Hvar  is an island off the coast of Croatia.
Gently rolling hills painted a brilliant purple by the fertile flowers, lush vineyards nestling at the foot of ragged mountains, gorgeous beaches with tiny inlets and secluded coves, luscious restaurants, boutiques, and a vibrant nightlife amidst the medieval streets of Hvar Town are just a few of the treats to enjoy on this dream of an island.
Imposing fortifications hover above the fluid blend of grey stone and orange cascading roofs. The remains of walls built by a long list of invaders descend towards the wide promenade edging the brilliant blue sea and the quaint fishing harbor. Marble streets reveal one of the largest squares in Dalmatia, Trg Sveti Stjepana as well as the prized Cathedral of St. Stjepan and the Renaissance theatre.
Hvar Town may be the most stunning town on the island but Stari Grad, the oldest village on the island, and Jelsa, as well as a smattering of small villages, dotting the coast or nestled in the lush interior are well worth a visit.
narrow streets in Stari Grad
Island Hvar and especially Hvar town is one of the most popular destinations in the Adriatic. During the season (May to September) it
can be very busy, especially during August when large numbers of Italians visit. Hvar was relatively cheap, without an extensive
tourist infrastructure, and it attracted a lot of young people. However, this is changing as large five star hotels are
- Jelsa - There is fast catamaran sailings daily from Split. 47kn person. Approx 1,5 hour journey. Beside that during summer there are numeruos boats from and to island Brač, Makarska and other towns around Makarska. There is also hydroplane from Split airport to port of Jelsa.
- Stari Grad - During summer there are several car ferry sailings daily from Split. 47kn person, 318kn car. Approx 2 hour journey. Check the latest timetables in the Tourist information office.
- Hvar City - There are two companies Jadrolinija  [55kn one way] and the Krilo company [90kn one way] offering fast catamaran sailings between Split and Hvar City (approx 1 hour journey). During summer, tickets sell out quite early and it is advisable to get down to the docks early (before 8:30am) to get tickets for the day. You cannot generally purchase tickets in advance (day before). Timetables are available at the tourist information the schedule during Summer 2013 are [From Split - 9:30, 11:30, 15:00, 18:00] [From Hvar City - 6:35, 7:45, 11:00. 13:45, 19:30]
- Buses operates to bring people to and from the very through the island (12 kn to Starigrad, 27 kn to Hvar City (August 2012)). Buses tend to leave fairly quickly after the boat docks, so make sure you board the bus in time or you will have to either take a taxi or wait for another bus. Also note that as buses fill, late-coming passengers are often required to stand in the aisles during the entire bus journey.
- Jadrolinija also brings you from Hvar town to Vela Luka (Korčula) and to the island Lastovo, and from Sućuraj in the east of Hvar to Drvenik (mainland).
- Blueline  operates fast ferries from Hvar town to Split. The car ferries run most regularly (approximately three per day and more during the high season (May to September) and call at Stari Grad. The fast ferries run less frequently but also operate to and from Hvar town. There are also ferries to other destinations, most notably Italy.
- Dalmatia-express  is providing 24h taxi boat service to the island, either from the city of Split or from the airport and vice versa. ☎ ++385 (0)99 20 099 20
- Speed taxi boat service 0-24h +385 98 702 250 .Adriatic-Express
- Auto taxi service +385 91 517 29 56 .Taxi Hvar Service 24hr
- Adria Seafari speed boat company providing various sea services including taxi boat transfers 24/7 to Split or Split Airport and vice versa. Most reliable and fastest way to reach your destination. Transfers to other destinations are also available.
Another view of the town of Hvar
Buses meet the car ferries at Stari Grad and run to various destinations such as Jelsa and Hvar town (27kn one-way). Don't take taxis from the ferry port, they're a rip-off.
You can easily rent a car for about 350 kuna a day if you wish to explore other parts of the island. The rental agencies have firm policy of a minimum of one day rental (no hourly rentals). You can also rent a scooter or moped for about 250 kuna a day. There are hourly rates for the mopeds and scooters. The roads on hvar can be steep and windy and there are no guard rails, so be careful especially if riding a rented moped which is old and has already done tens of thousands miles.
Keep in mind that there are 3 petrol stations on the island: 2 in Jelsa and one in the town of Hvar. From Sučuraj to the nearest petrol station on the island is approx 54km.
There is a convenient water taxi  that will take you directly from Stari Grad harbour to the ferry for 15 Kuna.
The Town Square in Hvar is among the most beautiful and the largest in Croatia. The square measures 4500 square meters, and the town has developed around this square, starting north of the square in the 13th century and then circling to the south of the square in the 15th century. There is also a fortress at the top of the hill with walls that encompass parts of the city. It's an easy walk, although uphill, to the fortress...it's worth the trek however because of the wonderful views you have of the harbor and surrounding areas. Don't forget to bring your cameras. There is a small eatery in the middle of the fortress where you can purchase drinks and snacks.
The fortress as seen from the main strip
The Cathedral of St. Stephen dominates one end of the Town Square, and was built during the 16th and 17th centuries. The bell tower of this cathedral is four-stories high, with each level more elaborately decorated than the last. The cathedral was built over a previously existing cathedral that was destroyed by the Turks. Parts of this older cathedral can be seen inside the church, but most of the interior was rebuilt.
Unique ceramics decorated with spiral ornaments in red, yellow, brown, and white were found at a Neolithic archeological site, Grapčeva špilja, near Hvar Town. Since such ornaments and engraving methods have only been found on the island of Hvar, archeologists have named this kind of Neolithic art "hvarska kultura" (Hvar's Culture). The island of Hvar also has the tradition of making lace, but from the threads of agava leaves. Nuns from the Benedictine monastery in Hvar are masters of this unique craft.
Hikes and walks
Take a water taxi to the nearby Pakleni archipelago, where secluded strands of white sand, hiking trails and pine groves await. Or hike for 2 hours along the Hvar's southern cliffs from Dubovica to the winery of Zlatan Otok for a late lunch, a swim and a boat ride return to Hvar Town.
Scenery and nature
One visitor describes Hvar as "beautiful, crystal-clear blue sea, big green hills, clean air and lots of old stone." At sundown a stroll up old lanes from the square in Hvar Town leads up to another lane which, high above the others is extremely attractive and shouldn’t be missed.
Religion and religious sites
The Bishop's Treasury, adjacent to the cathedral, contains silver vessels, embroidered Mass robes, numerous Madonnas, icons dating from the 13th century, and an elaborately carved sarcophagus.
- Visit the islands nearby. The Blue cave is a particular highlight. Options vary from hiring just the boat for the day if you are certified, hiring the boat and a skipper or taking water taxis to specific destinations. All have pros and cons but if hiring a boat and skipper for the day ensure any promised equipment is on the boat before you leave and be aware some are more customer friendly than others. The offered day tours are a good way to see the blue cave and green cave but other destinations may be more about the driver meeting up with friends for a drink than going where you want to go. These places tend will also tend to be the very overcrowded spots as well so make sure to request quiet beaches if that is what you are looking for.
- Rent a boat (5 horse power) from a harbour near a football field (500 meters south from yacht harbour) for 400 kunas a day (7/2013) and explore the Pakleni Islands on your own. 10 hp for 700 kn and 20 hp for 800kn. Fuel is included in prices. You can rent boats right in the main square in Hvar town too but they are more expensive. The islands are very close and make for an amazing adventure. Have a picnic with a bottle of wine. The boat can be anchored anywhere around the islands or tied to the rocks.
- There are also frequent water taxis that go the the Pakleni Islands that run every half hour or so.
- Climb up to the Španjola Fortress. Enjoy the magnificent view of Hvar town and the Pakleni Islands, and pick up Italian radio on your mobile phone.
- Go dancing at Carpe Diem. This is not to be missed. The djs are usually on the international circuit and the energy is high. Boats leave from the dock in front of Carpe Diem in Hvar and travel over to the party on the nearby island. Expect music to be typically "Deep House"
- Visit many pebble beaches and private coves, diving, kite surfing and windsurfing. Circular trip with bicycles Milna - Hvar - Brusje - Milna- Brusje - Jagodna - Vira.
- Atlantis Marine, (In front of hotel Adriana), ☎ +385 92 2149395. Private Excursions to Blue cave, Pakleni island and Bol, Rentals and Transfers edit
- Vagabundo Excursions, Hvar Harbour (in front of hotel Riva), ☎ +385 97 7734437. Daily boat excursions to Blue&green cave and Golden Cape Beach on island Brač edit
- Hvar Point tourist agency, Jurja Matijevića 21, ☎ +385918881606, . Boat tours, wine tours, historic tours, rental services, transfers edit
- Kayak & SUP, (On the beach in front of Amfora hotel), ☎ 385 91 4741 009, . 10:00 - 18:00. Excellent Kayak rental. Very friendly for non swimmers and beginners because they use the stable wide bottomed Kyaks 150 Kunas. (43.171738,16.433928) edit
Hvar is known for its lavender, you can see it blooming in the summer over large areas. Don't forget to purchase bunches of lavender or lavender oils in beautifully painted glass bottles the lingering fragrances will remind you of the lovely time you spent on the island of Hvar.
- Made in Hvar, Pjaca (at the main square), ☎ 00385 21 718 438, . 9-24. contemporary art and craft gallery presenting local art as well as artist in residence concept. Moderate prices and high aesthetic standards, unique and interested. Also, open all year. edit
- Restoran Antonio, Burak 3, Zdrilca (island of Zdrilca, rent a boat in Hvar town to get here), ☎ ''+385'' 21741485 ([email protected]), . Great seafood and a good view over the bay 100 Kn. edit
- The Golden Shell, (With the port behind you and the main square in front of you, head left past the church and the restaurant is a small doorway down an alley on the right.), . Just off the main square near the main arrival port of Hvar is the Golden Shell, a small restaurant recommended as the best by the locals. The eating area is outdoors under a lovely vine roof, and if you are lucky you may be offered a measure of the home brewed fig brandy. Be careful, it's extremely strong but the locals recommend one a day to keep you healthy. The delicious national dish of Croatia is available, rabbit in fig sauce, and the rabbit and potato with peanut sauce is also highly recommended. edit
- Gustico - Burger & Pizza Bar, Lucije Rudan 7, Hvar 21450 (Located inside of Youth Hostel Villa Marija), ☎ '''0800 303 303''', . 16h - 00h. Great fast-food restaurant with pizzas, burgers and fries, wraps, salads and coffee. They have free food delivery Price range: 15kn - 99kn. (43.167678,16.450137) edit
- Eremitaz. For location, rustic environment and traditional local fare, it is hard to better Ermitaz, located on the water opposite the old town. Its waterfront location and natural setting in pine trees make it a desirable location to while away an afternoon in the company of good food, wine and service. Address: Obala hrvatskih branitelja, Stari Grad. E-mail: [email protected] Phone: +385 (0) 915428395
- Tonci, Sveti Klement, Vlaka, ☎ +385 21 742480 ([email protected]), . Beautiful little restaurant in a garden of fig and mandarin trees. They make their own wine from the vineyards next to the restaurants, the fish they catch in the nearby water. If you order a desert of fresh figs, they will pluck them from the trees around you HRK 100. edit
- Tamaris, Put Zogona 4 (Drive to Sveta Njedela park your car next to the marina and walk along the coast), ☎ 00385913210042. 9-23. Is a gem of a restaurant in Sveta Njedela on the Southern coast of Hvar with breath-taking views over the neighbouring islands from the terrace it is offering an unforgettable dining experience. The speciality is fish and meat on traditional grill. Pizza is also available although not always during lunch time. The wine list is short but extremely tempting offering local Zlatan wines including plavac and crljenak in the black (red) section and pošip or bogadnuša in the white as well as wonderful rose. All priced between 90 and 300 HRK per bottle (0.75l). The house wine is also very pleasant. The menu is quite traditional with some rarely served classics such as fish baked in salt (200 HRK for half a kilo) or fish under bell (same price) and fish gregada (380 HRK for 1kg). Also available octopus baked in bread oven and scampi, octopus or tuna carpaccio (70 HRK a piece). 70-200 HRK. edit
- Carpe Diem, At the end of the riva (At the end of the riva on the right side), . It's all big cushions, sofas, hammocks and mood lighting. Drinks leave something to be desired. It's a real shame, because it's the perfect spot to drink cocktails, but they make them with flavoured syrups instead of fresh fruit, and they all taste like bubble-gum. edit
- Prsuta Tri, (on the narrow street just behind the main square), ☎ 098 9696193 ([email protected]). Good vine bar, has cheese, olive, and prosciutto edit
- Teraca, Placa (On the long terrace above the main square). Friendly small bar with an amazing view over the square and harbour 25 kuna beers, drinks for 18 kuna. edit
- Apartments Grgičević (croatiapartments), Vitarnja, Jelsa, ☎ +385 977 942 942 ([email protected]), . checkin: 14PM; checkout: 10Am. Welcoming house in quiet part of Jelsa. Just 50m from the sea, beutiful nature, ideal for hiking, jogging, swimming. Low prices, free wifi internet. 5 apartments (2+1) one big apartment for 4+3 persons. Nice mediterranean garden, balcony or terrace for guests, WiFi, grill, pets welcomed. from 12€. (43.17122,16.938766837120056) edit
- Anna, Buzolic Tonci & Anna Glavica bb, ☎ ''+385'' 917303517 ([email protected]). checkout: 10AM. Friendly and clean apartment just up the steps from the main square. 200 Kuna per person. edit
- Apartments and Pension, ☎ + 385 21 773 250 ([email protected]), . Two air-con double room apartments, one air-con studio-apartment, and two rooms. 35€ (studio apartment). edit
- Apartments Bibić, ☎ + 385 (0) 21 741 683 ([email protected]), . Accommodation 10 minutes walking distance from center of town and 20 meters from the sea. edit
- Apartments Komazin, ""directions="", ☎ +385 91 601 9712 ([email protected]), . Nice seaview apartments for 2,3,4 and 5 persons. edit
- Guesthouse Huljic, Jelsa bb, ☎ +385 91 1543072 ([email protected]), . GuestHouse is situated on great location in very centre of Jelsa on Hvar island. Nice and clean rooms with private bathrooms. edit
- Kuca Sofia tel: +385 911 18 12 74  "Sofia" dates back more than 400 years and is traditionally constructed from local stone. It is a spacious two floor apartment in quiet surroundings, located in the historic centre of Hvar Town.
- Apartment Modric (Stone house Modric), Donja banda b.b. (Sucuraj), ☎ + 385 98 921 04 32 ([email protected]), . checkin: 2PM; checkout: 10AM. Accommodation for 4-5 persons in old stone completely renovated house, 20m from sea. The available apartment takes the first floor and the attic; 70m2 large. 60-90 EUR/day per apartment. edit
- Apartments Curin, "Antica (up the steps left of hotel Park, turn left past Morko tower, turn right, then left), ☎ +385 (0)21 741-676 ([email protected]), . checkout: 14. Very clean and nice apartments with bathrooms and balconies. The top floor balcony has an an amazing view over Hvar and the Pakleni Islands. €30. edit
- Luka's Lodge, (Call Luka for a pickup!), ☎ +385 917 347 230. checkout: 1100. Nice location away from the noise, but within easy walking distance of beaches, restaurants, main promenade. 120 kuna per night. (43.169853,16.445981) edit
- Vila Julie (Villa Julie Vip Apartment), Bukainka bb, ☎ +38521717916 ([email protected]), . checkin: 2PM; checkout: 10AM. Nice villa with stunning view, swimming pool and air conditioning. edit
- Villa Pepi (Bodlovic), Ivana Vucetica 16 (South along coast line), ☎ +385 21 741 183, . checkin: 14:00; checkout: 10:00. Apartments for 2 to 4 persons, direct sea view, 20 m from sea... 20-35 e. (43° 9'50.01N,16°26'33.71I) edit
- Apartments Blaskovic, (In the vicinity of the beach, with a breathtaking view!), ☎ +385 98 265 434, . an incredible sensory experience of senses’ relaxation: from the seawater pool, to the fitness room! edit
- Jurjevac, HR-21460 Stari Grad, Njiva b.b., ☎ +385 21765843 ([email protected]), . Stari Grad boasts a quiet camping site with lots of shade, humble facilities and friendly staff. 3,50-4,50 € per person, 6,50-10 € per pitch. (43° 10' 56N,16° 35' 36E) edit
- Youth Hostel Villa Marija, Lucije Rudan 7, Hvar 21450 (Hostel is located on a hill, within 15minutes walking distance from the historical centre of Hvar town, giving hostel guests excellent access to all major attractions and hot spots of the city. The best pebble beach in Hvar is 400 meters away.), ☎ +385 91 907 8080 ([email protected]), . checkin: 1PM; checkout: 10AM. Youth hostel in Hvar with great outdoor terrace and swimming pool 80-190HRK per night. (43.167678,16.450137) edit
The beautiful and unspoilt (and popular naturist) islands of Jerolim and Stipanska are accessible by taxi-boat from Hvar town square. As of August 2010, the main beaches of the island are used predominantly by textile bathers (the majority of island visitors), while the small rocky coves are used by a mix of clothed and naturist bathers.
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