If you want the beauty of Brač but without package hotels then the northeastern coast is the best place to find it. There is a string of easy-going harbour settlements along this stretch of shore, each occupying dramatically indented bays that offer a range of bathing opportunities – beaches are predominantly rocky, although there is the odd shingly cove to paddle around in.
Postira and around
Smaller than Supetar and slightly more soothing, the fishing village of POSTIRA is pleasantly curled around a bay, with spectacular views of mainland Dalmatia across the water. Rocky stretches of shore on either side of the bay are the perfect places to spread-eagle yourself.
Four kilometres east of town, Lovrečina Bay is one of those beaches that actually delivers what you read about in the brochures, with a sandy shore bordering translucent turquoise waters, and a ruined medieval church among olive groves just behind the strand. The fact that there is limited parking and no clear bus stop helps to keep it from becoming swamped.
Tucked into the western arm of a long Y-shaped inlet, the stone-quarrying town of PUČIŠĆA huddles around a grizzled pair of medieval defensive towers and a knobbly church belfry. The harbour is clean enough to swim in and there are pleasant rocky beaches at the northwestern end of Pučišća’s bay – simply follow the road along the western side of the inlet for twenty minutes. Pučišća’s stone industry is in big trouble (the local quarry went into receivership in 2012, provoking a wave of protests), but there is a stone-carving school in the village and characteristic white-stone souvenirs are on sale pretty much everywhere you look.
Of all northern Brač’s bay-hugging settlements, POVLJA is arguably the prettiest. It’s a small place draped around a compact harbour, reached by a steeply descending road that comes with a marvellous view of the tiny port, the sea and the mountains of the mainland in the distance. Walk along the east side of Povlja’s harbour to reach a rocky headland, where there is a beach made up of big rough pebbles and otherworldly shards of rock – you’ll need sandals, and there’s no natural shade, but it’s a superbly scenic place for a swim.