hvar

Travelling to Hvar in the hope that we might be able to swim in the very same waters that were deemed good enough by Beyonce, Prince Harry and George Clooney et al., we approached the island via catamaran from Split only to be greeted by an all-white party more reminiscent of Ayia Napa than P Diddy’s infamous 4th July parties – though the super yachts bobbing nearby suggested that both types of holiday could be had here. Boats and parties aside, however, Hvar Town is breathtakingly beautiful and as you step onto the promenade, the buzz and excitement that fills the island during summer is immediately palpable.

Rising out of the Adriatic and up steep hills towards the Fortica Spanjola, Hvar Town is full of palm trees and sun-drenched, shuttered Dalmatian buildings which overlook the harbour, St Stephen’s Square and the nearby Pakleni Islands. Beyond the town, the island is swathed in purple of lavender, olive trees and vineyards. With so much beauty – both natural and man-made – it’s no wonder that this once hidden gem of the Balkans has become one of Europe’s most sought-after holiday destinations. Hvar’s beauty doesn’t just lie in its crystal clear waters and ancient streets, but in the way it welcomes and caters to every type of holiday goer. With such wealth amounts of money literally floating in the sea, you might expect Hvar to be an intimidating and exclusive place – but it is anything but.

Frequented by the stars and backpackers alike, Hvar has something for everyone. It’s as tranquil as it is loud, as unassuming as it is flash – you’re as likely to see an old Croatian man sputtering up the hill in a vintage Lada as you are an oligarch popping bottles on his yacht.  So, whether you want to soak up some history, dance until the sun comes up (and then goes back down again) or simply frolic in the ocean, Hvar – like the rogue sibling of the French Riveria – is the place to do it.

TO EAT

Fig

When dining in Dalmatia you don’t expect to be served burritos and curry, and if you do, you probably expect them to be the type you shovel down at 3AM. But this is where Fig comes in. One of Hvar’s most revered restaurants, the chefs’ creative menu has got you covered from breakfast through to dinner and everything in between.

Lungo Mare

Hvar seems is a rare tourist destination in that it’s hard actually pretty hard to eat badly – award-winning Lungo Mare is no exception. A ten-minute walk up from the harbour, it’s about the food rather than the frills here. Be prepared to wait a little while for your order to arrive, but with second-to-none seafood at very reasonable prices, it’s definitely worth it.

Konoba Menego

Nestled just off the ancient steps that lead to the medieval fortress, Konoba Menego is as traditional as they come. Adorned with Croatian antiques, the rustic tavern specialises in local wines and tapas-style Dalmatian meat and seafood. Try the grilled the octopus salad and Grandma’s coffee.

Dalmatino

Topping nearly every restaurant recommendation list in Hvar,  Dalmatino hardly needs any more of its praises sung, but when in Hvar it’s worth finding out why it’s so adored by both locals and tourists. Its 14 different steak dishes and gnocchi pasticada are too good to miss – but if your name’s not on the list, you’re not getting in.

  • +385 091 529 3121
  • Sveti Marak 1
    21450

TO DO

Robinson Bay

Hop on a taxi boat and in fifteen minutes you’ll arrive at one of the island’s most idyllic beaches, Robinson Bay. Given that it is ever so slightly off the beaten track, this little cove is a peaceful and quiet spot to bathe like a local. With a traditional Dalmatian restaurant hidden amongst the trees and the sun-bleached stones creating impossibly clear blue waters, Robinson Bay feels a million miles away from the hustle and bustle of the town.

Pakleni Islands - Jerolim - Kordovan Beach

A trip to Hvar isn’t complete without visiting the Pakleni Islands, some of the best islets that the Adriatic has to offer. Jerolim, the closest to Hvar Town, is a favourite with naturists and hippies. With a choice of beaches, shady hammocks and its very own ‘siesta corner’, it’s well worth a visit for long lazy days… Whether you dare to bare or not.

Wine Tasting at Vina Carić, Vrboska

Vrboska, affectionately dubbed ‘little Venice’, on the north side of the island is home to Vina Carić, a quaint and family run winery. Sorted and harvested by hand, Vina Caric’s grapes are also exposed to some 2700 hours of sunshine per year, resulting in delicious, very more-ish wine.

TO STAY

Earthers Hostel

If you’re one of the many backpackers who descend upon the island every summer, you may be in need of a cheaper Hvar experience. With views overlooking the Adriatic, as well as clean, airy rooms and super friendly staff, Earthers is one of the best hostels Hvar has to offer.

Riva Hvar Yacht Harbour Hotel

As the name suggests, the imposing Riva hotel is located so that you have the entire town at your fingertips. Overlooking the island’s famous harbour, the hotel combines traditional Dalmatian architecture with chic minimalist rooms, where you can kick back and watch the sunset from the lavish terrace after a busy day of sunbathing. Don’t forget to try the cocktails.

Little Green Bay

For a luxuriously secluded side of Hvar, the Little Green Bay staff have transformed a former farmhouse into a stunning boutique guesthouse, complete with a private beach, a restaurant serving the finest Mediterranean cuisine and spa services. Hvar Town is just 6km away, but at a hotel like this, you might never want to leave.

TO DRINK

Carpe Diem

There’s no shortage of places to party in Hvar and Carpe Diem Beach is probably the island’s most famous spot, with international DJs regularly playing sets there throughout the summer. Whether you want a day party, sunset party after-dark party (or all three) this beach club – open until 5AM – has got you covered. Drinks are reasonably priced and entry is free during the day, but be prepared to pay a fee once the sun goes down.

Hula Hula Beach Bar

Like Carpe Diem Beach, Hula Hula Beach Bar is famous for its Ibiza-style beach parties. Grab a margarita and lounger and bathe under the Croatian sun until around 5PM where the sunset party kicks off. For a more low-key beach bar experience, head down the bay for a few minutes until you reach Falko Bar where you can drink wine under the palm trees or clamber over the rocks into the ocean.

Jazz Barrr

Once you’re done boozing on a sun lounger, head back into town to Jazz Barrr. A slightly lesser known bar, Jazz Barrr attracts a young, backpacker crowd and the soul that they play is a welcome break from the house music that you’ll get accustomed to hearing when in Hvar.

Fig

Lungo Mare

Konoba Menego

Dalmatino

Robinson Bay

Jerolim

Vina Carić

Earthers Hostel

Riva Hvar Yacht Harbour Hotel

Little Green Bay

Carpe Diem

Hula Hula Beach Bar

Jazz Barrr

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