By Rachael Funk
Among Croatia’s most beautiful cities, Hvar has been dubbed “the St. Tropez of Croatia.” The island is one of the country’s most popular and the ideal place to find five-star luxury, beach bars, and near-constant sunshine. Once world-famous for its lavender fields, Hvar has boomed into the epicenter of Croatian travel.
What to Know
You can count on finding the best of the best in Hvar. The island’s capital, Hvar Town, is packed with high-end restaurants, trendy hotels, and plenty of places to see and be seen. Thanks to its breathtaking views and palpable energy, the island is a popular vacation spot for celebrities, the budget-conscious, and everyone in between. Steeped in centuries of history and culture, Hvar has something for everyone to love.
When to Go
If you’re looking for new friends, luxury yachts, and all-night party life, head for the island during July and August. These months are the peak tourism season, when the population of the island more than doubles. If you prefer a quieter experience, shoulder season is May, June, September, and early October. These are the months when you can avoid the bulk of the crowds but still catch warm weather and plenty of swimming.
How to Get Around
The simplest way to explore the island is by car or scooter. You can rent either of these from local companies and pick up your preferred method of transport in Hvar Town or Stari Grad. The island is also serviced by buses, but not all of them meet the ferries or run on a regular schedule, so be sure to check the roster or hire a taxi.
Where to Eat
Catering to the varied tastes of its visitors, Hvar has a wide range of cuisine to choose from. You’ll be able to easily find fresh seafood, unbeatable pasta, and even items like sushi and tacos if you know where to look! Whether you opt to dine indoors or al fresco, here are a few places that are sure to hit the spot.
- Dalmatino Sveti Marak 1, 21450, Hvar, Croatia Reserve your table in advance on the restaurant’s website or via email: firstname.lastname@example.org
- Mamato Ulica Uvala Zhdrilca 3, Hvar, Hvar Island 21450, Croatia +385 91 902 8565
- Fig Café Bar Trg Svetog Stjepana 22, Hvar, Hvar Island 21450, Croatia +385 99 267 9890
- Agava Ulica Ivana Bozhitkovica 17, Hvar, Hvar Island 21450, Croatia +385 91 622 7788
- Zori Restaurant Palmizana 19, Hvar, Hvar Island 21450, Croatia +385 91 322 2227
- Lola Street Food and Bar Ulica Sveti Marak 8, Hvar, Hvar Island 21450, Croatia +385 92 233 1410
What to See
This is where you’ll find the bulk of the must-see sites in Hvar. Almost all the streets in the city lead to St. Stephen’s Square. The cobblestone square is surrounded by hotels, restaurants, and shops, as well as the harbor on its west end. There, you will find the Cathedral of St. Stephen, which was constructed between the 16th and 18 century.
A medieval castle perched high above the city lights, Fortica stands on the site of an Illyrian settlement which dates back to 500 BC. You can drive or hike to the top of the hill in order to explore the fortress. Not only is this a great place to explore, it has an excellent vantage point of the city sprawling out below you and all the way out to the sea.
Touted as one of the most beautiful beaches on the island, Dubovica is located about five miles outside of Hvar Town. The beach is nestled into a cove and protected from the wind, which makes it the ideal beach for families. As an added bonus, there is a restaurant right on the beach, so when the group gets peckish, a tasty snack is only a few steps away!
Tips and Tricks
It is not possible to reserve or pre-book tickets for local ferries in Croatia, so be sure to show up with plenty of time to wait in line and purchase a ticket.
If you are a nature aficionado and plan to do a lot of hiking on your trip, plan your visit in June while the lavender and oleander is in bloom.
Most of the beaches on the island are pebbled and rocky, not sandy. Bring a sturdy pair of water shoes to keep your feet comfy on the beach!
If you are a night owl looking for the best party on the island, hit Carpe Diem Beach or Pink Champagne after 2 am.
A very popular day trip from the island is to the Blue Cave at Bisevo, near the island of Vis. The cave is known for a crack in the ceiling which allows sunlight to enter the cave and hit the water, illuminating it to a vibrant blue. A natural phenomenon that is not to be missed, the cave is accessible by speedboat.
An island chain sprinkled with hidden beaches, secluded lagoons, and tranquil woods, the Pakleni Islands are a great day trip destination. There, you can find the mesmerizing jewel-toned waters and natural beauty Croatia is famous for. A great place to kick back and relax, these islands are a must-see while you’re in town.
Famous for its brilliant white stone which was used to build Diocletain’s Palace in Split and the White House in the United States, Brac Island is another beautiful place to spend a day relaxing in the sun. Zlatni Rat, a pebbled beach which juts out into the Adriatic Sea, and is a well-known landscape is not the only reason to visit. The island is also home to several small villages, a lush pine forest, and landscapes you have to see to believe.