I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, I LOVED Croatia. Zadar was my favourite place that I visited when I spent a little over 2 weeks in Croatia, but the Island of Hvar was a close second. I loved checking out the massive yachts in the port, I loved strolling through the streets and climbing the hills for viewpoints, and I loved that I could jump on a different boat every day to be taken to a nearby island where I could spend the day swimming and hanging out at beach bars. If you are planning a trip to Croatia, definitely plan on spending a few days on this island. Here are my recommendations for the best things to do in Hvar.
The Best Things to do in Hvar
From ruins to wineries, clubs to beaches, lavender fields and more, Hvar has plenty to see and do!
Things to do in Hvar Town
Hvar Town is where most people choose to base themselves for their stay (more on that later). It’s really pretty and small enough to easily get around by foot to explore. Here are a few things to do in Hvar Town.
St. Stephen’s Square & Cathedral
St. Stephen’s Square is the main square in Hvar and the largest in all of Dalmatia. It’s the heart of the city, with cafes and restaurants and shops surrounding it. It’s often crowded but does make a good place to stop for a drink and people watch.
This is also where you will find St. Stephen’s Church with its Renaissance bell tower. It’s especially beautiful in the evening or at night when it’s all lit up.
The Franciscan Monastery
Located near the harbour, the Franciscan Monastery is a walled renaissance monastery. There’s plenty of artwork inside as well as some gardens which are home to a cypress tree that dates back to the early 1700s.
Climb up the stairs to this Venetian fortress that dates back to the 1500s for some of the prettiest views over Hvar. It’s in pretty good shape in looks quite impressive when viewed from below as well. Insider tip: don’t climb all those stairs during the hottest part of the day like I did.
Wander The Streets
Hvar Town isn’t big but it does have plenty of cute winding streets and impressive architecture that make for pretty photographs. Go early in the morning before the crowds hit for the best photographs.
Check Out the Yachts
Hvar is a playground for the elite and, as such, the port is often full of massive luxury yachts. When I visited, there was basically an entire fleet owned by one Chinese man. One for him, one for family, one for friends, and one for partying. Not even kidding-it was insane. Unfortunately, I did not get an invite on board.
The Best Beaches in Hvar
You can’t go to Hvar and not check out the area’s beaches. There are plenty to choose from just keep in mind that most beaches here are pebble/rock beaches rather than sand. Also, keep an eye out for sea urchins!
Hvar Town Beaches
Hvar town itself doesn’t really have a ton of beach space. The waterfront is the port where you’ll find all the boats. That being said there are a couple of local swim spots including Amfora Beach (in front of Amfora Hotel) and the Franciscan Monastery Beach.
You can also visit two beaches within reasonable walking distance: Mekicevika which is 2.5km away or Sirena Beach which is 2km away.
Beaches on Hvar Island
The best beaches in Hvar are outside of Hvar town and spread around the island. Some have facilities and some don’t, so that may affect where you want to go.
Dubovia, Miln, and Pišćena are all very popular picks with excursions leaving from Hvar Town.
Zarace is a favourite for those who are looking to snorkel. You can arrive by boat or car.
If you have a car, you can also check out Sveta Nedjelja or Bojanica Bad.
Some beaches on the island are nude beaches, so keep that in mind when you are looking for the best beaches in Hvar. If that’s of interest (or if you want to know where to avoid) the most popular nudist beaches in Hvar are: Zecevo, Jerlolim, Stipanska, Miln, Palmizana, and Zavala
Things to do Around the Island of Hvar
Hvar Town is where most people base themselves and explore from, but it’s definitely worth your while to see more of the island as well. A few places to go include:
Explore Stari Grad: This is the oldest town in all of Croatia. It’s not as picturesque as Hvar town but it’s worth exploring for a few hours.
Photograph the Lavender Fields: Hvar is also known for lavender and if you happen to visit during the month of June you can even take part in the local lavender festival held at Velo Grablje. There are several lavender fields in Hvar (including along the route from Hvar Town to Stari Grad) and it’s best viewed during June and July.
Check out Jelsa: Jelsa is another small town in Hvar. It’s often overlooked by most visitors making it a great place to go if you are looking to get away from crowds. There are a few nice beaches nearby as well.
Book a Tour of Grapčeva špilja: One of the most well-preserved Neolithic cave dwellings in the Mediterranean. To visit, you need to book a guided tour which can be easily organized from Jelsa.
Try the Local Wines at Hvar’s Wineries: Hvar is home to several wineries that you can visit as well. I recommend getting in touch with the winery in advance to inquire if you can just stop by or need reservations.
Scuba Dive Around the Island: If you love scuba diving, or want to learn, you can dive around the waters of Hvar. The waters here are very clear making it a favourite dive destination in Europe.
Best Beach Bars and Clubs in Hvar
Hvar isn’t all clubs and beach bars, but the fact it that Hvar does have a reputation as a party island. From casual day bars to expensive island clubs, you can find it all here. These are some of the best beach bars and clubs in Hvar:
Hula Hula: Hula Hula is THE place to go for daytime parting in Hvar. Comfy seats, delicious drinks, and some eats are also available. A visit here really is a must!
Carpe Diem: Probably the most famous bar in Hvar. Carpe Diem frequented by the rich and famous and the prices reflect that. You need to take a boat from Hvar Town to go out to the island and during the busier months (especially August) you’ll want to make reservations and get on the list. I’ll be honest, it was fun but I didn’t think it was worth the hype (although I did go at the end of the season).
Veneranda: The venue alone is pretty cool (hillside Venetian fortress, with a pool). Veneranda is basically a big open-air party. Expect to pay a pricey entry fee on weekends it draws a crowd and has a reputation as one of the best party places on the island after Prince Harry was seen partying here.
Pub Crawl: You can also keep an eye out for Hvar’s pub crawls. It’s a fun way to meet up with fellow travellers and meet some new people. You won’t go to the fancier clubs above, but you’ll still get to enjoy Hvar’s nightlife.
Day trips from Hvar
Hvar Island itself has a lot to explore, but it also serves as a good base for exploring as well. When I visited, I’d go down to the port in Hvar Town in the morning with some new friends and hop on a boat to a nearby island where we could spend a day at a beach bar swimming, drinking, and having fun.
There are also a few sight-seeing tours that you may want to check out as well such as:
Where to Stay in Hvar
I definitely recommend spending at least 3 days in Hvar. It’s a great place to hang out for a couple of days since, as you can see from above, there is a lot to explore.
I suggest staying in Hvar Town. It’s the busier area but this also means it’s easy to access the day trips, boats, ferries, and there are plenty of restaurants and bars nearby. Looking for some recommendations? Consider the following:
Final Tips for Things to do in Hvar
In my opinion, Hvar is a must when visiting Croatia. As I said at the beginning of this article, I absolutely loved my time here. However, it is a pretty popular spot and can be pricey during high season so I definitely recommend booking accommodation and excursions in advance. Ferries can fill up pretty quickly too so you may want to head down to the docks the day before you plan on going and book your ticket.
It’s also important to note that Hvar is a very seasonal destination. A lot of places close up mid-September so keep that in mind when choosing when to visit.
I hope my suggestions for things to do in Hvar come in handy and that you love your time there as much as I did!
A Note on Travel Insurance in Croatia
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