Ah, Hvar! This Croatian gem has beckoned me more times than I care to admit. Think sun-soaked landscapes, sultry coastlines, and an air of leisure that’s nothing short of addictive.
On my two trips to Hvar (with a third and yup, even a fourth looming on the horizon), I’ve been enchanted every step of the way. Are you wondering what casts the spell? Let me guide you through my must-dos.
1. The Spanish Fortress (Fortica) Views? Epic!
Scaling the heights of Hvar Town might not be everyone’s cup of tea, but believe me, it’s worth it for the jaw-dropping panorama from the Spanish Fortress. Gazing out, I remember thinking it was among the finest coastal scenes I’d ever set eyes on. Not much for climbing? No worries! A quick car or taxi ride will have you there in a jiffy.
A patchwork of Venetian, Austrian, and Croatian craftsmanship, the fortress is no mere lookout. The museum tucked inside is quite a treat, and if you’re into it, there’s even an old prison to explore. But for me? It’s all about those views.
2. Stroll Around St. Stephen’s Cathedral & Square.
Lost in the maze-like streets of Hvar Town? Chances are, you’ll stumble upon St. Stephen’s Cathedral and its sprawling square – you can’t really miss it. Nestled in the town’s heartbeat, this baroque beauty is a snapshot of Dalmatian elegance from the 16th and 17th centuries.
There’s so much more of Hvar to be explored and cherished. But these, my friend, are the starters to whet your appetite. Ready to dive in?
3. Whisk Through Whimsical Lavender Fields.
While Provence might wear the lavender crown, Hvar’s own violet carpets are nothing short of magical. A visit in June or July? It’s nature’s invite to dance amidst the blooms. Not keen on hailing a cab? The lavender tour might just be your fragrant chariot!
4. Jelsa - Hvar’s Quieter Cousin.
If Hvar Town is a bustling party, Jelsa is the serene after-party. Having anchored myself there during my inaugural Hvar escapade, I can vouch for its tranquil charm. Though not the hub for Hvar’s top tourist hits, it’s the place to breathe deep and soak in island serenity.
5. Sail to the Enchanting Pakleni Islands.
Picture this: untouched beaches, crystalline waters, and just your footprints on the sand. A quick taxi boat ride to the Pakleni Islands promises this dreamy scenario. And while a beach bar might beckon, arm yourself with a picnic and essentials; it’s a day in paradise, after all!
6. Toast the Sunset at Hula Hula Beach Bar.
For an unparalleled sunset spectacle, grab a drink and claim a spot at the famed Hula Hula Beach Bar. That cocktail? It’s as much about the flavors as the views!
7. Delve Into the Luminous Caves.
The Blue Cave? It’s like a slice of another realm. As its ethereal glow dances on the water, you’ll understand why it’s a Hvar highlight. It’s not just a cave; it’s an otherworldly experience.
8. Secrets Behind Hvar's Hustle and Bustle.
Hvar Town has its famous lanes and bustling spots, but take a step beyond, and voila! Labyrinthine medieval alleys await your footprints. My little secret? Dodge the daytrippers by venturing out early or late; you might just feel like the town’s sole wanderer.
9. Glimpses of the Grand Venetian Era.
As you saunter towards Hvar Town, a 13th-century Venetian loggia greets you, complete with a 19th-century clocktower companion. It’s more than just eye candy; it’s a testament to Hvar’s mosaic of histories and cultures.
10. Curtains Up at Europe’s Veteran Theatre!
Dating back to 1612, Hvar boasts Europe’s eldest public theatre. Though it threw open its doors recently after a long hiatus, I’d say the real showstopper is the terrace. Offering a gratis view of St. Stephen’s Square and the harbor, it’s a treat for the soul.
11. Whispers of Serenity at the Franciscan Monastery.
Let your steps lead you along Hvar’s serene shores to a 15th-century sanctuary – the Franciscan Monastery. The museum within is enlightening, but the monastery’s waterfront vantage? Divine.
12. Be the Captain of Your Hvar Adventure.
Why trace someone else’s route when you can charter your course? Rent a boat, skipper! The smallest ones, ideal for uncovering Hvar’s hidden coves and the nearby Pakleni Islands, are just waiting for you. No paperwork, just pure adventure.
13. Sun, Sand and Zlatni Rat's Allure.
For sandy toes and sun-kissed nose, Zlatni Rat on Brac Island is your golden ticket. Among Croatia’s most lauded beaches, its proximity to Hvar makes it a sublime day-escape.
14. Savor Hvar on a Plate (and in a Glass!).
Trust me, nothing amplifies a beach day’s satisfaction like Hvar’s ocean-fresh seafood and tantalizing island-grown wines. Want a grapey deep dive? Embark on a wine tour, letting someone else manage the nitty-gritty while you sip and savor. And if your taste buds are hankering for a memorable meal in Hvar Town, give Dalmatino a whirl. Our two visits? Proof of the flavor-packed charm! For vineyard ventures, this spirited wine tour is just the ticket!
15. Unleash Your Wild Side in Hvar After Dark.
Ever heard the whispers of Hvar’s legendary nights? They’re all true. For those eager to feel the island’s heartbeat after sundown, the nightlife here does not disappoint. Even if club beats aren’t your rhythm, the island’s vivacious aura will have you understanding why it’s dubbed the party paradise. Ready to groove, or just soak in the vibe? Hvar awaits!
Choosing the best place to stay in Hvar is essential in order to enjoy your adventure. If it’s the vibrant pulse of the island you’re after, Hvar Town offers a blend of luxury resorts and charming boutique hotels, putting you right in the heart of the action. For a quieter retreat, Jelsa’s quaint inns and bed and breakfasts provide a tranquil haven, offering a touch of traditional Croatian charm.