surrounded by several islands such as Brač, Korčula and Vis, is around an hour away from Split by boat. Hvar is the longest and sunniest island in Croatia with over 2700 sunny hours a year.
Some call the island of Hvar ”The Queen of the Croatian Dalmatian islands”.
It has been famous since ancient times due to its important strategic and nautical position, the rich heritage of various historical periods, the culture and natural monuments as well as literature. With its mild climate of warm winters and even warmer summers, Hvar is a popular tourist destination especially in the summer season. The island’s beautiful rocky coastline is surrounded by the crystal clear waters of the Adriatic Sea.
Hvar is also known as one of the two most famous winemaking areas in Croatia. The vineyards on the southern side of the island are famous for red wine produced from the Plavac Mali type of grapes. The central area between Stari Grad and Jelsa is famous for its white wines.
There are many reasons why Hvar is one of the most visited Croatian islands. It’s amazingly beautiful, with good tourist infrastructure, stunning beaches, great historical and cultural heritage, and a good nightlife – making it one of the top party destinations in Europe.
When the summer season begins, Hvar turns into an island resort that takes on a new life. Visitors flock to this paradise in the middle of the Adriatic Sea for great food and wine, sea adventures, and long nights that don’t end until the sun rises again.
Over the past years, worldwide famous celebrities have been visiting the island to discover its magic.
The island of Hvar has much more to show than the glamour of its main town.
From the white-washed towns and historic streets of Stari Grad and Vrboska, to the clear blue waters and almost empty beaches and coves on south of the island. The crystal clear waters and deserted lagoons of the Pakleni islands, the traditional restaurants with local Dalmatian cuisine and the beautiful hills planted in layers of fragrant lavender, the olive trees and vineyards make this island a popular destination for visitors. Besides the stunning coastline, the island is the perfect place for hiking, biking and wine tasting.
Like most of the beaches in Croatia, the beaches on Hvar are mostly rocky and pebbly. A walk in the heat or a boat ride (link za transfer) to reach the stunning secluded bays are definitely worth doing.
The nicest beaches can be found on the southern side of the island. Explore the lovely pebbled beaches of Zaraće, Sveta Neilja, Ivan Dolac and Gromin Dolac on the south – east of Hvar town.
For those eager to enjoy sandy beaches – head to Jelsa or Sucuraj as both towns have sandy beaches nearby.
GETTING TO THE ISLAND OF HVAR
The Split airport connected to many European cities is the closest major airport to Hvar. Just below the airport is a boat pier – the pick up point for private water taxi (opet link za transfere)
The ride to Hvar town lasts around 1 hour 20 minutes offering the fastest and safest way to travel. Not only will you get to Hvar quickly, this is a fun experience where you can admire the panoramic sites of Split and the islands you will be passing by. The crystal clear water will take your breath away as this is literally the clearest water you can ever imagine.
HVAR AT NIGHT
The exciting beach clubs and lively nightlife have turned Hvar into a popular European party destination. Amongst the numerous bars to party at on the island of Hvar, one of the most popular is Carpe Diem.
The Carpe Diem Bar is located on the island of Hvar ideal for relaxing on the promenade. For a fun party night the Carpe Diem beach club is the best place. It’s necessary to get to the Carpe Diem Beach by a boat where a party until early morning awaits in beautiful nature beneath the stars.
EXPLORE HVAR – IT’S MORE THAN JUST A PARTY ISLAND
Hvar town is the main town on the island, well known for its historical heritage and vibrant atmosphere during the Summer season. For those seeking peaceful holidays, other small towns on the island such as Stari Grad, Jelsa and Vrboska offer a quiet, slow paced lifestyle – the ideal place to sense the natural beauties of the island.
The picturesque town of Hvar is the most popular town on the island. The large town square is the heart of the town featuring the Arsenal building, St. Stephen’s Church and a small port. Protective walls surround the old town from the land side as well as a Spanish Fort (Fortica) from the 16th century. The Fortica is a popular tourist spot, offering lovely views over the town and the Hvar archipelago. Easily reachable by following the signs from St. Stephen’s Square, if you don’t mind climbing the many stairs, this is perfect chance to enjoy the view of the red roofs and stone walls of the old town with the turquoise waters of the Pakleni islands sparkling in the distance.
Hike up or drive to the Napoljun (Napoleon-era) fortress for even better views. This hidden gem is located west of the Fortica fortress on the St. Nicolas hill. Less crowded with not so many tourists, there’s no better place to watch the sunset. The stunning view stretches from the Pakleni islands to the islands of Vis and Brač.
VISIT THE HISTORICAL HERITAGE OF THE TOWN
Known for its pleasant Mediterranean climate and large number of sunny hours both the island and the city of Hvar are rich in historical cultural heritage. Discover the many treasures such as the Franciscan monastery or the Hvar Arsenal the oldest theatre in Europe dating from the 13th century which was originally used as storage for galleys and marine equipment.
St. Stephen’s Square, the largest old square in Dalmatia is definitely one of the most beautiful squares in Europe. This truly is the centre of the public and social life of the town, surrounded by Venetian and Renaissance architecture and the Cathedral of St. Stephen built in the 16th and 17th century with its bell tower standing proudly at the end of the square.
The historic town of Stari Grad (”Old Town”) is one of the oldest towns in Europe. The ancient part of the town, The Stari Grad Plain is Croatia’s 7th location protected by UNESCO. As Hvar town is known as a glamorous party destination, Stari Grad is the opposite, a shy, modest, peaceful, historical location. Situated on the north side of the island, protected by a high mountain range, the town is a popular attraction with clear blue beaches, ancient churches as well as cafes and restaurants to relax in the Summer sun. The quiet bays such as Tiha and Zavala are ideal for anchoring as they are sheltered from the winds. Visitors will definitely agree that watching the sunset from Glavica Hill is a must do. A 20min hike through Mediterranean pine forests will get you to this outstanding location with stunning views.
The quiet town surrounded by pine forests is located in the middle of the island of Hvar. Known as the island’s most popular family beach resort, this peaceful open hearted town to guests and travellers has many sites worth to discover. The angular Renaissance Square (Pjaca) like in most Dalmatian towns with restaurants around it, lies in the centre of the town. The lovely St. Ivan’s Square, with a baroque church in the centre is surrounded by 16th century stone houses with picturesque balconies.
THE ISLAND WITH STUNNING BEACHES
The beaches on the island of Hvar are without doubt the most beautiful and cleanest on the Adriatic. Located in bays, Hvar’s beaches are mainly pebbled surrounded by pine forests.
As the sea waves are stronger due to the strong north winds (”bura”), there are several natural sandy beaches on the north side of the island.
On the south coast Dubovica beach is situated, a pebbled beach with crystal clear water surrounded by pine trees and olive groves in a magical secluded bay. Visitors often say this is the best beach on the island, perhaps because of the stunning blue colour of the shimmering sea.
Ever wondered what paradise looks like? Visit Malo Zarače beach, situated in a secluded bay with a unique rock formation on one side and cliffs on the other. The peaceful nature around you and the colour of the water will leave you breathless. Bring your own lunch and beverages as there are no shops or restaurants nearby and spend the perfect day at paradise.
EXPLORE THE PAKLENI ISLANDS ARCHIPELAGO
The Pakleni islands consist of a stunning chain of small islands and gorgeous bays stretching out in front of Hvar. The rich plant life, beautiful nature, crystal clear waters, hidden beaches and deserted lagoons are accessible only by private speedboats. Book a private boat tour or rent a boat (link na rent a boat) and discover favourite swimming spots amongst the locals and tourists.
One of the most popular tourist destinations is the Palmižana bay, one of the stops on our Blue Cave island hopping full day speedboat tour (link na blue cave island hopping tour) located on the largest island of the archipelago, St. Clement. The sandy cove in the shade of old pine trees is classified as a recreational forest. Palmižana was also listed as 10 of the most beautiful tourist destinations on the Adriatic. The Meneghello family started to develop tourism in 1906 on their 300 year old estate. According to the legend, the owner was a sailor who sailed across the world. When returning home, he would bring his wife a plant from each country he visited. His wife planted the exotic plants creating a rare botanical garden which has become one of the oldest and most famous excursion sites on the Hvar archipelago.
LAVENDER – THE PERFECT SOUVENIR
Every traveller seeks the perfect souvenir to bring home as a reminder of an amazing trip.
Hvar has always been known as the island of lavender. The production of lavender oil dates back to the early 1920s. Grown on the hillsides, lavender on Hvar is organically produced and picked by hand. In June and July the island changes its colour to pale purple. Groups of friends and family get together for harvesting and even tourists have been joining over the past few years. The Lavender Festival is also organized in Velo Grablje during this period.
Lavender products can be found on stands along all of the Dalmatian promenades. The unique lavender souvenirs will take you back to Hvar everytime you open them and smell the lavender. Not only will you see lavender products all around Hvar, this is one the few places where you can try homemade lavendar icecream!
THE DALMATIAN WAY OF RELAXING
Imagine your summer afternoon with the breeze caressing your face, enjoying a quiet coffee on your balcony or an afternoon swim. These are all ways of relaxation or how they would say in Dalmatia ”fjaka”. This peaceful state of mind somewhat like siesta without sleeping, often occurs in the afternoon after lunchtime.
The famous Croatian poet Jakša Fiamengo stated fjaka as a specific state of mind and body “It is like a faint unconsciousness,” he wrote, “a state beyond the self or – if you will – deeply inside the self, a special kind of general immobility, drowsiness and numbness, a weariness and indifference towards all important and ancillary needs, a lethargic stupor and general passivity on the journey to overall nothingness. The sense of time becomes lost, and its very inertness and languor give the impression of a lightweight instant. More precisely: it’s half somewhere and half nowhere, always somehow in between.”
It doesn’t take much for those visiting Hvar to pick up this specific behaviour and enjoy their own version of ”fjaka” on Hvar.