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Hvar in Croatia: Queen of Dalmatian Islands

Updated: May 4

Tucked away in the azure waters of the Adriatic Sea, Hvar is a gem of the Dalmatian archipelago and an enchanting destination that captivates travellers with its blend of rich history, vibrant culture, and breath taking natural beauty. Known as the 'Queen of the Dalmatian Islands', Hvar offers an irresistible allure with its sunny climate, lush landscapes, and pristine beaches, making it a perfect escape for those seeking both relaxation and adventure.

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Historical Richness and Cultural Tapestry

Hvar Town, the island’s focal point, is a delightful maze of marble stone streets, framed by the 13th-century walls that have shielded the town through history. At the heart of its charm is the St. Stephen’s Square (Trg Sv. Stjepana), one of Croatia's largest and most beautiful piazzas. This square is a gateway to the past, surrounded by grand buildings like the St. Stephen’s Cathedral with its impressive bell tower, providing a glimpse into the island's rich religious heritage.

Venture up to the Fortica (Spanish Fortress), perched high above the town. The climb might be a bit demanding, but the panoramic views of the town, harbor, and Pakleni Islands are rewarding. This fortress tells stories of Hvar's strategic importance and its role in the maritime conflicts of the past.

Lavender Fields and Vineyards

Hvar is often called the 'island of lavender'. During early summer, the hills and fields are awash with this fragrant herb, making for stunning sights and an olfactory delight. The lavender fields around the village of Brusje are particularly enchanting. Not only can you enjoy the scenery, but you can also purchase locally made lavender oil and other aromatic products.

The island’s agricultural bounty doesn’t end with lavender. Hvar is also renowned for its wine production. The vineyards draped across the island’s steep slopes benefit from the sunny climate, producing some of Croatia’s best wines, such as the indigenous Plavac Mali. Wine tours and tastings are a fantastic way to understand the local culture and indulge in the flavors of the island.

Exquisite Beaches and Nautical Adventures

No visit to Hvar is complete without exploring its stunning beaches. The Pakleni Islands, just off the coast of Hvar Town, offer a series of secluded coves and crystal-clear waters, perfect for swimming, snorkeling, and sunbathing. One of the most famous among these is Palmižana, with its sandy beach and vibrant vegetation. Accessible by a short taxi-boat ride from Hvar Town, it's a must-visit for beach lovers.

For those adventurous at heart, sailing around Hvar and the neighboring islands presents an unparalleled opportunity to explore the hidden gems of the Adriatic. The island’s geographical position makes it ideal for sailing, with favorable winds and excellent marina facilities.

The island of Vis and its incredible Stiniva cove

Vis is famous for its incredible cove: Stiniva. Nestling between two towering cliffs, it offers a complete change of scenery. It's easy to get to by boat from Hvar, which offers shuttle services for the day.

On the island of Vis, you can also admire the seabed. Scuba diving is one of the best sporting activities you can do in Dalmatia during your stay. With a tank, snorkelling or your own mask and snorkel, it's a pure delight. You'll be dazzled by the sea urchins, seaweed and other fish that cross your path.

It's a great opportunity to visit the island of Vis, which has long been closed to tourists. Preserved, this fisherman's island lives at its own pace, combining local traditions and authenticity. Relax over a delicious local dish, then continue your lazy day in one of Vis's pretty bays:

  • Saint Georges

  • Stiniva

  • Kozima

Don't forget to take your camera, as the views from these heavenly spots are so splendid! To round off your day with some interesting visits, we recommend :

  • The Blue Grotto: located in the bay of Balun,

  • The villages of Vis and Komiza, where you can immerse yourself in local life,

  • Stonica beach, close to the lighthouse of the same name.

This Croatian island is as peaceful as it is authentic. You'll find some superb scenery here, and make some wonderful memories.

The island of Brac

Bra is a paradise island that you can make part of your holiday in Croatia. You can take a day trip by shuttle boat to one of the most beautiful beaches in the world: Zlatni Rat.

This beach, in Bol, is shaped like the tip of an arrow. It borders a sea of a thousand shades of blue. Its waters are transparent and its beaches covered in white pebbles, as is often the case in Croatia. Depending on the rhythm of the tides, the beach changes shape throughout the day. If you only have one beach to enjoy on your trip to Croatia, this is the one we recommend.

Between two swims at Bra, you can enjoy a range of water sports. Boat trips are also available from this island. You can also go scuba diving here, to admire the superb Croatian seabed. A trip to Supetar, the main town, is also a great way to get away from it all. Finally, there are three main activities that might interest you:

  • The Dragon's Cave in Murvica

  • The Hermitage and its cloister, founded in the 16th century by Franciscan hermits,

  • Vidova Gora, the island's highest peak at just under 800 m.

Culinary Delights and Evening Festivities

Hvar’s culinary scene is as vibrant as its landscapes. The diet here is a typical Mediterranean fare, focusing on freshness and simplicity. Seafood is a staple, with dishes like grilled fish and squid prepared with local olive oil, herbs, and garlic. Be sure to try "Gregada", a traditional fisherman’s stew that is a testament to the island's gastronomic heritage.

As the sun sets, Hvar transforms. The harbor buzzes with activity as locals and tourists alike fill the promenade. The nightlife is surprisingly lively for an island of its size, with chic bars, clubs, and open-air restaurants offering entertainment late into the night. The Hula Hula Beach Bar and Carpe Diem are popular spots where you can enjoy cocktails as the sun dips below the horizon.

The Croatian archipelago is the largest in the Adriatic Sea. It would take a long time to visit all the islands, and not all of them are equal. If you have to choose just one, Hvar will be the best choice.

With its historical splendour, natural beauty, and vibrant lifestyle, Hvar stands out as a queen of the Dalmatian islands. Whether you’re strolling through ancient towns, basking in the sun on a secluded beach, sailing the cerulean seas, or enjoying the local cuisine and lively nightlife, Hvar offers a rich tapestry of experiences that beckon travellers from around the world. It’s not just a destination, it’s a vivid mosaic of sights, sounds, and tastes waiting to be discovered on your next journey.

You can enjoy the sights and landscapes of Vis and Bra Armed with a good camera, you'll be able to take pictures worthy of the most beautiful postcards !

To continue discovering more hidden gems and captivating destinations, stay tuned for more articles on our website. In case you are traveling to Portugal or Poland in the future, you should try out our tours in Porto, Lisbon, and Warsaw. Remember to follow us @thewalkingparrot to be continuously updated on the new releases. We will be back soon with a new article !

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