Things to do in Hvar on Hvar Island, Croatia by JetSettingFools.com

Things to do in Hvar Town on Hvar Island, Croatia

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Cobblestone lanes and ancient sights. Hill-topping fortresses and secluded beaches. Nearby islands and hidden coves. Hvar Island is a picture-perfect escape. Visitors inspired by beautiful places and eager for an adventure will find there are an abundance of amazing things to do in Hvar, Croatia.

Hvar has a sunny disposition – as in, it is one of the sunniest islands in Croatia (and one of the sunniest places in Europe, for that matter) – which is why travelers have long flocked to the island. Although historically developed as a military base, since forming their own tourist office in 1868, the town has aimed to attract visitors to its sun-drenched shoreline.

The idyllic island has been labeled a glamorous destination – appealing to posh party goers and celebrities for centuries. However, Hvar Town is not exclusive; backpackers are welcomed along with the famous…but there is a lot more to do in Hvar than just party the night away. 

Hvar Island – and Hvar Town, specifically – was our first Croatian island destination back in 2011. The beauty is simply undeniable…and its charms keep luring us back. We have returned to share it with friends, for long weekends of relaxation and for a quick visit while on a week-long island hopping cruise. Each time we go to Hvar, we find new places to explore.

 

Where else are you traveling to in Croatia? Check out our guides to the best Croatian destinations, like Split, Dubrovnik, Zagreb and more!

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What To Do in Hvar

On our first trip to Hvar, we swam in the crystal-clear waters of the Adriatic Sea, soaked in the sunshine and stared in awe at the surrounding paradise. While these are some of the best things to do in Hvar, it’s really only a place to start. Hvar activities range from swimming to boating to hiking…and more. Our list features the absolute best things to do in Hvar Town.

However, there are more things to do on Hvar Island than just visit Hvar Town. While our list of Hvar things to do is most relevant for visitors based in Hvar Town, we offer suggestions for further island exploration at the end of the post.

 

The Best Things To Do in Hvar Town

Our list of top Hvar, Croatia things to do is based on our personal experiences. We include our top tips, useful links to more information and a helpful map at the end of the post. Additionally, we offer recommendations for places to sleep, eat and drink in Hvar Town – and we also include practical tips for getting to Hvar.

Pin, Bookmark or Save our Hvar Travel Guide so that you can use it while planning (and during!) your trip.

 

#1 DISCOVER: Old Town Stroll and Spanjola Fortress

Hvar’s medieval Old Town is nestled between the Hvar Port and the rising terrain. The Hvar Old Town layout is mostly attributed to the Venetians (who ruled over the town from 1278-1358 and 1420-1797) and many of the Old Town structures feature a decorative Venetian flair (albeit, with a touch of local style). The best way to discover the Old Town is to follow the cobblestone lanes past historic dwellings, small churches and into the many squares.

Hvar Sights

At the center of the Old Town (adjacent to the port) is the Hvarska Pjaca, the large main square, often referred to as St. Stephen’s Square. Many of the historic Hvar attractions are found on the square. The top sights are the Arsenal Building, the Hvar Theater (dating to 1612, it’s one of the oldest theaters in Europe), the Bishop’s Palace, St. Stephen’s Cathedral and a couple of 15th century palaces. Nearby is the Loggia (open gallery) and soaring clock tower, which were once part of the Governor’s Palace.

Spanjola Fortress (Spanish Fort)

Perched above the town is the 16th century Spanjola Fortress. From the fort, 13th century town walls run down the hillside, built to protect the inhabitants of the ancient town. Climbing the hill to the Spanjola Fort is one of the top things to do in Hvar. From the fort, visitors have stretching views over the Adriatic Sea and Pakleni Island Archipelago. There is a small fee to enter to fort, which includes access to the dungeons and museum.

Top Tip: Visitors can do their Hvar sightseeing on their own, but will gain a better understanding of the history and culture of the town on a guided Hvar Walking Tour (read reviews!).

 

#2 EXPLORE: Hvar Boat Trips to Pakleni Islands

Boat trips from Hvar are the best way to experience more of the aqueous wonderland that is dotted with Dalmatian islands. There are numerous organized Hvar boat tours (find highly-rated tours here!), but we recommend renting a boat so that you can explore on your own.

Boat Hire Hvar

We think renting a boat is one of the best things to do in Hvar, Croatia! Rented boats are an ideal way to navigate the waters along the Hvar Island shoreline and Pakleni Islands. The archipelago is made up of 16 islands and stretches for more than 6 miles. Most of the land in uninhabited and is covered in pine trees. With a small boat, visitors can cruise into secluded coves, drop anchor and jump right in the sea!

No license – or experience! – is required to rent a small motorboat. The boats are inexpensive ($50-70 USD for the day) and can accommodate up to five people. We rented a basic Pasara 5hp boat from Hvar Boats, but you can also rent one online here.

Top Tip: Want to spend a perfect day cruising through the Pakleni Archipelago? Don’t forget to pick up a picnic lunch, water and a few beers from the grocery store. A cooler should be provided with your rental. Don’t forget to bring a towel and sunscreen, too!

Hvar Kayaking

Active travelers who want a Hvar adventure can rent a kayak in Hvar and paddle to the Pakleni Islands. Prices are about the same as motorboats for full-day kayak rentals. Want a guide to lead the way? There are organized kayak tours in Hvar, too. (Check them out here!)

Taxi Boat

Another great way to get around the Pakleni Islands is by Hvar taxi boat. The taxi boat stand is in the Hvar Port next to the Arsenal Building. Visitors can use taxi boats to get to the most popular Pakleni destinations, like Zdrilca Beach and Mlini Beach.

 

#3 RELAX: Hvar Beaches

Many people claim that the best beaches on Hvar are found in the Pakleni Islands (in addition to the two mentioned above – Zdrlca and Mlini – Jerolim Beach is a popular nudist beach in the Pakleni Archipelago). While that may be true, there are several Hvar Town beaches that are just steps from the Old Town and perfect for a quick swim in the sea or all day sun-bathing.

West Beaches

We think the best beaches in Hvar are to the west of the Old Town. The biggest – and closest – Hvar Town beach is Beach Bonj (often referred to as Amfora Beach because of its location right in front of the Hotel Amfora). Bonj Beach has chair and umbrella rentals, as well as nearby food stands and restaurants. Majerovice Beach, a smaller beach without services, is located in the cove to the west of Bonj Beach.

East Beaches

There are two small beaches to the east of the Old Town, Lucica Beach and Krizna Luka Beach. Lucica Beach is located next to the Franciscan Monastery, which is a unique place to swim. Beach Krizna Luka is a more rustic, rocky beach. Better beaches are found further east and we will get to those in a minute!

Top Tip: The beaches in Hvar are mostly pebbly, not sand. We recommend wearing water shoes if you plan on wading into the sea.

 

#4 SEE: Franciscan Monastery and City Cemetery

One of the top things to see in Hvar is the seaside Franciscan Monastery. Enclosed by high walls and a garden of 300-year-old cypress trees, the 15th century monastery is a peaceful retreat from the busy shoreline. Inside, there is a small museum that features a collection of local artifacts and paintings. The highlight of a visit, however, is a 16th century painting of The Last Supper.

Perhaps not many people would include a cemetery on a list of what to see in Hvar, but we love this little slice of solitude in a town full of tourists. The City Cemetery, which occupies the site of a former 14th century church, was established in 1849. The graves surround a small chapel and the elevated location offers fine views of the Spanjola Fortress, Old Town and Adriatic sea.

Top Tip: The Hvar Summer Festival is an annual event that features free musical performances in some of the city’s most historic venues. During one of our Hvar trips, we attended a phenomenal choir concert in the Franciscan Monastery cloister. Find the current schedule of events on the official website.

 

#5 WALK: Coastal Trail to Milna

The Hvar coastline is characterized by deep coves, shallow bays, turquoise water and pebbly beaches. The scenery is simply stunning…and completely accessible. East of the Old town along the southern shoreline there is an incredible coastline trail that connects Hvar Town to the village of Milna. 

Highlights of the walk include Pokonji dol Beach (the most beautiful beach in Hvar!), the secluded Mekicevica Beach near the rustic Robinson Restaurant and many other hidden gems along the way. In Milna, there is a beach and numerous waterfront restaurants serving local fare.

The trail from Hvar to Milna is approximately 4 miles and strays from the shore only for short segments. It took us about 2 hours to complete the trek one-way (including photo stops and a picnic lunch). There is an alternate inland route back to Hvar Town that wanders through vineyard landscapes and runs parallel to the main road, Route 116, but it is not nearly as scenic as the coastal route.

Top Tip: Wear walking shoes! In the heat, I was tempted to wear my flip flops, but I think I would have regretted it. The trail is mostly flat and clear, but portions of it are a bit more challenging.

 

#6 TREK: Hiking Hvar to the Napoleon Fortress and Beyond

The famous Hvar Fortress, Spanjola, attracts so much attention that many visitors fail to notice that there is a second, even higher, hill-topping fortress just to the east. Built during French occupation in the early 19th century – and thus named after the emperor, Napoleon – the fort offers even more spectacular views than Spanjola – and we think it is a Hvar must-see sight!

Napoleon Fortress (or Napoljun, in Croatian) now houses the Hvar Observatory and is not open to the public. However, the reason to visit is the views…not the actual fort. We have only made this hike during the day, but have heard that it is a fantastic sunset spot!

The trailhead is accessed via a short walk from the main bus station (walk north along Route 116, veer right onto a narrow road and look for the sign on your right – map). The trail is a series of switchbacks that begins in a forest and continues up the exposed mountainside (which presents fantastic views along the way, too!).

From the fort, adventurous trekkers can follow the road down the backside of the hill and continue walking east along a popular bike route. We hiked the trail past a lone dwelling and then followed the path south toward the sea. When the main trail ended, we found a primitive path and scrambled up a mountainside to yet another viewpoint peak (map).

Top Tip: Hikers can follow the path all the way to Malo Grablje, an abandoned village. Trekkers who want to make the journey in a loop can walk from Malo Grablje to Milna…and then back to Hvar Town via the already mentioned coastal trail. If you are not an experienced hiker, you can let a guide lead the way on this exact route. Get the details!

 

#7 GO: Hvar Tours

While Hvar Town has attractions, beaches and hiking trails to fill most itineraries, it is also a great jumping off point to nearby sights. Visitors staying in Hvar Town for more than one day might want to consider going on a highly-rated Hvar tour.

Blue Cave Hvar Tour

The Blue Cave Tour from Hvar is a full-day adventure! From Hvar Town, zip by speedboat across the Adriatic Sea to the Vis Archipelago. Swim inside the emerald-glowing Green Cave, then board a smaller boat to go inside the famous Blue Cave on Bisevo Island. On the way back, stop at Stiniva Cove on Vis Island. Before arriving back in Hvar, you detour through the Pakleni Islands and into hidden coves where you can dine on a seaside meal or swim in the sea. Find out more!

Top Tip: Check out this similar boat tour from Hvar to the Green and Blue Caves aboard a yacht, rather than speedboat. Learn more here!

Boat Tour Hvar Beaches

Discover the best beaches on Hvar Island on a speedboat tour from Hvar Town. Via speedboat, guests are taken to remote beaches that are only accessible by water (or a really long hike!). Visit the top Hvar beaches, like Zarace, Dubovica and secluded beaches on the Pakleni Islands. Spend the day sunbathing, swimming and snorkeling (gear provided!). Get the details! 

Hvar Island Tour

Not all tours from Hvar are boat tours…some of the best Hvar excursions are on the island! Popular day trips from Hvar Town are the Lavender Fields, Wine Tasting and a Wine and Dalmatian Dinner. Find other excursions and book your Hvar Day Trip in advance on Viator!

 

#8 EAT: Hvar Restaurants

Hvar Town has an abundance of restaurants to please a variety of palates. Seafood is (obviously) a popular menu item, but there is a range of traditional fare and international eateries as well. There are luxury dining establishments, take away pizza slices…and everything in between.

The Best Restaurants in Hvar Town

When we were searching for the best places to eat in Hvar, we were looking for local restaurants serving traditional food at affordable prices. We think we succeeded in finding a few of the best restaurants in Hvar, Croatia!

Konoba Menego

Located in the heart of the Old Town, the traditional Konoba Menego is not to be missed! When considering ambiance, location, menu options, presentation and taste, we think Menego is the best restaurant in Hvar. We recommend ordering the Chef’s Secret, which on our visit was a delicious chicken dish served with sauce and stuffed bread. Read Reviews!

Junior

Gostionica Junior was recommended to us by our Airbnb host (more on where to stay in Hvar in a minute!) – and we are stoked that we followed her advice! The family-run establishment serves some of the freshest seafood in Hvar. While their seafood platters are a popular menu item, we loved the Black Risotto with Cuttlefish – a Croatian specialty! Read Reviews!

Alviz

For a casual dining experience and the best pizza in Hvar, we recommend Alviz. In addition to the amazing pizzas, they serve local cuisine. Try the whole grilled fish, pasticada, cevapi or peka (but make an advanced reservation for peka because it takes hours to prepare!)…everything at Alviz is incredible! Read reviews!

Other raved-about restaurants (where we have yet to dine) are Fig Café Hvar, Dalmatino and Giaxa.

Top Tip: Spending time in Split, Croatia, too? Read our complete guide on the best restaurants in Split!

 

#9: DRINK: Bars in Hvar

Hvar has a reputation as a party destination – and as such, there is no shortage of bars in Hvar. Visitors can imbibe at trendy wine bars, beach bars, craft brew pubs and iconic clubs in Hvar.

Chill Hvar Bars

At the end of a day of sightseeing, we enjoy having a cold beverage (or two!) before dinner – and we have two favorite spots near the Old Town.

Falko Bar

We discovered the low-key Falko Bar on our very first trip to the island – and it still ranks as one of the best bars in Hvar! Perfect for early evening cocktails, Falko Bar features laid back vibes, hammocks and an excellent sunset view. Read Reviews!

Vunetovo Craft Beer Bar

The Craft beer revolution is alive and well in Croatia – but the trend is definitely lacking on the islands. However, Vunetovo is leading the way on Hvar Island. As the first Hvar Island craft brewery, Vunetovo serves their own awarding-winning brew, as well as other Croatian craft beer. Note: Check their hours, as Vunetovo does not stay open late! Read Reviews!

 

Hvar Nightlife

Hvar Town is well-known for its nightlife scene. Revelers can party until sunrise at numerous clubs.

Hula Hula Beach Bar

Open during the day, but livelier at night, Hula Hula is a classic beach bar in Hvar. Although we think the prices are too high and the drinks too sweet, consider stopping by to judge for yourself. (The bar is conveniently on the way to Falko Bar, so check out the scene at Hula Hula on your way back to town.) Read Reviews!

Carpe Diem

The most iconic club in Hvar, Carpe Diem attracts stylish revelers that aren’t fussed with high priced drinks. There are two locations: front and center on the Riva along the ferry port and the Pakleni Island Beach Bar. While we thought it was slightly over-hyped, it’s fun to sip a cocktail and take in the energy of the legendary spot. Read Reviews!

Inner Harbor Bars

The Old Town pedestrian street that fronts the harbor is lined with Hvar clubs. Nautica Bar is a fun place to start…and then bar hop from there!

Top Tip: In recent years, the party in Hvar Town has often gone too far. Tourists being obnoxiously drunk, vomiting (and urinating) in the streets and having sex in public have led to the mayor passing new laws to prohibit the lewd behavior. Signs are posted throughout Old Town Hvar warning visitors of the high fines for breaking the rules. Be respectful. Dress appropriately in town, don’t be loud, and don’t be disgusting.


 

Things to do on Hvar Island

While Hvar Town is the island’s top destination, there is more to see on Hvar. We already mentioned some of the top island tours (Lavender Fields and Wine Tastings). However, we think one of the best Hvar Island things to do is hop over to Stari Grad for a day.

Stari Grad is located on the north side of the island, nestled in a deep bay. The Old Town is a cluster of tall stone buildings and narrow cobblestone lanes. Beyond the quaint Old Town, visitors can explore the UNESCO listed Stari Grad Plain, find a secluded beach and discover other nearby villages.

Read our complete Guide of Things To Do in Stari Grad!

7 Things To Do in Stari Grad, Hvar Island, Croatia by JetSettingFools.com

7 Things To Do in Stari Grad, Hvar Island, Croatia

 

Getting Around Hvar

It is fairly easy getting around Hvar Town – walking is the best way to discover the town sights, beaches and bars. Visitors who want to check out more of the island, however, can do so by car or bus (although the buses are somewhat limited, a public bus route does conveniently connect Hvar Town to Stari Grad).

Bus Stari Grad to Hvar Town

The Cazmatrans Bus Company services the island. There are several routes – including Stari Grad to Hvar Town, which has multiple departures daily. Unfortunately, the website is not very useful. We recommend inquiring at the Tourist Information Office or bus station for current schedules and bus stop locations.

 

How To Get To Hvar Island       

Getting to Hvar is easy – simply hop on a ferry to Hvar! Two companies run ferries to the island: Jadrolinija and Krilo.

How To Get from Split to Hvar

There are ferry ports in both Hvar Town and Stari Grad (so if you want to go directly to Hvar Town – without having to take a bus or taxi once there – make sure you take the Hvar Town ferry!).

Ferry From Split to Hvar Town

Hvar Town only accommodates catamaran (not car ferries); both Jadrolinija and Krilo offer service via catamaran to Hvar. The boats dock at the Hvar Port, which is in the Hvar Old Town. The catamaran from Split to Hvar takes about an hour. 

Ferry From Split to Stari Grad

The Stari Grad Port is used by Jadrolinija car ferries. The port is 2km from the Stari Grad Old Town, but buses (to Stari Grad and Hvar) meet the ferries. The ferry ride takes about 2 hours from Split. 

 

How To Get from Dubrovnik to Hvar

Ferry service to Hvar from Dubrovnik is seasonal. In the summer, both Jadrolinija and Krilo run catamaran ferries from Dubrovnik to Hvar Town.

 

Split to Hvar Day Trip: The ferry schedule times out well for visitors to make a day trip from Split to Hvar. In the height of the summer, there are numerous ferry departures from Split to Hvar Town. Check both Jadrolinija and Krilo timetables and plan a perfect day in Hvar!

 

Looking for other Split Day Trips? Read our post about the Best Day Trips from Split!

17 Incredible Day Trips From Split, Croatia by JetSettingFools.com

17 Incredible Day Trips From Split, Croatia

 

How Many Days in Hvar

There are so many things to do in Hvar that we could easily spend a week in Hvar Town! We think 2 days – at minimum – allows just enough time to get a taste of the town. That said, you can see a lot in a day…and it really depends on what kind of activities you like.

 

What To Do in Hvar in One Day

With only one day in Hvar, we would fill our Hvar itinerary with the best things to do!

Morning: Get an early start and begin your day with a walk around the Old Town and make the trek up to the Spanjola Fortress.

Mid-Day: Follow the coastline to the east and visit the Monastery. Keep walking east around the headland to Pokonji dol Beach and take a swim.

Afternoon: On the way back to Hvar Town, stop at Hvar Boats and rent a small motorboat for a few hours. Explore the coves and beaches on the Pakleni Islands.

Evening: Have a few sunset drinks at Falko before dinner at Konoba Menego.

 

What To Do in Hvar in Two Days

With two days in Hvar, you can fill your time with sun and fun!

Day One

Morning: Get acquainted with the town on a morning sightseeing tour and walk up to the Spanjola Fortress.

Mid-Morning to Afternoon: Take the coastal path to the east and walk all the way to Milna, where you can eat a seaside lunch. Make it a leisurely walk, stopping to swim in coves along the way. If you are feeling up to it, continue walking to Malo Grablje (the abandoned village), then complete the circuit and hike to Napoleon Fortress in time for sunset. Otherwise, retrace your steps along the coast back to town.

Evening: Trek up to the Napoleon Fortress for sunset and then come back to the Old Town for an excellent traditional meal at Konoba Menego. After dinner, join the party at one of the clubs in Hvar or attend one of the Summer Festival events.

Day Two

Morning: Pick up some lunch picnic items and a few beers from the grocery store (next to the bus station). Begin your day of sightseeing by visiting the Monastery (and maybe the cemetery, too!).

Mid-Morning: Rent a boat (either kayak or motorboat) and spend the rest of the day exploring the Pakleni Islands. Navigate into the coves and toss the anchor where you can eat lunch and jump into the clear waters of the Adriatic.

Evening: Try the local craft beer at Vunetovo before going to Falko Bar to watch the sunset. Then go to Junior for a seafood dinner.

 

Hvar Accommodation

Accommodation in Hvar ranges from hotels to hostels to holiday apartments to camping.

Hotels in Hvar

On our first trip to Hvar, we stayed at the Amfora Grand Beach Resort – one of the best hotels in Hvar! The luxury hotel is a 10-minute walk from the Old Town along the waterfront. In addition to sea view rooms, the hotel boasts a multi-level pool, a beach and five on-site restaurants.

In the summer, reserve your room in advance, as the hotel will likely sell out. Find prices and reviews for Amfora and other Hvar hotels on Booking.com.

 

Holiday Apartments in Hvar

On subsequent trips, we have opted for Airbnb apartments in the heart of the Old Town, rather than staying in hotels. We have found that apartments often offer more space and we like the added benefit of a kitchen, where we can at least make breakfast. There are many Airbnb apartments in the Old Town – which is the best place to stay in Hvar!

Use this link and save money on your first Airbnb stay!

 

Hostels in Hvar

We have never stayed in Hvar hostels, but there are a few to choose from. The White Rabbit and Marinero consistently get good reviews.

 

Camping Hvar

Visitors interested in camping in Hvar should check out Camp Mala Milna. The waterfront campground accommodates RVs and tents.

 

Hvar Weather

Hvar, Croatia weather features warm summers and mild winters. Visitors can expect summer temperatures to be in the mid-80s Fahrenheit – and the water temps to be in the mid-70s. The wettest months are November and December and the driest month is July.

 

Hvar Tourist Map

 

 

We Want To Know: Do you have any tips for what to do in Hvar Town? Is there anything you would add to our list of top things to do in Hvar? Give us your best recommendations in the comments below!

 

Looking for more Croatian Island Tips? Read our full guide to Korcula here!

Things To Do in Korcula Island, Croatia by JetSettingFools.com

The Best Things To Do in Korcula Island, Croatia

 

Start planning your trip to Croatia! Search for the lowest airfares, the best accommodations and fun things to do…then start packing!  Want more travel planning tips? Head over to our Travel Planning page for more information and tips on traveling – and for country-specific information, take a look at our Travel Guides page!

 

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