Here you’ll find crystal clear waters, beaches (both pebbled and sandy), olive groves, lavender fields, and vineyards aplenty. When you’re all natured out, there’s plenty else to see, from bustling fishing ports, to cathedrals, clocktowers, fortresses and scenic squares.
Hvar town is the island’s hub,drawing around 20,000 people each day during the high season. Here, you’ll find hotels and some great restaurants and bars tucked among the stairways and charming cobbled alleyways.
Stari Grad is Croatia’s oldest town. It is surrounded by an agricultural plain that was set up in a land parcel system by the Greek colonisers as far back as the 4th century BC and that has been respected ever since and remains practically intact. As a result, the site is now a World Heritage Site.
The island’s coast is dotted with plenty of other small towns also worth a visit, or you can catch a taxi boat out to the Pakleni Islands, a small limestone archipelago where you’ll discover secret bays and beaches – many of which are accessible only by boat.
Places to Visit in Hvar
- Hvar Town
- Stari Grad
- Pakleni Islands
Unique Things to See and Do in Hvar
- Wander Hvar town on foot
- Discover the World Heritage listed agricultural plains of Stari Grad
- Take a boat to the secluded Pakleni Islands
- Enjoy sundown drinks at the popular Hula Hula Bar
- Soak up the “Little Venice” vibe of Vrboska
Hvar Through the Ages
As with many other islands, Hvar’s history is filled with invaders, each leaving their imprint on the island, resulting in a rich and diverse culture as demonstrated in its architecture and archaeology.
The earliest traces of civilisation, in the form of artefacts and painted pottery, have been dated back to Neolithic times – as far back as 3500BC. It wasn’t until 384BC that the Ancient Greeks founded the settlement of Pharos on the site of modern-day Stari Grad where the deep bay offered protection for their fleet. The strongest remnant of their time on the island is the UNESCO listed Stari Grad Plain – an 80-hectare agricultural feat that is still in use today.
This was followed by a brief period of local rule under Demetrius of Hvar, who fended off the Romans until 229 BC when they finally broke through the walls of Pharos. Under the Romans, the island became a strategic and logistical base with holiday homes also springing up.
In the early Middle Ages, Hvar and the surrounding islands were under a Croatian state of the Neretljani (Neretvani), before a brief occupation by Venice in 1147. This was short-lived however as Croatian-Hungarian King Bela III took control of Dalmatia. A spate of piracy saw the islanders invite the Venetians back in 1278, when they moved the central administration from Stari Grad to Hvar town.
Hvar’s rulers changed several times before a longer period of Venetian rule was established from 1420 to 1797. Since then control has passed to the Austrians, the French, the Russians and back to the Austrians who retook control in 1813, a rule that lasted into the 20th Century. In 1919, Italy occupied the island, until the 1922 Treaty of Rapallo consigned the island to the Kingdom of Serbs, Croats and Slovenes which was renamed Yugoslavia in 1929.
However, in 1991, it all changed again as Croatia seceded from the Federation, with Hvar becoming part of the Independent Republic of Croatia in 1992.
Did you know…?
If you give birth on the Jadrolinija Ferry from Hvar your child will ride free for life.
Did you ALSO know…?
Hvar is said to have been put on the market in 1932. However, there is no information available as to who sold it or who bought it.
Getting Around Hvar
There is a regular bus service, which is especially useful for getting to the ferry port in Stari Grad. There are also plenty of taxis available for hire – you can agree to a rate with many of them for general sightseeing during your stay. Some taxi drivers will also have minibuses available for hire for larger groups wanting to get around the island.
For getting out to the Pakleni Islands, boats are your only option. Grab a taxi boat from Hvar town – they leave at scheduled times so head to the port for the latest information.
If chilling out is your top priority, then your feet will get you from hotel to beach to bar with little kerfuffle.
Best Time of Year to Travel to Hvar
Visitors arrive in Hvar all year round thanks to its warm summers and gentle winters. Bathing is possible from May to November, thanks to the warm autumn temperatures, or even longer for those who aren’t put off by cooler waters.
However, winter can be windy thanks to the south wind known as the jugo and the north wind called the bura. Rains can also fall at this time of year, but snow is very rare.
Temperatures climb in the summer, but not to unbearable highs – the high of 37 degrees Celsius hasn’t been hit since 1935.
Ready to plan your visit to Hvar? Check out these popular guides and trips.