Okuklje Gay Travel
A remote island away from the buzz of tourists, Okuklje gay travel is pure relaxation. Here’s wolfyy’s advice on things to do and Croatia LGBT safety.
The Gay Travel Experience: Okuklje, Croatia
Okuklje was the quietest and most serene stop during my sailing trip along the Croatian islands. I sailed with a group of gay friends on an expedition from Dubrovnik to Split.
We spent one night in Okuklje and it was the most peaceful island we visited. We were likely the only gay travelers on the island from what we could tell, so we brought the party!
Okuklje on the other hand is paradise! The refreshing and absolutely crystal-clear water was perfect right off the harbor. I grabbed our eggplant-emoji float and took in some sun!
Okuklje Experiences for the Gay Traveler
My favorite thing about Okuklje is that you can swim directly in the harbor! Since there are so few tourists on this gem of an island, the water is crystal clear everywhere. Make sure to watch out for the small sea urchins!
There were two young girls selling some sea creature shells at a stand near the port. My friend Doug bought a couple of souvenirs to appease the adorable children. It was a precious moment. Bring some change!
At St. Nicolas Church a few minutes up the main road from the port, there’s a fabulous lookout point with views of the water. Take a small hike up the hill and grab some great photos here. It’s particularly gorgeous at sunset.
This is certainly a great spot to meditate as well if you are alone or in need of some relaxation. The island and the views are quite serene.
Konoba Baro is the one main restaurant in Okuklje’s harbor. Even though there are few tourists on the island, I’d still call to make a reservation.
If you are planning to eat one of their large specialty dishes, they usually appreciate knowing ahead of time what they should prepare.
Is Croatia Safe for Gay Travelers?
Gay travelers in Croatia should exercise caution while touring the country for a number of reasons. Although Croatia is part of the European Union and is a popular gay travel destination, there is still a formidable anti-LGBT sentiment among some local Croatians.
Okuklje is such a small island with friendly people, however, that it seems there would be less of a chance of encountering issues.
I encountered a few homophobic scenarios while sailing Croatia’s other islands with a group of gay friends. A few gay couples joined our trip. After showing some affection in a couple of restaurants and bars, there were some uncomfortable situations.
Many locals do support homosexuality and equal rights for LGBT individuals. Homophobic comments can be made in any country, but gay travelers in Croatia should still make sure they are in a safe environment before displaying any affection.
Few people inhabit Okuklje and there are not really any noteworthy bars. The one bar we heard while in Okuklje had closed by sundown.
Okuklje Gay Travel Tips
Try to take out cash in advance of coming to Okuklje. Although there is one ATM on the island, it did not work for all of my friends. Some of us needed to borrow cash from one another. The restaurant does not take credit cards, unfortunately.
Is Okuklje Expensive?
Cheap food is hard to come by, but there are still some pizzerias in more populated locations where you can get a medium-sized personal pizza for the equivalent of ten Euros.
Gay Life in Croatia & LGBT Rights
Croatia provides a wealth of protections to the LGBT community, however gay life in Croatia for locals is not exactly easy.
Most local Croatians keep their sexuality hidden from the public eye out of fear of discrimination. They do not usually express their identity openly. Hate speech has been on the rise against LGBT individuals and Serbs prior to 2017, according to reports compiled that year on the issue.
Croatia does defend all citizens against discrimination based on sexual orientation, gender identity, and gender expression. The country allows gays, lesbians, and bisexual individuals to serve in the military. Changing legal gender is also legal.
A major downfall is that the Croatian constitution bans same-sex marriage. The country revised the constitution to define marriage as a union solely between a man and woman. A 2017 Pew Research Study found that more than 60% of Croatians oppose same-sex marriage.
Gay rights gained more of a foothold in 2014 when Croatia passed the Life Partnership Act. The Life Partnership Act allows gay couples to receive the same legal benefits as heterosexual couples for just about everything except adoption rights.
Most anti-LGBT sentiment can be found in the northwest portion of Croatia. The rest of the country is not so fiercely opposed. Large centers like Dubrovnik and Zagreb advertise themselves as gay-friendly tourist destinations, however, this does not exactly mean discrimination by locals does not occur.
On the positive end of the spectrum, a 2016 ILGA poll found that 75% of Croatians would have no issue with an LGBT neighbor. 10% of people responded they would be very uncomfortable with an LGBT neighbor.