Hvar travel guide
The island of Hvar, the sunniest place in whole Croatia, is one of the places we always love to visit, especially the town of Hvar which is, in our opinion, among the most beautiful towns in Croatia. Of course we are not the only ones who fancy the town and the island in general. During the last few years, the town of Hvar has been recommended by several world famous magazines as a top destination to visit, some have even called it the St Tropez of Croatia. The island was placed in the top 10 islands in the world.
In our travel guide you will find travel tips for the town of Hvar, as well as some great photos of the town. There are also information about visiting other cities on the island of Hvar like Stari Grad or Jelsa Feel free to leave a comment below if you have any question regarding visiting the city of Hvar.
Table of Contents
Getting to Hvar
Getting to the island of Hvar is possible with either ferry or catamaran.
- Catamaran from Split to Hvar town: During summer, there are several daily scheduled catamarans from Split to Hvar town; operated by the companies Jadrolinija and Krilo company. Travel time with the catamaran is usually one hour. It is possible to do a day trip to Hvar town using catamaran.
- Car Ferry from Split to Stari Grad: If you plan to bring a car and you are coming from Split or cities further north, the best option to get to Hvar is to take the car ferry from Split to Stari grad. During summer months, there are 6-8 daily departures in each direction. Ferries are operated by the companies Jadrolinija and Blueline. The ferry ride takes app. 2 hours. The distance from Stari Grad to Hvar town is 20 kilometers. In case you don’t take the car, the bus schedule between Hvar and Stari grad ferry port is adjusted to the ferry table.
- Car ferry from Drvenik to Sucuraj: If you are travelling to Hvar from the south with a car, the best option is to take the ferry from Drvenik to Sucuraj. During summer, there are around 10 daily departures between the cities and the duration of the trip is about 35 minutes. There is around 80 km from Sucuraj to Hvar town. If you travel without car, there are buses to Hvar town in connection with some of the ferry arrivals. You can check the ferry schedule here.
NOTE: It is possible to book a ferry or catamaran ticket online, it is recommended especially in high season.
More information about getting to Hvar you can find here.
To do and see in Hvar
Hvar itself is a very special attraction and there are several highlights that cannot be missed. Since I have visited Hvar for many times, I created my personal-favorite list of to-do while in Hvar.
- As mentioned above, Hvar town in general is incredibly nice. Every time I visit it again, I manage to discover interesting small streets in the old town for the first time. The main square of the town is called Pjaca and it is the largest square in whole Dalmatia. It is the heart of the city. On the east side of the square, there is Hvar Cathedral with one of the most beautiful bell towers in the region.
- My favorite sight is definitely the Fortica (Spanjola) fortress. The fortress is situated 90 meters above the city, so you can walk from the old town and that will take about 40 minutes. It is easy to find, just follow the signs from the main square- Also remember to bring water for the climb on hot summer days. In case you don’t like walking, you can also drive to the fortress. The award for the 40 minutes climb is… (click on the photo below). It is one of the most beautiful views in the world. Do I need to say more?
- The Promenade is a very interesting place with wonderful view over the harbor. Early evening is the best time to have a walk, especially with an ice-cream in your hands.
Other things I recommend to do or see close to Hvar:
- Pakleni islands is a chain of wooded islands that guard the entrance to Hvar. The name is usually translated as Hell’s islands but it looks much more like paradise than hell. Crystal clear water with beautiful beaches, peace and tranquility are highlights of the islands. If you would like to party, head to Carpe Diem beach, some of the world’s top DJ’s perform here.
- How to get to Pakleni islands: At the end of the main square, you have several tour boats lined up that sail to various parts of the Pakleni islands. Alternatively, you can rent a boat and sail to the island by yourself.
- Another interesting place is Napoleon fortress or Napoljun that was built by the emperor Napoleon. If the view from fortress Spanjola didn’t impress you, you might want to visit the second fortress above Hvar. The fortress is situated 241 meters above sea level, there is no need to say that the view from there is spectacular! Once you are there you’ll be greeted with 360-degree views of the greater Hvar area. The walk could be hard so taking a car or taxi is better option.
Other things you can do when visiting Hvar
- Olive picking – October and November are quieter months in Hvar with less tourists. It is time dedicated to olive picking and olive oil making. Olive picking is a social event usually accompanied by a delicious lunch in the field. Tourists can also take part and in that way catch locals in their habitat, help them and get paid for that, in olive oil, of course.
- Lavender fields are typical to Hvar island. If you want to see it in the most beautiful colors, make sure you visit the island from late May to early July. Villages like Brusje or Velo Grablje have stunning views over the sea and the mainland. At Brusje village, there is a lavender festival happening in late June.
- Trip to the highest peak of the island – Sveti Nikola that is situated 626 meters above the sea level. There are photos from St. Nikola in gallery below.
The accommodation offer in Hvar ranges from fairly cheep hostels to luxury hotels. The main form of accommodation is, as elsewhere in Croatia, private accommodation.
Our first stay on Hvar island was at Jure and Ljubica place (their apartment is marked on the map). For several times, we have tried some other apartments but in the end, we kept going back to them. There are numerous reasons to do so, their hospitality and warmth are rarely found. What is more, if you stay at their place in early spring or in the fall, most probably you could get Jure to take you around on the island. A better and more experienced guide is hard to find. You can see the whole range of accommodation units on the island below.
If you are looking to spend a whole day on the beach, my recommendation would be to go to the Pakleni Islands where you find numerous nice beaches, including sandy beaches. Pakleni islands beaches attract sailors, swimmers, sun-seekers and all nature lovers. Vlaka beach is the place for everyone who want to escape the crowd. These rocky shores has very few amenities so prepare anything you might need. Perna beach is a sandy beach that is also a break away from busy crowds and beach bars. If you are looking for some party, Stipanska could be the most popular one. It is home to Carpe Diem beach. It is full of amenities such as chair rentals, umbrellas, cocktail bars etc.
If you just want to spend a few hours on the beach, you have some smaller beaches on each side of the town. Beaches around Hvar town are usually pebble beaches that are situated in bays and surrounded by pine forest. Mekiceviceva beach is the closest one to the town, it is situated 2.5 km to the east. There is also a restaurant in the bay. Bay Milna is located 4 km east of Hvar town. There you can find 2 pebble beaches with forest and agava trees. Dubovica is probably the most popular excursion spot that is situated 8 km away from the city. You can come there by car or by boat.
Where to eat in Hvar
In Hvar, there are plenty of excellent restaurants. Eating in Hvar gives you a lot of different experiences, from small restaurants with a few chairs to luxurious beach restaurants.
We personally like to eat at restaurant Vartal (see the map below) which has great food at a fair price, but basically all the restaurants we have tried have been quite good. If you like to dine with a view, there are plenty of restaurants around the promenade to pick from. Some of the most exclusive restaurants can be found in a small street next to the main square. Lovely atmosphere and delicious food are guaranteed wherever you go.
These websites should give a good impression of the restaurant options available in Hvar:
Hvar town is known to have some pretty good parties during July and August. Depending on where you go, you will find that Hvar is not the cheapest spot to party, at least if you compare it to other party places in Croatia. The classic and most famous places to go out on Hvar:
- Carpe diem: quite expensive, but undoubtedly the most famous bar in Hvar – Website
- Carpe diem beach bar, situated at the Stipanska bay on the Pakleni islands, taxi boats to the island leave from the sea side promenade – Website
- Club Veneranda, hilltop disco situated by some 14th century ruins, from the main square in Hvar walk past the Hotel Adriana and you are almost there.
- Hula Hula – pretty cool seaside bar, 15 minutes walk from main square (situated between the hotels Amfora and Podstine) – Website
- Kiva bar, rock music and tequilas is two of the main ingredients at the Kiva bar
Camping around Hvar
There is only one campsite by Hvar and that is the Camp Vira – more information about the campsite you can find here
Note: like everywhere else in Croatia, camping in the wild is prohibited and the fines are pretty high (up to 400 Euros), so I would not recommend that option. What is normally accepted (by the authorities) is if you can find a private landlord who would let you spend a night or two on his land.
Shopping in Hvar
A shopping guide to Hvar and what to buy on Hvar you can find here.
Parking in Hvar
If you bring your car to the town of Hvar, you will not have much use of it for getting around in town, as basically the whole inner part of the town is car free zone. The only larger parking place can be found next to the bus station which is at the end of the main square (see map below). If you are staying in private accommodation or at a hotel, they should be able to tell you where you can safely leave the car during your stay.
Map of Hvar
Prikaži Hvar Town na većoj karti
I saw that you be on island Hvar,but you didin”t mention part of island Hvar from Jelsa-Pitve-Zavala-Sveta Nedejelja.On my Facebook you can see some wine on russian language,picture from Zavala,Pitve.In Pitve theri is kONOBA “Duboković” in Dalmatia stil,you must see.
as i mentioned in the story, i will write about Jelsa and the other places on Hvar in a second post, i first need to go there for some days, to take photos, but nobody invited me yet, and i have invitation to go to so many other places, so i can not say when i will manage that 🙂
Dear Morten,you must visit these part of Island Hvar beacouse is deferente from town Hvar,it so green,quite,lot of great wine,olive oile,ship.That is holliday.
I will one day, when time and money allows me 🙂
Hi, wonder if you could advise?
Am planning to go to Hvar the first or second week in October. Due to work can’t go mid season this year. I was wondering if a) the weather is still good and b) does all bars etc shut down? Appreciate it won’t be the same as it is in July but worried it will all be closed down! I have visited the island before.
I have visited several times in October, as far as i recall most of the stuff was open (excpect the summer party clubs)
Weather has been good when i have visited, but of course you never know with the weather 🙂
We plan to hire a boat in Croatia and visit the islands. Where in Hvar is the best parking for a 8m motor boat?
i have no idea, where is the best place to park an 8m boat, i would although guess at the marina in Hvar town.