The Middle Dalmatian Hvar is the fourth biggest island in Croatia. Beside its natural beauty, it has wonderful beaches, excellent gastronomy, and significant history as well. What to do in Hvar? If you are interested in the wide range of programmes waiting for you on the island, read on!
This article gives you an overview of the following topics:
- Things to do in Hvar: Beaches and sports facilities
- What to do in Hvar: Programmes in nature
- Things to do in Hvar: Visit the main sights of the island!
- Traditions and events in Hvar
- The gastronomy of Hvar
The island mostly has small pebbly and rocky beaches, but you can find sandy shores as well. The sandy Grebišće with its slowly deepening waters is among the best beaches on Hvar. Dubovica, which is located in the southwest, is also popular. Due to its beautiful small pebbly beach and crystal clear water, it is widely considered the best finest on the island. Since it is secluded, one of its advantages is that it is less crowded. If you are hungry, you can find a small restaurant here. Sućuraj is located in the south where you can find a sandy beach surrounded by tall pines. Families with small children often come here, to Perna, even from Makarska Riviera. The Pakleni archipelago lies before Hvar, and here you can find beautiful beaches such as Jerolim, Ždrilica, and Palmižana.
As for water sports, you can try scuba-diving, boating, surfing and water skiing. One of the best places to go diving is Sika or Vodnjaka, east of the island of Veli Vodnjak. The 46-meters-high Kampanel Reef is a must-see… Do you prefer sports on land? There is a rock climbing centre in the southern part of Hvar, which is recommended for beginners too. Cycling or taking long walks on the picturesque island are also pleasant experiences.
One of Dalmatia’s biggest and most beautiful parks is located in Jelsa, in the northern part of the island. It was established in 1870, and you can find palm trees, poplars, pines, acacias, oleanders, and bay trees here. The park contains a sculpture of Captain Nikola Duboković, built-in 1923 as a sign of respect and gratitude. The place was further developed in 1950 – they built a sculpture commemorating the famous music composer, Antun Dobronić to enrich the collection.
You can get to the beautiful Pakleni Islands from the port of Hvar by water taxi. The archipelago consists of twenty smaller islands. Locals call them ‘Forski školji. The Sveti Klement island is very popular among locals and tourists. It is the largest island with its size of 5, 3 square kilometres. The pine, cactus, rosemary and laurel forests make it especially beautiful. A botanist, Eugen Meneghello planted an arboretum with plants that domesticated over the centuries. If you are looking for some peace and quiet, there are several secluded bays with crystal clear water on the island.
Momića Polje, Vlaka, and Palmižana are the three towns on Sveti Klement, but local residents only stay here during the summer season. Besides Palmižana, Zdrilica, the Sveti Jerolim Island, and Marinkovac are also great holiday destinations.
At the southern shore of Hvar, you can find Šćedro Island, surrounded by forests. It is famous for its unspoiled nature and has several hidden bays to offer. In the area of 900 hectares, you can find Illyrian graves as well as the ruins of Our Lady of Mercy Dominican Monastery, built-in 1465.
The Middle Dalmatian Hvar is incredibly rich in history – you can admire the remains of Venetian architecture in great condition. Also, one of the oldest establishments not only in Croatia but all of Europe can be found here: Stari Grad. If you are interested in history, you should definitely visit the following places.
The Fortica Fortress
The Fortica Fortress is also called Tvrđava Španjola. Construction began in 1278 in the form of a citadel, after the Island of Hvar was brought under Venetian control. The building and the city walls protected the town. In the 16th century, they built a new fortress, which served as a refuge for locals during the Turkish invasion in 1571. Fortica acquired its present form after many reconstructions. It was restored in 1579 following a gunpowder explosion. It was further expanded under French and Austrian rule. Nowadays, the fortress is a major tourist attraction, offering wonderful views not only over Hvar but the surrounding islands. In addition, there are significant medieval and even older findings on the exhibit.
The other fortress in the town is the Napoleon Fortress from 1811. It stands on the northeastern side of the island, on the St. Nicholas Hill. The fortress was used as a lookout point, but you can also find a chapel here. Today, it is home to an observatory.
Cathedral of St. Stephen
The Renaissance-Baroque cathedral is one of the most outstanding architectural monuments in Hvar. Located in the eastern part of the main square, the cathedral was built on the foundations of a 6th-century Christian Church and the Benedictine Convent of St Mary. It dates back to the 16-17th centuries, but the interiors were only finished by the 18th century. Of the eleven Baroque altars, the ones facing each other are identical, made by Venetian craftsmen.
The town’s main sight called “Trvdalj” or Hektorović Castle used to be the summer home of poet Petar Hektorović; it was built-in 1520. Latin and Croatian inscriptions can be found on the building’s walls. You can admire the beauties of the palace’s garden: a magnolia tree that is more than 100 years old and a fishpond filled with seawater. The marble tables and desks in the garden belong to Hektorović Museum. In the museum, you can find a gallery upstairs, and in the building next to the fishpond, there is a small ethnological collection.
Church of Saint Rocco
The Church of Saint Rocco, which is a Renaissance-Baroque styled chapel in the private possession of the Hektorović family, is located at the left side of the castle. Its main altar is decorated with Saint Rocco himself, while the side altar on the left has a Madonna painting from the 18th century. The church has a wood coffered ceiling with a decorative Murano glass chandelier. The latter is also from the 18th century.
The Island of Hvar is home to the Hvar Summer Festival that lasts for about 100 days. You can see several concerts, theatre and folklore performances during the festival. One of these events is the Lavanda Festival in June, in the nearby Velo Grablje.
Every town on the island hosts a Fisherman’s night. In addition to music and fish, bread, wine, and olive oil are also play an important role. Another important event is the festival of Hvar wines, the Wine Festival in the nearby Jelsa.
The best nightclubs
The Mediterranean Hvar offers many entertainment options. One of the best nightclubs is the Hula Hula Bar, west of the city, in front of Hotel Croatia. It is also worth visiting the Carpe Diem beach on the Pakleni Islands where you can go partying during the day as well. You can go swimming listening to light, Latino rhythms, while in the evenings a real nightclub atmosphere awaits those who want to have some fun. On Saturday nights popular DJs bring the music to you. The indoor Pink Champagne club is also a great choice, characterised by luxury and glamour.
The beautiful island is mainly famous for its fish dishes, prepared in countless ways by the locals. The meals are usually cooked and steamed, which is the reason why they are not only delicious but incredibly light as well. They serve vegetables as a side dish for the meals. They use the local plants for spice and olive oil for baking.
One of the most famous restaurants in the city of Hvar is Dalmatino, but Luna Grande, which is run by a family, is also an excellent choice. Out of all the amazing restaurants that offer seafood in Stari Grad, we mainly recommend Konoba Batana and Antika.
The most popular drinks
Besides its famous wines, the picturesque Hvar is also known for other alcoholic drinks. Dalvin pelinkovac, a unique Dalmatian spirit, is a great example. It is made from maraschino cherries and has a pleasant flavour thanks to the local ingredients and the hundred-year-old recipe. Amarello Donatello is a special Mediterranean drink, while Dalmatinska Lozovačis a grape brandy that can be produced only from certain types of grapes. Dalmatinska Travarica is also made from grapes, but it also contains herbs from the rocky areas of the island. It is very popular throughout Dalmatia; they serve it as aperitifs. It has a pleasant taste and is also used for its therapeutic effects in case of stomach discomfort.
In this article, we have listed Hvar Island’s must-see sights and specialties. If you would like to relax in a peaceful environment or you prefer entertainment and buzzing nightlife, it is a perfect destination for you. Read more if you plan Hvar island sailing or boat rental in Hvar island.