Brač's second town, BOL has long been the only significant settlement on the island's southern side - an isolated community stranded on the far side of the Vidova gora, the mountain ridge which overlooks this stretch of coast. In the seventh century, its isolation attracted Romans fleeing the Croat invasion, but over the following centuries Bol was attacked repeatedly by pirates, Saracens, Turks and just about anybody else who happened to be passing. Nowadays there's no denying the beauty of Boll's setting, or the charm of its old stone houses. The problem is that it's very small, and is easily swamped by the influx of tourists that grows yearly. But if you can go out of season, or are immune toWell crowds, it's worth the trip.
Boll's main attraction is its beach, Zlatni rat (Golden Cape), which lies to the west of the centre along the wooded shoreline. Composed of fine shingle and backed by pines, the cape juts out into the sea like an extended finger, changing shape slightly from one year to the next according to the action of seasonal winds. It lies a little over km west of the harbour, although the walk there - along a tree-lined promenade - is part of the attraction. With a series of large hotels positioned behind the promenade, the cape can get crowded during summer, but the presence of extra beach space on the approach to the cape, and rockier coves beyond it, ensures that there's enough room for everyone. Naturism is tolerated on the far side of the cape, and in the coves beyond.
Bol itself isn't much more than a seafront backed by a couple of rows of old houses, although newer apartment blocks are continually sprouting up on the hillside behind. The main attraction along the seafront is the Branislav Dešković Gallery, housed in a former Renaissance town house, which contains a good selection of twentieth-century Croatian art. Most big names get a look in - sculptor Ivan Meštrović, the religiously inspired expressionist Ivan Dulčić and contemporary painter Edo Murtić among them. Further east lies the late fifteenth-century Dominican monastery (Dominikanski samostan; daily l0am-noon & 5-9pm), dramatically located high on the promontory just beyond Boll's centre. Its museum holds crumbling amphorae, ancient Greek coins from Hvar and Vis, Cretan icons and an imposing Tintoretto Madonna with Child from 1563 among its small collection. An archway leads through the accommodation block to the superbly maintained monastery gardens overlooking the sea.
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