Follow a long line of celebrities and book your holiday in Hvar! One of the most glamorous destinations in the Med, this gorgeous island is located in the Adriatic Sea just off Croatia's Dalmatian Coast. Its beautiful, historic capital, Hvar Town, has become a jet-set hotspot, packed with ultra-stylish shops, bars and nightclubs. (You might recognise it from the TV series, The Game of Thrones.)
The beaches on Hvar are mainly pebbly little bays, fringed by palm trees, but all are blessed with stunning, transparent waters. There are a couple of sandy beaches, such as those found in the appealing towns of Jelsa and Vrboska, and the island’s interior is full of lavender fields, vineyards, and enchanting traditional villages.
The island hub is Hvar Town, a beautiful collection of ancient buildings arranged seductively around a harbour. Packed with handsome monuments and crowned by a fortress that offers amazing views, it’s also got scores of uber-chic bars, clubs, cafés and restaurants. Few Mediterranean destinations can match it for glamorous nightlife. Water taxis leave for the Pakleni Islands, where you’ll find unspoilt wilderness, lovely beaches, and a clutch of stylish bars. Stari Grad, on the other side of the island, is one of the oldest towns in Europe. It is exquisitely preserved and, along with the surrounding Stari Grad Plain, has been designated a World Heritage Site by UNESCO. The coastline is pocked with enchanting coves, and there are a couple of sandy stretches at Jelsa and Vrboska.
As befits a top international holiday destination, Hvar offers cuisine to suit all palates, with everything from fast food outlets and international chains to traditional taverns and sleek, Michelin-starred restaurants. Croatian food, particularly along the Dalmatian Coast, combines the best of the Mediterranean with an appealing Balkan twist. Among the most popular dishes to try when on Hvar are gregada, a fish stew with potatoes, wine, anchovies and capers, and crni rizot, a rice dish cooked in squid ink. Pasticada, slow-cooked beef fillet served with gnocchi, is another local favourite. For a snack, don’t miss the soparnik, tasty pies filled with chard, onions and parsley. Finish up with rozata, similar to crème caramel, or some fritule, sweet, fried dough balls, powdered with sugar.
Hvar is a wonderful destination to visit with the family. Kids will love the little coves, snorkelling around the miniature bays, and jumping off the rocks into the water. The most family-friendly destination on the island is Jelsa, and its main beach – Mina beach – has a shallow slope, and calm, crystal-clear waters. There are few attractions geared specifically to the youngest visitors (such as theme parks or water parks) but the laid-back atmosphere and warmth of the locals will make your holiday very memorable. Kids will love the buzz of lively Hvar Town (scramble up to the castle for the views) and will be enchanted (especially if bribed with ice cream) by the historic towns of Stari Grad and Vrboska.
Sea kayaking, snorkelling, diving and sailing are just some of the many water sports available on the Adriatic island of Hvar. You could also take boat trips to untouched bays to swim in pristine waters, leap off cliffs, go on a wild speedboat tour or spend the day fishing. The largely uninhabited Pelecki Islands are perfect for hiking, or you could explore their gorgeously pristine coastlines in a sea kayak. For the ultimate adrenaline rush, you can even go skydiving, and be rewarded by staggering views over the whole island. Inland, there are more wonderful hiking routes, many linking the traditional stone villages that dot the hills.
The beaches on Hvar are utterly breathtaking, but don’t imagine the typical Mediterranean packed strands. Hvar’s beaches are largely pebbly little coves, each more enchanting than the last, and some can only be accessed by boat. Hvar Town has no beaches, although you’ll find plenty of rocks to jump off. The nearest beaches are Mekicevica (2.5km) and Milna (4km), while Dubovica (8km from Hvar Town) is a perfect miniature cove located about 8 kilometres away. There are lots of beaches (largely shingle and pebbles) on the Pakleni Islands, reached by water taxi, many with laid-back beach bars. Jelsa and Vrboska have the best sandy beaches, plus a clutch of pretty coves.
If you love nightlife, you’re in for a treat on Hvar – especially if you like a bit of glamour! The island is famous for its outstanding nightclubs and gorgeous beach bars, particularly in the island capital, Hvar Town. The scene is particularly intense during the high season months of July and August, when the clubs attract some of the best DJs from around the world. Whether you’re into posing at a glitzy celebrity haunt, or prefer to kick back with some chill out music at a beautiful bay on the Pelecki Islands, Hvar delivers superb nightlife to suit all tastes. The other main towns on the island – Stari Grad, Jelsa and Vrboska – are considerably quieter, but still offer an eclectic array of night-time entertainment. Massive music festivals are held every summer in nearby Split and Brač, which can be reached by ferry from Hvar.
It’s hard to imagine a more romantic destination in the Mediterranean than gorgeous Hvar. Whether you want to join the jet set in Hvar Town, kick back on the Pelecki Islands, or lose yourself in lavender fields, the whole island is like a film set for a romantic film. Both Hvar Town and Stari Grad are exquisitely preserved historic towns, with charming courtyard restaurants and intimate cafés and bars. The island beaches are small and picture-postcard-perfect, with their impossibly blue waters and Mediterranean pines. For even more privacy, you could take a water taxi to the Pelecki Islands, which are wonderfully unspoilt, and have scores of secret bays and a smattering of relaxed beach bars.
Culture buffs will be thrilled by all the historical sights and cultural attractions to be found on Hvar. Hvar Town itself is exquisitely preserved, and is still crowned by a vast fortress (built by the Spanish) and enclosed by 13th-century walls. Don’t miss the beautiful cathedral, and the 15th-century Franciscan monastery, which has a fine collection of artworks in its museum. There are more historic treasures to be discovered in Stari Grad, part of a UNESCO World Heritage Site. As well as the charming historic city, you can admire the vast Stari Grad Plain, a vast agricultural landscape that, astonishingly, has remained virtually intact for 24 centuries. The walls and shelters erected by the Greeks are still visible.