Sveti Klement island, near Hvar, Croatia

Bohemian retreat nestled in lush botanical gardens on a tiny island
in the Adriatic Sea (10 minutes by boat from Hvar)

This is art and nature in perfect harmony, an Arcadian idyll on a
Dalmatian island. Professor Eugenio Meneghello bought a 300-hectare
wilderness in 1906, complete with 2 pebble beaches, and planted it
with pines, palms, exotic shrubs and aromatic herbs like rosemary
and lavender. One century and 3 generations later, his family are
the pioneers of eco-tourism in Croatia. His granddaughter-in-law
Dagmar and her 3 children still tend their forefather’s
‘Garden of Eden’, but have turned it into an exclusive
hideaway with a cluster of villas and bungalows and 2
restaurants, all built of local stone.

Interiors have been painted deep, vibrant colours and are decorated
with unusual driftwood sculptures and contemporary artwork. The
result is a discreet yet spiritual escape from the modern world.
Popular with flora loving families and hippies at heart,
it’s a great place to while away the days eating fresh
seafood, swimming in the bay, exploring by kayak and diving nearby


  • This place is an incredible find – it’s got 2 excellent
    restaurants and is surrounded by fragrant plants, crystal-clear
    water and almost constant sunshine
  • It’s a haven of flora and fauna, and offers a splendid
    sense of isolation from urban life – the island is car-free,
    there’s limited WiFi, and no in-rooms TVs or phones
  • The carefully designed buildings blend harmoniously with the
    environment and most have terraces overlooking the ocean
  • If you do want to get back to civilisation, you’re not
    far from Hvar Town’s cultural monuments and hip eateries
  • The laid-back and friendly vibe: when we revisited in 2012 we
    were taken, by jeep, to our villa and then ordered to relax and not
    to worry about checking in


  • Logisitics: water taxis,a 1-week minimum stay (high season) and
    only 1 cash machine on the island
  • Hvar Town is expensive and heaving with tourists in summer, so
    Palmizana’s secluded bay can get mobbed by day-trippers and
    passing yachts (but you can hire boats and head to quieter
  • This is a bohemian retreat: rooms are rustic and the atmosphere
    is relaxed, so those seeking luxury may be happier elsewhere
  • The abundant wildlife includes mosquitoes at night and wasps at
  • In high season, beach bars across the bay sometimes play loud
    music into the evening