There are still parts of the world where time stands still, such as the paradise that is the island of Scedro off Hvar in Croatia.
Life is slowly changing on the Dalmatian coast, as local culture adapts to the needs of modern tourism, but there are still pockets of raw, unspoiled nature and tranquility, as Digital Journal discovered on a visit to the little known island of Scedro on January 28, 2013.
Situated some 2.7km south of Croatia's premier island of Hvar, and accessible by water taxi from the resort of Zavala, Scedro is not the most approachable destination in Croatia, but this has resulted in its charm, as it has been largely overlooked by tourists. Despite the rather limited number of tourists - tourism only began in the 1970s - it is very much on the sailing map, with its deep bays.
Entering the picturesque bay of Mostir is a step back in time, with a fisherman meticulously gutting and cleaning the daily catch of some 20kg.
Mostir is a bay of half a dozen old stone houses, pristine water and a few boats. Idyllic.
Its real heritage gem is the 15th century monastery, which used to house some sixty monks and nuns. In front of it is a 13th century church, with the oldest part dating back to the 11th century.
Local legend has it that when the last nun died, there was only one monk left, and he took the door off the monastery, laid it in the water, and made his way to neighbouring Hvar. The 600 year-old water tank still provides the water for the one family which lives on the island all year.
Local produce is used to produce an array of products from excellent wines to fragrant soaps. Above, a traditional way to age rakija in wood.
While Scedro may be off the world map, its honey is not, and leading Hvar honey maker Boris Buratovic came fourth in the 2011 Apimondia in Argentina with his rosemary honey from Scedro. There are other honey producers from Hvar who base their hives on Scedro for its natural benefits. Hvar TV reported on Buratovic and his Scedro honey last year (see video below).
There are no roads as such, but some paths between the various bays. Cars do exist, transported across by perching them on two boats, and the occasional traffic jam can occur.
The walk from the monastery to the main bay of Veli Porat takes 20 minutes on foot through divine nature.
While Veli Porat may have more houses and more eating options, it is still very relaxed and a world away from the real world. A sailing paradise.
Connections to the real world are by boat only - a typical journey across the water to Zavala.
Lunch on the water. Simple, classic Dalmatian fare. Grilled fish from the catch of the day, lemon, olive oil, rocket salad, local wines. Simple. Uncomplicated. Delicious.
And finally time to leave, a return to the 'Big Smoke' of Hvar. In an age of globalisation, tourism experiences such as Scedro are a dying breed. Get there before the hordes discover it - it will change you.
About Paul Bradbury
Author of Lebanese Nuns Don't Ski, Lavender, Dormice and a Donkey Named Mercedes and the Hvar's first comprehensive guidebook, Hvar: An Insider's Guide to Croatia's Premier Island, I have lived in Dalmatia full time since 2003 and run various tourism information websites about Hvar, Split and Zagora, and am co-author of Split: An Insider's Guide with Mila Hvilshoj.
I also have various blogging clients, including the Central Dalmatia Tourist Board, Restaurant Gariful, Hvar Adventure, Villas Hvar and Andro Tomic Wines, and print clients include Qatar Airways inflight magazine, Out! magazine from New York, and Croatian Hotspots.
I also provide website content services, including Agroturizam Pharos, Toto's Restaurant, European Coastal Airlines, Restaurant Gariful and Divota Aparthotel. Please contact me if you would like help with your website content.
I also write for Google News via Digital Journal - see my range of articles here.
Ongoing writing projects:
A History of Hajduk Split, co-author with Frane Grgurevic
Around the World in 80 Disasters
Total Hvar in the Media:
Interview of the Month, Croatian Embassy in Washington (May 2013)
Special Feature in Globus Magazine (May 2013)
Featured on Croatian TV show, More (2012) - watch the report here.
4-page special in Nedjelji Jutarnji, Croatia's leading paper (August 2014)
Interviews in Slobodna Dalmacija, Dalmacijanews, Radio Split
I am available for writing services. Please contact me on [email protected]
Total Hvar - www.total-hvar.com
Total Split - www.croatia-split.com
Total Inland Dalamtia - www.total-inland-dalmatia.com
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