- Tour the amazing blue caves on the Island of Vis.
- Take a relaxing drive through the Lavender fields of Hvar before settling in for an afternoon of wine tasting.
- Enjoy a delicious, fresh meal at Konoba Gojava.
- Hire a boat and visit the crystal blue waters and sandy beaches of the Palenki Islands.
Hvar is the longest island in the Adriatic and is known for its wine, lively nightlife and natural beauty. There is so much to see and do in Hvar; as such we recommend you book at least a couple of nights on the island to make sure you get through it all!
To get to Hvar Town you can easily get a ferry from either Split or Dubrovnik. If you are driving, you will need to get the car ferry from Drvenik; which is about 15 minutes from Makarska. The car ferry leaves about every hour and a half in summer, takes approximately 30 minutes to get to the island and cost us about 160kn for two people and the car. You can find the time table here: http://www.croatiaferries.com/drvenik-sucuraj-ferry.htm. A tip: in peak season, it can get very busy and there is a chance that you won't make it onto your desired ferry as it is on a first come, first on basis. Therefore, aim for the ferry that's scheduled before the one you actually need.
The ferry arrives at Sucuraj and it is a 70km drive to Hvar town. This drive can be be split into two sections. The first is the classic country road as it is quite narrow. The second half of the road is a brand new dual lined highway and makes for a very comfortable drive.
What to see and do in and around Hvar
Hvar Blue Cave Tour
This was a definite highlight. We did a 'three cave tour', also known as the Hvar Blue Cave Tour, from Hvar which takes you to the island of Vis. The tour takes you to the green cave, the blue cave (which was much more impressive than the more famous blue grotto in Capri) and other quiet caves all along the island.
The tour (max of 8 people) takes you on a RIB boat across the Adriatic to the former military island of Vis; we were lucky enough to see a pod of dolphins and our captain was kind enough to stop and let them slowly swim past us. The boat is comfortable enough but you wouldn't want to be on it on a rough day!
The tour gives you plenty of opportunities to swim including in the green grotto, some 'natural spas' (little pools on the edge of the cliffs), and (our favourite experience of the whole trip) a small beautiful turquoise cave which is only accessible by swimming into it under the cliff face (don't worry it was perfectly safe and the captain was more than happy to help).
The Hvar Blue Cave Tour takes the whole day and apart from the caves and swimming spots, we stopped on a small beach for lunch and a few drinks. We used the Atlas Tour Company; one of Croatia's oldest and recommended to us by the locals. Find out more information here: http://www.hvar-island-croatia.com/hvar-tours/blue-grotto.shtml.
Make sure you take a jumper for the way back as no matter how hot it is during the day it does get cold.
Lavender fields & wine tasting
Drive through the beautiful purple lavender fields of Hvar to the quaint town of Yelsa (or Stari Grad). There are a few ways you can do this: 1. organise a tour through one of the tourist offices in Hvar (make sure it includes wine tasting!) or 2. take a drive yourself. We chose to drive ourselves, which was great because you could stop anywhere you wanted to along the route to stop and smell the lavenders and enjoy the view at our own pace. Wine tasting is best enjoyed on a tour as the wine companies offer better service for these tours. However, if you want to do it without a tour you will need to ring up before and book in a time. We arrived at Tomic Wines without ringing up in advance and had a terrible experience.
Jelsa has some cool wine bars along the promenade where you can relax in the sun and enjoy the local wines.
The Hvar Fortress sits on a hill looking over the Old Town. Today's fortress was built in the 16th century and saving the locals from invaders in the 16th and 17th centuries.
It is a nice walk up to the fortress and the panoramic views from the top of the Old Town and the Pakleni Islands are first class.
The Pakleni Islands are made up of several small islands just off the coast of Hvar and is famous for its crystal blue waters, secluded coves and snorkeling. The closest Island is Jerolim (directly opposite Hvar), Svenit Klemet is the largest island and Marinkovac is another of the islands worth visiting.
We would suggest the island of Sveti Klement to visit the beautiful Palmizana hamlet. This is a beautiful, sandy, cove which is perfect for snorkling. The other highlight would be to visit Zdrilca cover/beach on Marinkovac which is a great spot just to relax and enjoy the sun.
All the islands have restaurants, showers and toilets.
The best way to get to the Islands is to hire your own boat (which is relatively cheap in Hvar). However, there are several water taxis to take you wherever you want. There is also a ferry that takes you to the Island of Jerolim, Stipanska on the Island of Marinkovac or Palmizana on the Island of Sveti Klement.
Where to stay?
There are many great options of where to stay in and around Hvar. We stayed at Villa Fio, which was about a 10-15 minute walk to the Old Town. The room was fantastic - it was a fully self serviced apartment with a lovely view of the beach. There was a relatively quiet beach just below the apartment as well.
It is also ideal for car parking as they have free onsite parking. The owners are very warm and welcoming, and keen to help with anything you need.
Eating + drinking
There is an an inordinate amount of places to eat for such a small town; which can lead to an inordinate amount of indecision! We settled on Konoba Gojava - best decision ever. is tucked away down a side street close to the main square so you don't get a view of the water. However, the quality of the food was amazing and was relatively inexperience unlike the restaurants down by the water. We had such a good night here and were sorry we hadn't discovered it earlier, as we honestly would've spent every night we had in Hvar right here. Our host for the night is also the owner and was so unbelievably friendly. She explained that she and her husband own the restaurant and to save on costs they grow their own produce and catch a lot of their own fish (this means the freshest food ever!). We ordered the cuttlefish risotto (see picture below) for entree - the cuttlefish was speared only that morning by the owner and her son. We also ordered the lamb dish for main and, oh my gosh, one of the best dishes we've had in Croatia.
Overall, Hvar is an amazing island with so much to do and see. The highlight for us, without a doubt though, was the Hvar Blue Cave Tour!!