Hvar, Croatia is one of the most famous islands in Croatia. It is prized for its gorgeous beaches and sapphire water. The island also has gorgeous lavender fields that bloom during the year. Furthermore, it has 2.800 hours of sunshine a year! The great weather is a main reason to visit. For those looking for fun, there are also many bars and nightlife. For those looking for history and culture, the islands towns will not disappoint. A perfect choice for a tailor made Croatian vacation!
This month, we are sharing some of our favorite island escapes in the Mediterranean. Croatia and it’s beautiful islands make it quite hard to pick one. However, Hvar is a standout and we cannot wait to introduce you to this special spot!
Getting to know Hvar
Hvar is located off the Dalamtian coast. It is located between the islands of Brac, Vis and Korcula. The island of Hvar is unusual in the area. Most islands tend to be rocky. However, Hvar is full of vegetation and fresh water springs. The island is full of pine forests, with vineyards, olive groves, fruit orchards and lavender fields. It’s a piece of paradise in the sea!
Hvar’s location at the center of the Adriatic made it a historically important spot. First, the ancient Greeks founded the colony of Pharos in 384 BC on the site of today’s Stari Grad. Hence, it is one of the oldest towns in all of Europe! In addition, Hvar rose to importance within the Venetian empire in medieval times as a major naval base. All of this business historically brought prosperity to Hvar. This meant there was a growth in culture and the arts. First, one of the first public theaters in Europe was built here. To follow, nobles’ palaces and many fine communal buildings were constructed.
Centuries later, the island fell under the Austrian empire. This brought more growth to thriving little Hvar. On the coast, harbors were expanded. This meant that fishing and boat building businesses grew. At the same time, the island’s wine exports increased. Inland, there was an increase in lavender and rosemary production. Most of this was sent to the French perfume industry – Croatian lavender is more prized than even French!
As the centuries went on, many islanders left for an easier life on the mainland for many reasons. However, tourism has brought a new life to the island. Over the past century, islanders have seen the destination turn to one of the most famous islands in Europe.
What to see in Hvar
Hvar town is the most popular town on the island. This is for good reason! It’s a picture perfect town and a site you cannot miss. The most famous part is the large square. The old town is surrounded by protective walls and also a 16th-century Spanish Fort (Fortica).
Today, Fortica is a popular tourist spot. There are sweeping views over the town, the sea, and the Paklinski Islands. For those looking for views a little more off the beaten path, a hike to the other Napoljun fortress is another way to see the sea.
For our clients who travel to relax on beautiful beaches, Hvar is tour perfect choice. Over 150 miles of coastline mean that the island has something for everyone. Though in summer months the beaches are the main draw, there are plenty of choices. This means you will have options to for a more “private” day even in the peak months.
The most popular beaches and crowded beaches are located by the main towns on Hvar. However, a short ride to the eastern side of the island has some hidden spots where less tourists go. You’ll find some secluded coves where locals tend to explore.
This is a UNESCO world heritage site and an interesting day trip on the island. It is a cultural landscape that has remained practically intact since it was first colonized by Ionian Greeks from Paros in the 4th century BC. The original agricultural activity of this fertile plain, grapes and olives, has been maintained since Greek times to the present. The site is also a natural reserve. The landscape features ancient stone walls and small stone shelters.
The Pakleni islands are an archipelago of more than twenty little islands just outside Hvar. There are many options for exploring this area. You can rent a boat yourself, or we can arrange a local guide with a boat to show you the area like a local. Regardless, you’ll soon see why these islands are often called heaven on earth. Full of hidden beaches, turquoise water, calm bays, its the perfect way to spend a day. There are also several small restaurants and bars to pass a lovely moment or meal. The most popular places include Palmižana, located on St. Clement Island, Jerolim Island, and Marinkovac. The latter is famous for its Carpe Diem Beach Club.
Stari grad is the oldest continuous settlement in Croatia – -and even in all Europe. You cannot miss the old town. Full of history, numerous churches, architectural marvels of palaces, and picturesque cobblestone streets.
The nature of Hvar
Leaving the towns and getting out to the countryside is one of the most special moments of a visit to the island. The lavender fields, when in season, are spectacular. Otherwise, the rosemary and oregano are also amazing to see (and smell). There are many opportunities we can arrange for e-biking, wine tours, or cooking classes to see and experience what makes this island, in a word, paradise.
There are so many options for your trip to Hvar – and we cannot wait to help you decide!
Contact us for more information on how to stop dreaming and start planning.