Split is Croatia’s gateway to the country’s many islands, offering ferries of all shapes and sizes to the rocky chunks of land that dot the Adriatic Sea. While we enjoyed our three nights in the city, our end goal was to pick up a ferry to Hvar, one of Croatia’s largest and most populated islands. Friends of ours that had visited Hvar had only good things to say about it, so we went in with fairly high expectations. Within seconds of stepping off the ferry and taking in the view of the bobbing sailboats and yachts in the shimmering sea along the neat cobblestoned promenade up toward the imposing fortress perched on the hill above, we were in love! It is damn near impossible not to immediately fall in love with a place like this. Our Airbnb was a mere minute’s walk to the square and harbor, but tucked just enough away for peace and quiet in the evenings.
The square (Trg Svetog Stjepana) and harbor are the beating heart of Hvar Town, the largest town on the island. Snaking alleys of cobblestoned lanes lined with colorful potted flowers and packed with charming views run off of the main square. Following the coast on the east side of the harbor quickly brings you to the Franciscan Monastery which overlooks a small beach; we ended most of our days in Hvar either with a stroll or a swim here. And it doesn’t take long for that fortress above the town to beckon you up. We walked up a couple of hours before sunset to take in the views drenched in golden sunlight (it also helps that the temperature is a bit cooler!).
We rented a little 20 horsepower boat (Arta Vela) from Mario Rent for a whole day. After a quick tutorial on how to pilot the craft and use the anchor, we were off! Britt was the captain of the ship and Rico was responsible for navigation and working the anchor. The primary destination for anyone renting a boat out of Hvar Town are the Paklinski Islands. We anchored in a few different spots in the area, but our favorite was probably in the cove at 43.158323, 16.398324. Freely jumping off the boat into the open sea and swimming in the warm, vivid turquoise waters is one of our most cherished memories from the summer. Near the end of the day we anchored in the cove at 43.158914, 16.422264 and quickly realized we were in naturist territory. So we said “oh, what the hell?” and followed suit! What a way to wrap up an incredible day on the water.
Continuing on the theme of water and swimming, we spent our last full day at Robinson, a beach-restaurant area a 45-minute walk from Hvar Town. The walk is flat and straightforward: just follow the coast toward the southeast and enjoy the views! After a delicious, fresh lunch under the olive trees from the restaurant (pasticada and shrimp scampi), we claimed some chairs on the beach and shifted into relaxation mode. A constant light, refreshing breeze kept us cool in the hot sun, as did frequent dips in the sea.
We had a handful of great meals in Hvar Town. Lunch (breakfast burritos) and dinner (pulled pork burrito, chicken burrito) was had at Fig Cafe and on one occasion we met one of the co-owners, who recommended an alteration to the pulled pork burrito that kicked up the spice—and the deliciousness! We indulged in other noteworthy dinners at Dalmatino (chicken schnitzel and gnocchi with veggies) and Mizarola (steak in truffle sauce and grilled chicken). Last but not least, we grabbed goodies from Nonica (brownies, cheesecakes, cookies) almost every night!
We enjoyed our time in Hvar Town (memorializing it with a ceramic house souvenir from Galerija Sosa), but our visit to the island of Hvar wouldn’t have been complete without the trips we took outside of the town. Stay tuned for our fifth and final post chronicling our two-week trip to Bosnia and Croatia!