Hvar

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Fortress

Hvar is an island off the coast of Croatia.

The main square of Hvar

Gently rolling hills painted a brilliant purple by the fertile flowers, lush vineyards nestling at the foot of ragged mountains, gorgeous beaches with tiny inlets and secluded coves, luscious restaurants, boutiques, and a vibrant nightlife amidst the medieval streets of Hvar Town are just a few of the treats to enjoy on this dream of an island.

Imposing fortifications hover above the fluid blend of grey stone and orange cascading roofs. The remains of walls built by a long list of invaders descend towards the wide promenade edging the brilliant blue sea and the quaint fishing harbor. Marble streets reveal one of the largest squares in Dalmatia, Trg Sveti Stjepana as well as the prized Cathedral of St. Stjepan and the Renaissance theatre.

Hvar Town may be the most stunning town on the island but Stari Grad, the oldest city in Croatia, and Jelsa, as well as a smattering of small villages, dotting the coast or nestled in the lush interior are well worth a visit.

Understand[edit]

The town of Hvar
Narrow streets in Stari Grad

Island Hvar and especially Hvar town is one of the most popular destinations in the Adriatic. During the season (May to September) it can be very busy, especially during August when large numbers of Italians visit. Hvar was relatively cheap, without an extensive tourist infrastructure, and it attracted a lot of young people. However, this is changing as large five star hotels are being built and the standard of living in Croatia is rising.

Get in[edit]

  • By either car ferry (approx. 2h), arriving near Stari Grad or fast ferry (a hydrofoil) (approx 1h) to Hvar City from Split, services operated by Jadrolinija. Buses operates to bring people to and from the very through the island (12 kn to Starigrad, 25 kn to Hvar City (April 2009)). Note that as buses fill, late-coming passengers are often required to stand in the aisles during the entire bus journey.
  • Jadrolinija also brings you from Hvar town to Vela Luka (Korčula) and to the island Lastovo, and from Sućuraj in the east of Hvar to Drvenik (mainland).
  • Blueline operates fast ferries from Hvar town to Split. The car ferries run most regularly (approximately three per day and more during the high season (May to September) and call at Stari Grad. The fast ferries run less frequently but also operate to and from Hvar town. There are also ferries to other destinations, most notably Italy.

Get around[edit]

Another view of the town of Hvar and the harbour

Buses meet the car ferries at Stari Grad and run to various destinations such as Hvar town. Don't take taxis from the ferry port, they're a rip-off.

You can easily rent a car for about 350 kuna a day if you wish to explore other parts of the island. The rental agencies have firm policy of a minimum of one day rental (no hourly rentals). You can also rent a scooter or moped for about 250 kuna a day. There are hourly rates for the mopeds and scooters. The roads on hvar can be steep and windy and there are no guard rails, so be careful especially if riding a rented moped which is old and has already done tens of thousands miles.

Keep in mind that there are only 2 petrol stations on the island: in the town of Hvar and near Jelsa. From Securaj to the nearest petrol station on the island is approx 50 km.

There is a convenient water taxi [1] that will take you directly from Stari Grad harbour to the ferry for 15 Kuna.

See[edit]

History[edit]

The Town Square in Hvar is among the most beautiful and the largest in Croatia. The square measures 4500 square meters, and the town has developed around this square, starting north of the square in the 13th century and then circling to the south of the square in the 15th century. There is also a fortress at the top of the hill with walls that encompass parts of the city. It's an easy walk, although uphill, to the fortress...it's worth the trek however because of the wonderful views you have of the harbor and surrounding areas. Don't forget to bring your cameras. There is a small eatery in the middle of the fortress where you can purchase drinks and snacks.

The fortress
Vrboska, a settlement on the north coast of the island

Architecture[edit]

The Cathedral of St. Stephen dominates one end of the Town Square, and was built during the 16th and 17th centuries. The bell tower of this cathedral is four-stories high, with each level more elaborately decorated than the last. The cathedral was built over a previously existing cathedral that was destroyed by the Turks. Parts of this older cathedral can be seen inside the church, but most of the interior was rebuilt.

The arts[edit]

Unique ceramics decorated with spiral ornaments in red, yellow, brown, and white were found at a Neolithic archeological site, Grapčeva špilja, near Hvar Town. Since such ornaments and engraving methods have only been found on the island of Hvar, archeologists have named this kind of Neolithic art "hvarska kultura" (Hvar's Culture). The island of Hvar also has the tradition of making lace, but from the threads of agava leaves. Nuns from the Benedictine monastery in Hvar are masters of this unique craft.

Hikes and walks[edit]

Take a water taxi to the nearby Pakleni archipelago, where secluded strands of white sand, hiking trails and pine groves await. Or hike for 2 hours along the Hvar's southern cliffs from Dubovica to the winery of Zlatan Otok for a late lunch, a swim and a boat ride return to Hvar Town.

Scenery and nature[edit]

One visitor describes Hvar as "beautiful, crystal-clear blue sea, big green hills, clean air and lots of old stone." At sundown a stroll up old lanes from the square in Hvar Town leads up to another lane which, high above the others is extremely attractive and shouldn’t be missed.

Religion and religious sites[edit]

The Bishop's Treasury, adjacent to the cathedral, contains silver vessels, embroidered Mass robes, numerous Madonnas, icons dating from the 13th century, and an elaborately carved sarcophagus.

Do[edit]

Rent a boat (5 horse power) for about 350 kuna a day and explore the Pakleni Islands on your own. You can rent boats right in the main square in Hvar town. The islands are very close and make for an amazing adventure. Take a picinic or a bottle of wine. The boat can be anchored anywhere around the islands or tied to the rocks.

Rent a scooter for 250 kuna a day and go around the island. There is lots to see and many interesting stopping points.

There are also frequent water taxi that go the Pakleni Islands that run every half hour or so.

Climb up to the Španjola Fortress. Enjoy the magnificent view of Hvar town and the Pakleni Islands, and pick up Italian radio on your mobile phone or main local Megamix Radio Hvar radio station [2].

Go dancing at Carpe Diem. This is not to be missed. The djs are usually on the international circuit and the energy is high.

  • HVAR AdventureObala bb (behind the Theatre/Arsenal building on the main Square),  +385 91 1543072. Offers sailing, sea kayaking, hiking, rock climbing, cycling.

Buy[edit]

Lavender fields on Hvar

Hvar is known for its lavender, you can see it blooming in the summer over large areas. Don't forget to purchase bunches of lavender or lavender oils in beautifully painted glass bottles the lingering fragrances will remind you of the lovely time you spent on the island of Hvar.

  • Made in HvarPjaca (at the main square),  00385 21 718 438. 9-24. contemporary art and craft gallery presenting local art as well as artist in residence concept. Moderate prices and high aesthetic standards, unique and interested. Also, open all year.

Eat[edit]

The local grilled squid with olive oil is wonderful, as is the cucumber salad.

Hvar Town[edit]

Town
  • The Golden Shell (With the port behind you and the main square in front of you, head left past the church and the restaurant is a small doorway down an alley on the right.). Just off the main square near the main arrival port of Hvar is the Golden Shell, a small restaurant recommended as the best by the locals. The eating area is outdoors under a lovely vine roof, and if you are lucky you may be offered a measure of the home brewed fig brandy. Be careful, it's extremely strong but the locals recommend one a day to keep you healthy. The delicious national dish of Croatia is available, rabbit in fig sauce, and the rabbit and potato with peanut sauce is also highly recommended.

Pakleni Islands[edit]

  • TonciSveti Klement, Vlaka +385 21 742480, e-mail: . Beautiful little restaurant in a garden of fig and mandarin trees. They make their own wine from the vineyards next to the restaurants, the fish they catch in the nearby water. If you order a desert of fresh figs, they will pluck them from the trees around you HRK 100.

Drink[edit]

  • Carpe DiemAt the end of the riva (At the end of the riva on the right side). It's all big cushions, sofas, hammocks and mood lighting. Drinks leave something to be desired. It's a real shame, because it's the perfect spot to drink cocktails, but they make them with flavoured syrups instead of fresh fruit, and they all taste like bubble-gum.
  • Prsuta Tri (on the narrow street just behind the main square),  098 9696193, e-mail: . Good vine bar, has cheese, olive, and prosciutto
  • TeracaPlaca (On the long terrace above the main square). Friendly small bar with an amazing view over the square and harbour 25 kuna beers, drinks for 18 kuna.

Sleep[edit]

At every ferry arrival, a bunch of people offering private accommodation will show up.

  • Apartmani Grgičević (robigrg@gmail.com), Vitarnja, Jelsa 00385 977 942 942. Check-in: 14PM, check-out: 10AM. Welcoming house in Jelsa, 30m from the sea, low prices. 5 apartments (2+1, 4+2, 4+3 persons), ground or first floor. Nice mediterranean garden, balcony or terrace for guests, WiFi, grill, pets welcome. from 12€.
  • AnnaBuzolic Tonci & Anna Glavica bb +385 917303517, e-mail: . Check-out: 10AM. Friendly and clean apartment just up the steps from the main square. 200 Kuna per person.
  • Kuca Sofia +385 911 18 12 74. Dates back more than 400 years and is traditionally constructed from local stone. It is a spacious two floor apartment in quiet surroundings, located in the historic centre of Hvar Town.
  • Apartment Modric (Stone house Modric), Donja banda b.b. (Sucuraj),  + 385 98 921 04 32, e-mail: . Check-in: 2PM, check-out: 10AM. Accommodation for 4-5 persons in old stone completely renovated house, 20m from sea. The available apartment takes the first floor and the attic; 70m2 large. €60-90/day per apartment.
  • Apartments CurinAntica Ćurin, Sv. Katarina bb, Hvar Town directions= +385 (0)21 741-676, e-mail: . Check-out: 14. Very clean and nice apartments with bathrooms and balconies. The top floor balcony has an amazing view over Hvar and the Pakleni Islands. €30.
  •    Luka's Lodge (call Luka for a pickup),  +385 917 347 230. Check-out: 1100. Nice location away from the noise, but within easy walking distance of beaches, restaurants, main promenade. 120 kuna per night.
  • Vila Julie (Villa Julie Vip Apartment), Bukainka bb +38521717916, e-mail: . Check-in: 2PM, check-out: 10AM. Nice villa with stunning view, swimming pool and air conditioning.
  •    Villa Pepi (Bodlovic), Ivana Vucetica 16 (South along coast line),  +385 21 741 183. Check-in: 14:00, check-out: 10:00. Apartments for 2 to 4 persons, direct sea view, 20 m from sea. 20-35 e.
  • Apartments Blaskovic (in the vicinity of the beach),  +385 98 265 434. Nice view. Has a seawater pool and fitness room.

Go next[edit]

Harbour in Stari Grad

The beautiful, unspoilt and popular naturist islands of Jerolim and Stipanska are accessible by taxi-boat from Hvar town square. As of August 2010, the main beaches of the island are used predominantly by clothed bathers (the majority of island visitors), while the small rocky coves are used by a mix of clothed and naturist bathers.

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This city travel guide to Hvar has the status usable. It has information on how to get there and on restaurants and hotels. An adventurous person could use this article, but please feel free to improve it by editing the page!