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Welcome to Hvar Town, for many the complete destination. History, heritage, culture, wine, party, and not forgetting those incredible Pakleni Islands and their beaches.
This page is sponsored by Suncani Hvar Hotels.
- How to get to Hvar and get around
- 5 best things to do in Hvar Town
- Main attractions and activities
- Where to stay?
- Dining in Hvar Town
- Where to drink?
- Nightlife in Hvar
- Exploring Hvar – Best Tours
- Pakleni Islands
- Around the island of Hvar
- Best day trips from Hvar
- Wellness and active Hvar
- Hvar Wine
- Hvar events and festivals
- 5 things you never knew about Hvar
- Digital Nomads on Hvar
- English-speaking Hvar: Where can I find an English-speaking…
- Conferences in Hvar
- Weddings in Hvar
- Real Estate in Hvar
- Map of Hvar
- Weather on Hvar
- Hvar and COVID-19
- More information
Is Hvar worth visiting?
Most definitely! It is not known as Croatia’s premier island for nothing. One of Hvar’s many strengths is its egalitarian nature. Backpackers and superyacht owners sharing the same exclusive waterfront, while celebrities walk around unhindered by chasing paparazzi.
Famed for its sun, lavender, stunning nature and pristine beaches, Hvar has something for everyone. Just an hour by regular catamaran from Split, it is also one of the most accessible island destinations on the Adriatic.
Is Hvar Town expensive?
Hvar Town can be VERY expensive, but it does not need to be with a little research and planning. Choose the elite waterfront restaurant restaurants and order fresh fish by the kilo, and your wallet will groan. But there is another side to Hvar Town, with hostels, cheaper accommodation, and more affordable places to eat. Having said that, it is true to say that Hvar Town is both more expensive than the rest of the island, as well as one of the more expensive places on the Adriatic.
How many days do you need for Hvar?
That depends entirely on you. One of the saddest introductions to Hvar tourism a few years ago (at least in my opinion) was the introduction of a Hvar Instagram tour. Collection from the catamaran, transport and a short explanation to 5 of the most Instagrammable spots on the island, followed by transport back to the catamaran. All in just two hours. Hvar Town off the bucket list. Tick.
Hvar is a destination to be consumed at leisure. With it be lazy days at the beach on the Pakleni Islands, people watching on the main square, or wandering through the magnificent Venetian back streets, the concept of time soon disappears.
A week is the recommended minimum to follow enjoy the town and its surroundings, especially if you want to take in beaches, wine tours and explore a little of the rest of the island.
Is Hvar safe?
Yes! A fun fact about Hvar Town is that the man who is the godfather of dactyloscopy (that is the science of fingerprinting to you and me), was born in a house on the Hvar waterfront. Juan Vucetich may have achieved fingerprint fame as a policeman in Argentina after he emigrated, but his roots are on the island.
Hvar is one of the safest places I have ever lived, if not the safest. There is a strong sense of community in Dalmatia, and there is always someone looking out for the little ones on the main square.
How far is Hvar from Split?
The distance by catamaran from Split to Hvar Town is one hour. Here is the comprehensive TC overview of how to reach the island from Split, including catamaran connections to Dubrovnik and other islands. There is a direct ferry from Ancona to the car ferry of Stari Grad in the summer.
Why go to Hvar?
It is not for nothing that Conde Nast famously voted Hvar one of the 10 most beautiful islands in the world in 1997. Since then, Hvar has been a regular feature in such lists. The question is why would you NOT go to Hvar?
It is a town which has everything. Its cultural heritage includes the oldest public theatre in Europe, the birthplace of organised tourism in Europe, UNESCO agave lace from the Benedictine Nuns.
Beaches? The Pakleni Islands are among the most divine spots on the Adriatic, or alternatively chill at the Bonj les Bains beach bar by Hotel Amfora. Nightlife? The Hvar party has calmed down a lot in the last couple of years, but do expect a lively night out with a range of excellent bars, wine bars and clubs.
Or just chill and observe life at a waterfront cafe and dream of owning one of the superyachts one day. Hvar Town is a very relaxed place to be, and it caters to every kind of tourist.
When to visit Hvar?
This depends on the kind of tourist you are. If you are looking for action, July and August are the months to come. This is when the town is the hottest, most crowded and full of action. The shoulder months of June and September are still busy with everything open, while May and October are very refreshing at the start and tail end of the season. Hvar in winter certainly has its charms as well, perhaps not for those looking for fast-paced living, however.
Is Hvar a good place to live?
I lived on Hvar for 13 years, and it was an incredible experience. 12-month living is a very diverse experience, as things go VERY quiet once the season finishes. Split is only an hour away by catamaran if you are missing a little city life or need something special from the shops, but Hvar is quite self-sufficient, and an increasing number of digital nomads are finding Hvar to be rather a special place to spend some extended time.
Although there is an air strip on the island (near Stari Grad), it only caters to very small aircraft (max 6 passengers). For those without their own private jet, Split Airport is the arrival point of choice, although many tourists also use Zadar and Dubrovnik.
Catamaran and Ferry
There are four commercial entry points to the island, the quickest of which is directly from Split to Hvar Town. Learn more about the options. If you are coming from Dubrovnik, there are several options by boat, as well as combining with driving up the coast.
Coming to Hvar by car? There is no direct car access to Hvar Town these days, and your only two entry points are Stari Grad and Sucuraj. If you are renting a car, consider renting on the island itself – there are plenty of options. This keeps down the ferry cost, as well as giving you greater flexibility, as you may not want to rent every day.
Looking to arrive in style, or make sure you make that early morning flight home? There is nothing quite like a speedboat transfer to kick off your Hvar holiday with a bang. Choose your level of comfort and power of boat with RentaBoatHvar, who will get you there safely and on time.
Hvar has a well-developed bus network connecting the main towns, as well as the ferry. The bus timetable changes regularly, and the best advice is to check at the local bus station for the latest times. Hvar Town to the Stari Grad ferry will take about 40 minutes. There is always a bus waiting at the ferry.
Is there an Uber on Hvar? Not yet, but it would be very welcome. Taxis are expensive on the island. Expect to pay 350 – 400 kuna from Hvar Town to the Stari Grad ferry.
Water taxis to Pakleni Islands
There is a much more pleasurable – and popular – taxi service in Hvar Town. The water taxis from the Hvar riva to the Pakleni Islands are a must do. The boats go out in the morning and return in the afternoon. A return ticket is valid for any returning boat. Last boats back are at 19:00.
Rent a car
There are several rental car options on the island. Prices tend to be a little higher, but that cost is offset by the saving on the ferry. And you can rent for the day, rather than the entire stay if you are coming from the mainland.
Hvar has a growing reputation as a cycling destination. This has been enhanced by the Bahrain McLaren cycling team choosing the island for their winter training. The mountain biking is particularly good. If you are looking for quality bike rentals, look no further than the offer from Hvar Life.
Scooter are an extremely affordable and fun way to see the island, and the summer months see the island roads full of them. If you have never tried, now is your moment. There are a number of rental options all over town.
Parking in Hvar
Parking in Hvar has exploded in recent years, and you will see a number of options as you arrive from Stari Grad. Prices range from 5-12 kuna an hour. Daily tickets are available.
Looking for a fast, reliable and trouble-free transfer around Hvar? Contact TC transfer partner Adriatic Transfers for your one-stop solution.
Visit the Spanish Fortress for THAT View
It is one of the great views of Europe, a magnificent vista overlooking historic Hvar Town, with the Pakleni Islands and pristine Adriatic behind. The view from the Spanish Fortress is magnificent. Too lazy to walk the steps from the main square? You can also reach by car. If you are a little more energetic, the view from Napoljun Fortress even further up is even more splendid. Check out what you are missing in the video below.
A day trip to the Pakleni Islands
As if Hvar Town did not have everything, the Pakleni Islands lying invitingly in front of the harbour are the cherries on top. Each island has its own personality and attractions, and the islands have become an extension of the town. Regular water taxis leave from the riva. Don’t miss this.
Visit the Blue Cave
There is no question what is the most popular day trip from Hvar – a visit to the magical Blue Cave on Bisevo Island near Vis. Book your speedboat place here and enjoy a magical day on the Adriatic.
Explore Hvar from the water, by sail or kayak
Hvar’s story is intertwined with the water, so why not take in a different perspective? The Pakleni Islands are a sailing and kayaking paradise, and you can explore them on a range of tours. Beginners welcome. Learn more.
Taste the island of wine
Hvar has an incredible wine story dating back to the Ancient Greeks in 2400 BC. This story includes several indigenous grapes grown only on Hvar, as well as wine tasting experiences like no other – underwater, in a cave and in a Romanesque cellar. Looking to make the most out of it? Check out the very best tours.
Tvrdava Spanjola – Spanish Fortress
Towering above all the revelling and the mega-yachts is the Spanish Fortress, built in the early 16th century, and offering spectacular views of the town and islands below. The fortress is not the original, and the 13th century city walls, constructed soon after the islanders requested Venetian protection in 1278, predate it by almost 200 years.
Hvar was destroyed by the Turkish Fleet in 1571 and only the fortress saved the local population, but a freak lightning strike on the gunpowder stores caused further devastation, and many of the town’s buildings can be traced to this period of reconstruction. The fortress can be accessed by car for visitors to Hvar Town and it is then a pleasant stroll down to the town.
St. Stephen’s Cathedral and the Main Square
The central point of Hvar Town is the pjaca, or main square which, at 4,500m2, is the largest square in Dalmatia. Originally part of the bay, the land was filled in and fully paved in 1780; the fountain in the square dates back to 1520. In summer, the square is extremely busy, with all cafes and restaurants overflowing, but there is a much more tranquil feel after the season, as locals relax over a coffee.
At the far end of the pjaca is St. Stephen’s Cathedral, which was finished in the 18th Century, with construction of the current building starting in the 16th century. The first church on the site was built in the 6th century and was granted cathedral status in the 13th century when Hvar Town assumed the Bishopric from Stari Grad. The intermittent construction period gave rise to different architectural styles, and there are elements of Gothic, Romanesque and Renaissance. Inside there are eleven Baroque altars made by artists from Venice.
The Arsenal and Clues to an Earlier Civilisation
Guarding the right-hand entrance to the pjaca is the impressive Arsenal building, with its 10m spanned archway. Built between 1579 and 1611 to house war galleys, the Arsenal is an imposing building on the waterfront and underwent renovation in 2009. It was also used as a storage facility for items such as cereal and salt. Coins were found in 1835 bearing the name Heraklea, leading to speculation that the ancient Greek settlement of the same name may have been located in Hvar.
The Oldest Municipal Theatre in Europe
On the first floor of the arsenal is a delightful sight that tourists sometimes miss – the oldest municipal theatre in Europe. Built in 1612, the theatre celebrate its 400th anniversary in 2012, and the current interior was renovated in 1803. It owes its existence to the then Prince of Hvar Pietro Semitecolo, who was inspired by the Italian theatre at the time and arranged for the construction with money from the commune of Hvar. The theatre reopened after a 20-year renovation in 2019.
Franciscan Monastery and Benedictine Convent
Walking along the riva past Carpe Diem, the Franciscan Monastery comes into view. Built in 1465, it was jointly financed by the nobles of Hvar and sea commanders as testament to their gratitude for many lives saved at sea near Hvar. The local contribution included 1000 gold coins from Antun Lucic, and his son, the famous poet Hanibal Lucic is buried under the main altar.
Hanibal Lucic also had a part to play in the Benedictine Convent on Hvar, which has played an important role in the town since nuns first arrived in 1664. The house in which Lucic was born in 1485 was donated to the nuns by his descendants, and so started an important chapter in education in the town, as the nuns operated the first school in Hvar, from 1826 to 1866. They are still active today and, among other duties, produce some of the finest souvenirs from Hvar, in the form of intricate lace made from agave.
All the main sights in Hvar Town are within easy walking distance of the main square, and there is ample to take in a cultural tour before taking in another incredible sunset over an evening drink.
Museums in Hvar Town
The Archaeological Collection in Hvar
Started in 1966 and dedicated to the later Dr Grga Novak, a driving force in assembling the exhibition, the archaeological collection gives a comprehensive overview of Hvar’s heritage. Starting with artifacts dating back to 6,000 BC and the Neolithic era, and including finds from shipwrecks, and art and architectural fragments from Hvar’s long history, the 2,500 exhibits, assembled by donation and private collection, offer a fascinating insight into the island’s past. Opening hours 1000 – 1300 and 2000-2300 in summer, by appointment in winter. The collection is housed in the former Dominican church of St. Mark’s.
Hanibal Lucic’s Summer Residence
A famous poet and influential noble, the name of Hanibal Lucic is intricately bound with Hvar Town. There is a restaurant on the main square which bears his name and he is buried under the alter of the Franciscan monastery.
His summer house, the headquarters of the Hvar Museum, is a well-preserved example of the country houses of the Renaissance period, but with clear Gothic influences. Included in the museum is a reception room dedicated to the memory of Hanibal. The museum is also home to the local branch of the Croatian state archives. Opening hours 0900 -1300 and 1700 – 2300 in summer, 1000 – 1200 in winter (by appointment).
The Natural History Cabinet in Hvar
Located in the Hanibal Lucic Summer Residence, the Natural History Cabinet is a collection of 350 items which have preserved the natural history of Hvar. These include meteorological instruments, preserved plants and old history books.
Palace Elisabeth, hvar heritage hotel
Only steps away from the city’s most emblematic attractions, Palace Elisabeth elegantly combines the beauty of its past with its luxurious present. Distinguished by unique architecture and exceptional design this landmark hotel captures the true essence of Hvar heritage.
Adriana, hvar spa hotel
Perfectly located and uniquely designed for the ultimate in relaxation and romantic experience. Hotel Adriana is Hvar’s boutique hotel and a luxury spa oasis where you can enjoy a most stylish and revitalizing summer vacation.
Amfora, hvar grand beach resort
Hotel Amfora is located in a private bay, featuring an exquisite cascading pool and offering a wide range of activities suitable for couples, families and business events. Includes six penthouse suites with an expansive open floor plan and uninterrupted views from terrace sides.
Pharos, hvar bayhill hotel
Hotel Pharos redesigns the traditional hotel experience, allowing guests to discover Hvar, connect and explore. Enjoy modern interiors and an eco-conscious design with sunbeds nestled among olive trees allowing guests to immerse themselves in nature, right by the poolside.
Riva, hvar yacht harbour hotel
Chic and charming, the place to see and be seen. Hotel Riva is situated on the waterfront promenade in the heart of Hvar town, boasting the finest Adriatic ambiance.
For all the latest hotel offers in Hvar Town, click here.
In 2007, there were no hostels in Hvar Town, but by 2016, there were almost 30 at the height of the party era. Today, there is still a great selection, and this type of accommodation can be social and cost effective. For the best available deals, click here.
The likes of Booking.com and Airbnb have transformed the private accommodation all over the world. You don’t need our help to find those sites, but if you are looking for something special, there is an excellent island-based company offering the very best accommodation and luxury villas.
Located on the northwestern part of Hvar, just four kilometers from the city center, Camp Vira offers a selection of premium and comfort mobile homes with furnished terraces. In addition, nature lovers can choose a variety of spacious pitches. All guests have free parking available. Check it out here.
You can spend a LOT of money on dining out in Hvar Town, or you can eat very reasonably. The choice is entirely yours. Here are some places worthy of your hard-earned cash.
Top 5 restaurants in Hvar town
Traditional rustic Dalmatian food, the way Grandma used to make it, Agava has been one of Hvar’s most popular restaurants since opening in 2014.
Have you ever tasted art? Welcome to the world of Hvar fine dining – traditional Dalmatian fare with a modern interpretation of the latest trends. All served in a delightful 15th century palace.
San Marco (Palace Elisabeth)
Positioned on top of the famous Loggia, overlooking the main town square, San Marco provides a haven for those who want to enjoy delectable dishes with uninterrupted sea views. Enjoy tasty Mediterranean cuisine with innovative and artfully-presented dishes inspired by fresh, local products and aromas that together create a truly unique culinary experience.
Romantically located on a quaint street on the steps towards the fortress, Black Pepper quickly became a tourist favourite with its excellent Mediterranean fare.
Nestled in a side street just below Hotel Park, Dalmatino Steak and Fish House spent almost 3 years at the top of TripAdvisor when I lived on the island. One of the hardest working teams in the town, I can still taste the unusually delicious zucchini carpaccio with pine nuts a decade ago.
No Hvar restaurant story would be complete without a mention of Gariful, the island’s most famous (and most expensive) restaurant, which you can find next to Carpe Diem. This is where the celebrities hang out, and this is where you can find the most exclusive restaurant wine cellar in the town. Drunk Lobster is a signature dish.
Top 5 on the Pakleni islands:
The Pakleni Islands have a great selection of places to eat. Here are some of the best.
What started out as a cool cocktail bar has developed into one of the premier dining experiences on the coast. Laganini Lounge Bar and Fish House is a cool place to while away the day with great tunes. And don’t be surprised to find the likes of Bono enjoying a 10-course special at the next table.
One of the hidden gems of the Pakleni Islands, Konoba Dionis is one of the top recommendations of most concierges for an authentic experience away from the crowds. And it truly is – there are not many tourists who make it as far as Vlaka on the northern tip of Sveti Klement.
Another great Pakleni chill zone, located in Mlini on the other side of the island from Carpe Diem Beach, Mamato does rustic food, great drinks and relaxing bean bags in equal measure. Not so advertised, worth seeking out.
Ask a local for a Pakleni restaurant recommendation, and it will not be long before you hear the name Antonio Patak in the bay of Zdrilca on Marinkovac. Delicious fresh sea food right on the water – what more could you wish for?
Pricier than most, Zori’s returning clientele clearly think the price tag is worth the experience. Supremely located in the centre of the Vinogradisce Bay on ‘Restaurant Row’, Zori is also one of the island’s popular wedding locations.
Best budget restaurants
Fig Hvar opened in 2015 with the intention of creating a fun and unique atmosphere that felt welcoming and relaxed. The menu is inspired by the travels of its owners and the abundance of locally grown produce. They wanted to bring some variety to the culinary landscape of Hvar while celebrating flavor profiles that are creative and fresh.
Looking for location, location, location on a budget? You can do a lot worse than the pizza, pasta and grill option of La Bocca right on the main square.
Simple traditional Dalmatia dishes, with ingredients sourced freshly from local garden, the abundant Adriatic, and the best Croatian meat suppliers, Bunar is a quintessential Dalmatian experience, with wine, beer and vibes to match.
On a budget and in need of a burger? It has to be Big Bang.
Best fast food / Streetfood
Lola Street Food & bar it’s new cool place where you can have international street food and choose from burgers,spare ribs, falafel, spring rolls, curry, burritos, steam buns with pulled pork, dim sum and more.
If you are staying in the Krizna Luka area, do make the time for this place. Eywa is a local owned waterfront restaurant with a spectacular sunset view. We offer authentic food as well as some of the more classic street food dishes.
Vegetarian options in Hvar Town
There is no 100% vegetarian place in Hvar. But Giaxa, Black Pepper, Fig, Di Vino, Lola Bar have some really nice vegan and vegetarian creations.
Top 5 bars
Great for the street food mentioned above, and a chilled bar as well. This makes Lola Bar the perfect combination for a great night out.
Something of a Hvar institution on the first side street on the right as you enter the square, Ka’Lavanda has been serving up great cocktails and great tunes on comfy streetside sofas for years.
Back Lane Craft Bar
It started with our love for whiskey and good life. Back Lane Craft Bar offers farm-to-bar ingredients, premium spirits, and expert mixologists in a very unique, local and authentic setting. Find a boozy antidote tailored to your malady of the moment.
Central Park Club
Just below Hotel Park, Central Park Club is a great place for live music. The spacious colorful interior with sofas, high ceilings and fireplace has an old world charm mixed with cozy smooth atmosphere.
BB Club, featuring Shrimp House. Hotel Riva’s lavish terrace is the place to see-and-be-seen, where you get lost in the giggles, sound of champagne cork popping, shimmering summer bodies posing for selfies and relaxed lounge atmosphere. Sip, sample and socialize in BB Lounge or enjoy tasteful bites of fresh and organic delicacies at the Pasta or Shrimp House.
Best places to drink on a budget
Serving legendary mojitos since 1977, Sidro has one of the best people watching spots in the town, between the main square and Hotel Adriana. Great cocktails by day and excellent coffee in the morning.
Cosy little jazz bar tucked away behind the riva with affordable drinks, Jazz Barrr is one of the best places for a night on a budget.
If you had to confine lively Hvar nightlife to just one tiny bar, it would probably be Kiva. An island institution for 20+ years, the party quickly spills out into the local side street which is soon packed. One of Hvar’s cult bars.
Best wine bars
The original and still the best. Just off the main square towards the fortress, Wine Bar Prsuta 3 was the first wine bar to open in Dalmatia. An outstanding selection of wines, served with light Dalmatian platters, don’t miss it if you are a wine lover looking for a gregarious and knowledgeable host.
Tapas & Wine Bar Gurme
Combining wine with tapas, Tapas & Wine Bar Gurme holds some excellent tutored foor and wine pairings.
A little more upmarket, meet Vintage, which claims to be Dalmatia’s first truly five-star wine bar experience, with the finest wine list on the Adriatic.
The new Ibiza, one of the world’s top 7 hen and stag night destinations, and a host of other claims about the party island. Really? Hvar Town is very vibrant in summer, with numerous night bars along the waterfront open until two am (Aloha bar, Kiva bar, Nautica bar, SEVEN, Sidro bar, BB Club, Lola bar, Jazz bar), and a few nightclubs where you can welcome the dawn. Every evening, Hvar’s waterfront turns into a dance floor full of young people eager to have fun.
Among the most famous night clubs on Hvar, Pink Champagne and Carpe Diem stand out. Another party place on the island is a night and strip club Temple, 20-minute walk the steep hill from Hvar city center.
Therefore, if you are looking to party, there is a decent amount of action. Just make sure you come between mid-June and the end of August, as the main club, Carpe Diem, is highly seasonal. And when the party’s over in the town, it continues at the Carpe Diem Beach Club at Stipanska beach on Pakleni Islands.
The well-known Ultra Europe Beach party at island’s biggest hotel Amfora is the most significant party event of the year. Due to the coronavirus pandemic, it was not held in 2020 and has also been cancelled for 2021.
Party tourism has created plenty of controversy on the island in recent years, and the authorities claim to be working to reposition Hvar as a brand and destination.
Cycling tourism has really taken over on Hvar in the last 10 years. And for all your cycling needs, there is only one address you need – Hvar Life.
Get out of the city and discover the natural beauty of Croatia’s premier island with some excellent hiking opportunities. Traditional inland villages, olive groves, lavender fields, and ancient trials, they all await on a Hvar hiking tour.
Hvar is a sailing paradise and one of the most popular destinations on the Adriatic. Exploring the Pakleni Island is a particular joy, and there are various tours available, from half-day sailing and a sunset sail to more ambitious itineraries. Local specialist And Adventure has the wind all ready in the sails.
One major growth area in Hvar tourism in recent years has been sea kayaking. Almost unheard of 15 years ago, it is now one of the more popular water sports on Hvar. One of the pioneers, Hvar Sea Kayaking, offers a great range of tours, several of which include climbing from secluded bays. Beginner’s tours are also popular.
Scuba diving is popular on Hvar, and nobody does it better than Aqualis Dive Centre Hvar.
Aqualis means ‘you belong to water’ in Latin which gives a unique meaning to our journey. Finally, we choose Mala Garska Bay where the dive center is built right by the Adriatic Sea.
In addition to the beautiful view and exclusive appearance, there is direct access to the boats and to the sea. Consequently, it makes daily boat trips more comfortable. The access to shallow water and pool makes teaching PADI and SSI courses easy going. Try diving for non-certified adventurers have never been this easy and fun. Free collection from Hvar bus station.
Running – Hvar Half Marathon
Love running and looking to challenge yourself on one of the most beautiful races in the world? The annual Hvar Half Marathon takes place each August along the old road from Stari Grad to Hvar. The steep initial climb is certainly worth it – which other race gives you views of the Adriatic on both sides.
Or just chill. Hvar has its very own spa hotel, Hotel Adriana, and you can learn more of the vibes that await you at the award-winning Sensori Spa here.
Alternatively, why not choose the ultimate waterfront pampering at the Bonj les Bains Beach Club, with your own private cabana and massage service right on the water?
A must-see when in Hvar! Witness the magnificence of the Blue cave on Bisevo island. Take a dip in emerald waters inside the Green cave and float in Stiniva cove. Strap on your diving mask and explore a thriving underwater world of Vis island, before nibbling on local specialties in Palmizana bay. Learn more.
Red Rocks and Pakleni Islands tour
This tour takes you down the magnificent south shore of Hvar. You will see some sights that are only accessible to those that are lucky enough to sail. Breathtaking locations include natural wonder of Red Rocks and stunning Borce Green Lagoon, among others. We highly recommend adding wine tasting in one of Croatia’s best wineries, Zlatan Otok in Sveta Nedjelja, to your tour! Learn more.
Visit Croatia’s most iconic beach at Zlatni Rat (Golden Cape) near the town of Bol on Brac on a private speedboat tour. Learn more.
Sunrise Fishing Tour
Start your morning with a magical fishing trip! Witness the sunrise from the open sea and watch the dolphins play, all while waiting for the catch of a lifetime. Enjoy a hearty breakfast and a glass of local wine in the middle of the open sea. Learn more.
Enjoy the beautiful Hvar sunset from the best spot – floating in the middle of the sea. Sunset is the most special time to be out on the water. If you want to escape the crowds and watch the sun drown in the sea, this is a perfect cruise for you. Enjoy a private boat tour during this most peaceful time of day, while listening to your favorite music, drinking some delicious local wine and cruising around the gorgeous Pakleni islands. Learn more.
Hvar Full Day Wine Tour
A full day of wine and great food visiting two of Croatia’s premier wineries followed by a delightful authentic lunch/dinner is a spectacular setting. Learn more.
Hvar, the Road Less Travelled
Full day off-road tour of Hvar, complete with home-cooked lunch and wine! Learn more.
Hvar Cooking Class
Cooking class at family Tudor in the lavender village. Your personal invitation to enjoy a traditional island repast at the home of one of Hvar’s most celebrated residents. Learn more.
The Pakleni Islands are a natural extension of the town itself and an essential part of any Hvar visit. Several are easily accessible to regular and affordable water taxis. But while some of the 16 Pakleni Islands are bigger than others, they more or less look the same. Are they? Absolutely not!
Here’s a closer look at one of the most idyllic parts of the Adriatic Sea – which island will be your first choice on your next visit?
Sveti Klement (Palmizana)
The combined area of the 16 islands is 7.16 km2, most of which (5.27 km2) is located on the biggest island of them all, Sveti Klement. Also known as Veli Otok (Big Island) and Palmizana by some, Sveti Klement is the most popular destination, with plenty of diverse – and unusual – attractions on offer.
It was here in a southern bay called Vinogradisce (but more commonly referred to as Palmizana) where tourism began back in 1906, when local landowner Eugen Meneghello opened his villa to tourists. More than 100 years later, the Meneghello name has become synonymous with high-quality Hvar tourism, a relaxed shelter from the paparazzi for many A-list celebrities, as well as one of the most interesting places to visit on the Adriatic. Today, Dagmar Meneghello continues the tourism tradition started by her grandfather-in-law, and she has dedicated more than half a century of life to build one of the Adriatic’s most inspiring places. In addition to her Meneghellos restaurant and luxury accommodation, and nearby Toto’s run by her son Djenko, the Meneghello complex is a place of high culture, which its own art gallery, rich cultural programme, even an arboretum. A natural paradise where turtles and peacocks room.
Vinogradisce is a spectacular bay and the best place to head to for restaurant choice. From fashionable Zori’s in the centre – one of Hvar’s top wedding locations – to more rustic fare among the impressive olive trees at Bacchus, to Laganini – cocktail bar turned top fish restaurant under the innovative culinary creations of Hrvoje Zirojevic. So good in fact, that U2’s Bono shared his appreciation of a 10-course extravaganza on the official U2 page before returning the following year.
Bono visits the Pakleni Islands
Tourism actually began on Sveti Klement almost 2,000 years before, as one can discover on a visit to Vlaka (Vloka, say the locals) on the island’s northern shore, also accessible by regular water taxi in season. For here, in this tiny hamlet with the only full-time Pakleni resident, one can find the remains of a Roman villa rustica, as well as a bay which still has some of the healing mud which made it so attractive. It is also home to Dionis ,a slow-food rustic experience which many locals will tell you is the best in the area. Wine lover? Meet the lowest vineyard in Croatia, just 1m above sea level, which was until recently the grape source for the popular Andro Tomic Sveti Klement white wine.
Sveti Klement is also a haven for sailors, being home to the main ACI marina for Hvar (there is another in Vrboska). The marina is the connecting point for the water taxis to the restaurants on the southern side, a very pleasant 200 metre walk through the pine trees until you are presented with your choice of paths to each of the five restaurants.
The second biggest island also suffers from something of an identity crisis, with perhaps the majority of its visitors not even knowing the island’s name. That is because the island of Marinkovac is better known for some of the Adriatic’s most high-profile nightlife, which takes place in the bay of Stipanska, home of Carpe Diem Beach. Carpe Diem, which has been one of the main brands of Hvar since its arrival 20 years ago, operates a bar on the Hvar riva, as well as a popular beach club by day and one of the Adriatic’s hottest nightspots after dark.
And yet… Head to the other side of the island by water taxi to idyllic bays such as Zdrilca and Mlini, and experience a tranquillity and slow-paced Dalmatian lifestyle and excellent local cuisine in top restaurants such as Tri Grede and Patak.
Much smaller, as well as one of the closest by water taxi, is the island of Jerolim, a naturist and chill paradise. Such a paradise, in fact, that it was named by CNN as the world’s number one naturist beach back in 2011. The island is not just for naturists, however, but for those who just want to chill. It also has a reputation for being gay-friendly. One of the most relaxing spots on the Pakleni Islands is at Mare’s Place, on the other side of the island. From the water taxi, head to the left of the restaurant there and walk through the woods for less than 100 metres – the thinnest point of the island. Here is magical Kordovon Bay, sometime photoshoot location for the likes of Vogue Magazine, but always overseen by wonderful hostess Mare. One of my personal favourite spots in Dalmatia.
The closest island to Hvar Town is Galesnik, a divine spot which also has a most romantic story about donkeys. As with all but one of the Pakleni Islands, Galesnik is uninhabited by humans, but until a few years ago, it had rather a famous resident – a donkey named Mercedes. Although I never actually met Mercedes, she starred on the cover of my book, Lavender, Dormice and a Donkey Named Mercedes – An Expat Decade on Hvar. For years, Mercedes was the only permanent resident of Galesnik, and she was partial to the odd rakija from the local restaurant.
But life was very solitary until one day about 6 years ago, an Englishman decided to answer his girlfriend’s concern that donkeys are not meant to live alone by buying a male donkey companion and transporting it to Galesnik for a new life with Mercedes. All was well for a short while, but the new company seemed to wear out poor Mercedes, and she is sadly no more.
Donkeys aside, Galesnik has an excellent eco-ethno restaurant in the low-level stone building facing the town – one of the very best views, especially when combined with the excellent food. The building has previously been used as an arsenal and quarantine station, and its latest use is definitely an upgrade. To book the restaurant and arrange transport to Galesnik, ask at the Port Authority on the riva close to where the catamaran comes in.
While most tourists head to the Pakleni Islands for their beach time, there is an exception – the easternmost island of them all, Pokonji Dol. One of the most photographed things on Hvar due to its picturesque lighthouse in the middle of the small islet, the island lies in front of one of Hvar Town’s most popular beach spots, a bay of the same name. The lighthouse, built in 1872, has played an important role in guiding shipping through the islands since its construction, but it was powerless to stop a luxury yacht which ran aground a couple of metres from the beach a few years ago. Take a look.
There are 16 islands in all, and we have covered the five most important ones above. It would not be correct to reveal all the secrets, as then there would be nothing to discover. The Pakleni Islands are a sailing and kayaking paradise if the water-taxi or speedboat transfer option is not for you. Nice little tours such as the half-day sailing and kayaking sunset tours.
Some people call them the Hellish Islands. I can’t think of many better versions of Paradise.
There is much more to Hvar, the island, than Hvar, the town.
The first capital of the island and home to the main ferry terminal, Stari Grad – or Faros – as it was first known after being founded by the Ancient Greeks from the island of Paros 2,400 years ago, even has its very own UNESCO World Heritage Site. Its pedestrianised old town is exquisite, and recent investments in luxury hotels point to a brighter future. Learn more about this lovely town in the TC Stari Grad in a Page.
A little further on past Stari Grad on the northern shore is the very pleasant town of Jelsa, which was my home for 13 years. A lot more laid back (and much cheaper) than Hvar Town, Jelsa is a family destination with great beaches and a pretty old town with the best ice cream, as well as some of the best winemakers in Dalmatia. Learn more in the TC Jelsa in a Page.
Home to the ACI marina on the island, Vrboska is a sailing hub which is known affectionately as Little Venice after its small canal. Learn more about its amazing fortress church and 24 other things about one of the prettiest settlements in Dalmatia.
Don’t miss the inland villages that form the spine of central Hvar, as they are all unique and have something to offer. Velo Grablje was once the lavender capital of Dalmatia and hosts an annual lavender festival, for example, while Malo Grablje below has been completely abandoned for 50 years, and all property owners have the surname of Tudor.
Dol is home to the edible dormouse festival, while Pitve is the oldest village on the island, dating back 2,000 years. Walking through them is a journey back in time, and you are likely to end up in interesting encounters with the locals.
Milna, Zarace and Dubovica
The southern coast on the fast road to Stari Grad has three gems worth exploring. Milna, the closest has some of the best fish restaurants on the island, as well as family-friendly beaches. Zarace also has good beaches and great restaurants, and it is shielded from the wind by unusual rock formations. And one of the picture postcard shots of Croatia is the magnificent stone house jutting out into the water at Dubovica beach.
Through the Tunnel: Sveta Nedelja, Ivan Dolac and Zavala
The Pitve tunnel is not for everyone. The Yugoslav military drilled through the rock in 1963 to bring water to the south of the island, and the 1.4 km drive is an adrenaline rush for many. Three fantastic locations await on the other side, as well as some of the best beaches on the island – Zavala, Ivan Dolac, and Sveta Nedjelja. And this is also wine country, with the steep Plavac Mali vineyards contributing to some of Croatia’s finest wine.
There is plenty to explore all over the island, but if you would like to take in another experience as well, here are our top 5 day trips from Hvar.
An hour away by catamaran, Split has become one of the hottest destinations on the Adriatic. The magnificent UNESCO World Heritage Site, Diocletian’s Palace is the centre stage, of course, but there is plenty more to explore and enjoy. Learn more in the TC Split in a Page guide.
The birthplace of cricket in Europe outside the UK, home to a submarine base and secret military tunnels, the tiny island of Vis is fascinating. Your best way to visit is on a speedboat tour such as this one. You can learn more about this amazing island in the TC Vis in a Page guide.
The island south of Hvar is one of the most beautiful on the Adriatic, and I often wonder what made Marco Polo leave such a divine spot to go on his travels. You have an affordable way to find out more about the island of Korcula as it has regular catamaran connections to Hvar Town throughout the year. Learn more in the TC Korcula in a Page guide.
A must-see when in Hvar! Witness the magnificence of the Blue cave on Bisevo island. Take a dip in emerald waters inside the Green cave and float in Stiniva cove. Strap on your diving mask and explore a thriving underwater world of Vis island, before nibbling on local specialties in Palmizana bay. Learn more.
There are no prizes for guessing which is the most iconic beach in Croatia. Zlatni Rat in Bol on nearby Brac takes that accolade, and it is a magnet for day trippers. Bol is a fun destination in its own right, and what better way to see it than a speedboat tour?
The island’s beaches have achieved world renown, and CNN named Jerolim beach the top naturist beach back in 2012, describing it as a place of „untouched nature, rocky shores, and crystal clear sea.“ Did you know that Jerolim, the island of the same name, was also the first naturist island in Croatia? As one of 16 Pakleni Islands, Jerolim has been welcoming naturists for a long time.
Most of Hvar’s beaches are rocky or with small pebbles. There are some sandy beaches (Perna on Pakleni Islands, Mina and Grebisce in Jelsa), but they are rare. However, with so many bays and coves to choose from, you will have no problem finding the perfect beach. Here are our top 5 beaches on this gorgeous island. Now take a tour of the entirely island’s beaches in the video below.
Beach Club Hvar
Nestled just a short stroll from the town centre in one of the most picturesque parts of Hvar, Beach Club Hvar boasts eye catching architecture and unbeatable sea views. Established in 1927, Beach Club Hvar is the synonym for luxury, lavishness and style. Completely renovated in 2021, this timeless club provides a haven for those seeking unpretentious luxury. With its prime location and rich history, it is considered the quintessential Hvar landmark since its inception.
Hvar has an incredible wine story, dating back some 2,400 years with the arrival of the Ancient Greeks to what is now Stari Grad. The island has a number of outstanding winemakers, including its very own British Master of Wine, Jo Ahearne MW.
Hvar wines have several indigenous grape varieties, which only grow on the islands, including Bogdanusa (a white which translates as ‘a gift from God’), Darnekusa, and Prc. The most famous wines, however, are from the powerful Plavac Mali grape, a relative of Zinfandel. Winemakers to look out for include Zlatan Otok, Ahearne Vino, Andro Tomic, Ivo Caric, Ivo Dubokovic and PZ Svirce.
Looking for a wine tour? Check out a superb range of innovative tours with Hvar Wine Tours.
COVID has thrown all events and festivals into chaos, and it is very difficult to plan anything. Nevertheless, certain traditions must go on, including the Lavender Festival and the Hvar Summer Festival. More information on the official tourist board website. Local NGO Platforma has also launched a platform which covers lots of local events but is in Croatian only.
New York Times reported that the island was to be auctioned in 1932
Imagine buying the island for a song back in 1932, and what it would be worth today! A failed investment in an island resort was behind the story. Want to learn more? It will cost you a small fee.
The biggest festival on the island celebrates the edible dormouse
I didn’t actually believe it until I saw (and tasted…) it, but the biggest festival on the island celebrates a rather unusual tradition in the inland village of Dol – eating dormice.
The village of Dol is one of only three places in Croatia which hunts and eats dormice. Local association Tartajun was formed over a decade ago to promote the traditions and heritage of Dol, and they decided to start the Puhijada, or edible dormouse festival. This week-long celebration of Dol tradition culminates with a big party on the Saturday night, with up to 5,000 visitors. And the main thing on the menu is ‘puh’, the local dormouse delicacy. Check it out in the video above.
Hvar has more UNESCO heritage than any other island in the world
It has beauty, sun, lavender, and fabulous wine. And culture. And heritage. Hvar has more UNESCO heritage than any island in the world. One UNESCO World Heritage Site (the Stari Grad Plain), and no less than 5 pieces of intangible UNESCO heritage: the Za Krizen (Behind the Cross) procession in Jelsa; the agave lace of the Benedictine Nuns; the Mediterranean Diet; klapa singing in southern Dalmatia; and the art of dry stone walling.
Tracing Ancient Greek Roots: From Faros to Paros
A previous name of the island was Faros, named by the Ancient Greeks who sailed into the bay of present-day Stari Grad back in 284 BC from the island of Paros. The conquering Greeks brought with them olive trees and vines to cultivate on Hvar.
Back in 2004, a voyage in a traditional wooden boat took place, with a delegation from the island once known as Faros returning to Paros with gifts, including vines and olive trees some 2,400 years later. You can learn more about the journey in the video above.
There are 8 words for ‘chisel’ but saying hello could not be simpler.
Hvar is rich in stone tradition, even more so in regional dialects. Both come together in the useless fact that there are eight different dialect words for ‘chisel’ on Hvar, the big joke being one can’t buy a chisel for love nor money.
When it comes to greetings, however, things could not be simpler. The Dalmatian Grunt is the simplest form of greeting. And there is nobody better to demonstrate it than Professor Frank John Dubokovich, Guardian of the Hvar Dialects.
The digital nomad era is upon us, and Hvar has been one of the more popular places for people to travel to. Now that the Croatian digital nomad permit is a reality, more Americans are coming, and a small community is growing quietly. Interestingly, while many locals think the winter is too quiet, the Dalmatian winter life seems to appeal to the remote working visitors. For a very good overview of this, check out this interview with an American on Hvar, who became only the second in Croatia to get the permit.
A great way to connect with this community is via the Facebook group, Expats on Hvar.
English is widely spoken on Hvar, and you will have no problem communicating. Some important numbers:
Health Center Hvar
Ul. biskupa Jurja Dubokovića 3
Situated in Majerovica near the Hotel Amfora, are these medical services available:
– general practitioner +385 (0)21 778 046
– gynecologist +385 (0)21 742 693, +385 (0)98 433 244
– pediatrician +385 (0)21 742 716
– laboratory services +385 (0)21 778-043
– radiology +385 (0)21 778-045
– emergency room : +385 (0)21 717 099
There is another Health Center situated on the main square in Hvar (Trg Sv. Stjepana), where you can find these services:
– GPs +385 (0)21 743 103, +385 (0)21 717 422
– dentist +385 (0)21 742 122
Emergency room is situated in the Health Center Hvar in Majerovica and a helicopter service is available in case of a serious health situation to transfer the patient to Split Hospital within minutes. Number to reach the emergency room in Hvar town is: +385 (0)21 717 099
Health Center Jelsa
Situated little outside of the city near the sports center on a newly build road in Pelinje. Available are these medical services:
– general practitioner +385 (0)21 778 682, +385 (0)21 778 680
– dentist +385 (0)21 583 540, +385(99)247 02 13
– emergency room + 385 (0)21 765 122, +385 (0)99 471 148, +385 112
Emergency room Jelsa is situated in the Health Center in Pelinje and again, the helicopter service is ready to take the patient to Split Hospital if needed. Numbers to reach the emergency room in Jelsa is: + 385 (0)21 765 122, +385 (0)99 471 148, +385 112
Hvar is the perfect destination for conferences and MICE tourism. Hotel Amfora has state of the art conferencing facilities, ideally located with the backdrop of the Pakleni Islands. Learn more.
Looking for a romantic place to get hitched? Look no further than Hvar Town. There has been an explosion of foreign weddings in recent years, with many couples also spending their honeymoon on the sunshine island. For more on getting hitched on Hvar, check the Suncani Hvar wedding packages.
Like everywhere on the Dalmatian coast, Hvar enjoyed a property boom in 2004, as British and Irish investors flocked to Croatia to buy investment property. The market has been quite quiet since the 2008 crash, but there are properties for sale. Looking for a property in town or on the island? Pay a visit to Balustrade Estates .
Where is Hvar located on the map?
Surrounded by the islands of Korcula, Brac, Vis and Solta, Hvar lies in the centre of the Dalmatian Adriatic, about 1 hour south by catamaran from Split.
Map of town
The only place where you can currently get tested at your request is on Hvar. It’s in Jelsa at the Health centre and you need to make an appointment by phone: +385 (0)91 151 2010. Things change quickly regarding COVID-19, so for the latest information, follow the TC daily travel update.
Hvar live cam
Missing your daily Hvar fix? Tune in to this 24/7 webcam, which takes in some of the best locations in the town. A great way to keep you going through those dark winter months, as you wait for your next Dalmatian holiday.
What is the cost of living?
Hvar Town is certainly not the cheapest place in Croatia. Prices vary a LOT depending on the time of year, especially with accommodation. There is definitely a premium for being on the exclusive part of the island, but there are cheaper places to be found as well. In addition to the price tag associated with such an exclusive destination, in addition to the generally higher prices on an island. More expensive she may be, but she is definitely worth it.
How to pronounce Hvar?
Despite the fact that I lived on the island for 13 years, I still cannot properly pronounce its name. The H+V is a problem for most foreigners, and the best way to approach it, I think, is as a F+V – Fvar.
Other common approaches include HA-VAR, or simply VAR. Both are widely understood. The locals have their own word for Hvar, which is a lot easier to remember and pronounce – For. If in doubt, just ask they way to Croatia’s premier island, and you will be shown the way.
The population of the island of Hvar according to the last census in 2011 was just over 11,000, of whom 4,000 lived in Hvar Town itself.
Can I drink the tap water in Hvar?
Yes, the tap water is totally safe to drink on Hvar. As is
What is the Hvar postcode?
If you are sending mail to Hvar Town, the post code is 21450. The telephone code is 021 (if dialling internationally, remove the 0 – +38521)
Dalmatia is a conservative society, and the tradition of openness to the LGBT movement is not that well developed. Having said that, tourism has definitely helped to speed up that process, and LGBT visitors are a lot more welcome than they were just a decade ago. The island of Jerolim has a reputation for LGBT-friendly beaches. Avoiding open displays of affection in public is recommended, however. For more on LGBT in Croatia, check out the TC guide.
Which celebrities have visited Hvar? The better question, perhaps, is which ones haven’t, and would you even know if they haven’t?
Hvar Town is famously egalitarian, a stunning destination where the backpacker and the super-yacht owner share the same waterfront. Celebrities are generally left alone here by the locals, with many coming to locations on the Pakleni Islands away from the prying lenses of the paparazzi, so that nobody even knew they were there.
If, however, you are a visiting British prince and fall into a nightclub swimming pool after one too many, as happened to young Harry in 2011, expect that to make the news. Or if you are an A-lister showing off your baby bump for the first time, such as Beyonce (who went on to name Blue Ivy after a tree on Hvar), that too, will make the news.
Tom Cruise had a relaxing walk around town on his Hvar visit. Other famous names include Bill Gates, Roman Abramovich, Orson Welles, Edward and Mrs Simpson, Jackie Onassis, Demi Moore, Giorgio Armani and Ellen de Generes. Here are our top 10 celebrity visits to Hvar over the years.
How big is Hvar island?
Hvar is the fourth biggest Croatian island, some 297 km2 in total. It stretches 68 km from east to west, with its deepest point being only 10.5 km long. Its many idyllic coves contribute to its 254.2 km coastline. Its highest point at Sveti Nikola is 621 metres above sea level.
What is Hvar famous for?
Hvar is known as the lavender island, the sunniest island in Europe, and Croatia’s premier tourist island.
Lavender, Dormice and a Donkey Named Mercedes
Looking for a short fun read about life on Hvar as you laze on the beach? To celebrate my 10 years of living on Hvar back in 2013, I wrote Lavender, Dormice and a Donkey Named Mercedes, an expat reflection of a decade on the world’s most beautiful island. It is available on Amazon on Kindle and in paperback, along with my (rather outdated) Hvar, an Insider’s Guide.
The Hvar Town Tourist Board is on the main square, part of the Arsenal building as you enter from the water.
Trg svetog Stjepana 42, 21450, Hvar
To follow the latest news from Hvar, check out the dedicated TCN page.