On holiday with Canadian friends we had spent 2 nights in Split, had eleven nights on this island (HVAR) and would be having 4 nights in Durbrovnik. (Reviews for Split and Dubrovnik already done!) We left Split and took the ferry to Hvar. It was very hot when we arrived but the harbour looked lovely with lots of restaurants lining the port side. Our AIRBNB was at 85 Kroz Burak and once we had found this (just a short up hill walk from the harbour) we were greeted by our hostess who lives in the house. Our accommodation was a two bedroomed flat with two bathrooms at the top of the house. We realised that this is probably usually let out as individual rooms as there was another bedroom that was locked and all the bedrooms had numbers on them. On the ground floor of the house there were more rooms that were obviously being let out. It was comfortable with a nice outside area but it was strange that there was no lounge, just a kitchen that had very little equipment in it! (Luckily we aren’t keen cooks!)
Our local beach was a small pebbly area and we went for a quick swim (hiring exorbitantly expensive sun loungers at 20 euros each!) Unfortunately a thunder storm occurred which meant we wasted the sun bed money and had to scurry back to our accommodation! We decided not to explore the town that night, we got food from the supermarket and had dinner indoors.
The next day we explored a little and found that Hvar is a lovely picturesque little town. There are numerous little restaurants and shops and a large square which during the evening comes alive with tourists and locals dining outside and there is often musical entertainment going on. One evening there was even an outside fashion show! We explored a little further and did a visit to Starigrad (not Stalingrad as I originally misread!). It was a lovely bus ride over to the north side of the island. It is one of the oldest towns in Europe and has a large white cross dominating it from Glavica Hill. Lots of shops and restaurants and you can take boat trips from there. We took a walk along the waterside and found some lovely little park areas near Brizenica Bay where we had a drink.
Another time we got a water taxi to another island, Jeroline. It was only upon arrival that we found out that there is a nudist beach there! None of us were tempted to strip off our swimsuits but it was a little strange to walk up to the cafe and see people totally starkers queuing for their ice creams! We found sun loungers away from the nudist area (and as these ones were only 7 euros each we were happy for the rest of the day!) The water was lovely and clear for snorkelling but we did need our water shoes for getting into the water, it was extremely rocky! One day I took a walk before my friends were up and found a lovely beach on Hvar called Pokomji Dol Bay. It was less rocky than other places and we all went back later and had a lovely day in the sun. (Sun loungers were again 20 euros here…sunbathing is not a cheap occupation in Croatia!) Another thing to see in Hvar is the castle that towers over the town. Called Fortica, it dates from the 16th century and is in good condition. You can walk up to it through the winding streets which have very steep steps up, It has wonderful views of the harbour so it is definitely worth the climb. When we came down from there we walked the other way along the sea wall and found some rather posh hotels and what looked like a party area with lots of bars and which we would definitely not be visiting! (If we were in bed later than 10 pm we felt like we had been overdoing it!).
We had heard that Hvar was famous for it’s lavender and we asked at the tourist information how we might get to see these lavender fields. We were told about a bus that went up there but this obviously wasn’t the case as we asked lots of the bus drivers. Maybe it only runs during the high season? Anyway we took a taxi in the end. We went to Velo Grablje, a small (deserted, it seemed) village. Very picturesque but unfortunately the lavender wasn’t quite in bloom. We saw lots of plants but it wasn’t the purple extravaganza we had hoped for. However there was a small restaurant in the town called Konoba Zbondini. It seemed to cater for the locals and they seemed surprise when we arrived but we had a lovely meal which was beautifully presented. Afterwards we decided to walk down the mountain path which was a little ambitious as it was a long walk through woodland but we ended up in a little beach side area called Milna. We had a swim in the water there and had thought we would walk back to Hvar but the path was very rough and it was getting dark so we decided to get a taxi back.
You can’t stay on an island and not do a boat trip so we had booked to go to the Green Cave and Blue Cave. En route we snorkelled through the Blue Lagoon at Budikova. It wasn’t the Caribbean by any stretch of the imagination but there were some nice fish to see. We then stopped at Stiniva Cove and I swam from the boat to the beach and snorkelled again. We then arrived at The Blue Cave. We had to switch to a small boat and were taken into the cave (everyone had to lean down as far as they could to get into the cave. It looked like we were doing a safety practice on an airliner ..Brace! Brace!) You can’t swim in the Blue Cave as it is a UNESCO site now but it was, indeed, blue! It was really nice to see. The Green Cave followed and you can swim here but it was so dark and gloomy I wasn’t tempted to do so!
So, our time in Hvar passed and we left feeling relaxed, sun kissed and loving the place. We were heading to Dubrovnik and looking forward to our next adventure. If you want somewhere less commercialised than Dubrovnik or Split do consider Hvar, it has a special quality and is a beautiful place. I could have stayed longer!