Tuesday, July 16, 2024

Tiny ‘exotic paradise’ island has Europe’s best skies, empty beaches & one hotel

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CROATIA is one of Europe’s holiday destinations in Europe, but there’s still a lot of places where tourists can have a secluded getaway.

Lastovo island is part of the Lastovo archipelago, made up of 47 islands in the south of the Dalmatian Coast, and perfect for escaping the summer crowds.

Lastovo has wine bars, taverns and restaurants on its islandCredit: Corbis
Residents and visitors love diving into the sea from the pier at the small Mihajla beach
The Solitudo Hotel is the only official hotel on the island
Lobster spaghetti is Lastovo’s signature dishCredit: Getty

It’s been described as an “exotic paradise” by yacht rentals company Med Gulets, who praised its versatility and natural beauty.

They wrote: “Often referred to as Croatia’s exotic paradise, Lastovo Island Nature Park stands out as a distant microcosm teeming with cultural, ecological, and recreational value.”

Lastovo is the largest of the islands and is home to its own protected nature park.

Its population is fewer than 1,000 residents and it is only reachable via ferry from places like Split, Hvar, Dubrovnik and others.

Its remote location, rugged features and the fact it has average temperatures of 30C in the summer, make it a terrific option for holidaymakers seeking a quiet break, with plenty of sun and sea.

Travel experts Conde Nast said it was a “far cry from Croatia’s non-stop party islands” and that “getting back to nature is what it’s all about here”.

In fact, 70 per cent of the island’s surface is covered in pine trees, while it’s all completely surrounded by a “crystal clear coastline which never to fails to amaze guests from all around the world”, according to tz-Lastovo.cr.

At the top of the list of the most popular beaches for the locals who live there is Mihajla beach, which is home to a pier that residents use to dive off into the turquoise blue waters.

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Cafe Mihajla is found right next to the shore, and serves coffee and refreshing drinks throughout the day, as well as ice-creams and local beers and wine.

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Other beaches on the island are listed on the website Croatia Beaches as the best hidden shorelines in the country.

They also include Zaklopatica bay, Skrivena Luka bay and Velo and Malo Lago bays.

The sky above the island is celebrated too, with Lastovo proud of its star-watching capabilities.

Visit Croatia claims that astrographers have labelled it “the most beautiful starry sky in the whole of Europe”.

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  1. Pasqyra Beach, Albania
  2. Paralia Mpouka, Greece
  3. Kassiopi, Greece
  4. Plage de la Vernette, France
  5. Kaputas Beach, Turkey
  6. Voulisma Beach, Greece
  7. Foki Beach, Greece
  8. Praia do Carvalho, Portugal
  9. Omprogialos, Greece
  10. Los Lances Beach, Spain
  11. Troon Beach, Scotland
  12. Zlatni Rat, Croatia
  13. Ploce Beach, Montenegro
  14. Marina del Cantone, Italy
  15. Cannon Beach, USA
  16. Cala Saona, Spain
  17. Keem Bay, Ireland
  18. Antisamos, Greece
  19. Plaza Kutlesa, Croatia
  20. Štikovica, Croatia
  21. Platja es Tancats, Spain
  22. Platja des Coll Baix, Spain
  23. Dafnoudi Beach, Greece
  24. Paloma Beach, France
  25. Praia de Boneca, Portugal
  26. Cala Figuera, Spain
  27. Milocher Beach, Montenegro
  28. Matira Beach, French Polynesia
  29. Cape Kaliakra, Bulgaria
  30. Playa El Doradillo, Argentina

This is a result of very low light pollution leading to it having one of the darkest skies in the continent, allowing for plenty of stargazing on clear nights.

Lastovo is known for making its own wine called maraština, which is found in bars throughout the island.

The drink is described as “refreshing” by plenty of wine websites, including Wine & More, making it the perfect drop after a day in the sun.

Most of the bars selling maraština are found at the top of a tall hill on the island among a “warren of flower-filled alleys” according to CN Traveller, inside old stone houses.

Prices on the island are similar to that in the rest of Croatia, with beers costing around £2.30 a pint and wine £5 a bottle.

There are plenty of places to eat there too, with fresh lobster spaghetti the island’s signature dish.

Most visitors staying on the island will end up staying in the Hotel Solitudo, the only official hotel on the island.

It’s found in the bay of Pasadur, right on the sea shore and is surrounded by pine trees and Mediterranean plants, like most of the rest of the island.

It has 170 beds in its rooms, each with its own ensuite bathroom, as well as balcony and air conditioning and sea views.

The Solitudo has its own restaurant and tavern, with outdoor seating, serving local food and of course maraština.

Additionally, it has its own goat farm, with around 70 goats, as well as its own diving school that provides qualified diving instructors, as well as diving equipment hire.

Rooms in the hotel are available from around £63 per night.

However, private room booking and home rentals can also be booked on the island, while a campsite offers a cheaper option for visitors.

Meanwhile, here are five island hopping holidays that could be perfect for you this year.

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The sea surrounding the island has crystal clear blue water
Pine forests cover the majority of the islandCredit: Getty
Lastovo is the largest 47 islands in the Lastovo archipelagoCredit: Getty

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