Hooray for HVAR I say! This majestic little island in the Adriatic Sea oﬀ the Dalmatian Coast, has so much to oﬀer its ongoing swarms of visitors, that it has become one of the most sought after destinations on bucket lists around the globe! From window shopping to wine tasting, diving to dancing there is something interesting around every corner for even the laziest of travellers!
We drove from Dubrovnik ( having to go through border control at Bosnia and Herzegovina then back into Croatia ) to DREVNIK where you can catch the car ferry over to Hvar. It only takes 30 minutes, is cheap and appears to be the quickest and easiest route. Make sure you just drive straight into the line of cars waiting and then go and buy your tickets. The ferry comes every hour and just loads up cars till it is full, then you all move forward ready for the next one! Have a swim or a drink whilst you are waiting or if you are way down the line, even indulge in a lovely lunch by the water!
Once you arrive at the port of Hvar, SUĆURAJ, it is a long 1.5 hour drive to Hvar City. Be prepared, because we were not! It is a narrow two lane road through the countryside and everyone either moves at a snails pace or like formula one drivers!
However, once you ﬁnally reach your desired destination (many people stay in the Old Town of STARI GRAD which is closer and also has a ferry terminal or Trajektna Linija to go to Split) you will forget the long drive and just take in the magniﬁcence of this incredible island!
SO…settle in, order an Aperol Spritz and let me tell you of some of the fantastic things you can do!
• Hire a Scooter! Because Hvar is so long and has many winding roads and narrow passages, we ditched the car and opted to see the sights by scooter whilst feeling the wind in our hair and the smell of the sea. There were many rental places available and we chose DINO RENT www.dinorenthvar.com. Remember, ‘FOUR wheels move the body but TWO wheels move the soul!’
• Go Wine Tasting! Hvar is a haven for local wineries all around the island and they are literally around every corner! Indulge in a day or a few hours of tasting this heavenly local grape and pack a sneaky few bottles in your suitcase to bring home or just enjoy a drop on your balcony whilst watching the sunset!
• Be a Beach Bum! Hvar wouldn’t be Hvar without its many beaches dotted around the island. Milna, Dubovica, Sv.Nedjelija and Zaraće to name a few, are wonderful little pebble beaches with cool, crystal clear waters. There are many more tiny, secluded ones that you will also discover when you scoot your way around. Soak up the sun whilst getting a bonus hot stone massage and dream away the day. FYI: My favourite is Milna and it actually has three beaches, one a nudist beach if you are so inclined but it’s a hike to reach it apparently! Dubovica has no access by car/bike so you have to park and walk down a steep hill to get to it! Good Luck!
• Tour Hvar Town! Hvar Town is a gorgeous old village with history dating back to Venetian times. Have a walk around the marina and local ﬁshing port, climb the Spanish Fortress or check out the Central St. Stephen’s Square (piazza) the largest square in Dalmatia. It is also home to one of the oldest surviving theatres in Europe with its 700 year old walls which are still standing today. Get lost in her winding cobblestone streets and alleyways and just breathe in all that historical air!
• Visit the Old Town! The ‘Old Town’ of Hvar is Stari Grad, founded by the ancient Greeks from the island of Paros and it is a short drive/ride from Hvar City. Pretty, serene and steeped in history, it is a must for visitors who want to enjoy a walk along the bay, or just indulge in a lunch in one of the many restaurants built amongst amazing architecture.
• Hire a Boat! There are many boat hire places available on Hvar for day trips or longer. The island group of Pakleni Otoci visible from Hvar City, is a haven for boaties and day trippers and are also home to some unique wineries. See Hvar from the sea and rest in some of the little bays and inlets. Dive into the teal blue waters for a snorkel or a swim whilst checking out the million dollar yachts and take in a bit of ‘celebrity spotting’ whilst you’re there!
• Let’s get Physical! If you are the ‘physical type’ of traveller, Hvar has something for everyone! With hiking trails, walking paths, diving, snorkelling, push biking or climbing, you are guaranteed to ﬁnd the right activity to suit your every need and speed. A leisurely stroll along the waterfront of Hvar City racks up a few kilometres too and is perfect for those ‘less extreme’ sporty types amongst us! FYI: I walked to the local bakery (Pekara) and back one morning so I think I really pushed myself to the limit!?
• Eat, Drink and be Merry! If your style of exercise is lifting a fork or a wine glass, then be my guest and go crazy in the many restaurants and bars. Local, family run establishments are called ‘Konoba’s’ and they are the best! With home made wine, bread, olive oil and fresh ﬁsh caught daily, why go anywhere else! Our favourite was a little place in Milna Beach called Moli Onte (www.molionte.com) and honestly it was one of the best meals we have eaten and lovely people as well. Check it out as they also have rooms available to rent on the beach. When in town, discover the fantastic restaurants and bistros lining the marina and up the steep, side streets hidden within the fortress walls. We had lovely evenings at Black Pepper and Kod Kapetana and a few night caps at 7 Bar.
• Take a Scenic Ride/Drive! Hvar has an Old Road and a New Road (the new road is the one you drive along from the Port). The ‘old road’ is an unsealed dirt track through the mountains where you ﬂy past vineyards whilst peering down the steep cliﬀs to the azure sea below. The scenery is breathtaking and I highly recommend this route for some amazing photo opportunities and to see another side of this exquisite island of HVAR!
…”We travel not to escape life, but for life not to escape us”…Anonymous