Hvar, Croatia: 6 cool and 3 not so cool things about this island paradise

by | Aug 19, 2017

A trip to Croatia isn’t complete without a visit to one of the country’s many islands. Hvar, Croatia sits right off the coast from Split. An hour long ferry will transport you from the bustling mainland to the 68 kilometer long island. The population of 11,000 is focused on tourism so the locals know how to make sure you have a good time. Is it worth a visit? Absolutely. Whether you want to enjoy the yachting scene or just relax in the sun, Hvar has something for everyone. Here is my list of the cool things about Hvar and the not so cool things about Hvar.

Six cool things about Hvar:

  1. The view. Honestly, it doesn’t get better than this. Sit back on your veranda, coffee in hand, and watch the sun speckled water wash in to shore. Those waves, yes those turquoise waves, are inviting no matter the season. They have greeted these same rocky shores for ages. Together they have carved a stunning coast line.

    No matter where you travel in Hvar, the sea will greet you will fantastic and calming views.

  2. The seafood. It’s an island. The catch is always fresh. In fact, it is so fresh that it doesn’t even make it to the market. Fisherman come into the port, offload their fish, and walk them straight to the restaurants. You’ll not be disappointed with the selection offered in the restaurants for dinner. The most common method of preparation is a simple grill. It is delicious.  Don’t miss out on the fish.
    What's cool about Hvar, Croatia? Lots! Check out this list.

    The waiter will help you select your perfect fish. My suggestion is to have them do a simple grill for the preparation.

  3. The history.  Hvar was called home by the ancient Greeks and has been part of almost every major civilization since then. The Greeks installed an agricultural system that divided the land into different parcels, collected rain water, and provided irrigation. Those same techniques are still in use today. With over 2400 years of constant use, it is no wonder that it was declared one of the seven UNESCO World Heritage sites in Croatia. Not into farming? Don’t worry, you can soak up more information about the town during one of the free walking tours hosted in Hvar Town.
    Hvar town - the place for shopping, dining, and people watching.

    Hvar town – the place for shopping, dining, and people watching.

  4. Hvar Town. The namesake town of the island is a hub of activity. Hvar town is the busiest destination on the island. As one of the two main towns, the local population is almost 4000 people. This is where you wine, dine, and shop for your lavender souvenirs. The island is famous for its lavender. Must eat at restaurants include the Cental Park cafe, BB Club, and Gariful.
    The view into Hvar Harbor can't be beat. It is one of the cool things about Hvar.

    My favorite activity in Hvar is picking the best spot in a cafe, sipping on a cocktail, and watching the boats in the harbor.

  5. Stari Grad. Stari Grad is the less flashy, slightly smaller sister city to Hvar Town. You will find plenty of restaurants and cafes to keep you busy, but compared to Hvar, the night life is slim pickings. That shouldn’t mean you don’t visit though. A walk along the marina is one of the most pleasant acitvities to enjoy here. Be careful if you decide to stay here instead of Hvar. It is easily 20 minutes between the two towns despite their proximity. Buses run only a few times a day, but you can find taxis to help you make the hike. 
  6. The shoulder season. I lived in Hvar for the entire month of May. This enabled me to witness the gradual change from sleepy island to vibrant tourist destination that Hvar undergoes every year. June 1 officially marks opening day. Prices double, closed cafes suddenly pop open, and street vendors appear out of thin air. Witnessing the change to high season was a highlight to having been there in the shoulder season. In May, many of the shops and restaurants are already open. The biggest bonus is that  the prices haven’t jumped yet. The city council keeps discussing extending the season, but my landlord, a long time resident of Hvar, is a firm believer that it won’t happen.
    What's cool about Hvar, Croatia? Check out this list of the cool things about Havar and the not so cool things about Hvar.

    A view into Hvar Town. The closer you get to June, the larger the crowds get.

3 Not so cool things about Hvar

  1. Scooter rentals. Scooters are actually a pretty ideal way to get around on Hvar, but their rental prices are exorbitant. The daily price is what I paid as a monthly price in Thailand. All of the renters have roughly the same selection, pricing, and expectations. The only price differences I could find were for longer term rentals. Shoulder prices are half of what they are in high season.
  2. Not digital nomad friendly. This might not apply to everyone, but if you are a DN – be warned. The wifi isn’t as good as it is on the mainland. The speed is fine during fine weather but it slows with cloud cover.  There currently aren’t any co-working sites, and the island isn’t used to having anyone stay longer than a few days. Because longer stays haven’t caught on yet, the inventory for long term rentals is small.
    What's so cool about Hvar,Croatia? Here is my list on what's cool and not so cool about this island paradise.

    Okay, you can’t beat the view. The internet still leaves something to be desired.

  3. Stag party heavy. Hvar has long been a weekend getaway destination. Yachts will pull in for the night, stock up on goods, and then sail away again in the morning. Sitting down with a glass of wine to watch this navigational feat is pretty darn entertaining. Besides the yachts, organized day tours flit in and out of Hvar on an almost daily basis. The third most popular weekend sighting are stag party type groups. These folks aren’t so grand. If you are an early morning jogger watch your step once you near town. Evidence of over indulgence can be found on the sidewalks.

    While the stag parties might be a drag, there are still great experiences to be had all over the island.

 

After spending a month in Hvar, the island paradise will always have a small place in my heart. I enjoyed waking up to views of the sea, walking along the coast, and learning the rhythms of the island. There are definitely many things on the island that could be described as cool, and if I didn’t make it clear enough earlier – the cool out weights the not cool.

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