I left the magical island of Hvar post 5-day bender thinking “This is the greatest place on earth”.
Although I was on a lad’s holiday to celebrate a break in a very long rugby season, I was capable of taking in some of the sights and get a good enough understanding of what the island had to offer other than drinking all day and night!!
Before we get into too things, just an FYI when in Croatia.
99% of places are cash only!
ATMs in Croatia love to charge more than they should with terrible exchange rates. During withdrawal, never accept the euro conversion and just accept the Kuna amount. Allow your bank to process the conversion rate. At the end of the transaction a €4-5 processing fee is also added and nothing can be done about that.
I use a revolut card when I travel and when I used the ATM, I never had to deal with any conversion issues, I only had to pay the processing fee. Saved me a lot of headaches.
If you are flying, you can get a bus into Split but we opted to take a taxi as we were under time pressure and the buses are very loose in their time keeping. The taxi cost €50 for three people with bags and is roughly a 30-minute journey.
Only an €18 ferry from Split, you can get the fast or slow ferry – 1 or 2 hours. We travelled with Jadrolinija. The process was very simple and all ran very smoothly. At the port there is a ticket office, where you can buy a ticket for whichever ferry you desire, or you can buy online.
Once you arrive off the ferry you will be right in the middle of the town. You will come to a beautiful open square which has scores of small alley’s branching off, holding so many hidden gems.
I really enjoyed Hvar due to its size. The town is stunning, quite small, very walkable with lots of great food and swim options. Hvar island is actually quite big and has many different towns. The island is famous for its Lavender which is sold all over.
On the island of Hvar there are other stunning towns such as Stari Grad and Vrboska. Vrboska is known as “Little Venice” due to the canals running through the town. Would be worth the day trip.
The world is your Oyster in Hvar if you plan ahead. Our group was large (15) so we booked a range of different accommodations. The majority of the group booked two really nice apartments in the Villa Kogo complex. A short walk from the square, it has a new feel, AC, kitchen and a pool at the back. It was €1500 between 4 for 4 nights = €345 pp
I stayed in Luka’s Lodge. A private hostel room that was €50 a night. The room has AC, Wifi, black out shutters, and storage. It was ideal! The hostel has a kitchen, access to free swimming gear, snorkels, towel and boots as there are sea urchins everywhere!! Luka’s lodge is at the back of the town up a hill but it is only a 10-minute walk from the town centre.
Hvar is perfect for all types of visitors. Looking to soak up the sun all day every day? No problem. There are so many tiny little sun traps all along the coast with crystal clear waters to cool off in. Please be careful of the sea urchins!!
Heading over with your family or on a romantic holiday with your partner? Perfect, Hvar has you covered. Tons of beautiful restaurants in hidden alleyways, wine bars, coffee shops, you can rent quads bikes and take an adventure to other parts of the island and watch the sunset from the top of the hill. There are also some food and wine tours on the island as well.
Or maybe you want to get some adventure in. There is a walled castle that looks over the town and you can hike your way up and tour around. Or you can do a boat trip to many of the islands that dot the horizon.
We rented two boats between 15 of us to bring us to different spots not very far from Hvar. The company was a bit cowboyish to be honest and i’m sure we could have found a better operator but for what we needed, it worked perfectly.
We visited the red walls, a brilliant cliff jumping location. Had lunch at a Tri Grede which is situated on a beautiful little cove. After we headed to a hidden beach bar – Calma. This bar is on the island of Hvar but I think is best accessed by boat.
You can do longer day tours out to the blue cave but that is a two hour boat journey just to reach the cave. Another island that is really highly recommended is Vis. It is meant to be absolutely stunning.
Plaza Lucica beach Spanish Fortress Pokonji dol beach Malo Zarace beach Calma beach bar Bonj Beach Laganini lounge Blue caves Food tours
It would be safe to say that 99% of my diet consisted of pizza and beer for 5 days, but I did manage to explore some other options.
If you are looking for some really excellent food, just off the main square head to – FIG. Nestled in one of the alley ways, with most of the seating outside, this establishment was designed to broaden the culinary options of Hvar. The best way to describe FIG is this is the place you would go for eggs benedict or avocado on toast etc. I really enjoyed the food here and would recommend.
Can’t live without your coffee? Head to KAVA – a specialty coffee shop that won’t let you down. I went for the caramel iced latte to help battle the heat and I sucked it down in one second! It’s brilliant.
FORR – Hvar harbour for cocktails and pizza. Giaxa - €50 set menu, more high end, high quality and beautiful food! Dalmatino – Mediterranean food Alviž- pizzeria and bistro Bistro Ero – lovely staff, good price and more local food. Vunetovo craft beer for something different.
Now for the party goers!
My days went like this:
Wake up, shower, down to the square for a pizza and passion fruit mojito, then off to Hula Hula beach bar. Heaven on earth.
Hula Hula is a 15 minute walk from the town center along the coast. During the walk you will see so many stunning little spots to swim and soak up the sun, as well as shops and restaurants.
Hula Hula is hard to beat in my opinion. Situated right on the water, you can rent a day bed for €20 or you can head over to one of the tables and claim your spot. There is a very big swimming area which has two floating soft docks which you can hang out on.
€8 will get you a local beer, and €40 will get you a cocktail of your choice in a jug. By no means is this place cheap but it is the spot. Make friends with the bartenders, have the craic and bring good energy and don’t be surprised if they offer you some free jager shots!
The energy is very chill for most of the day but slowly slowly bodies begin to fill the bar. A strong mix of people but the majority would be aged around 25-32 and everyone is there for a great time.
Around 5 the DJ arrives and the vibes pick up. In the blink of an eye the sun starts to set and golden hour kicks in, Abba is blasting and the place is on wheels! Hula stays open until 10pm.
After, the movements vary but there are two main choices.
All along the harbour there are a ton of small night club/bars that will be packed and are great energy. You can head to Kiva bar to do a “Helmet shot” if that is what you are into. All of these bars are free entry and are open until 1/2am. Just follow the crowd and you can’t go wrong. There is a nightclub called Pink champagne, just off the square which will stay open until the early hours and there is a fee to enter.
Other bars – Seven, Nautica, Aloha
The majority of party goers will head to the world-famous Nightclub Carpe Diem. To get here, you have to take a boat which leaves from the top of the harbour. It is impossible to miss as there is usually a queue and a large carpe Diem sign. There is a Carpe Diem bar at the end of the pier as well, so you can also have drinks while you wait.
The kicker about Carpe Diem is that it is €40 to enter and you do not get anything for that – except a free boat ride to and from the island. There are atms at the entrance so don’t worry if you forget cash.
The night club opens at 12 and runs until 5am, but the club is also open during the day for free, where they host sunset parties.
Not somewhere I would go every night even though most of our group did!! My personal preference would be to go to Hula Hula for the entirety of the day until close, and then go to the bars along then harbour. Then you can decide if Carpe Diem is needed!
Thanks for joining me on this adventure, I hope you enjoy Hvar as much as I did. I am already planning my trip back next summer as I loved it that much!