Rent a boat and explore the Pakleni Islands around Hvar

Rent a boat and explore the Pakleni Islands around Hvar

One of the best ways to explore the beautiful Pakleni Islands is to rent a boat and be your own skipper for the day!

If you are staying in Hvar and want a day out that combines swimming, beaches, nature and excitement, then visiting the Pakleni Islands really is a must.

With our little motorboat, we spent the day island-hopping and exploring each island at our own leisure.

The boats are cheap to hire and it was such an adventure, navigating our way across the water and mooring up at the different islands.

It was probably our most enjoyable day whilst staying in Hvar and the kids absolutely loved it!

Explore the Pakleni Islands - Pakleni Islands

Disclaimer: This post contains affiliate links, which means we may receive a commission if you click a link and purchase something that we have recommended. While clicking these links won’t cost you any extra money, they will help us keep this site up and running! Thank you for your support!

⭐️ Find out more…

Looking for an EPIC 2 week Croatia itinerary? Click here to read our family itinerary visiting Dubrovnik, Korcula, Hvar & Split

Why you should explore the Pakleni Islands

The Pakleni or Paklinski Islands are a chain of beautiful islands that stretch across the sea directly in front of Hvar Town.

There are plenty of reasons to visit the Pakleni Islands. All of the islands are car-free and covered in lush pine trees which makes it feel like you really are at one with nature. You can choose to relax on a beach or explore the pine forests and beautiful untouched landscape.

Whatever you choose to do, you won’t be able to resist a swim in the beautiful Adriatic Sea. I’m not a huge fan of swimming in the sea (the sheer size of it and what’s in it scares me). But the water is such a vivid translucent turquoise, nothing was going to stop me from jumping in.

The most popular beaches have sun loungers for hire and at least one restaurant or café bar, depending on the size of the island.

Top Tip – most of the beaches are rocky so you may want to take some water shoes (especially for the kids)

Why you should rent a boat to explore the Pakleni Islands

Please note: prices accurate at the time of writing and have used the exchange rate of 1 GBP (British Pound) = 8 HKR (Croatian Kuna) – Sept 2018

There are lots of ways to explore the Pakleni Islands depending on your budget and how independent you want to be.

Private boat and skipper

Probably the most expensive option is to rent a private boat with a skipper and be in control of your own itinerary.

Boat excursion

You may choose to take an organised boat excursion but to some extent, you are restricted to the tour itinerary and will be sharing your day out with others.

Water taxi

The cheapest option is to take the water taxis which run regularly throughout the day. A return journey costs around 50 kn, maybe more for islands further away from Hvar. The water taxis are fairly frequent approximately every 20-30 minutes and you can still island-hop. However, you are a little restricted to water taxi times and drop off points.

Explore the Pakleni Islands - Water taxi

Rent a motorboat

If you are looking for your own little adventure, the chance to be your own skipper and explore at your own leisure, then renting your own motorboat is the best option.

A small motorboat with a 5-8 HP engine will fit 5-6 people and does not require a license. There are plenty of people renting motorboats around the harbour in Hvar and prices are around 500 kn (approx. £60).

We deliberated whether to use the water taxis but were so glad we chose to rent our own motorboat.

Having your own motorboat means that you can be in control your itinerary but at an affordable price. It was so exciting to have our own private boat with skipper daddy taking us on our Adriatic adventure. The kids found it so much fun and even had a go at steering the boat.

There is something so peaceful and calming about being out on your own in the water away from civilisation.

Explore the Pakleni Islands - Motorboat

Is it safe to hire a boat to explore the Pakleni Islands?

This is where you have to make your own judgement about the risks. I wouldn’t have given it a second thought if we didn’t have the children.

In the end, we decided that the risks were low. The islands are very close to each other, you can easily see your next port of call and you can stay close to the shore.

They also provide life vests and there are so many boats around, so plenty of help should you need it.

Warning – we made a decision and felt safe in our little motorboat. Make sure that you feel confident and safe before renting a boat. Ask about the sea conditions as the water can be a dangerous place. You will not be allowed to rent a boat if the sea conditions are bad.

Top Tips for renting a boat from Hvar

Don't forget...

Our day exploring the Pakleni Islands around Hvar

We were given a little map which was great as we could easily plan our route and judge the distance between each island.

You will probably be recommended a route from whoever you hire your boat from. I would highly recommend following their advice to ensure you don’t put yourself at any risk.

Explore the Pakleni Islands - Explore


After a quick lesson, we set off for our first stop – Jerolim!

It was amazing to cruise across the water and the children were buzzing with excitement. Within approximately 15 minutes we arrived and managed to moor up successfully, dropping the anchor and securing ourselves with the rope.

Now be prepared! Jerolim is famous for Amo Beach where nudist enthusiasts go to free themselves of their clothing and bare all!

Explore the Pakleni Islands - Jerolim

The island is only small and has two main beaches. One side seems to be designated for nudists and the other for those wearing swimwear (although there were people wearing swimwear on both sides).

We did venture over to the nudist side but ended up on the other side to swim (not that we really were concerned about our kids seeing nudists – we are all humans at the end of the day).

It was here, we found our anchor was stuck when we returned to our boat. We used the oar to dislodge the rock and free the anchor – and off we went.

Zdrilca & Mlini – (Marinkovac)

Our next stop was the beautiful bay of Zdrilca on the island of Marinkovac. Here, we relaxed and had a drink at Antonio Patak restaurant. If you haven’t got water shoes, you can enter the sea near the restaurant by steps avoiding the sharp rocks.

The island is larger than Jerolim but still small enough to have a good explore around. It takes about 5 minutes to walk to Mlini Beach (or you can moor up closer). This is probably one of the prettiest beaches with its rocky outcrops and overhanging pine trees.

The water here is so beautiful and inviting, we took the boat out and dropped the anchor so that we could jump into the sea and have a swim. This was so much fun, so refreshing and easier than hobbling along the rocks into the water.

We did this a few times because we enjoyed it so much – even our eldest said it was the best swimming she had done and would choose this over a swimming pool every time.

Palmizana - (Sveti Klement)

Palmizana is located on the largest Pakleni island – Sveti Klement. We chose to visit Palmizana because we didn’t want to feel that we had missed out.

However, it is further away, taking up to 30 minutes to get there and the journey is more exposed to the open ocean.

Travelling from Hvar to Jerolim and then round to Zdrilica and Mlini felt very safe and close to the beaches, other boats and people.

Although we hugged the coastline on our way to Palmizana, we were certainly aware of the expanse of ocean on the other side of us.

Set in a beautiful sheltered bay, Palmizana is a more famous tourist resort and certainly feels busier, bigger and has more bars, restaurants and accommodation.

Explore the Pakleni Islands - Palmizana

We decided not to swim here and instead took a 10-minute walk across the island to the ACI (Adriatic Croatian International) Marina. We bought a picnic lunch from a small shop and sat on a bench and admired the luxury sailing boats.

Explore the Pakleni Islands - Palmizana ACI

Stipanska (Carpe Diem Beach) - Marinkovac

On our way back towards Hvar, we returned to the island of Marinkovac but the opposite side to Zdrilca and Mlini. This is home to Stipanska, otherwise known as Carpe Diem Beach which is notorious for its full moon parties.

By night, Stipanska turns into a party island where you can drink and dance all night long to great music from famous DJs.

By day, it is a stylish sunbather’s paradise where you can chill out on luxury sun loungers, being waited on with champagne and cocktails.

After a truly amazing day exploring the Pakleni Islands, we made our way back over to Hvar to return our motorboat.

Explore the Pakleni Islands - Boat

Our final thoughts...

Regardless of your budget and preferences, there is a way for everybody to explore the Pakleni Islands from Hvar.

Some may think that hiring a small motorboat is unsafe or comes with difficulties. However, we found it easy and so much fun. Providing you use common sense, stick to the recommended areas and moor up at the official piers, you should have no problems.

We would definitely do it again!

This Post Has 4 Comments

  1. Devin Scott

    I like how you mentioned that you should feel confident and safe before renting a boat. My wife and I are looking to go on an adventure in the Carribean. I’ll be sure to tell her that we should rent a boat when we go on our trip.

    1. Gemma

      Thank you so much for your comment.
      Yes, we felt confident and safe here because it was not far between the different islands and beaches and there were lots of others about in boats too. We had such a great day. Not been to the Caribbean but I hope you have an amazing time 🙂

  2. Cassandra

    Thanks for this great post. Can I please ask how old your children were at time of sailing? We are planning to go next year when the kids will be nearly 6 and just over 2.5 years and debating on whether we can do something similar, though appreciate it all comes down to how comfortable you are with it personally!

    1. Gemma

      Hi Cassandra, thanks so much for your comment. I’m so excited to hear about your exciting trip to Croatia next year. I’m sure you’ll love Croatia just as much as we did and the kids will absolutely love swimming in the sea (it’s so beautifully clear).
      Our girls were 5.5 years and a little over 2 years old when we visited. We absolutely loved it but like you say, just make sure you are comfortable. The good thing is, you can venture as far out as you like or stick to the closest island which really isn’t far at all.
      I hope that helps but please let me know if you have any more questions 🙂
      Gemma x

Leave a Reply