Ultimate Guide to Hvar Island in Croatia!
Croatia is my favorite European country….& within Croatia, Hvar Island was hands-down my favorite destination. We loved Hvar so much ~ we stayed a full week, & cried when we left: we just didn’t want to leave. In Hvar, you’ll find some of the most beautiful people on the planet: whether you’re grabbing a late breakfast or partying into the wee hours of the night. And to make things even better: there’s a string of 16 islands off Hvar called the Pakleni Islands: where you can sail, swim, snorkel, & cliff-dive. Hvar is one of Europe’s ultimate aquatic playgrounds, & in this “Ultimate Guide to Hvar Island in Croatia” ~ I’ll tell you the best things to do on this amazing island paradise!
Map of Hvar Island
On the map below, I’ve labeled Hvar Town ~ which is the island’s main hub & where the majority of ferries dock, as well as the Pakleni (or Paklinski) Islands. Additionally, I’ve highlighted Split & Dubrovnik, which each have major international airports. You can catch ferries from either city to Hvar, but Split is the closer of the two…although I though Dubrovnik was prettier.
Laganini Lounge & Fish House
Hvar Island Travel Facts!
- Closest International Airports to Hvar = Split International Airport & Dubrovnik
- How to Get to Hvar Island = By ferry from Split or Dubrovnik, or one of the other islands. The ferry from Split to Hvar takes approximately two hours, & the ferry from Dubrovnik is a little over three hours.
- What Ferry Companies Go to Hvar? Jadrolinija or Kapetan Luka.
- Must-Do’s in Hvar = Go sailing. Swim in crystal-clear turquoise waters. Stay up all night on a party island & “Carpe Diem.” Go to “Yacht Week” with your best friends. Watch the sunset at Hula Hula Beach Club. Dance the night away.
- Is Hvar Island Good for Solo Travelers = Yes, if you’re extroverted. But Hvar is more ideal for girl’s or guy’s getaways, a romantic vacation, or an adult’s-only holiday. I saw very few children there, & the overall vibe is much more of an adult’s playground ~ particularly in Hvar Town.
- Best Time to Visit Hvar = If you want warm weather, visit between May – October, but know that July & August will be VERY busy, & prices higher! Ideal months are June & September: great weather, less people. Low season is November – April; expect cool weather & lower prices.
Ultimate Guide to Hvar Island in Croatia
You’ve just been dropped off at the scenic dock in Hvar Town. You take your bag off the ferry & wheel it down the sidewalk into town, taking in the row of restaurants & bars that line the lively walk. It’s only 3PM, but one of the corner bars already has music playing, & an attractive crowd clad in white shirts mingles & sips their cocktails in the warm, Croatian sun.
Welcome….you have ARRIVED in Hvar!
Where to Stay in Hvar
First things first: you’ve got to drop those bags off! The question is: where’s the ideal place to stay in Hvar? If you want to walk to restaurants & bars, then stay no more than a mile from Hvar Town. Our first hotel on the island was about 3 miles outside of town, & though it was lovely: it was just too inconvenient & isolated. We had much more fun staying in town & walking everywhere.
So here are some suggestions for all budgets in Hvar Town: for luxurious accommodations right in the heart of town, head to Hotel Park Hvar ($386+/night). For a bright clean, adult’s-only hostel located right by the popular Kiva Bar in town, try Hostel Marinero ($14+/night). If you want a killer view & don’t mind a short walk uphill: check out the Bocin Rosso Apartments ($100+/night), which give you a lovely view over the main harbor. And if you want a little more tranquility & a nice pool, just five minutes from town: try the gorgeous Amfora Hvar Grand Beach Resort ($242+/night).
Yacht Week in Croatia
Another way to stay in & around Hvar is to check out the popular Yacht Week in Croatia. This is the ultimate getaway for young twenty-something’s who want to sail & party their way through Croatia’s most popular spots: including Hvar. During our trip, we met a group of 12 basketball players from the States who were doing Yacht Week…docking on a new island every night, cliff-jumping & adventuring during the day. They said it was one of the best trips of their LIVES ~ but best for people who like to party, not those looking for peace & quiet!
What to Do in Hvar…
You’ve checked into your Hvar hotel….now what?! First, let’s take a walk through Hvar Town & get situated. Take a look at the various restaurants & their menus, & determine which tasty place you’d like to try tonight! There are tonsof choices all around the main harbor. Next, stop into a few coffee places & see which one looks best for your morning stroll & cup of joe. And if you have the energy, make the short hike up to the Spanish fortress above town for killer views of the city & harbor.
Once you’ve gotten a handle on the town itself, venture a little further out, & take the boardwalk that leads west, past the Adriana Spa Hotel, down towards the beach called “Bonj Les Bains.” Who knows…you may want to lay out there tomorrow!
Keep walking west along the boardwalk, around the bend to Hula Hula Beach Club Hvar. This is a sprawling beach club & bar, where you can grab lounge chairs during the afternoon, or a table if you’d prefer to eat & drink. During the day it can be mellow here: but around sunset, it will start getting much more crowded ~ as locals & tourists gather to watch the sunset from a perfect vantage point.
The Pakleni (or Paklinski) Islands
There are a couple ways to jet over to the Pakleni Islands from Hvar Town: from the main ferry dock where you arrived, grab either a group charter for the 15-minute ride ~ or if it’s an off-time, simply charter a private driver yourself (which is what we did, for about $20). We went to the isle of Palmizana, where there are several beach & day clubs…& we chose: the Laganini Lounge Bar & Fish House. It was exactly what we were looking for: a large property right on the water with multiple docks, cabanas, chaise lounges, good food & drinks, & a fun but not crazy vibe.
It was the perfect place to spend the day…
Nightlife in Hvar…
The first words you’ll hear when it comes to partying in Hvar, are: “Carpe Diem!” Seize the day! You’ll hear it a lot because it represents two different night/day clubs in Hvar: one in Hvar Town, & one on the nearest island….which you can jet over to for their nightly dance parties. Carpe Diem is the place to go if you’re young, in your 20’s, & want to stay up til dawn. Kiva Bar is a smaller, more intimate option in Hvar Town that had a GREAT playlist going…we danced there for hours, & it felt much less “clubby” than Carpe Diem.
For more adult, upscale cocktails, try the rooftop bar at the Adriana Spa Hotel, which has a nice view of the harbor, or the Vintage Wine Bar, that’s just a short walk from the Adriana. Teraca Bar, tucked away right in the middle of town, is another great, quieter option for drinks in Hvar.
Other Things to Do in Hvar…
The island of Hvar encompasses much more than just Hvar Town: Stari Grad is another port town on the north side of the island, as is Jelsa, which is a great place to go wine tasting. You can rent a car or scooter to reach them, or simply grab a cab or take a tour. If you’re visiting Hvar in June, check out their gorgeous lavender fields near Busje, or the mountain villages of Malo Grablje & Velo Grablje.
And finally, for all adventure & water-lovers, you MUST check out the famous “Blue Cave” on the island of Bisevo, past Vis. You’ll need to take a tour here, & it will likely be an all-day adventure…but they often combine it with gorgeous stops on Vis & the Pakleni Islands, making it well worth the price of admission (tours start at $65+).
Ultimate Guide to Hvar Island in Croatia!
Thanks for checking out this “Ultimate Guide to Hvar Island in Croatia!” If you really want to make the most of your trip & see more of the island than just Hvar Town, rent a car or scooter & cruise the back roads to beautiful Jelsa & the island’s interior. You’ll find more off-the-beaten path places this way, & beat the crowds ~ even in July & August!
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