Averaging a record number of sunshine hours a year, long and narrow Hvar is Croatia‘s sunniest island and one of Europe’s most sunlit spots. Rivalling even France’s famed Saint-Tropez in terms of glamour, it’s become Croatia’s most popular destination and attracts luxury yachts, sun-seeking adventurers, and visitors of all kinds.
The small and ancient Hvar City is the island’s hub and Croatia‘s busiest harbour. Step inside the city’s 13th-century walls and you’ll soon discover why: pedestrianised marble streets lined with renovated Venetian townhouses wind towards exquisitely adorned Gothic palaces and the main square, St. Stephen’s, which is open to the sea. Hvar’s waterfront bars and cafes are legendary, hosting the best nightlife on the Adriatic.
Outside of town, the island reveals yet more of its charms. Not to be ignored are the fetching villages of Jelsa, Vrboska, and Stari Grad which offer respite from Hvar’s polished hustle and bustle. Looking out to the soft outlines of neighbouring Brac, Vis and Korcula, Hvar’s coastline is puckered with both sandy and pebble-strewn beaches, hidden coves, and sheltered bays that call out to be explored. Venture towards the interior and you’ll discover a large fertile plain sprinkled with fresh water springs, vineyards, olive groves, fruit orchards, carpeted slopes of pine forest, and the fields covered in lavender and other aromatic plants that give rise to the island’s sweet and alluring aroma.
When to go
The best time to visit is between May and October, although July and August can be very busy. Visit in June to see the lavender bloom.
What to do
- Discover the old town's Venetian streets, Gothic architecture, and rich history
- Sample fresh seafood and people watch from waterside restaurants, cafes, and bars
- Lounge on one of Hvar's many beaches
- Watch the sun set from the 16th century Spanjola Fortress and admire panoramic views of the town and Adriatic
- Swim, snorkel, and kayak in pristine waters
- Take a day trip to the Blue Grotto and Vis Island
- Sail to the Pakleni Islands and their sandy beaches
- Sample Croatia's wine on a vineyard tour
- Relax at the laid back villages of Jelsa, Vrboska, and Stari Grad