8 things that make Hvar, Croatia special

Have you ever heard of the island of Hvar? I was there briefly last year, but I’d never heard of it before that. It’s off the coast of Croatia, and it’s lovely! Definitely worth visiting! I thought, since so few people have even heard of the place, that you might want to know why I think it’s so special. Here are 8 reasons:

1. The glamour of Hvar town
Hvar’s capital is a Mediterranean hotspot for celebrities and the just plain wealthy of Europe. But besides rubbing elbows with the rich and famous, you’ll love the promenade lined with buildings from the Baroque and Renaissance periods, fronted by cafes, perfect for people-watching. The main square, Pyaca, is the largest square in Dalmatia, and is home to the most impressive architectural masterpieces in the town.

2. The views
Climb the steps to the Spanish Fortress above Hvar. Your effort will be rewarded by the magnificent views of the town of Hvar, the sea, and the Pakleni islands: an enchanting archipelago of more than 20 islands. The fortress, by the way, wasn’t built by the Spanish; it’s a Venetian creation from the 16th century. The workmen were mostly Spanish, giving it its name.

3. The aroma!
Yes, really! Here, the salty sea breezes combine with the scent of lavender in the air from May to July. Lavender is Hvar’s best-selling export, and as it flowers, you’ll see stone terraces filled with the purple glow of lavender plants.

4. A UNESCO site
Today’s town of Stari Grad was founded by the Greeks as far back as the 4th century BC. They’re the ones who started farming on the Stari Grad Plains. They partitioned the fields using stone walls, and planted them with grapevines. Nowadays the 8-hectare site is still partitioned and farmed the same way as it was over 2000 years ago; that’s why it’s a UNESCO site.

5. A cycling paradise
This island is one of few in Europe that have well-signposted cycle paths, including the paths crossing the Stari Grad fields. So sightseeing by bike is comfortable and relaxed on Hvar island.

6. Authentic small towns
Nearby the Stari Grad Plains are two small towns: Jelsa and Vrboska. They’re quite different, but both have authentic harbors where fishing boats moor. In Vrboska a canal runs through the center of town, crossed by lots of small bridges in a range of architectural styles. Jelsa has a charming central square, a great people-watching location.

7. Food and drink
Not surprisingly, Hvar is an excellent place for seafood. It’s also a great place to discover some lesser-known wines, produced from grapes grown right on the island.

8. Its beauty
It’s probably clear by now that I think Hvar is a beautiful place: spectacular views, a glamourous city and authentic towns, excellent cycling, historical sightseeing, and the scent of lavender. Sounds great, doesn’t it?

About the author

Nicola is the Managing Director of Micro-Cruising. Small ships great trips. Micro-Cruising sells trips on ships of 100 passengers or fewer. We are the specialists in small ships with over 700 vessels worldwide.