Blaca Hermitage

Top choice monastery in Brač Island

Things can't have looked too different on the approach to this remote mountain cleft when a small group of priests and their servants, on the run from the Ottoman Turks on the mainland, arrived here in 1551. They initially took shelter in a cave (the walls of which are still visible in the kitchen) and built out from there. You can now take an informative 30-minute tour of the complex, which is full of original furniture, tools and rare manuscripts.

By the 18th century the hermitage ministered to three remote villages, with the priests operating a school from one of the rooms. The school closed in 1963 with the death of the hermitage's last resident priest, the extraordinary Fr Nikola Miličević, who was also a poet and an astronomer of international repute.

The journey is a large part of the experience, involving a rough drive along a narrow, unsealed road and then a 2.5km walk down a steep path (good shoes are recommended). The turnoff is well signposted from the main road southeast of Nerežišća; it's the same turnoff as for the Vidova Gora lookout, and the two can easily be combined into one trip. Alternatively, you can arrange a boat from Bol to the bottom of the valley and take a somewhat longer walk up. Enquire at the tourist office in Bol about tours.