Enter the following coordinates: 43°09′06″N 16°39′12″E.
You've found Vrisnik. This is Pitve: 43°09′07″N 16°40′08″E.
You don't even have to enter both coordinates: once you find Vrisnik, it's simply impossible not to notice Pitve immediately. It works the other way around.
If you've decided to leave your gadgets at home, let us explain it to you the old-school way: when you get off the ferry in Stari Grad harbor, take the road to Jelsa. When you reach Jelsa, instead of turning left to enter Jelsa, turn right to the village of Svirče. Once you get to Svirče, you don't need any special instructions: you will inevitably look up towards two proud little villages that look as if they ran for the hills.
The other option is not to turn left before Jelsa, but keep going for a few hundred meters and then turn right to the picturesque Pitve, pass part of the village and turn right to Vrisnik at the crossroad.
In case you've decided to come to the island without a car and crave island road adventures, you can rent one at our agency. Also, if you don't have a car and you're headed to Vrisnik, the shortest route to it is via catamaran from Split to Jelsa. However, if you're staying in Vrisnik, we definitely recommend a car since it’s a lovely village deprived of urban features.
Let's go back to the beginning of this story. Let's say that you chose to turn right to Svirče upon reaching Jelsa. The first village you pass after Svirče is Vrisnik.
The village is located on the slopes of a hill with the church of Saint Anthony the Abbot (Sveti Antun Opat) on the top. The square in front of the church, shaded by cypresses about 400 years old, offers a unique view of Vrisnik and Svirče and carefully tended olive groves and vineyards. They say that Vrisnik got its name from heather, one of the herbs from the aromatic bouquet of Hvar. Administratively speaking, Vrisnik belongs to the municipality of Jelsa, from which it is about 5km away.
The church plays an important role in the life of all island villages. One of the most prominent days in the calendar of Vrisnik and other nearby places is "Maundy Thursday", the night between Maundy Thursday and Good Friday, when devout processions set off from six villages and towns - Pitve, Vrisnik, Svirče, Vrbanj, Vrboska and Jelsa – for "Za križen" (Following the Cross). It is a religious tradition over 500 years old and of utmost importance to the cultural and religious identity of both the procession localities and the whole island. The importance of this centuries-old tradition was also recognized by UNESCO, which included "Za križen" on the list of intangible global cultural heritage for 2009.
The architecture of Vrisnik is similar to the one of nearby Pitve: stone houses typical of the Mediterranean, with small openings protected by wooden shutters, huddled together to jealously guard their yards, letting only the occasional narrow street to pass through. As we've mentioned earlier, the sounds of life haven't completely died out, but they are definitely quiet. Crickets create the background music during summer, and in the winter there's the sound of wind howling through the stone alleys. The main field crops here are olive and vine, which add special, Mediterranean warmth to the scenery.
Another important sight to mention here is the tunnel that connects Pitve to the southern side of the island. Generally speaking, the road that leads from Svirče to the southern side through Vrisnik and Pitve is... quaint. You can forget your highway comfort here: the road is narrow and cars find it hard to squeeze past one another occasionally. It is actually an educational road: it teaches drivers patience and manners.
The tunnel to the southern side is equally distinctive: it is about 1400 meters long, unpaved and unlit. The closest thing to compare it to would be Batman’s cave. It is wide enough for one-way traffic regulated with lights. Whoever dares to venture through it will reap great benefits: the southern side of the island is known for its beautiful beaches, amazing landscapes and breathtaking views.
As far as the beaches are concerned, you are only limited by your will and preference. The southern side of the island – with places like Zavala, Ivan Dolac, Jagodna, Sv. Nedjelja – prides on beautiful pebble beaches with crystal clear sea reflecting all the magnificent hues of the sky blues. If you head towards Vrboska, you will find pebble and stone beaches. There is a nudist beach near Vrboska as well. In Jelsa you will find the only true sand beach on the island, called Grebišće.
If you want to do sports, this is the right place to be. Bear in mind that this area is perfect for running and cycling. There is a challenging old serpentine path leading from the Vratnik gorge to Zavala over the St. Anthony hill (550m). To beginners and experienced climbers we warmly recommend a visit to Sv. Nedjelja – you'll find out why.
In Vrisnik and Pitve there are several great traditional restaurants or “konobas” which you must see if you wish to experience both traditional and top gastronomy. All your senses will take great pleasure: take our word for it, because we indulge in little country “konobas” during the summer as well.
The closest shop is in Svirče, but if you want to do more serious shopping, you'll have to head to Jelsa – there is also a pharmacy, a doctor's office and a bank there.
Let's sum up why Vrisnik and the nearby Pitve, these hamlets on the hillsides in the heart of the island, make for such a great vacation destination. They are perfectly peaceful, surrounded by beautiful nature: they are one of those hidden places that help you focus on what really matters: yourself and your loved ones.