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HVAR ISLAND TRAVEL GUIDE: ADRIATIC BLISS IN CROATIA

Hvar is Croatia's most famous island, an Adriatic gem with a stunning coastline that attracts up to 20,000 visitors daily during the summer season. Yes, there are plenty of amazing island options to choose from when in Croatia, but Hvar is a must. It's the stuff glamorous European summers are made of - crystal clear water, ocean swim ladders, medieval Old Towns and a vibrant waterfront. Below is my complete guide to the island including the best beaches, viewpoints, day trips, historical sights, hotels, Airbnbs, restaurants, bars and more. This post contains affiliate links.


One of the best views on the island is from the top of the Spanjola Fortress.


WHEN TO VISIT HVAR

MAY AND SEPTEMBER. Summer season and the immediate shoulder months is the ideal time to be on Hvar. When the weather is warm, it's one of the most popular islands in Croatia, attracting visitors with its idyllic blue waters and bustling waterfront. Peak season is June through August when the island gets pretty busy. Beaches are crowded this time of the year, and lodging is slim pickings if you don't book well in advance. Visit in May or September, and you still get the warm temps, but less people. Avoid visiting in low season - the weather is cold, and the island feels shuttered and empty.


Outdoor seating spills out onto the alleyways and steps at Central Park Club, in Old Town Hvar. OUTFIT DETAILS: Fortunate One Store dress, linked here.


Beautiful views in town.


HOW MANY DAYS ON HVAR

FOUR DAYS. For island hopping visitors with limited time, Hvar Town is doable in just a couple of days. It'll be rushed, and you'll miss out on beaches and boat days, but you'll at least get a taste of the island. For a fuller experience, I recommend at least four days on the island. A couple more days is enough time to explore the island at a relaxed pace - enjoy Hvar Town and its energy, visit several beaches, enjoy a boat day and maybe even take a day trip to a neighboring island.


The sparkling blue waters of Zarace Beach can be reached by boat or car.


THINGS TO DO ON HVAR

BONJ BEACH

Popular beach that is walking distance from Hvar Town. The water is calm, perfect for swimming. And it's home to Beach Club Hvar for beachgoers that want a luxury beach day. For visitors that don't want to pay $50-$300 USD for a sunbedsand overwater cabanas, there is also a free stretch of beach open to the public.


DUBOVICA BEACH

Dubovica is one of the most charming beaches on Hvar. It's a 10 minute drive from town, and another 10-15 minute walk down a dirt path to reach the beach. Dubovica sits in a cove, so the crystal clear water is incredibly calm. My favorite part of the beach is the backdrop - a 17th century church and old summer houses sit perched on the rocks.


ISLAND DAY TRIPS

If you're planning a weeklong stay on Hvar, you have plenty of time to take a day trip to one of the neighboring big islands. It's possible to visit Vis and Bisevo as part of a boat tour, or visit Brac using the morning and afternoon ferries between the two islands.


FRANCISCAN MONASTERY BEACH

This beach sits at the edge of Old Town. It's small, and can get very busy in summer season, but sunbathing here is an absolute must. The beach is located next to the Franciscan Monastery, a beautiful 15th century church that serves up the prettiest scenery for a day on the water.


HVAR TOWN

The beating heart of the island is Hvar Town. A gorgeous waterfront provides a stunning backdrop to the famous harbor. Step into the town and you'll discover a labyrinth of cobbled corridors lined with boutiques, bars, restaurants, gelato shops and cottages. Much of the town is made from beautiful white stone that looks straight out of a storybook.


JAGODNA BEACH

It's a 30 to 40 minute drive to reach Jagodna Beach, but worth the journey out to the turquoise idyllic waters. The remote location adds to the allure, a serene escape from the busy beaches that surround Hvar Town. There are no facilities and no beach clubs.


PAKLINSKI ISLANDS

A dreamy archipelago sits just off the coast of Hvar, accessible by water taxi or private boat. You can actually see the islands from Hvar Town - best view is up at the Spanjola Fortress. We rented a boat for the day to visit the islands (no boating license required). The island waters are very calm for swimming - lots of serene beaches and secret coves. Plan to stop at Palmizana Beach midday for lunch, it's a small bay on Sveti Klement that is home to a handful of picturesque bars and restaurants. The boat ride over from Hvar is only 15 minutes.


POKONJI DOL BEACH

It's a 20-30 minute walk from Old Town to reach Pokonji dol Beach, but the coastal stroll is absolutely stunning, and there are several private rocky coves to stop at along the way for a dip in the inviting Adriatic water. The beach gets very crowded during the summer.


RENT A BOAT

Hvar is an amazing place to explore by boat, and most companies do not require a boat license, as long as you are a responsible driver (experience preferred, but usually not necessary). Most of the beaches and offshore islands can be reached by boat, plus you'll have access to the remote red rocks and sea caves that are only accessible by water. We used Hvar Experience to rent our boat.


SPANJOLA FORTRESS

This is a short, steep hike from town that is best to do in the morning, especially during the summer. The 16th century fortress sits perched over Hvar and offers sweeping views of the town below, as well as the Paklinsi Islands. Explore the fort's corridors, chapel, a small jail, bastions and museum. The walk up from town takes approximately 20 minutes.


STARI GRAD

This is the oldest settlement on Hvar. If you rent a car for the day, it's worth a stop to see the picturesque town and have lunch (I highly recommend Pinetta). You'll be amazed at the low key vibes of Stari Grad compared to Hvar Town.


ZARACE BEACH

Zarace Beach is truly epic. An inlet of deep turquoise water that literally twinkles under the Adriatic sunshine. The beach can be reached by car or boat. A very serene place to spend the day swimming and sunbathing. My favorite beach on the island.


Stone houses in Hvar's oldest town Stari Grad.


PLACES TO STAY ON HVAR

ANATOTA

If you're simply looking for a small, clean and bright space close to Hvar Town, then Anatota checks all the boxes. The property is located close to the Spanjola Fortress, a short walk to all the shops, bars and restaurants. The private balcony views are spectacular.


BLUE LAGOON APARTMENT

White washed stone reminiscent of the Greek islands leads the way to this beautiful one bedroom apartment perched in the hills above Hvar Town. The apartment's bright interior is mostly white decor - very clean and modern. It's a 15 minute walk from the Blue Lagoon Apartment to reach town.


BOUTIQUE APARTMENT

Another bright white apartment that has been completely renovated and modernized. Boutique Apartment sits in the middle of Hvar Town, walking distance to all the shops, bars, beaches and restaurants. The decor is minimalist chic, very Mediterranean and beautiful.


HERACLEA RESIDENCE

Heracla Residence is a modern two-bedroom apartment that stays true to its Hvar roots with hints of Old World charm in its design details. White spaces in the apartment are mixed with exposed wood beams, stone walls and bits of moulding. This is an Airbnb Plus property, very high demand.

HIDEAWAY APARTMENT

Another Airbnb Plus property that requires booking months in advance if you're visiting in high season. The nautical themed apartment is small, but very clean, modern and sleek. Hideaway Apartment is located in the residential hills behind Hvar, a 10-15 minute walk to reach the main town.


HISTORY HVAR DESIGN HERITAGE

Very cool space located just steps away from the main square in Hvar Town. A stay here feels very authentic, as most of the walls are exposed stone. All the feels of an Old World storybook, but with modern creature comforts. History Hvar Design Heritage offers a variety of rooms ranging from doubles to deluxe king studios.


MASLINA

The dazzling Maslina Resort sits on its own private bay, near picturesque Star Grad. The rooms are spacious and beautiful with private terraces overlooking the sea. The property is a splurge, home to a lovely outdoor pool, spa and on-site restaurant.


OLD TOWER

For one of the most unique stays on Hvar, look no further than the Old Tower. That's right, this is an 18th century stone windmill tower that has been converted into a four story Airbnb. It isn't the most chic inside, but there's a lot of character and charm. And the outdoor space has been completely renovated for sunset drinks and hosting. The Old Tower is located in the hills over Hvar Town - an easy 10 minute walk to reach the water.


PALACE ELISABETH, HVAR HERITAGE HOTEL

Palace Elisabeth, Hvar Heritage Hotel might be the best situated hotel on the island, located in a historic building on the main square overlooking the harbor. Everything in town is just a few steps way.


VILLA VARDA - VILLA LATICA

This 15th century house sits in the heart of Hvar's city centre next to the Church of St. Annunziata. Villa Varda - Villa Latica is a Gothic mini palace, a three-story villa that houses two bedrooms, modern bathroom, kitchen and fabulous rooftop. Location is spectacular.


Jagodna Beach.


WHERE TO EAT ON HVAR

ANTIKA

Solid restaurant in Stari Grad that specializes in fresh pastas and risotto.

AROMA GELATO

Aroma scoops delicious homemade gelato, offering more than two dozen flavors including orange with ginger, blueberry, chocolate with orange, raspberry, rum raisin, tiramisu, peppermint chocolate and more.


BACKLANE CRAFT BAR

This aptly named cocktail bar sits tucked away on a back lane in Hvar Town. Attractive outdoor seating lines a little square - perfect for people watching in the evenings. Drinks here are delicious!


CENTRAL PARK CLUB

Worth a stop to enjoy a drink in the lovely outdoor seating under the restaurant's beautiful bougainvillea. Live music in the evenings.


DALMATINO

My favorite restaurant on Hvar. Make reservations well in advance, and request an outdoor table. Menu highlights include grilled John Dory, Gregada, grilled scampi and the selection of gnocchi. Reservations are a must.


FALKO BAR

Popular bar overlooking the water that is a great vibe for sunset drinks. It's a 20-minute walk to Falko Bar from Hvar Town along picturesque coastline.


FIG

Absolutely delicious restaurant located in the back of town that's open for breakfast, lunch and dinner (and all are delicious!). The menu is filled with delicious fare including spicy eggs, Chimichurri potatoes, watermelon + mint salad, California toast and delicious burritos.


LUNGO MARE

A fabulous spot for fresh seafood in Hvar Town. Favorites on the menu are the mussels bouzzara, grilled scampi, Gregada and grilled whole fish.


PINETTA

Popular restaurant in Stari Grad famous for their Gregada. Arrive early for outdoor seating in the alleyway.


The island is famous for it's Gregada - so delicious!


Feasting at Fig, one of my favorite restaurants on the island.


The cutest outdoor seating at Backlane Craft Bar.


GETTING AROUND HVAR

If you're based in Hvar Town, there's no need to rent a car or scooter for your length of stay on the island. Most restaurants, bars, shops and beaches are within walking distance. If you're interested in exploring more of the island (I highly recommend it!), just rent a car for a single day. There are small agencies in town that offer one-day rentals (book early in high season). Taking the locals bus is also an affordable option, just less convenient.


Exploring the white-washed alleyways of Old Town.


GETTING TO HVAR

Hvar is a small island that is only reachable by boat - no airports. Most tourists arrive by ferry which connects Hvar to Dubrovnik, Split, Bol, Korcula, Mljet and a few more destinations. Ferry tickets and timetables available here.



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