Top 10 Things to Do in Hvar, Croatia
Croatia is a beautiful country and is increasing in popularity every year with over 20 million international tourists visiting last year.
Split and Dubrovnik are by the far the most famous destinations, but there are also other places which are worth adding to your itinerary including Hvar.
If you’re not not keen to visit Dubrovnik to see where Game of Thrones was filmed, or you just want a less touristy experience, consider Hvar as your destination for a perfect mix of relaxation, sightseeing and partying.
Hvar is where royalty and celebrities like Prince Harry, George Clooney, Jay-Z and Beyonce have chosen to holiday and it is easy to see why. Hvar is the cool capital of a paradisiacal island in Croatia’s Dalmatian region, you will fall in love with this destination!
Vasha Patel from the UK recently visited Hvar with some friends and she has put together a quick guide for the best things to see and do including some lesser known and non-touristy things which will help you to enjoy the most authentic trip possible.
Check out her top tips and get inspired to visit Hvar!
When is the Best Time to Visit Hvar?
Summer June to September is the best time of year in terms of weather and entertainment. But this is also peak season so prices and tourist numbers can both be high. For a more relaxed experience you might want to consider Spring or Autumn when the weather is cooler and there are also less tourists.
Getting to Hvar
If you are arriving from overseas your best option to to fly into Split or Dubrovnik. Check flights on Skyscanner for the best prices. From these destinations it is fairly easy to reach Hvar island, options include:
- Car ferry from Split harbor.
- Passengers catamarans a high speed ships.
- Car ferry from Makarska Riviera – Drvenik – Sucuraj (Hvar island) – Drvenik.
- Coastal line – Rijeka – Split – Stari Grad (Hvar) – Korcula – Dubrovnik.
- International line from Italy – Ancona – Stari Grad (Hvar island) – Split.
- Seaplane Split downtown or Split Airport – Jelsa town.
- High speed sailboats from Split airport or town.
In Hvar there are lots of places to stay from hotels, airbnb's, hostels, guesthouses and camp sites. So whether you are looking for a luxury escape, or keen to go backpacking on the cheap you will find options to match your interested and budget. Prices vary but are highest during summer.
Best Things to See & Do in Hvar
1. Explore Medieval Hvar Town
Hvar Town is one of the most popular destinations in Hvar, this small bay town destination is home to walls dating back to the 13th-century, Gothic palaces and ancient marble streets.
Hvar Town can be explored on foot thanks to being a car-free zone. There are lots of buildings to check out including the medieval bell tower of St. Stephan's Cathedral, the 16th-century Fortica, a contemporary art gallery and Europe's oldest theater.
St. Stephen’s Square is another must visit place, this “pjaca” (central plaza) is the largest in Dalmatia, at 4,500 square metres. There are lots of cafes and restaurants here making it a great place to take in the local atmosphere and people watch.
2. Take in the Incredible Views Of Hvar from Tvrdava Fortica
When we first arrived at our accommodation, we went to see this viewpoint in the evening, which was really quite something. You could see Carpe Diem all lit up, the stars and moon were as bright as ever, and the sea looked incredible too. But then, a few days later we went for sunset and were even more blown away! So I’d definitely recommend seeing it at both times if you can squeeze it in to your schedule.
3. Explore the Lanes of Stari Grad
Stari Grad is located on the northern side of the island of Hvar and is the oldest town in Croatia dating back to 384 BC. This town is Hvar’s main ferry port and home to Biankini Palace houses and Tvrdalj Castle - both popular attractions. The atmosphere is very relaxed and the scenic streets and views make it very photographic.
4. Go in Search of the Best Beach
Hvar is blessed with spectacular beaches, some of which are deserted even in the busy summer months. Some beaches are located close to Hvar Town whilst others you will need to venture a little further. You can relax, get pictures or take part in water sports like kayaking, snorkelling and scuba diving.
These are some of the best beaches in Hvar to check out:
- Malo Zaraće beach
- Dubovica beach
- Pokonji Dol beach
- Jagodna beach
- Mlini beach
- Ivan Dolac beach
- Milna beach
- Bonj beach
- Palmižana beach
- Mekićevica beach
- Lučišća beach
5. Sample Hvar's Best Wines
Hvar has a tradition of wine-making dating back to the ancient greek time and there are lots of amazing wineries to visit.
Hvar has a warm climate with sun almost all year round which helps produce some of the finest wines in Europe. Most wineries are located in the Stari Grad plain, Jelsa, or on the steep slopes around Sveta Nedilja.
The best wineries to visit in Hvar include:
- Duboković in Jelsa
- Vino Tomic in Jelsa
- Zlatan Otok in Sveta Nedilja
6. The Pakleni Islands & the Green and Blue Caves
This visit to the Pakleni Islands and the Green and Blue caves is usually offered in one boat tour for the day, for around €400. I wouldn’t go for a more expensive one - some companies were charging around €5-600 for essentially the same experience. I’d say shop around and find a fair price! You’ll usually be on a boat with around 8 - 12 people.
The tour means that you’ve got transport to and from the Islands, and access to the Blue and Green caves. There is an additional fee when you reach the Green caves to access a smaller boat and tour guide, but that’s because it’s separate to your bigger tour boat company.
It is a good experience, and I think it makes sense to do it this way as opposed to hiring your own boat. The day is spread out nicely, and I didn’t feel rushed. But it would’ve been nice to have a bit more time on the last island!
7. Visit Brac Island
If you have travelled all the way to Hvar then we recommend also seeing Hvar’s neighbour, Brac. This is the third largest island in the Central Dalmatian archipelago and is located very close to Hvar making it an ideal day trip.
Brac is famous for the white-pebble beach Zlatni Rat (Golden Cape), Supetar, the island's main town, and the active quarry home to the island's famous white limestone.
Brac is easily accessible and you can easily spend a few hours or a whole day exploring this relaxing island.
8. Get a Lavender Souvenir
You might not realise it but Hvar has lavender fields that rival Provence! If you visit Hvar during summer you will get to see the scented lavender fields throughout the island with one of the best places being the village of Velo Grablje. During June there is an annual lavender festival and you can also buy souvenirs to take home.
9. Party By Day
Amphora, Bonj les Bains, Hula Hula - there are plenty of beach clubs to keep you occupied. We really enjoyed Bonj les Bains for a relaxed vibe, and also for a sunset drink before dinner. Hula Hula club is also great, but it is the complete opposite of Bonj les Bains, due to the party atmosphere!
Carpe Diem is a must-try for all clubbers - it’s the most unique clubbing experience I’ve had in a while! There is a boat that takes you to this separate island, and when you reach there, it’s literally a club in the woods/forest. The lights, the performers and the general atmosphere really makes it worth a visit! There are also cash points on sight - I can’t remember what it was - but the limit for a card payment at the bar was extremely high...
Some similar clubs which are recommended include Seven and Pink Champagne. Kiva bar is also great.
10. Party By Night
Carpe Diem is a must-try for all clubbers - it’s the most unique clubbing experience I’ve had in a while!
There is a boat that takes you to this separate island, and when you reach there, it’s literally a club in the woods/forest. The lights, the performers and the general atmosphere really makes it worth a visit! There are also cash points on sight - I can’t remember what it was - but the limit for a card payment at the bar was extremely high.
Other clubs recommended to us were Seven and Pink Champagne. Kiva bar is also great.
- Sample Hvar’s local dish, gregada, a type of stew which is made from fish, potatoes, onions, garlic and olive oil
- Escape the tourists crowds at Jelsa, a small harbour town which is located in a spectacular setting surrounded by thick pine forests and the ocean.
- See the impressive Grapčeva špilja neolithic cave dwellings
- Rent a scooter to see more of the island independently
If you are planning a trip to Croatia then I highly recommend adding Hvar to the list of places you visit. I had a brilliant experience in Hvar, purely because of how lovely the people were there!
As soon as I stepped off the flight, the local people were friendly, gave us great advice and helped us out with transport, safety and other general bits. I’m sure everybody’s experiences are different, but my friends and I felt extremely welcomed and safe.
Most flights into and out of Croatia go from Dubrovnik or Split so you can combine experiences to see more than just Hvar.
The ferry from Hvar to Split is around one hour and if like me you are flying home from Split, why not decide to go to Split as early as possible in the morning. We put our luggage in a hold near the station, and then explore the city in the day. We saw the Dioceltian palace, the Republic Square and much more. Dioceltian palace was not what we were expecting! Split was beautiful but also baking hot, which made the gelato stops even more valuable!
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By Varsha Patel.