made me eggs with fresh tomatoes. I highly recommend it as it was a great value while being in a prime location, clean, comfortable and safe.