The Magnificent Island – Hvar

Hvar: a guide to the sunny island of Croatia

The island of Hvar is the longest and sunniest on the Adriatic. Enjoy 2720 hours or 350 days of sunshine here, and the pleasant scent of lavender and quaint forms of medieval architecture complement the colorful vacation. Tourists are lured by the island’s mild climate and beautiful subtropical nature. The capital life of the island in the city of the same name never slows down. The best time to travel is the first half of June. At this time, fields of lavender bloom, pink oleander blooms, the weather disposes to comfortable recreation and prices are not yet as high as in the tourist season.

Island Hvar

Photo: Hvar, Croatia. Today Hvar in Croatia is on the list of the best places for holidays on the Adriatic coast.

General Info

Hvar is an island in the Adriatic Sea and in the southern part of Croatia. Its area is 300 km², its length is 68 m and the coastline is more than 250 km long. The name of the island means “lighthouse” and comes from the Greek word “pharos”.

Map of the island of Hvar

Useful to know! The nearest airport to Hvar is located 60 km away in Split. You can get to the resort by water cab or by catamaran.

The largest settlements:

  • Hvar – the capital, located on the south-west of the island, the population is a little more than 4 thousand people;
  • Stari Grad, population about 3 thousand people;
  • Jelsa, a population of about 3.7 thousand people.

The island is connected to neighboring islands and towns on the mainland by sea channels.

The main source of income of the local population – tourism, as well as on the island of many fishermen, a lot of vineyards and growing lavender.

City of Stari Grad

Stari Grad

The island of Hvar in Croatia has been inhabited by people since the 3rd and 4th millennium BC. During the excavations there were found pottery with elements of painting, historians call this period the “Hvar culture.

In 385 B.C. the Greeks settled on the island and founded the town of Faros on the territory of modern Stari Grad. Then the island came under Roman rule, at which time cities were founded and the population multiplied.

Slavic tribes appeared on the island of Hvar in the 8th century, many tribes competed for the right to rule this part of Croatia, and as a result the Venetians, the Hungarian state and the Republic of Dubrovnik ruled the island. Also, the island wanted to take over the Turks, during the war, many settlements were practically razed to the ground, but they quickly rebuilt. The Venetians were replaced by the Austrians on the island, who were replaced by Napoleon’s troops. In the early 19th century, the island was attacked by the ships of the Ushakov fleet, but it soon withdrew to Austria. At the end of the First World War Hvar became part of Yugoslavia and gained independence in 1990.

Attractions

Island houses Hvar

Hvar Island in the Adriatic Sea is one of the most visited resorts in Croatia. And no wonder, because on the small territory you will find everything you need for recreation – historical sites, comfortable beaches, amazing nature.

The first settlements in this part of Croatia appeared 4 thousand years ago. The island has managed to preserve unique monuments of architecture, which were built in different eras. Here is the largest theater in Europe, built in the first half of the 17th century. There are still held theatrical performances and national, cultural events.

St. Stephen's Cathedral in Hvar

Be sure to visit St. Stephen’s Cathedral, it is located in the central part of the capital and is the most spectacular building of the Renaissance period.

Walking around the central square, pay attention to the ancient well – on the Croatian island there has always been a shortage of drinking water, so the attitude of the inhabitants to the wells is special – respectful.

On the top of the hill there is an important historical site – the old fortress, defending the island in the 18th and 19th centuries. Today, visitors to the island necessarily climb the hill to admire the wonderful island in Croatia from the fortress walls. There is the best viewing platform on Hvar.

Franciscan monastery in the Bay of Kriz

Franciscan Monastery

An excursion to the Franciscan monastery, located in the bay of Kriza, is sure to be fascinating and informative. The building is characterized by spectacular architecture, and inside there is a museum with an interesting display of ancient books, paintings and coins created by local craftsmen.

On a side note! The nature and architecture of the island dispose to long, unhurried walks. Here you can spend hours enjoying the beauty of the island and touch the grandeur of antiquity.

Interesting architectural sights:

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Be sure to visit one of the oldest towns in Europe, Stari Grad, as well as the colorful fishing town of Sucurai.

For your information. The neighboring island of Brac in Croatia is also of interest to fans of beautiful beaches and colorful scenery. What to see there and where to relax read in this article with photos.

The majority of beaches on the island of Hvar in Croatia are pebbly, so, barefoot walking on the shore is not too pleasant, you must buy rubberized shoes. You can buy them at any beach on the island. Going into the water barefoot is also not recommended – at the bottom there are a lot of sea urchins and stones.

One of the most beautiful places on the island of Hvar in Croatia, is shaped like a lagoon. Located 5-7 minutes drive from Milna, in the southern part of the resort. Campers leave their transport by the curb, but there is also parking. It takes about 10 minutes to get to the beach, you have to go down the mountain.

Dubrovica Beach

  • The clearest water of azure color;
  • On the shore there is a restaurant that serves delicious fish dishes;
  • Nearby is the town of Stari Grad.

There is everything you need for a comfortable holiday – sun loungers, umbrellas, booths.

Useful information! The way from the port of Hvar takes about 25 minutes. You can get there by water cab or by catamaran.

Milna Beach

It is the main beach of the island, which is located in the village of the same name, and consists of four lagoons, surrounded by pine trees, grapes and orchards. Hvar town is 4 km away. On the coast there is everything you need for recreation and families with children come here.

  • The water is warm and clean;
  • There are restaurants (it is better to book a table in advance);
  • it is possible to have a rest not only at coast, but far away – in a silent place, on stones;
  • On the shore you can rent a boat.

Plaža Sveta Nedjelja

The beach is located in the south of the island, 7 km from Dubovitsa. The Sveta Nedeli beach is located in a secluded place surrounded by rocks reaching up to 100 meters high. You can reach it by footpath through the forest or by boat on the sea. There are no hotels on the shore, logs and umbrellas from the sun must be brought.

This beach on the island of Hvar is suitable for swimming as well as snorkeling. The surface of Sveta Nedjelja is pebbly, the entry into the water is sharp – the depth starts just 2-3 meters from the shore. After walking along the shoreline you can find a few more tiny coves where you can swim alone. This beach is visited primarily for the beautiful scenery, sunsets and privacy.

The landmark of the island is located in the northern part of the capital city of Hvar. The fortress was built in the 16th century and offers a wonderful view of the Paklenes Islands. The locals call the structure – fortezza – fort.

View from the fortress of Hvar

In the past the fortress was considered to be the main defensive structure of the island of Hvar, it shows the coats of arms – the Venetian, as well as the sea captains of Hvar.

Please note! The fortress is an ancient cultural and historical monument. It is one of the most picturesque constructions on the Croatian coast.

Hvar Fortress

The decision to build it was made in the 13th century by the Venetian government. The construction work progressed slowly, the main part of the work was completed in the middle of the 16th century. The defensive complex consisted of four towers and numerous additions. The fortress perfectly coped with its task when the island was attacked by the Turks.

At the end of the 16th century the fortress was destroyed by a strong lightning strike. Restoration works were carried out for a century.

In the second half of the last century the fortress was restored and opened to tourists. Today there is a museum in the fortress, which presents an exhibition of ancient artifacts.

  • Address: Spanjola, Ul. Biskupa Jurja Dubokovica 80, 21450, Hvar, Croatia.
  • Opening hours: 9:00-21:00.
  • Entrance to the tower is 50 kuna.

St. Stefan's Cathedral

The landmark is located on the central square in Hvar. The temple is made in Dalmatian Renaissance style and is consecrated in honor of St. Stephen. The religious landmark is built on the site of an ancient Christian church. The cathedral acquired its modern appearance in the 16th-17th centuries. The bell tower was built in the early 16th century and took about 50 years to decorate. The interior is decorated in the Baroque style.

This is important! There is a museum on the territory of the temple, where a collection of church utensils, jewelry, ancient books, and archival documents is presented.

The cathedral is active and on holidays and weekends there is an organ and services are held. You can go up the stairs to the ancient theater and visit the observation deck. The main decoration of the temple is a bell tower, decorated with paintings.

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Paklinski Islands

This attraction is considered to be a calling card of the island of Hvar in Croatia. You can get here from anywhere on the island. On a trip is better to allocate a whole day to swim and sunbathe, and see a lot of interesting things.

A group of Paklin islands are located along the coast of Dalmatia. The name translates as “Hell Islands”. In the old days, resin for ships was brewed here, so the island was always shrouded in thick, black smoke. There is also a version that the name of the islands means – pine tar.

The largest island of the archipelago is St. Clement. Here is a beautiful sandy beach, sheltered by a pine forest and surrounded by a field of heather.

Fans of diving, snorkeling and water sports come here. You can travel between the islands of the archipelago by water-taxi.

Accommodation on Island Hvar in Croatia

Hotel Croatia

Hotel Croatia

At the disposal of tourists a huge selection of hotels, hotels, apartments in different price categories. Accommodation in a three-star hotel in the summer season costs from 55 euros per night. We are talking about a double room.

You can also rent a comfortable cottage or a cozy apartment – it all depends on the number of tourists and your personal preferences. The cost of housing depends on the location and the availability of additional services.

Camping Vira

Camping Vira Hvar

Campsites are very popular among tourists. The cost of living depends on the season. The most popular camping on the island of Hvar in Croatia is Vira Hvar. It is located in a quiet bay, 4 km from the capital. There are all conditions for a comfortable stay. The campsite can accommodate 650 guests. On its territory there are accommodations with electricity and water, market, restaurant, playground, Wi-Fi zone and private beach. Rates for accommodation (in euros):

  • mid-July to mid-August – 8.1 for adults, 4.5 for children over 3 years old;
  • June and the second half of August – for adults – 7,1, for children older than 3 years – 4,1;
  • June – 6.1 for adults and 2.5 for children over age 3;
  • September – 5.1 for adults, 2 for children over 3.

Children under three years stay free of charge. All accommodation conditions and prices can be found on the official camping site www.campingcroatiahvar.com.

How to get to the island of Hvar

Ferry to Hvar

You can reach the island of Hvar by water – by catamaran or ferry. There are daily flights from all port cities in Croatia. You can also take a water cab or make a trip on a comfortable boat.

It is important! Ferry schedule depends on time of year and day of week. Passenger ferries arrive in the capital city of Hvar, and cargo ferries in Stari Grad.

The trip from Split takes about an hour. One-way tickets cost about 100 kuna for adults and 50 kuna for children. The exact schedule can be found on the websites of carriers:

Many people are interested in the question – how to get by car to the island of Hvar in Croatia, because it is more convenient to travel by private transport. Transport can be rented directly on Hvar. If you travel by car, you should arrive at the ferry landing 1.5 hours in advance. Water transport departs from Split, the port is located in the center of the city.

You have to pay 350 kuna for the car. You can view ferry schedules and purchase tickets on the previously mentioned websites or directly at the port of the large resort city of Split.

To move around the city you can rent a car, the rent price per day from 350 kuna. Travelers can also rent mopeds or scooters.

There are three gas stations on the island, one in the capital and two in Jelsi.

Prices on the page are for November 2021.

To summarize.

The island of Hvar is a corner of rich historical heritage, amazing nature and mild climate. Be sure to try the local wine, which in combination with the aroma of lavender is intoxicating and seems incredibly delicious. A trip to the island will be an unforgettable adventure and you will definitely want to come back here.

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Video: an interesting and useful review of the island of Hvar. See it for sure!

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Island Hvar, Croatia: where to live, what to see, best beaches

Hvar, best beaches

I share my experience of traveling on the island of Hvar, one of the most beautiful Croatian islands. Planning accommodation on the island of Hvar, what beaches to see and the most beautiful cities on the island.

As of May 1, 2022, Croatia will abolish all Covid-19 related restrictions that were in effect during the pandemic!

How to get to the island of Hvar

Hvar is easily accessible by ferry, and you need a car to travel. Without a car you will be limited in your choice of locations – buses don’t go to all beaches, and it will take time to move between towns.

To travel in a rental car, you need to indicate to the rental office that you are going to travel by ferry. It will cost a couple of pennies extra to the insurance and that’s it. If you own your own car, it’s even easier. Rent a car on this site – the analogue of Bucking only in the car world.

You can get to Hvar from the port of Split. The ferry leaves from the pier in Split and in two hours you get off at Stari Grad, from which it is convenient to explore the island.

If you are vacationing on the Makarska Riviera, the shortest way is to take the ferry from the village of Drvenik and take a 30-minute ferry to the ferry pier in the town of Sucurai. The peculiarity of this route is that from Sucurai you have to drive across the island to the most beautiful places.

Best beaches on the island of Hvar

About the peculiarities of travel by ferry in Croatia you can read in this article.

Where to stay on the island of Hvar

Hvar is a big island, about 70 km long from east to west. Through the whole island from Sucurai to the town of Hvar is a good road.

Most tourist spots and beautiful beaches are concentrated closer to the west side of the island near the towns of Hvar and Stari Grad as well as Milna, Vrboska, Jelsa, Zavala.

Between these locations and should choose a place to stay.

Hvar is the biggest town of the island of the same name, with a small historical center and a very large number of tourists. The number of tourists is due to the ferry crossing – from Hvar pedestrians can get by ferry to the island of Vis and the island of Korcula, as well as take a water cab to the Paklinski islands.

The town of Hvar can only be recommended to those who love tourist crowds, queues and crowded beaches. And the historical component is weak, in fact. A pleasant city center and the promenade are nothing more than that. The city for a couple of hours, well, for half a day maximum, especially if you are spoiled Europe.

town of Hvar

Accommodation in Hvar choose also those who are without a car – directly in the town is a ferry crossing for hikers. In addition, Hvar is the main base of package tourists. Conclusions are up to you.

Stari Grad

Stari Grad is the second most important town on the island of Hvar, it is chosen by independent travelers and yachtsmen during their sailing trips. Stari Grad is smaller than Hvar, incredibly atmospheric with a marina, a long promenade and places to enjoy the sunset. We stayed here during our yacht trip, and this time we stopped for a half day to wander around and dilute the beach experience.

Milna, Croatia

The village of Milna is the third location, which is chosen by those tired of the tourist bustle and those for whom important is the sound of the sea in the bedroom and a glass of white dry Grk on the balcony. There are also several good beaches directly in the village and in the surrounding area.

Lodging in Vrboska, Jelsa, Zavala is less popular. We’ve been to these cities, but not very much penetrated. Perhaps someone has had experience – share.

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The three main locations for the choice of housing on Hvar

In order not to confuse you, I will offer you three locations to choose from – they are the most convenient for exploring the island.

Hvar, Croatia

Hvar town – tourist hangout and logistics to neighboring islands, especially relevant to those traveling without a car and those who just like these touristy places.

Hvar, Croatia

Hvar’s strong point is a lot of accommodation for all budgets, in contrast to the next two locations where accommodation is not so generous.

Stari Grad

Stari Grad is one of the oldest cities not only on the island, but also in Croatia. Not a bad option for those who arrive by ferry by car. The city is located around a long bay, which is filled with yachts of different lengths and shapes. Along the bay is a long promenade with a park and a pedestrian zone that ends with a view of the sunset.

Stary Grad is chosen when you want to combine city walks in the evening with a drink in the bar and active car rides during the day. We stayed in Stary Grad earlier on a yacht trip.

Milna, Croatia

Milna is a great option if you prefer a good budget and apartments with a view to the sea and free parking, quietness and absence of city bustle. Milna is conveniently located 10 minutes drive from Hvar and Stari Grad, which makes it ideal for exploring the beaches and beautiful places on the island of Hvar.

Milna, accommodation

We chose Milna for a change, as we lived in Stari Grad on our last trip, and the touristy town of Hvar was not our format at all.

We liked Milna very much. A quiet seaside village with beaches, accommodation along the sea and restaurants-cafes. If you book in advance, you can pick up cheap apartments for 50-75 euros for two with a balcony and a sea view. There are more comfortable offers for 100-120 euros per night for two.

Best beaches on the island of Hvar

We have decided on the housing, now move on to the beaches. There are many and you can just go around the locations on Google maps, if time permits, and you are not afraid to make a mistake.

Island beaches Hvar

If the purpose of the trip to swim and sunbathe on the beach – you can not bother, almost every beach offers turquoise water and places for sunbathing with a break for cafe-bar treats.

If you want something beautiful, secluded or unusual, it’s worth taking the time and exploring the coast. Or trust my choices. The list is incomplete, we didn’t have time to see everything, so leave time for new places and tell me about them in the comments. I would appreciate it.

First we will drive through the beaches on the south side of the island Hvar – we will start from the outskirts of Hvar and move along the coast, the sea will be on our right.

Robinson Beach

Located between the town of Hvar and Milna. We drove along the coast from Hvar to the crowded Hvar Ranta (Hvar Beach) and left the car there. On Google maps, this parking lot is marked as Pokonji Parking and it’s free. In September there were places, in summer it’s worse, but the one who gets up early is lucky. You are not in a sanatorium, plan your recreation in the morning.

Robinson Beach, Hvar

From the parking to the beach Robinson walk about 20 minutes along a path along the sea.

Robinson Beach, Hvar

The beach is very beautiful, if you are lucky and there are few people, the pleasure of visiting will be even more. The most beautiful color of the water here, as in other places, is closer to noon and until 3-4 hours in the afternoon.

The central part of the beach is a traditional Croatian pebble, the edges are huge flat stones on which you can sunbathe or what you usually do on the beaches.

The beaches of Milna.

Milna beaches

We stayed here for a few days, so we walked around the local area. There is a camping site next to the village, and here it is the most beautiful beach, not many people here in September. About three times less than in the vicinity of Hvar. In Milne there are also several beautiful places from which you can see the bays and beaches from high up.

Remote beaches Malo Zarace and Velo Zarace

Two beaches near Milne, if you drive along the sea, the sea remains on the right. Near both beaches there are a couple of accommodations and a restaurant over the sea.

Hvar, best beaches

You have to go down the small serpentine road to the beach, there are parking spaces along the sea, but their number is very limited. In September we barely squeezed into the only remaining spot.

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Both beaches are next to each other, to the left and right of the parking lot.

Hvar, best beaches

The beach of Malo Zarace is especially beautiful – an oval bay surrounded by pine trees, on the shore there are pebbles and boulders, the bay is covered with concrete on the edges, but it does not spoil it. You can spend half of the day if not all and go to the Old Castle in the afternoon.

On the way to the Old Castle on the same side there is another beach – Dubovica.

Beach Dubovica

We found this beach on Google maps with high ratings and good reviews. Even more remote than the previous two and no less interesting. There is a cafe on the beach and you can also spend a sweltering part of the day there.

Hvar, best beaches

I remind you that towards noon, the water in the Adriatic becomes the color that not only insta-bloggers love, but you and I as well.

Maslinica beach

The next beach is perfectly aligned with the towns of Stari Grad and Vrdoska. Until lunch we walk around the Old Castle and Vrboska, then, when the sun is at zenith we go for a swim to the beautiful place Maslinica beach.

Hvar, best beaches

It is loved by independent tourists for its seclusion, yachtsmen for the picturesque bay. Without a car it is difficult to get here. There are no organized tourists at all, as there is no tourist accommodation nearby, and to the nearest settlements a few kilometers.

Hvar, best beaches

We come by car, park the car on the lawn in the woods and stomp down about 10 minutes to the sea. Our efforts are rewarded with a clear sea, a minimum of people and an incredible photogenic place.

Maslinitsa is another beach where you can spend most of the day. Bathing, sunbathing, taking pictures and enjoying life. That’s what we came to Croatia for, isn’t it? You’d better bring your own beer, there are no vendors or café-bars here.

Zucica

This beach is located in the central part of the island Hvar near the village Zavala. I can not say that it is outstanding, but it is nice and the people are one more couple besides us.

Hvar, best beaches

The seclusion in a small oval bay is the strong point of this place. If there is not much time you can skip and spend more time on Maslinica Beach or Malo Zarace beach .

Island Hvar – interesting places

Apart from the beach on Hvar, there are several towns and villages worth visiting if they have interesting history, café-restaurants, and beautiful views.

Town of Hvar

Although I don’t recommend the town of Hvar as a basic vacation spot, a trip here is worthwhile. Tourists climb the fortress for beautiful overhead views, walk along the promenade and in the parks, and loop the narrow streets.

Hvar, Old Town

We don’t like crowds, so we got here early in the morning, had a coffee, enjoyed the walk, and caught the very beginning of the tourist traffic at about 10am.

Old Castle

Old Grad is the oldest town on the island with a very nice medieval center and a large yacht marina.

Great for overnight stays, lunch in local restaurants and evening walks before sunset.

Stari Grad, Croatia, Hvar

The best place to watch the sunset is the beach bar at the end of the waterfront. There’s also a park with hiking trails.

Vrboska

Vrboska is another interesting town, the Croats call it Little Venice because of the long fjord that divides the town into two parts and the bridges over it. This year, the bridges were repaired and the central part of the town was combed a bit.

Along the fjord and occurs most of the tourist and local life. It’s worth stopping by for a couple of hours, parking is free along the boardwalk.

Vrboska, Hvar, Croatia

Although I may have been wrong about a couple of hours. Vrboska is the local wine center. People come here to sit in the wine bars, drinking the local white dry wine and admiring the boats, yachts, and people walking around.

How much time do you need

Hvar, Croatia

To vacation on the island of Hvar and see all of the above you need a car and a minimum of three full days. The optimal number of days to vacation is five to seven.

Hvar is the top among the Croatian islands. It is worth to include it in your itinerary and combine it with Plitvice Lakes. Park Krk and Dubrovnik and a short vacation on the Makarska Riviera.

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