The stunning island of Hvar charms with its sophisticated and chic main city, as well as its hidden coves and lush, fertile interior. Base yourself in Hvar Town to explore the island’s pebbled beaches, charming harbor-side villages, lavender fields and pine-covered hills.
Look for evidence of the island’s long history. It has seen many inhabitants come and go, from Neolithic people to Greeks, Romans and Venetians. During the Renaissance period, Hvar grew prosperous through shipbuilding and crop cultivation and became an important Croatian literature center. Among the writers who emerged from Hvar during the 1500s was one of Croatia’s most famous poets, Petar Hektorović. Make your way to the town of Stari Grad to see Hektorović’s summer residence, Tvrdalj Castle.
Spend days exploring the swanky Hvar Town, which was first developed in the 13th century and has a number of well-preserved historic sights. Have a drink on the terraces of St. Stephen’s Square under the shadow of the looming St. Stephen’s Cathedral and the Arsenal. Step into the past at the mighty fortress Fortica Španjola or check out notable artworks in the 15th-century Franciscan Monastery and museum. Several nearby beaches include the gorgeous Dubovica beach, a hideaway cove on the south shore between Hvar and Stari Grad. Hvar town is renowned for its nightlife. Visit a few of the harborside bars as night falls.
For a more casual holiday experience, stay in the historic port town of Jelsa or in the sleepy little port village of Vrboska. Include a daytrip to the Pakleni Islands, which you can reach by regular taxi boat. Many of the chain’s more than a dozen islands have deserted beaches and lush forested interiors. Head to Jerolim or Marinkovac for beautiful nudist beaches or to car-free Sveti Klement to see the lush gardens.
Reach Hvar by ferry, which can accommodate cars. The island is served by several bus routes, but for more freedom, rent a car or a scooter to travel around during your stay.