Island Brač: 10 Reasons to Visit Brač's Stone Village, Dol
If you are after an authentic experience, away from the crowds, the beautiful stone village of Dol on the island Brač could be just the breath of fresh air you have been searching for.
The island Brač is very famous for few things: its radiant white stone used to build Diocletian’s Palace in the old town of Split and White House in Washington DC, the long beautiful pebble beach Zlatni Rat in Bol, steep mountain Vidova gora, its cuisine, pine tree forests, olive groves and vineyards, cherry orchards, fig trees and lovely stone villages.
Sheltered in the deep valley, just 2 km from the seaside town of Postire, lies a charming tiny stone village, Dol. Village Dol, rich in culture and gastronomic offer with very friendly people, is the perfect spot to escape the bustling towns of Dalmatia while enjoying the warm summer days.
If you want to avoid the ‘hustle and bustle’ during the season in Dalmatia, here are some highlights of the village Dol, the reasons why you should visit it.
- It is never too busy
According to the last population census of the settlements in Brač, Dol has a population of 130. If you want to stay overnight in Dol, that would not be possible since there are no apartments or any other accommodation for visitors provided. The nearest place you can stay overnight is the town of Postire, 2km from the village Dol.
- Dol village is a monument to traditional Dalmatian culture and architecture
Village Dol is an ideal place for those in a search of the small stone traditional Dalmatian houses. Houses were built one of the top of the other, detached in order not to throw the shadow over the other house. House roofs are of the two or four eaved kind, covered with slabs. Each house has one or two lines of the windows edged with the stone window sills and with traditional Dalmatian green shutters. Almost every stone house in Dol has its own wine cellar in the basement part of the house, because almost every family from Dol has its own vineyard. These old stone houses, usually placed in rows, retain traces of authentic folk architecture.
- Untouched nature and picturesque landscape
Located in a deep canyon, village Dol is famous for lush and intact nature surronding, stunning landscape and beautiful scenery. Here you can enjoy soaking in the fresh air and relaxing in a peaceful atmosphere. As I mentioned, Dol is the perfect escape from the summer hustle and bustle. Also, if you like hiking and cycling, Dol can be reached from various directions through arranged trails and paths.
- Vineyards and olive groves
The Doljani (residents) knew how to use the richness of the sea and the forest on the background where many mules were filled with the highest quality of ilexa. On the slopes of porous, fertile land, they cultivated vines and olives trees. Dol is particularly famous for the handmade olive oil and premium wines. The village is surrounded by numerous vineyards and olive groves. Olive oil and wine are usually kept in the cellars of the houses and have become one of the symbols of Dol. In my opinion this is the best and healthiest souvenir you can buy in Dol.
- The caves of the village Dol
As soon as you arrive in the village of Dol, the captivating caves dominating the entire canyon will immediately draw your attention. It is believed that the caves date back to the ancient times. They give this charming village a very special touch of history and serve as a backdrop for many legends told by the Doljani.The caves are made of grained rocks of Hrapoćuša, once used as lodgings and today are shelters for cattle, containers for firewood habitat for pigeons, owls and vivier (Vivier is mythical creature that hides itself in the caves. According to Doljani this creature can only be found in Dol and you are lucky if you hear them hooting). The Ivončeve caves in the village Dol isa project that has been started in a cooperation with the Speleological Section of Mountaineering Society Profunda- Brač. The value of this project was recognized and financially supported by the Tourist Board of Split-Dalmatia County.
- Cultural and historic heritage
According to historical records it is mentioned for the first time in documents dating from 1345, but some archaeological monuments prove their earlier existence. In Dol, there are several small churches and chapels, worth seeing. The small church of St. Michael dates to the beginning of the 10th century as a church of St. Barbara. Church of St. Peters dates from the 11th century, but it is famous for the bell tower – known as the oldest bell tower in Brač, built in the 14th century. The small church of St. Vitus dates from the 13th century. And probably the most significant sacred building in Dol, is the Church of the Purification of the Holy Virgin Mary, built between 1862 and 1887, and keeps several crosses, including the Dol’s Jesus Christ, presenting the body of Jesus in natural proportions.
Do not miss the chance to visit Gospodnetić castle (Gospodnetić is typical and very usual surname in this area), known as Dol fortress protected by the locals. The magnificent castle stands out for its reddish colour of the walls in contrast to the familiar green shutters; its very purpose was to defend the area from Turks who were at that time, close to Makarska and Klis. The Dol fortress boasts a stunning interior, more than one hundred years old and well preserved.
The Church of the Purification of the Holy Virgin Mary
- Unique Events
“The Night of Hrapoćuša” or “Hrapoćuša Day” has traditionally been held in the village of Dol, for eight years in a row so far. This event is continually taking place on St. Rocco day. The gastronomic event is held in honour of the traditional Hrapoćuša cake, named after the rough yellow stones that can be seen throughout this historic village. In addition to tasting the cake prepared by Dol’s Nonnas’, the evening is usually enriched with thematic exhibitions and interesting documentaries about Dol and its history. Cake Hrapoćuša is one of the most important symbols of the village of Dol and the island of Brač. This is the only place where you can taste this wonderful fragrant cake prepared with the original recipe.
The village of Dol is not a typical tourist place that can boast many restaurants and bars. In this area there is only one gastronomic spot- Konoba (tavern) Toni. Konoba Toni is family-run business and well-known for over 35 years due to hospitality and excellent cuisine. The tavern is a village house over 300 years old and has a very comfortable terrace in the shade that will ensure you the most pleasant stay. They offer traditional dishes prepared with homemade and carefully selected ingredients. They only use local ingredients, the main reason why quality is guaranteed. I recommend you try local specialties such as Brač lamb, prosciutto, cheese in a homemade olive oil, fresh fish dishes and vegetables, organically grown. Also, do not forget to take a dessert. You can choose between several traditional desserts including Hrapoćuša cake and the famous and very tasty Rožata cake (Croatian custard pudding, originally from Dubrovnik but very popular on the island Brač). The place is perfect for the morning “Marenda” (typical Dalmatian late breakfast) or you can dine in the Konoba while refreshing with local wine or homemade liquors and enjoy the natural ambience of the mandarin and kiwi orchards. Konoba Toni will provide you a pleasant stay in a genuine domestic atmosphere.
While dining at this remarkable place, I’m sure you will meet many friendly local people who are ready to tell you an interesting story of their family history or the history of the village of Dol.
View from Konoba Toni
- Bays and beaches nearby
If you are seeking a place to relax and enjoy in a picturesque view, far away from the noise and crowd of the busier beaches, visit the beautiful bay of Dučac surrounded with stunning scenery and lush nature. It is a perfect place for taking in nature, fresh air and enjoying the tranquillity of the island Brač. Arrival in the bay of Dučac from the village of Dol takes about 20 minutes by car.
Lovrečina bay lies on the northern part of the island Brač, between the two historic towns of Postire and Pučišće. It takes about 25 minutes to reach with car from the village Dol. It is known as the largest and most popular pebble beach on the island of Brač. It is also famous for its archaeological sites, including the astonishing remains of the Basilica of St. Lawrence from the 5th or 6th centuries. In honour of St. Lawrence every year, on August 10th, the feast (fešta) of the St. Lawrence is held in this picturesque cove. Here you can also enjoy cuddling domestic animals, including horses and donkeys. At the top of the bay is a small restaurant serving traditional dishes and a beach bar with a range of cocktails overlooking the entire bay.
- Eco Ethno Village
In a very short time, the transformation of the village of Dol was very impressive, which is the main reason why it has earned the title of an eco-ethno village. The development and preservation of the villages is very important for Croatian tourism, and its core has several important components: preservation of nature and cultural heritage, promotion of the traditional Croatian products, return of inhabitants, revival of traditional crafts, restoration of the old Dalmatian stone houses, churches, schools and other buildings.
Recently, this place was almost completely abandoned, and today thanks to the rural tourism development and the great effort of the residents, it is now an unavoidable place to visit and enjoy the fascinating and unique customs and heritage.
Tourism is booming in Croatia but for those who are after something a little different, a place where you can really feel the history, people and traditions of years gone by, Dol is for you.
All photos courtesy of and copyright to Danijela Matulić