July 6, 2016 – Travel Day
We arrived in Hvar via high speed ferry from Dubrovnik on KL M.B Kapetan LukaTP. You can purchase tickets online for 190 HRK per person (one way Dubrovnik to Hvar). The journey took about three and half hours and we arrived in Hvar a little late, around 8PM.
We were excited to explore this new town and sat down to dinner at Restaurant Jerolim, along the waterfront port, where we could watch the big yachts coming in for the day. After dinner we got ice cream in the Piazza and continued our stroll.
July 7, 2016 – Hvar Island & Stari Grad
At some point along the way, I got it stubbornly into my head that I wanted to visit the lavender fields which Hvar is known for. Unfortunately, they start harvesting the lavender in early July so many of the tours stop at the end of June. Regardless, I was determined so we rented a scooter from Antonio Rent Hvar to explore the interior of the island. The rental company was great and gave us many recommendations and a good route to follow. There aren’t many roads and everything is clearly marked so getting from town to town is relatively easy.
Our first stop was Dubovica Beach, a beautiful stone beach tucked away in a quiet cove. If you go, be prepared for the long, rocky walk down and back. If you’re after a beach day, Zarace Beach was also recommended to us, though we did not stop there.
After that, we headed north to the oldest town on Hvar and one of the first in Europe, Stari Grad. This sleepy town is much less crowded but just as picturesque as Hvar Town. Here, we visited some of the oldest churches – St. John (built in the 5th/6th century) and St. Stephan (built in the 17th/18th century), and sat down to have some pizza at Mola Pooloza.
After lunch, we continued on to Jelsa. Our plan was to walk into some wineries for wine tasting but we didn’t have reservations and they were completely booked when we arrived. We were disappointed because they looked really cool and we definitely would recommend them to people who plan ahead – Dubokovic and Tomic.
Next stop was locating the lavender hillsides and we found them outside the town of Brusje. In actuality, lavender grows all over the island but there was a thick field on the side of the road where we stopped to pick some fresh bouquets for ourselves. Definitely recommending stopping to see flowers, just watch out for all the bees who also enjoy the sweet smell in the air!
On our way back into Hvar Town, we stopped at Fortica Spanjola i.e. The Town Fortress, which dates back to the 16th century and sits on a hill overlooking Hvar Town. For 30 HRK, you can visit the old fortress, admire the beautiful architecture and enjoy panoramic views of the port and town below. For those on foot, I believe there is a nice walking path from the town and a small cafe in the fortress where you can rest and enjoy the views/sunset.
Before dinner, we stopped at Marcos Wine Bar which has a prime location overlooking the port and Piazza in the Palace Hvar Hotel but we do not recommend it as it was on the expensive side with very small pours of wine. We quickly moved next door to the more vibrant Central Park Club with live music and a good snacking menu.
That night we had an amazing dinner at Dalmatino. Again, we didn’t have reservations (which they do take) but after walking by three times in an attempt to find other restaurants, we somehow lucked out with a table. Our food was delicious, I highly recommend the tuna appetizer, it was the best tuna I’ve ever had!
July 8, 2016 – Pakleni Islands
The one reservation we made ahead of time was with Hvar Boats for a private speedboat rental. You don’t need any special license or permit to rent although they did ask us “what experience in boat maneuvering” we had – excellent, of course! Once on the boat, you can pretty much go anywhere as long as you have enough gas and can make it back to return the boat by 7PM.
We packed a lunch and set off for the Paklinski (Pakleni) Islands which are off the coast of Hvar. Here, you can explore countless coves, drop anchor to swim or dock and explore the islands. If you’re looking for a sandy beach, head to Perna. We spent most of our day napping, sunbathing and swimming in U Okorja, a quieter, more private cove towards the end of the chain.
That night we were exhausted from being in the sun all day so we just opted for a quick cocktail from Nautica Bar and then had dinner in the Piazza at Pizzeria Mizarola which was quick and easy but nothing special. After dinner, we got ice cream and walked southeast around the port as we hadn’t explored that area yet.
July 9, 2016 – Blue Grotto & Vis Island
For our last full day in the islands, we booked the Three Caves Tour with Ilirio mostly because it went to the island of Vis which had come highly recommended from some colleagues. The tour ended up being so much more than just “three caves” as it boasts. In addition to the famed Green Cave and Blue Grotto, we visited many other “secret spots” that were completely free of other tourists and boats. From cave hunting to cliff jumping and island hoping, it’s a lovely day on the water.
The tour is a full day and fills up fast so be sure to book ahead of time. The cost is 760 HRK per person which does not include lunch.
For our last dinner in Hvar, we went to Black Pepper and after a short wait, got a prime seat on the stairs where we settled in for a nice, long dinner. We basically ordered everything on the menu – Truffle and Prosciutto Ravioli, Cold Sea Sampler, Tuna Steak, Steak and potatoes. The staff was equally delightful and we enjoyed chatting with them and learning more about Croatia.
The following day we were scheduled to fly out of Split and had planned on taking the Jadrolinija fast ferry from Hvar. Unfortunately, we waited until the last minute to purchase our ferry tickets and they were sold out. Note: Recommend purchasing them at least two days ahead of time, especially during the high season. In the end, we got a tip that they sometimes release extra tickets about one hour before each ferry sails so we lined up early, before the office even opened, and were lucky to get two.
All in all, Hvar was one of our most favorite stops. From the blue waters to the lush hillsides and everything in between, it’s difficult to find something not to love about this island!
Accommodations & Country Specific Details
Our Airbnb was awesome! It was in the heart of Hvar Town, just steps from the port and Piazza. The apartment itself is quiet, updated, clean and well equipped. Li was out of town but his counterpart Nick, who owns the internet cafe in the bottom of the building, helped us. He was really nice and gave us great recommendations for things to do. I would definitely stay here again and definitely recommend this to others looking to save on accommodations while in Hvar.
To Hvar: By ferry from Dubrovnik. Can also take ferry from Split.
Around Hvar: Rented a scooter through Antonio Rent Hvar to explore Hvar Island and a boat from Hvar Boats to visit the surrounding islands. No special license or permit required for either.
Currency: Kuna (HRK)
Language: Croatian but had no problem finding English speakers.
Outlet Adapter: The standard voltage is 230 V. The standard frequency is 50 Hz. The power sockets that are used are of type F.
Passport/Visa Requirements: U.S. Passport valid for at least three months from date of travel. No visa for visits under 90 days required.
Weather: We visited Hvar in July and it was great summer weather. We had sun everyday and no rain. It was warm but not sweltering with a nice breeze off the water.
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