There are a million reasons to fall in love with Hvar. And then some more! Brilliant blue coloured waters that almost seem too good to be true, intimate coves and pebble-strewn beaches to laze upon, winding alleys to walk endlessly upon, finger-licking good food that is insanely fresh, and picture-postcard islands to sail to are just some of the reasons that make Hvar an incredibly alluring beach destination. So, to help you plan your trip to this island paradise we’ve put together this: our Hvar itinerary!
We did consider putting a ‘Top 10’ list or a day-by-day itinerary but didn’t feel it would do justice to everything that Hvar has to offer. So to let you know just how incredibly diverse Hvar is, we’ve grouped the attractions by interest.
But suppose you are like us, part beach bums- semi history buffs – (always hungry for good food) gourmands – forever wanderers, you can create an itinerary from our list that is all ‘YOU.’ And who knows, just as you are out and about exploring Hvar Croatia, you might stumble upon yet another hidden gem!
Highlights in Hvar: Your 2 day itinerary
Not keen to pick a travel style? Before we get into the details and if we absolutely had to define a list of things to do on your Hvar itinerary, here would be our picks for a day or two on the island:
- See the sights in Hvar Old Town – St Stephen’s Square, the Hvar Loggia and Clock Tower, the Franciscan Monastery and Hvar’s Arsenal
- Head up to the Fort, also known as the Spanjola Fortress, for the best views of Hvar Town
- Go to the beach, particularly Dubovica Beach or the family-friendly Skala Beach
- Explore Stari Grad’s seafront promenade and eat a lavender ice-cream
- Eat gregada, Hvar’s signature traditional dish
- Go to the Pakleni islands on an exotic pasara boat
- Chill out at Hvar’s Hula Hula bar, sipping cocktails and watching the sunset
For sun worshippers and perfect tan seekers
The beaches! But, of course! Undoubtedly, this is the No.1 reason to visit Hvar!
Hvar sits pretty, just off the coast of Croatia, in the middle of the Adriatic Sea. The island is filled with narrow streets that lead you to charming coves and surprisingly beautiful strips of pebble (and sometimes sand) beaches that overlook sparkling blue waters. You can stay an entire week and still find new beaches to stumble upon.
Close to Hvar Town is Pokonji Dol Beach, a longish strip of pebble beach with crystal clear waters. It’s tough to resist the temptation to jump in, and that is precisely what we did. You can rent a couple of loungers and an umbrella for around 200 Croatian Kuna (30 USD/ 23 GBP), or just lay out a towel or mat and bask in the sun. Pack a lunch or grab something from the two restaurants located close by. You are set for a day of seaside bliss!
Widely considered the best beach in Hvar by tourists and locals alike, Dubovica Beach is a relatively spacious crescent-shaped beach located 8 kms east of the city. Overlooking a stately stone house and sparkling blue waters, the beach is superbly scenic and perfect for diving.
The shallow waters at Skala Beach make it perfect for families, while Prapatna Beach is a picturesque beach to spend a few hours when you are visiting Jelsa. For spectacular pictures of the turquoise blue waters the island is famous for, head to Malo Zarace Beach. Simply breathtaking!
Interested in going au naturel? Hvar and the surrounding islands are a naturist’s dream destination. The Mekićevica Beach, near Hvar town, is your closest option, while Jerolim Beach is considered one of the world’s top FKK beaches.
Got your travel insurance booked? We promise to never push a brand or product we don’t personally use, and the travel cover from Safety Wing is a policy we don’t just use, but we highly recommend. They offer some of the most flexible policies, amazing customer service and are affordable too.
For history buffs and wanderers
Not all who wander are lost – J.R.R. Tolkien
We understood this statement so much better after our stay at Hvar.
Hvar’s Old Town presents endless opportunities to wander, and honestly, we didn’t mind getting lost! Some of Hvar’s most popular attractions can be found here – the St. Stephen’s Square and Cathedral, which holds within its walls some of the Renaissance period’s most spectacular art, including a breathtaking Madonna and child painting, the Loggia and Clock Tower, the Arsenal, and the iconic Franciscan Monastery, home to an impressive artwork of The Last Supper and a beautiful 300-year old Cypress tree.
But, for us, the real allure was in just strolling up and down the narrow, stone-cobbled alleys just off the main square, taking impromptu coffee breaks and watching locals and visitors go by.
If we were charmed by the history of Old Town, we just completely fell in love with the quaintness of Stari Grad.
Set at the end of an inlet, Stari Grad just has a quieter and more relaxed vibe about it.
The best place to start your exploration is the Stari Grad Riva, the town’s beautiful seafront promenade that’s lined with cafes, restaurants, and ice cream parlours.
Stari Grad is one of the oldest towns in Europe, and its history can be traced back to 384 BC. We sauntered rather aimlessly through its streets, visiting Srinjo Kola (Middle Street) and Skor Square. As we explored the atmospheric by lanes, we felt that time had stood still.
We also stopped by Tvrdalj Castle, once the summer home of 16th-century poet Petar Hektorović that was used to shelter the locals during the Ottoman Turks attack. We loved the sunlit courtyard and seawater fish pool.
You can also rent a cycle and pedal your way across the Stari Grad Plains, an agricultural landscape continuously cultivated since the 4th century BC. These remarkably fertile lands are a UNESCO World Heritage Site and still have remnants of the past – centuries-old stone walls used to demarcate the lands, stone huts, and a water collection system. If you think cycling across the plains is too much work, it might help to know that you can always stop by a winery for a sip of authentic Croatian vino! It certainly got us in the right spirit!
The perfect way to conclude your sojourn to Stari Grad is by witnessing a sublime sunset from Glavica Hill, the highest point in town. Watching the sun go down into the sea even as the town started lighting up will remain one of our most favorite memories from this trip.
For food connoisseurs
Oh, where do we start?
From tasting gregada, Hvar’s signature dish, to sipping on the finest Croatian wines to nibbling on traditional cakes and biscuits, you are in for a gastronomic treat in Hvar.
Restaurant Macondo is famous for its gregada, a hearty and flavorful stew made with sea bass, potatoes, onions, garlic, and wine. Another popular restaurant is Konoba Menego, known for its Dalmatian cuisine. Expect traditional music, traditional attire, and traditional dishes, all in a warm, friendly atmosphere.
Those with a sweet tooth will want to pay a visit to Nonica Patisserie. Located in the Burak neighborhood in Hvar, this charming little pastry shop is always overflowing with dessert lovers. Try out their traditional biscuits to get a taste of the flavors of Hvar. Their pesticide-free jams make a great gift to take back home.
Stari Grad, too, has some incredibly cute restaurants serving up delicious, lip-smacking food. Antika and Jurin Podrum were our favorites. Exploring Stari Grad on a hot summer day is bound to get you all sweaty and thirsty. The best way to cool off? With lavender ice cream, of course. With lavender farms in many parts of the island, you will find this local specialty in every ice cream shop.
With glorious sunshine and perfect weather conditions, Hvar presents the ideal conditions for gorgeous vineyards and exquisite wines. Winemaking is a 2000-year-old tradition in Hvar and at the center of this is Jelsa, Hvar’s wine capital.
For a grand affair, visit Andro Tomic’s Roman-themed cellars. Ivo Dubokovic’s candle-lit cellar is utterly romantic, and while there, don’t miss out on tastings of the most flavorful olive oils. Teo Huljic’s vineyard, while smaller, produces an incredible variety of wines. A meal at Konobo Hulji, his slow food restaurant set under the shade of lemon trees, is an experience you are unlikely to forget for a long time.
With plenty of islands and hidden caves to sail to, Hvar satiates your thirst for exploration. A stone’s throw away, the Pakleni Islands makes for a perfect day trip. Rent a ‘pasara’ boat, use the taxi boat service if you are visiting during the summer, or sign up for a tour of this gorgeous archipelago.
Pack your snorkeling gear (Believe us when we say you will want to jump into its waters. More than once!), and you are set. While you could put together a basket full of goodies to munch on, there are quite a few restaurants to dine at.
The closest island is Galešnik, known for its unforgettable views of Hvar Island and chance encounters with its local celebrity – Mercedes, the donkey.
A favorite amongst naturists, Jerolim Island, is filled with FKK beaches and delightful little coves. Amo Beach, in Jerolim Island, was voted the most beautiful naturist beach in 2012 by CNN.
Marinkovic Island is one of the most visited islands of all. The reasons are many! Topping that list is the presence of the famous Carpe Diem Beach Club. Stipanska Bay and Ždrilca bay, on Marinkovac Island, are the perfect spots to lounge, surrounded by the incredible beauty and sparkling waters of the region.
The largest island, St.Klement Island, is a popular destination too. Palmižana Bay, with its shallow waters, is a favorite amongst families, while Perna Beach is perfect for snorkeling and diving.
You can also sign up for a tour of the Blue Cave and Green Caves along with visiting the Pakleni Islands (as part of Paklenica National Park). We’d recommend this tour with Get your Guide here.
If you are looking to visit some lesser-known attractions in Hvar, we’d recommend the Grabak/Grapčeva Caves. Head to the village of Humac, walk across fragrant lavender fields to reach this beautiful cave whose history can be traced back to 2500 BC. The view of the ocean from the entrance of this cave is enthralling.
The villages of Humac and Malo Grablje are two offbeat attractions that are worth visiting. Abandoned yet incredibly well preserved, you can stop over these villages and even have a memorable lunch or a candle-lit dinner if you are visiting during summer.
For party animals
Come summer, and Hvar turns into a party destination. There are plenty of spots to let down your hair and have a good time.
Carpe Diem Hvar hosts the most exclusive all-night parties. Their full moon parties are talked about with good reason. We love Hula Hula Bar’s all-day, chilled-out vibe. Their specialty is drinks with the most memorable sunsets!
Veneranda is another fabulous open-air disco located in an old fortress.
The island of Jelsa also has several bars that are buzzing with activity all night long.
A word to the wise about Hvar’s party scene: if there’s one thing that irks the friendly locals about the growing tourism in their town, it’s the often appalling behavior of the visitors after a heavy night of partying.
It’s simple, really. You wouldn’t want anyone to thrash your home town. Please don’t do it to theirs.
Where to Stay on Hvar
Now when you’re thinking of visiting Hvar, you might not realise that there are actually a number of areas or regions where you could stay – from Stari Grad to Jelsa or even in Vrboska.
However, most people would be best suited to stay in (or near) Hvar Town itself, and use it as their base for exploring the island. Our recommendations are therefore all centred around Hvar Town:
Budget: Nestled nicely in the centre of Hvar Old Town, you can get a good rate for Apartments and Rooms Kampanel, a three star apartment hotel that is clean and boasts great amenities.
Mid-range: Got a bit more room in the budget? Try Apartments Villa Tudor where they have wonderful rooms in a very central location. If possible, try and reserve a room with a balcony for gorgeous views of Hvar Town below.
Luxury: Splashing out? You don’t actually need to break the bank if you book a plush room at Heritage Hotel Dea. This gorgeous hotel is located right in the old town with all the major attractions right there, and offers sumptuous rooms at a pretty reasonable price!
Best places to visit near Hvar
In case Hvar didn’t have enough to tickle your travel fancy, or if you are just visiting it as part of an island-hopping tour (shameless punt: check out our 10 days in Croatia itinerary), there are many other fantastic destinations you could add to your list. Some include:
Travel time: 30 minute ferry – book it with Bookaway here
Definitely the easiest trip from Hvar (you really could just do it as a day trip if pressed for time), we really enjoyed our time on Brac since it has a charming, definitely more laidback way of life. Go to Brac if you want to escape the more hurried allure of Hvar, and book yourself into a beachside resort to take the time to chill.
However, if you do make it to Brac, make sure to allow time to visit Zlatni Rat. One of the most unique beaches in Croatia, it’s a beach spit that is set within the Hvar channel – very instagrammable and incredibly beautiful! If you aren’t wanting to just laze on lovely beaches though, head to Blaca Hermitage, a monastery etched into the side of a cliff.
Travel time: 1 hour ferry – book it with Bookaway here
One of our favourite spots in Croatia, Split is often overlooked in favour of Dubrovnik (more on that one below) but really should make your Croatia itinerary. Split, the second largest city in the country, is absolutely stunning and jam-packed with attractions to suit even the fussiest of travellers.
Whether you’re doing a walking tour in the Old Town (wear good shoes for all those cobblestones!), hiking around Marjan Forest Park or kicking back with drinks on Kasjuni Beach (or on the Riv), you’ve got a whole host of activities to keep you occupied in Split. Plus it’s only an hour on the ferry, so a very easy trip from Hvar.
You can actually read our entire 2 day Split itinerary here.
Transit time: 3 hours on the ferry – book it with Bookaway here
Dubrovnik, the city of Game of Thrones and so much more, needs no introduction. This Balkan beauty of a city is a must-visit on any Croatia jaunt, with so much to do! From exploring the Old Town, to sunset drinks at Buza Bar, walking the famous city walls and a cable car trip to Srd Mountain, no self-respecting visitor to Croatia misses out on dynamic Dubrovnik!
Check out our Dubrovnik itinerary.
Transit time: 90 minutes on a ferry – book it with Bookaway here
Last, but definitely not least, is actually our number one island hopping destination in Croatia: Korcula! Another island with a wonderful old town where you can walk a loop of the old town walls, check out the Cathedral of St Mark, see the museum of famous explorer Marco Polo (housed in the home he grew up in) and – *drumroll please* go to Massimos! Massimo’s Bar is a cocktail bar at the top of an old town fortification; where they use an old pulley system to winch your whisky sours up to you, for perfect sunset views.
What was your reason for visiting Hvar island Croatia? We’d love to know in the comments!
About the Author: Gayathri Ranganathan
Gayathri is an accomplished travel writer, who loves to travel with her family – her teenage girls and her husband. She feels that ‘traveling is the best way to open up one’s mind and heart to different cultures, foods, and lifestyles.’ When she’s not traveling, she’s dreaming about traveling or busy researching some new destination. “Over the years, I’ve discovered that in life and travel, it’s always about the journey, never about the destination.”
Want to save this for later? Why not pin it…