Hvar is a Croatian island in the Adriatic Sea, located off the Dalmatian coast near Split, lying between the islands of Brač, Vis and Korčula. Known for its lively atmosphere, this island has plenty more to offer than just nights out.
Despite being such a small island, you will have plenty of places to go to and explore, as well as visiting some of the best beaches in the Balkans. The views you take in on your travels here leave you speechless, they are honestly some of the best we have ever seen.
A lot of our trips are aimed to be accomplished on a small budget, you’ll see why Hvar is hard for that. Because of this, we let ourselves go a little bit but if you’re sensible when spending money on food and drinks in the day then this trip can be done on a small-ish budget. We recommend finding a place off airbnb for this to save cost on accommodation and we have a special offer here to help you out. This post will share the many things you can do whilst visiting this Adriatic paradise. You’ll learn why Hvar is a must-do trip! If you want to see how we fitted this journey into a European travel route, click here.
How long to stay
6 nights in paradise
Hvar island is a small, luxurious island which has become a treasured destinations among Croatians and foreign tourists and it’s easy to see why. You do not want to rush your time here, when there is so much to do and explore. Besides, it has such a lovely climate, why wouldn’t you want to relax for a bit during your stay?
With an endless amount of activities, we decided that 6 days would be enough for us to explore the island, go on trips, explore more nearby islands and have a time to ourselves where we can wind down and relax on the island. Obviously everyones needs are different, if you don’t mind rushing around for a few days on trips then that will fit in too. But to make the most of it and to see the best things you need at least 3 nights here.
When to visit
Like with most secluded European destinations, Hvar and other areas of Croatia have a peak season. The peak season is from May to September. Having looked at the weather in May it seems like it can be a lot more temperamental. We were looking at temperatures in the late teens or early 20’s. Having said this, when we visited in August, it said the weather was 25 degrees daily and we found it scorching. We’d just visited from Italy where it was said the weather was 33 degrees and we found it very similar, so use your own judgement.
From Split airport you will need to get the coach to Split. There are 2 ferry companies which run to and from Hvar from Split. An airport shuttle usually runs after ever flight, it takes 40 minutes and it was on the left as we left the airport. Once at Split port, we used the Jadrolinija ferry to get to Hvar. We’d booked months in advance which helped us avoid queues. Be careful though, as our return catamaran didn’t leave at the time it said it did on our ticket and we missed it. It’s around €8 each way and easy to find the correct boat to take you there.
There are also other areas nearby which you can access this treasure from. You have the island next to it called Brac and the beautiful riviera of Makarska, which has regular ferry crossings. These two places make great additions to itinerary if you have the time. If you’re looking for nearby places to move on to after it, then you can island hop at Vis, Brac, and the beautiful Korcula. Korcula is like a mini Dubrovnik and well worth a visit. If you’re heading back to the mainland of Split, you can visit Trogir, Sibenik and Makarska. Have a look where we went on our travel route.
Where to stay
Although we’re sure anywhere would be lovely to stay on this beautiful island, we have to suggest to stay central to Hvar town. This is where everything is happening and these are where the most beautiful restaurants, interesting nightlife and excursions take place. Your accommodation near the main square will be more expensive for obvious reasons. However, we based ourselves a little further away near the hills and quite close to Hula Hula bar. The views were gorgeous, we were near restaurants and we could cut through the huge hotel, called Amfora. This was a little cheat and halved our journey time to the main square.
Things to do in Hvar
For such a small island there is an incredible amount of things to do in Hvar. It is very easy to explore this small, exotic island. 6 days was found to be the perfect amount of time to explore, but also relax. We managed to have 3 days exploring and 3 days relaxing/going out at night. Moreover, we plan to visit again and also take more of a look at including it in an itinerary with it’s other nearby islands such as Brač. Anyway, below is a list we have compiled for some of the favourite things we did.
Hire a 60’s VW Beetle
Have you ever fancied driving a 60’s VW convertible? I hadn’t even thought about it but as soon as i saw the chance to it had to be done. We explored the beaches of Hvar in our VW Beetle and what an experience. Travelling down the coast you witness extraordinary views and get to discover magnificent, hidden beaches. If you want to see for yourself how extraordinary it is, then watch our video at the bottom. The price for a 24hr rental was €80 and we hired ours from Rapidus. You’ll be mesmerised by the gorgeous views you witness when driving this beauty and it’s an experience you won’t forget.
Vis island, the blue cave & the Pakleni Islands
This was a specific tour, but check out the activities we did as you may choose to do some of them separately. We paid £71 each for a trip to the Blue Caves & Pakleni Islands through trip advisor. It was very well organised and once waiting for the tour to begin they split the big group into smaller ones and off you set on to this glorious tour. Make sure you bring extra money though as the trip doesn’t include the admission to the caves.
The first stop is by Vis where we relaxed on a beach with a notorious visit from a local Donkey. This is called Budikovac Island, which is a lagoon protected from winds by the smaller island. The clear, turquoise water will hypnotise you and make you want to venture on to the pebble beach. On the other side of the island is Perno beach which again has luxurious clear and turquoise waters.
Soon after, we visited the Green Cave and you will park outside it with the option of going in. We chose not to on this occasion and just admired it’s beauty. You have the opportunity to swim inside this cave unlike the Blue Cave if paying admission.
Stiniva Cove, Vis
The next stop is at Stiniva Cove on the island of Vis, which was voted the most beautiful European beach in 2016 and it’s easy to see why. The patterns and cracks on the cover are from an earthquake, which has designed this paradise beautifully. You’ll anchor outside the cove and have to swim to the stoney beach, we recommend bringing shoes which you won’t have a problem swimming in. What makes this beautiful beach even better is that there’s a bar you can sit at and relax. It is also a chance to explore a bit of Vis which is a stunning island to explore. It isn’t as built up as Hvar, so plan your visit carefully.
Next it’s time to visit Cave Bisevo (the Blue Cave). This natural phenomenon is a pure beauty, it takes it’s colour from the sun rays bouncing off the ocean floor and bouncing back into the floor of the cave. The entrance is so small it doesn’t look like you’ll fit in, but you will when you duck. This visit has an admission of 100Kn.
Back to the Pakleni islands
Finally, you’ll explore more of the Pakleni islands with a stop at the luxury Palmižana island. This island has restaurants which are quite expensive and a beach bar. We were told that Beyonce and Novak Djokovic have been visitors to Palmižana island and we can see why.
Rent your own boat
Another must do for us, was hiring a boat. After being on the trip to the Pakleni Islands, we wanted to explore ourselves. We hired a 60hp boat with a steering wheel for the day. Neither of us had any experience of being in control of a boat before and we were very apprehensive before it, but what an experience! We explored the nearby Pakleni islands and it was all completely safe. If we can helm a boat, then anyone can! You’ll see how we did in our video at the bottom. Our only issue was anchoring the boat but we could usually do it after 2 or 3 attempts. Thankfully, the signal on our phones was fine at sea which meant we could youtube how to anchor our boat (oops). You could also use google maps to help locate where you were.
Beaches to explore
Beaches – Check our video at the bottom for a good look at the beaches.
You’ll never run out of things to do with the amount of beaches to visit. Dubovika is a secluded beach on Hvar island but also one of the most picturesque. You will need a car to get here from the centre of Hvar and suitable footwear. It has a steep decline/incline, so it is very tiring, but definitely worth it. There is a small bar for drinks and a little restaurant that sells fresh fish.
Jagodna Beach, Sveta Nedalja
We walked through some sort of camping resort to reach this beautiful beach and it had a cafe for snacks. We had to leave our car further up hill to find a suitable space. Despite being a small beach, there was enough room for us during peak times. I really enjoyed this beach just for the turquoise water.
This was our final stop as it is close to Hvar town. It’s a nice change from the crowded areas of Hvar town. There’s also some really nice restaurants to eat at here, which makes it perfect for an evening meal after a hard day’s relaxing on the beach.
Pakleni island beaches
When visiting here by boat you’ll have a choice of beaches to visit. We anchored our boat to these beaches below but it is important to note there are still many more you can visit.
This is a nudist beach. We didn’t go on the beach here but we anchored our boat and got some really nice pictures and saw some stunning views.
As mentioned earlier, this place is a luxury which means it can be a little expensive as it’s very up-market. Having said this, it’s still very nice and well worth the visit. It also happens to be where the Carpe Diem nightclub party takes place. There are of course many other beaches, these just happened to be our favourites.
Away from the beaches
Bathe at a hotel
In the glorious weather, they’ll be days where you just want to relax and bask in the sun and cool down in a pool. As it’s small island, you won’t find too many big hotels with a pool and the beaches in Hvar are pebbly so not always good for relaxing with towel on top of pebbles. You’ll find a huge hotel called Amfora in Hvar town.
It’s perfect to have your relaxing days here and the hotel allows people not staying to use the pool. You must rent a towel to use the sun loungers though and this costs €10 for a day. Waiter service is on offer and can order food and drink. Water is very expensive, try and bring your own. The food price was more than reasonable and the pizza was delicious.
Trek to a castle
Away from the beaches, you’ll still have plenty of things to do. Trek to the Hvar castle, the best time to visit is near sunset where you can see even more picturesque, stunning views. You pay a small entrance fee and will see great architecture with beautiful viewpoints of the island. We caught a gorgeous sunset and recommend visiting during this time.
Explore the old town
The beautiful main square is a great chance to have gorgeous food and some first-quenching beverages whilst people watching and looking at the lovely views of the harbour. If you take a few steps away from the square, you’ll find crumbling stairways and thin, windy streets which give a whole different outlook. Each narrow street is picturesque and can make a perfect photo.
Look no further than Hula Hula bar and Carpe Diem. Hula Hula is a day drinks bar, it can be quite expensive but has a very chilled vibe. It shuts around 10pm but then you have Carpe Diem ready for you after that. You need a small boat ride to Carpe Diem, which is arranged by the club, by the port. This stays open until about 3am and is a fantastic night out. It’s like your own private nightclub on a secluded island.
Places to eat
There are many places to eat but we had to recommend our favourite place. I genuinely think ‘Primi Piatti‘ might do the nicest pizza in the world. Give it a try if you’re there and they even do takeaway. In the centre, you’ll find lots of other lovely restaurants to eat at which we recommend trying to find your own gem.
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I am particularly attracted to the Blue Cave, it looks surreal! Thanks for this blog!
Yes, it’s such a beautiful place to visit. A must if in the area!