Imagine Calypso, the mythical nymph, detaining the wandering Odysseus in her own styled Paradise, offering a secluded white sandy beach, a sheltered cove of translucent turquoise water, along with scents of jasmine, pine and ambrosia.
Sent by Zeus, the wing-footed Hermes braved tumultuous seas to reach this sybaritic garden spot replete with an array of heavenly pleasures.
But such god-like intervention to find such magic—a tranquil island affording breathless views and peaceful, shallow bays nestled below moss-covered hillsides and only reachable by boat—is no longer necessary.
Paradise is easily found.
Perhaps a mermaid won’t be seen. And while lost treasure from sunken pirate ships might go undiscovered, unspoiled Croatian beaches will still evoke a Calypso-like spell of pure enchantment.
Sprinkled alongside the Adriatic Sea, and typically kissed by gentle waves and winds, these beaches are the defining characteristic of Croatia—for this blessed land boasts 2500 miles of island coastline, and is clearly a sunbathers’ delight.
Countless coves await with luxury or family-friendly accommodations, cafes buzzing with throbbing nite life, shallow bays for skinny-dipping, and silvery sand for alluring relaxing in the sun.
Amid this bounty of serene and scenic retreats, one beach relatively close to Trogir and Split in Dalmatia is particularly radiant.
I should keep its’ dreamy appeal a secret, for the soft whispers of the waters surrounding Drvenik Veliki island give me a certain freedom, solitude, and the chance to swim alongside gloriously-beautiful fish.
Relatively few tourists have discovered this idyllic retreat, so I will resist the temptation to keep it a mystery. So enjoy the schools of fish, walks in the fine smooth sand, and sail to the Blue Lagoon to discover Krknjaši Beach, Croatia’s sparkling gem.
Other seaside getaways offer more watersports, activities for children, and innovative cocktails in trendy restaurants.
But Krknjaši still conjures up the Calypso inside me, never hoping visitors will stay seven years on this isle—yet still knowing they will feast on all its’ pleasures.
Those joys immediately begin with the short boat passage through the lagoon, the gentle breezes filling me with expectation. Bounding off the boat, I was soon lying on pristine white sand, transported to a welcoming, carefree realm.
Krknjaši is so lulling, so sublime, foregoing lunch is easy. Listening to the gulls and lapping waves is far more delicious. So I will wait to retreat to a nearby fish restaurant. Now it’s just time for enjoying the sun’s rays, following the path of those birds flying towards the horizon, and occasionally dipping my feet into the water, giggling every time a fish brushes into my legs.
Only when the sun is about to set—and the soft hues of a passing day leave their own memorable impressions—is it time to repair to that restaurant.
So the punctuation to this perfect oasis begins with a few fishes, then some grilled prawns and squid. The menu offers other Mediterranean specialties all complemented with wine from Dalmatia and hot homemade bread with a generous serving of olive oil. It’s a splendid way to end a magical day.
Sitting under the stars in this small, cozy place will long be remembered. Yet maybe it was the wine, or just the stars playing tricks on my imagination, for out in the lagoon, I saw some movement, several large splashes.
“What could it be?” I wondered.
Fascinated, I knew I would have to come to Krknjasi again, for that was the only way to solve this mystery—whether these seductive waters could really be the playground for some whimsical mermaid.
One that seemed to be waving at me.
Written by Anita Palada, Edward Kiersh