Vrulje: Peaceable Kingdom

I never saw that color of blue before. Not in a painting, not in a jewel, not in some other distant sea. If I remember one thing of Vrulje, it will be the water.

Over 1000 islands speckle the Adriatic off Croatia. A tectonic splintering of Europe as Italy plows north, the Croatian archipelago runs the gamut from 24-hour party meccas with the doof-doof-doof music to rocks so dry they count as deserts. This neck of the woods does get 300-plus days of nonstop sunshine, after all.

And then there are those tiny paradises that fit quietly between the two, islands given over to vineyards and husbandry, and to fishing villages that would give a romance painter an aneurism. Vrulje, on the island of Kornat, is the very definition.

That’s Vrulje. All of it.

Located smack in the middle of Kornati National Park, most fishing communities on the islands are 1) tiny and 2) seasonal; Vrulje is certainly the first, and just barely squeaks out of being the second.

But let me be honest: Vrulje is RUSTIC. There are three B&Bs, a thimbleful of cantinas. But you do not go there to party. You do not go there to be seen. You do not go there for buildings over two stories. It is provincial. It is out of the way. It is the most peaceful place I’ve been to in years. After getting trampled by tourists in Diocletian’s Palace in Split, that ain’t such a bad thing.

Here are 10 photos showing Vrulje (“Vrool-yah”) it all its small-town pride:

I wouldn’t mind swimming with these fishies.
I found cover from the dazzling Adriatic sun in the shade of grapevines.
Vrulje is the getaway that really is. Even Croatians don’t know much about it.
Vrulje Harbor. The Mediterranean (and Adriatic) are too small for tides, so it looks like this all the time.
The house on the left was empty, and nature moved in like gangbusters.
An abandoned farmstead near Vrujle on Kornat Island.
Typical scene on the main drag of town.
Sittin’ on the dock of the bay, wastin’ time.
Vrulje lets you stop and smell the…um…whatever these are.

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