Guide to the city of Hvar
One of the places we like to visit is the island of Hvar and especially the city of Hvar which is, in our opinion, among the most beautiful in Croatia. Obviously we are not the only ones who like the city of Hvar. In recent years, the city of Hvar has been recommended by world famous magazines as one of the best destinations to visit, some have even called it the St Tropez of Croatia.
Below you will find our travel tips for the city of Hvar and beautiful photos of the city. Information on visits to other cities on the island of Hvar such as Stari grad or Jelsa will be described in separate articles. Feel free to leave a comment below if you have any questions regarding the visit to the city of Hvar.
How to get to the island of Hvar
Reaching the island of Hvar is possible either by ferry or catamaran: here we have described how to use the various travel options to reach the city of Hvar.
Catamaran Split – Hvar: during the summer, there are 4 daily catamarans from Split to the city of Hvar operated by the companies Jadrolinija and Krilo. Also there is a catamaran excursion to Split Tours. Travel time with the catamaran is 55 minutes. The scheduled catamaran makes it a bit difficult to take a day trip to Hvar. More information on the travel program can be found here.
Ferry from Split to Stari Grad: if you plan to bring a car and come from Split or city to the north, the best option to get to Hvar is to take the ferry to Stari grad. From the ferry port to Stari Grad it takes 15 – 20 minutes by car to Hvar. During the summer months there are 6-8 departures a day in both directions. The ferries are operated by the Jadrolinija and Blueline companies. If you are traveling on foot, you have a bus to the city of Hvar which is waiting at the ferry port upon arrival of the ferry.
Drvenik Ferry to Sucuraj: If you travel to Hvar by car from the south, the best option is to take the ferry from Drvenik to Sucuraj. During the summer there are about 10 daily trips between cities and the duration of the ferry journey is about 35 minutes. From Sucuraj there are about 75 km to the town of Hvar. If you are on your feet, you have a bus to the city of Hvar in relation to some of the ferry arrivals. You can see the ferry schedule here.
NOTE: as with all other local ferries in Croatia, it is NOT possible to reserve or reserve tickets in advance. So you will have to come to the port in due time to buy tickets. Here you can find further information on the trip to the city of Hvar.
What to do and see in Hvar
The city of Hvar itself, in my opinion, is the most important attraction, but there are, of course, some special features such as the cathedral and the theater that are mentioned in all the tourist guides. From my many tours to Hvar, I have my personal list of favorite things.
As mentioned above, the city of Hvar, in general, is simply incredibly beautiful. Every time I see it again, I can find “new” interesting little streets in the old city. On the main square (Pjaca) you have parts of the old city on both sites. Which is the most interesting? Well, I would say both and if you decide to explore try to bring water because there are so many stairs to climb. J
My favorite view is the fortress Spanjola / Fortica. The fortress is located 90 meters above the city, you can walk to the historic center which takes about 40 minutes (follow the signs from the main square). Remember to bring water for the climb on hot summer days. (If you do not like walking you can also drive to the fortress). The award for the 40-minute ascent is … (click on the picture below). Do I have to say more?
The Promenade. From the main square you have a seafront in two directions. If you have time, walk as far as you want in both directions – you’ll find plenty of points of interest along the way.
Other things I can recommend to do or see near Hvar:
Pakleni Islands (Hell’s Islands): if you look to the west from where the catamaran leaves (see map below) you can see the Pakleni group of islands. The islands are great to visit for a day of rest, but you can also go to eat or party in the evening. How to reach the Pakleni islands? At the end of the main square, you have lined up several tour boats. They go to various parts of the islands at a price of 30 – 60 kuna, depending on the tour you choose. Alternatively, you can rent a boat and go there alone.
Napoleon’s fortress (yes, it was built by Napoleon, the emperor): if the view from the fortress Spanjola did not impress you, you might want to visit the second fortress above Hvar, the fortress of Napoleon. The fortress is located 241 meters above sea level, there is no need to say that the view from here is spectacular! You would need a car or a taxi to get to the fortress.
Other things we did during our visits to Hvar:
Week-end in the olive fields. If you visit Hvar in October you can surely find an olive grower who needs some help (salary is paid in olive oil).
Excursion to the highest peak of the island – San Nicola (626 meters above sea level). You can go it alone but it is not recommended from my point of view. (see photo of Saint Nicholas in the gallery below)
Visit some of the small villages in the area of Hvar.
If you visit at the end of June or at the beginning of July, you should be on the island in the period when lavender blooms. The intense color violablu is incredible! Go to villages like Brusje or Velo Grablje and take a look from there.
Accommodation in Hvar
The offer of accommodation in Hvar varies from fairly cheap hostels to luxury hotels. The main form of accommodation is, as elsewhere in Croatia, private accommodation. What to recommend? Quinid, when we went there for the first time in 2006, we stayed at Jure and Ljubica. Since then we have tried some other places, but we always come back to them. In their home you will find hospitality and warmth that is rarely found. If you come to them in spring or autumn, Jure will certainly take you around the island; a better and more aware guide is hard to find. You can see the apartments / rooms of Jure and Ljubica here. All accommodation units can be found by clicking on the icons here.
Beaches in Hvar
If you want to spend a whole day at the beach, my recommendation would be to go to Pakleni islands where there are many beautiful beaches, including a sandy beach. If you just want to spend a few hours on the beach, you have some smaller beaches on both sides of the city; the closest to the center of the city is the one from the Franciscan convent.
Where to eat in Hvar
In Hvar there are plenty of great restaurants, personally we like to eat at the Vartal restaurant (see map below) which has great food at a reasonable price but basically all the restaurants we tried were very good. If you like to eat with a view, there are many restaurants around the waterfront. Some of the most exclusive restaurants are located on a small street near the main square. The best way to find a suitable place to eat is to ask.
Nightlife in Hvar
Hvar is known for having some pretty good parties during July and August. Depending on where you go, you will find that Hvar is not the cheapest place to party, at least if you compare it with other party venues in Croatia. The classic and most famous places to go out in Hvar:
Carpe diem: quite expensive, but without a doubt the most famous bar in Hvar – site
Carpe diem beach bar: located in the Stipanska bay on the Pakleni islands; Taxi boats to the island leave from the seafront – site
Club Veneranda: disco located on the hill of some 14th century ruins; from the main square of Hvar pass next to the Hotel Adriana and you are almost there – site
Hula Hula – rather cool seaside bar, 15 minutes walk from the main square (located between the Amfora hotel and Podstine) – site
Kiva bar: rock music and tequila are two of the main ingredients of the Kiva bar – site
Campsite near Hvar
There is only one camp site near Hvar and it is camping Vira – further information about the campsite can be found here.
NOTE: as everywhere in Croatia, free camping is prohibited and the fines are quite high (up to 400 euros), so I would not recommend it. What is normally accepted (by the authorities) is if you can find a private owner who would allow you to spend a night or two on his land.
Shopping at the island of Hvar
A shopping guide on Hvar and what to buy on Hvar, you can find it here.
Parking in Hvar
If you bring your car to the city of Hvar, you will not use it very much to get around the city, as the whole inner part of the city is a pedestrian area. The only larger parking is located near the bus station at the end of the main square (see map below). If you are staying in a private accommodation or hotel, someone should tell you where you can safely leave your car during your stay.