Hvar sightseeing: one of the 10 most beautiful islands in the world

The tag of one of the 10 most beautiful islands sits well on Hvar.

And despite its reputation as a party town, we found that there are many other things to do in Hvar for families. So, if you are wondering on what to do in Hvar Croatia, consider that the island offers a lot more than just being a party island.

We experienced a a picturesque island to explore by car, a luxury stay at the beautiful Little Green Bay with its private beach, panoramic views overlooking the Adriatic Sea, cycling and diving adventures and good restaurants in Hvar town. It turned out to be one of the most relaxing stays in our two-week trip to Croatia.

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Don’t miss the view from the Fortica, of Hvar town and the Adriatic Sea.

Hvar sightseeing is enjoyable since the island gets a large number of hours of sunshine (more than 2500 hours per year), which gives it its nickname of Sunny Hvar.

Its relaxed Mediterranean lifestyle, cultural heritage, delicious local cuisine and fine wines all make it a winner for a vacation of a lifetime for both couples and families.

History

In 1420, Venice took proper control of Hvar island and, as it was often used as a stopping point for ships sailing between Venice and the rest of the Mediterranean. The  island prospered under this rule, so much so that Hvar town became the richest area in Dalmatia.

Austrian, French and Italian rule happened subsequently, and then it became a part of Yugoslavia in 1922, until Croatia declared its independence in 1991.

Boutique stay and private beach in the heart of the island

We took the Jadrolinjia ferry from Split to Hvar town. A staff person from our resort – Little Green Bay – was waiting for us to help arrange the taxi transfer to the resort.

The first impression of the resort and the secluded bay in which it is nestled is delightful. True to its name, very private, bohemian, and not entirely equipped for kids. But if you ask my daughter about the part she enjoyed most in Croatia, she would promptly respond – the 3 days spent in Little Green Bay 🙂

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The private bay with crystal-clear water acts as a convenient swimming pool.
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Lovely to have your morning coffee with the expansive views to the open sea.

Things to do in Hvar: Explore the island by car

Hvar is known for 4 main towns – Hvar town, Stari Grad, Jelsa and Vrboska. Hvar Town is convenient since it offers many hotels and restaurants across budgets. It is also the place where the ferry from the mainland or other croatian islands come to.

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The centre in Hvar town is great for people watching.

We decided to rent a car in Hvar town to explore the island. My husband wanted to show me some of the sights that he had discovered during his cycling trip. You can opt to rent one of the colourful Beatles, a local on the island owns more than a 100 in all possible colours!

From Hvar town, we drove towards Milna. The drive had the same cliffs and scenic bays as we found in Makarska Riviera. When we passed the Pitve-Zavala tunnel to go to the north side, the scenery changed.

things to do in hvar
Stari Grad Plains, a UNESCO Heritage Site. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

We came upon the Stari Grad Plain, a UNESCO World Heritage site. Spanning some 80 hectares and dating back 2400 years, Stari Grad Plain has been described as the largest and most productive field on the Adriatic coast, where little has changed since the Ancient Greeks introduced an agricultural colony. While Hvar is most popular for beaches and coastal towns, in recent years, there is a lot of interest in agritourism. In the right season, you can also see Lavender fields in Hvar.

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Olive trees abound on the island.

Eventually, we showed up in in the town of Jelsa. We went to Eis Caffe, recommended highly by the cyclist guide Massimo, which whom my husband had enjoyed an off-road cycling experience that morning. Run by an Albanian, it has become one of the must-do experiences in Jelsa town. We spent an enjoyable afternoon strolling through the main square and indulging in people-watching at Eis Caffe.

Then, we took the picturesque drive to Vrboska, the neighbouring town with a heavy Venetian influence. It is called ‘Little Venice’, a tag that Massimo, an Italian who hails from Venice was quite dismissive about!

Headed to Plitvice Lakes National Park? Do read – The road less traveled in Plitvice Lakes National Park

 

Hvar Things to Do: A visit to the Fortica

We gave Stari Grad town a miss and rounded up the day with a visit to the Fortica in Hvar town. I cannot recommend a visit to this fortress enough. Even if you are uninterested in its history, the views looking down over Hvar and Pakleni islands are stunning. For the views, you don’t have to pay the entrance fee, you could just go to the side towards the sea (right to the entrance).

Hvar sightseeing, Things to do in Hvar, what to do in hvar, hvar things to do, hvar what to do
Enjoying the fabulous view from the Fortica.

Dating from the 16th century, the Fortica represents the onetime main fortification of Hvar town, giving centuries of protection to the town and its port. Its elaborate ground plan, picturesque location and excellent state of preservation make it one of the finest fortifications on the Croatian coast.

Construction of the present-day fortification began in 1282, on the decision of the municipality, when Hvar was under Venetian rule. It was built slowly, over many years, undergoing many adaptations, and was funded by the municipality, mostly from the proceeds of selling salt.

What to do in Hvar: Cycling and Diving adventures

With its dramatic landscapes and quiet back roads, Hvar is a great cycling destination. My husband enjoyed an intense off-roading cycling experience with Hvar Adventure. This was an intense 4 hour off-road cycling experience but there are plenty of cycling tours offered on the island for the entire family.

Hvar also offers some diving centres, and it was here that I booked my first dive experience in the Adriatic Sea with Diving Center Viking. Dont expect to see spectacular marine life like in the tropical islands but it was not a bad way to soend half a day.

These were both solo experiences, my daughter was happy playing on the private beach of our resort with one parent. There are several adventure activities like kayaking and cycling, which can be enjoyed together as a family on the island.

 

Food in Hvar

We ate a hearty meal at the highly recommended Dalmatino in Hvar town. Excellent fish and the aperitif they gave, to begin with, is to be tried for sure.

Eis Caffe ice-cream and affogato, if you visit Jelsa, won’t leave you disappointed.

We enjoyed all our meals at the resort, Little Green Bay.

Croatia offers a stunning array of islands, each with its unique attractions. It becomes quite difficult to choose which islands to go to. The good news is that whichever one you choose would not disappoint you. We were happy with our choices – Hvar and Vis – as part of our two-week family holiday.

 


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Hvar comes with a tag of “one of the 10 most beautiful islands in the world.” And despite its reputation as a party town, we found it offers a lot more for families. Read more for things to do in Hvar. #hvar #croatia #hvarsightseeing #thingstodoinhvar

 


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Author: Shweta Singhal

Hi! I am Shweta, the zest behind this blog . I play several roles – parent to a 6-year old, adventure enthusiast, travel blogger, generally open to trying out new things in life. Besides travel, I love books and theatre and art. I would love to hear from you; do drop a comment. Join me on Instagram / Twitter @zestinatote.

15 thoughts

  1. Thanks! hearing a lot of hear recently about Hvar. Croatia was known as the land of Goran Ivanisevic and gradually i heard about Dubrovnic. The little green bay seems like a beautiful place to laze around. Your kids know swimming?

    1. Croatia has become much more people in India thanks to GoT. My daughter does know swimming, but I had to hold her and take her in the calm bay. It was her first time in the ocean, I think.

  2. Croatia has been in our buckelist list and Hvar tops it. Littlr Green Bay looks like the perfect place to spend some time and relax with family.

  3. No wonder Hvar is one of the 10 most beautiful islands! The place looks absolutely gorgeous. Loved reading about its history as well. It had been ruled by many! Will keep this place in mind definitely.

  4. I did some island hopping on my last trip to Croatia and it was amazing! Unfortunately, we only spent two days in Hvar and did not have the chance to explore out of Hvar town…your gorgeous photos have tempted me to think about another trip back there! 🙂
    Thanks for sharing about your trip! 🙂

  5. I had wanted to visit Hvar when we went to Dubrovnik for a wedding but we didn’t have time, especially as I was so slowed down by the high temperatures! I hope to visit again so I can enjoy the beauty of Hvar. Little Green Bay looks gorgeous!

    1. Kavita, the weather feels better on the islands as opposed to the towns. For me, no trip to Croatia is complete without visiting one of the 1000 islands scattered across the Adriatic Sea. Hope you get to do another trip.

  6. Hvar is definitely a beautiful place. I totally fell in love with the views and that little Green Bay. I had always thought when I go to croatia I am not going to miss the plitvice lake national park. But now I guess, I won’t want to miss Hvar as well

  7. Hi Shweta, thanks for this nice post! I like it very much and will share your story on our facebook page later on. I’m sure it will help our guests to explore the island and find the most beautiful places! Of course you are also more then welcome to explore the beautiful beaches at the other part of the island, ‘behind the tunnel’ in Zavala where our house is located, which is built by the locals over there!
    Kind regards! Saskia

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