Hvar, Croatie

Top 10 must-visit attractions in Hvar

Last update : 26/05/2024 15:43

Imagine an enchanting island nestled in the Adriatic Sea — Hvar, a Croatian gem that captivates travelers from around the globe. With its crystal-clear waters shimmering in deep shades of blue, Hvar boasts stunning pebble beaches and secluded coves that beckon sun-seekers and adventurers alike.

Beyond its idyllic coastline, Hvar is steeped in history and culture. Its historic center, dominated by a medieval fortress perched atop a hill, features winding cobblestone streets lined with white stone houses and charming squares shaded by palm trees. The preserved architecture reflects the island's rich past, blending Venetian, Austrian, and Dalmatian influences.

Hvar is also renowned for its vibrant nightlife. Evenings on the island begin with leisurely seafood dinners and local wines at picturesque restaurants, before transitioning to chic bars and clubs along the waterfront. The cosmopolitan and lively atmosphere attracts an international crowd, creating an electric ambiance under the stars.

For nature enthusiasts, Hvar's interior hides treasures of its own: expansive fields of fragrant lavender stretch as far as the eye can see, offering a colorful and intoxicating sight during the summer bloom. Hiking trails wind through pristine landscapes, leading to traditional villages where time seems to stand still.

In summary, Hvar is a jewel of the Adriatic, blending natural beauty, captivating history, and vibrant contemporary life. Whether you're unwinding on its heavenly beaches, exploring its historical treasures, or indulging in unforgettable nights out, Hvar promises an unforgettable travel experience for every visitor.

1 - Explore Hvar Old Town

Explore Hvar Old Town, Hvar, Croatia

Exploring the old town of Hvar is a captivating experience that immerses you in the rich history of this Croatian island. Here's what you can discover:

  1. Main Square (Trg Svetog Stjepana): This is the heart of the old town, surrounded by historic buildings such as the Saint Stephen's Cathedral, which blends Gothic, Renaissance, and Baroque styles. The square is lively with cafes, restaurants, and often street performers.

  2. Narrow and Charming Alleyways: Strolling through the old town's cobblestone alleys allows you to discover architectural gems, artisan shops, art galleries, and traditional stone houses.

  3. Episcopal Palace and Museums: Visit the Episcopal Palace, a beautiful example of Dalmatian palace architecture, sometimes hosting cultural exhibitions. There's also the Hvar Town Museum where you can learn more about local history, including the significance of navigation and maritime trade to the region.

  4. Waterfront Promenade (Riva): Enjoy a pleasant stroll along the palm-lined waterfront, with numerous cafes and bars where you can relax while watching yachts and fishing boats.

  5. Sunset from the City Walls: End your day by climbing the city walls to admire an unforgettable sunset over the Adriatic Sea, with the islands in the background.

The old town of Hvar thus offers a unique blend of culture, history, nature, and relaxation, making it a cherished destination in Croatia.

2 - Visit the Spanish Fortress (Fortica)

Visit the Spanish Fortress (Fortica), Hvar, Croatia

The Spanish Fortress, also known as Fortica, is a historic fortress located in Hvar, Croatia. Perched on a hill overlooking the town and harbor, it not only offers spectacular views but also provides a fascinating glimpse into the region's history.

Built in the 16th century by the Venetians to defend against Ottoman Turkish attacks, Fortica was later fortified by the Austrians and the French. Today, it is a popular tourist site, drawing visitors who want to explore its ramparts, towers, and panoramic viewpoints.

Visiting the Spanish Fortress allows you to discover medieval military architecture, admire ancient cannons, and enjoy breathtaking views of Hvar town, the Adriatic Sea, and the surrounding islands. It's a perfect spot for history enthusiasts and photographers seeking stunning vistas.

Don't forget to wear comfortable shoes, as the ascent to Fortica can be a bit steep, but it's well worth it for the beauty and history it offers!

3 - Relax on the beaches

Relax on the beaches, Hvar, Croatia

Hvar, a Croatian island in the Adriatic Sea, is renowned for its stunning beaches and crystal-clear waters. Here are some of the best beaches where you can relax on Hvar:

1. Dubovica Beach

Located about 8 km east of Hvar town, Dubovica is one of the island's most picturesque beaches. This sheltered cove features fine sand and pebbles, with turquoise waters perfect for swimming and snorkeling.

2. Pokonji Dol Beach

Close to Hvar town, Pokonji Dol is a large pebble beach with several restaurants and bars nearby. It's an ideal spot to relax while enjoying the nearby amenities.

3. Mlini Beach

Accessible by boat from Hvar town, Mlini is situated on the Pakleni Islands, a group of paradise islands just off the coast. This beach offers a tranquil atmosphere with calm, clear waters.

4. Zarace Beach

Zarace is divided into two parts: Velo Zarace (Big Zarace) and Malo Zarace (Little Zarace), each with its own unique charm. These beaches are perfect for those seeking a more secluded and natural setting.

5. Stipanska Beach

Located on the island of Marinkovac, also part of the Pakleni Islands, Stipanska is known for its vibrant atmosphere with beach clubs like Carpe Diem Beach. It's the ideal spot for combining relaxation and partying.

6. Grebisce Beach

Situated near the town of Jelsa, this beach is particularly family-friendly thanks to its shallow waters and soft sand. Grebisce also offers facilities such as bars and pedal boat rentals.

7. Lucisca Beach

For a more isolated experience, head to Lucisca Beach near the village of Sveta Nedjelja. This small cove is surrounded by steep cliffs, providing a serene and untouched setting.

Each beach in Hvar has its own unique charm, whether you're looking for a party vibe, a peaceful retreat, or water activities. Don't forget to bring sunscreen, water, and beach shoes to make the most of your day under the Croatian sun.

4 - Discover the surrounding islands

Discover the surrounding islands, Hvar, Croatia

Hvar, a Croatian island in the Adriatic Sea, is surrounded by several beautiful neighboring islands and islets worth exploring. Here are some of the surrounding islands near Hvar that you can discover:

1. Pakleni Islands (Pakleni Otoci)

Located just off the coast of Hvar town, the Pakleni Islands are an archipelago of small islands known for their stunning beaches, crystal-clear waters, and hidden coves. The main islands in this archipelago include:

  • Sveti Klement: The largest of the Pakleni Islands, it is home to the village of Palmižana, famous for its botanical gardens and restaurants.
  • Jerolim: Known for its naturist beaches and relaxed atmosphere.
  • Marinkovac: Home to popular beaches like Stipanska, featuring beach clubs and restaurants.

2. Vis Island

About 25 kilometers west of Hvar, Vis is known for its natural beauty and unspoiled beaches. The island offers many historical sites, vineyards, and local culinary specialties. Points of interest include:

  • Blue Cave (Modra špilja): Located on the islet of Biševo near Vis, this cave is famous for its spectacular blue light.
  • Stiniva Beach: An isolated beach surrounded by high cliffs, accessible by boat or on foot.

3. Korčula Island

Located southeast of Hvar, Korčula is renowned for its medieval architecture, sandy beaches, and cultural traditions. The town of Korčula, often referred to as "Little Dubrovnik," boasts numerous historical monuments, narrow alleys, and a rich maritime history.

4. Brač Island

North of Hvar, Brač is famous for the Zlatni Rat beach in Bol, often considered one of the most beautiful beaches in Europe. The island is also known for its stone quarries, which supplied material for famous buildings like Diocletian's Palace in Split.

5. Šolta Island

East of Hvar and near Split, Šolta is a tranquil destination with olive groves, vineyards, and charming villages. Its pebble beaches and clear waters make it an ideal spot for swimming and relaxation.

6. Lastovo Island

This remote island, located south of Hvar, is part of the Lastovo archipelago, a protected nature park. Lastovo is perfect for those looking to escape the crowds and enjoy unspoiled nature, scuba diving, and stargazing.

Practical Tips

  • Transport: Most of these islands are accessible by ferry or water taxi from Hvar. Organized tours are also available to visit multiple islands in one day.
  • Best Time to Visit: The best time to visit these islands is from May to September when the weather is favorable and tourist services are fully operational.
  • Activities: In addition to beaches and swimming, the islands offer activities like hiking, cycling, wine tasting, and exploring historical and cultural sites.

Exploring these surrounding islands will reveal a wealth of diverse landscapes, local cultures, and natural treasures that perfectly complement your stay on Hvar.

5 - Visit Stari Grad

Visit Stari Grad, Hvar, Croatia

Visiting Stari Grad sounds like a fantastic idea! Stari Grad, meaning "Old Town" in Croatian, is located on the island of Hvar in Croatia. It's known for its rich history, charming streets, and beautiful surroundings. Here are a few things you might enjoy doing there:

  1. Explore the Old Town: Wander through the narrow streets of the old town center, where you can find historic buildings, quaint cafes, and local shops.

  2. Visit Tvrdalj Castle: This 16th-century fortified castle was built by the poet Petar Hektorović and is a great place to learn about local history and architecture.

  3. Enjoy the Beaches: Stari Grad and its surrounding area boast some beautiful beaches where you can relax and soak up the sun.

  4. Try Local Cuisine: Don't miss the chance to sample delicious Croatian dishes at one of the many restaurants in town. Fresh seafood and local wines are highlights.

  5. Take a Boat Trip: Explore the coastline and nearby islands by taking a boat tour or renting a small boat to discover secluded coves and beaches.

  6. Visit nearby attractions: Consider visiting the UNESCO World Heritage Site of the Stari Grad Plain, an ancient agricultural landscape that has been preserved since Greek times.

  7. Attend Cultural Events: Depending on the time of year, you might be able to catch local festivals, concerts, or art exhibitions that showcase the vibrant culture of the region.

Make sure to take in the relaxed Mediterranean atmosphere and enjoy the blend of history, culture, and natural beauty that Stari Grad has to offer.

6 - Visit the Blue Grotto and the Green Grotto

Visit the Blue Grotto and the Green Grotto, Hvar, Croatia

To visit the Blue Cave and the Green Cave from Hvar in Croatia, here's how you can plan your trip:

  1. Blue Cave:

    • Location: The Blue Cave is located on the island of Biševo, near Hvar.
    • Access from Hvar: You can book a boat excursion from the port of Hvar. Organized tours typically include boat transportation to Biševo and entry into the cave.
    • Tip: The best time to visit is early in the morning when the sunlight illuminates the cave through an underwater opening, creating a spectacular blue light effect.
  2. Green Cave:

    • Location: The Green Cave is situated on the island of Ravnik, also near Hvar but closer to Vis than Biševo.
    • Access from Hvar: Similarly, you can book a boat tour from Hvar to visit the Green Cave. Boat tours usually stop at the Green Cave, allowing visitors to swim and see the unique green color of the water inside the cave.
    • Tip: Like the Blue Cave, visiting early in the morning is recommended to fully appreciate the natural light.
  3. Boat Excursions:

    • There are numerous tour agencies in Hvar offering day trips to these caves. It's advisable to book in advance, especially during the peak tourist season, to secure your spot and enjoy the experience.

By following these tips, you should be able to plan a pleasant and memorable visit to the Blue and Green Caves from Hvar.

7 - Explore the lavender fields

Explore the lavender fields, Hvar, Croatia

Exploring the lavender fields in Hvar, Croatia, is a captivating sensory experience. Located on the island of Hvar in the Adriatic Sea, this region is famous for its expansive lavender fields that typically bloom from June to July. Here’s what you can discover when exploring these fields:

  1. Panoramic Views and Vibrant Colors: The lavender fields create a stunning landscape with shades of purple and blue stretching as far as the eye can see, contrasting beautifully with the green hillsides and the deep blue Adriatic Sea.

  2. Intoxicating Fragrance: Lavender emits a delightful scent that perfumes the air, creating a relaxing and soothing atmosphere. Local growers often use lavender to produce essential oils and other aromatic products.

  3. Photography and Relaxation: The lavender fields offer excellent photography opportunities, whether capturing sunrise or sunset over the blooming fields, or simply unwinding amidst this natural beauty.

  4. Local Products: Many local artisans use lavender to create a range of handmade products such as essential oils, soaps, perfumes, and even lavender-infused confections.

  5. Mediterranean Climate: Enjoy the warm and sunny Mediterranean climate during your visit to Hvar, contributing to the lush growth of lavender fields.

  6. Culture and Tradition: Lavender cultivation is steeped in Hvar's history, with traditional methods of cultivation and harvesting sometimes preserved and celebrated during local festivals.

Visiting the lavender fields in Hvar offers an immersive experience that engages all the senses and provides a deep connection with the island's natural beauty and local culture in Croatia.

8 - Discover local wineries

Discover local wineries, Hvar, Croatia

Hvar is a stunning island in Croatia, renowned not only for its history and coastal landscapes but also for its vineyards. Here are some of the local vineyards on Hvar that you can explore:

  1. Tomic Winery: Located in Jelsa, this esteemed winery produces a range of award-winning wines from local grape varieties such as Plavac Mali.

  2. Zlatan Otok: Also in Sveta Nedjelja, this winery is famous for its robust wines and stunning vineyard positions on the steep slopes of the island.

  3. Duboković Winery: In Svirče, this family-owned winery offers a more intimate experience with wine tastings in an authentic setting.

  4. Vina Caric: Known for its organic wines made from indigenous grapes like Bogdanuša, this winery in Jelsa provides enriching tours and tastings.

  5. Vina Plenković: Located in Vrbanj, this winery blends tradition with modernity to produce high-quality wines, often recognized in international competitions.

Each vineyard in Hvar offers a unique combination of terroir, winemaking tradition, and warm hospitality, making it an ideal destination for wine enthusiasts looking to discover new viticultural horizons.

9 - Participate in nightlife

Participate in nightlife, Hvar, Croatia

Participating in the nightlife in Hvar can be an incredible experience! Hvar, an island in Croatia renowned for its beautiful beaches and lively evenings, attracts many visitors looking to enjoy Mediterranean nightlife.

Here are some highlights of nightlife in Hvar:

  1. Carpe Diem Beach Club: Located on a small island just off Hvar, this is one of the most famous spots for partying. It features international DJs, elaborate cocktails, and a beach party atmosphere that lasts all night.

  2. Hula Hula Beach Club: Another popular beach spot where you can dance at sunset and party into the early hours. It's a great place to relax during the day and party as night falls.

  3. Bars and clubs in Hvar Town: Hvar Town is filled with bars and clubs that draw an international crowd. You can stroll through the cobblestone streets and discover different venues catering to all tastes, from intimate bars to lively clubs.

  4. Yacht parties: Hvar is also known for its yacht parties. You can rent a boat with friends and explore secluded coves while partying at sunset.

  5. Festivals and special events: During the high season, Hvar hosts various music festivals and special events that attract visitors from around the world. Be sure to check if there are any special events scheduled during your stay.

In summary, nightlife in Hvar is vibrant and diverse, offering something for every type of partygoer, whether it's on the beach, in town bars, or at special events. Plan your evening and enjoy everything this beautiful island has to offer after dark!

10 - Go scuba diving or snorkeling

Go scuba diving or snorkeling, Hvar, Croatia

Hvar is a fantastic destination for scuba diving and snorkeling in Croatia. Here are some popular spots where you can enjoy these activities:

  1. Scuba Diving:

    • Dive Sites: There are several diving sites around the island of Hvar that offer a variety of underwater landscapes, including caves, wrecks, and diverse marine life.
    • Diving Schools: You can find diving schools in Hvar that offer courses for all levels, from beginners to advanced divers.
  2. Snorkeling:

    • Bays and Coves: The clear turquoise waters of Hvar are perfect for snorkeling. Head to bays like Milna Bay or Dubovica Bay to explore reefs and marine life.
    • Equipment: You can rent snorkeling gear from local shops or tour operators.

Whether you're a beginner or an experienced diver, Hvar provides fantastic opportunities to discover the underwater beauty of the Adriatic. Make sure to check weather conditions and local recommendations before heading out for a day of diving or snorkeling.

Hvar - Where to Stay?

To stay and explore Hvar, here are some excellent options:

  1. Hvar Town: Located at the heart of the island, Hvar Town offers a range of accommodations from luxury hotels to more affordable family-run guesthouses. It's ideal if you want to be close to the action with easy access to attractions, restaurants, and lively nightlife.

  2. Stari Grad: Situated on the opposite end of the island, Stari Grad is a picturesque town known for its historic harbor and quieter atmosphere. You'll find charming accommodation options often at lower prices compared to Hvar Town. Stari Grad also serves as a great base for exploring the rest of the island, including its vineyards and natural landscapes.

  3. Jelsa: This small coastal town offers a relaxed, family-friendly atmosphere. It's perfect if you're looking for a peaceful stay with less crowded beaches and a more authentic vibe. Jelsa has various types of accommodation, from hotels to private apartments.

  4. Vrboska: Known as "Little Venice of Hvar" for its canals and picturesque bridges, Vrboska is a charming and tranquil option away from the crowds. Accommodation choices here include guesthouses and vacation rentals close to the sea.

  5. Maslinica: This secluded bay is perfect for travelers seeking tranquility. Accommodations in Maslinica are often villas or private apartments offering complete privacy and spectacular sea views.

Regardless of where you choose to stay on Hvar Island, there are options to suit every budget and preference, whether in major towns or more remote villages. It's advisable to book in advance, especially during the peak summer season, to secure the best accommodation options.

Hvar - How to get around?

To get around and explore the island of Hvar, there are several convenient options:

  1. On Foot: The main towns like Hvar Town, Stari Grad, Jelsa, and Vrboska are compact and easily walkable. This allows you to discover picturesque alleys, lively squares, and historic sites at your own pace.

  2. By Bicycle: Hvar offers beautiful coastal roads and trails through its lush interior, perfect for cycling enthusiasts. You can rent bikes in Hvar Town, Stari Grad, or Jelsa to explore natural landscapes and visit villages less accessible by car.

  3. By Car: Renting a car is convenient if you want to explore the island at your own pace and access remote locations such as secluded beaches or natural sites. Car rental agencies are available in Hvar Town and Stari Grad.

  4. By Scooter: A popular alternative to a car is renting a scooter, providing greater mobility while still allowing easy parking in denser urban areas.

  5. By Taxi: Taxis are available in Hvar Town and can be useful for shorter trips or exploring specific sites without renting a vehicle.

  6. By Boat: To visit neighboring islands or take coastal excursions around Hvar, you can take water taxis or organized boat tours from Hvar Town's port.

  7. By Bus: There are regular bus services connecting the main towns and villages of the island. It's a cost-effective option for getting around, though schedules may be limited, especially outside the peak season.

In summary, the choice of transportation depends on your personal preferences and how you want to explore Hvar. Each option offers its own advantages for discovering the natural beauty, history, and culture of this captivating island in the Adriatic Sea.

Hvar - Best period

The best time to visit Hvar depends on what you're looking for:

  1. Summer (June to August): This is peak season in Hvar. The weather is warm and ideal for beach activities and water sports. Evenings are lively with vibrant nightlife. It's also the busiest time for tourists, so expect larger crowds and higher accommodation prices.

  2. Spring (April to May) and Fall (September to October): These shoulder seasons offer mild and pleasant temperatures, perfect for exploring the island on foot or by bike without the summer crowds. Spring brings lush green landscapes and blooming flowers, while fall is great for wine enthusiasts with the grape harvest season.

  3. Winter (November to March): Hvar is much quieter during winter, with cooler temperatures. Many establishments may be closed, but if you're seeking tranquility and want to experience local life, it can be an interesting time to visit.

In general, the summer peak season (June to August) is recommended if you want to fully enjoy the beaches, festivals, and nightlife. If you prefer milder temperatures and a quieter experience, spring and fall may be more suitable. Be sure to check local events and specific weather conditions for the time period you plan to visit Hvar.

Last update : 26/05/2024 15:43

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