The island of Hvar: a whistle-stop tour

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I’ve just come back from two weeks in Croatia, following a similar path as I did last year. Croatia is such a beautiful part of the world that even though it meant re-tracing my steps and revisiting a few places, it was well worth the trip. Even when you think you’ve seen everything, the second trip always makes you notice new things that you missed the last time round or didn’t have time to discover.

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Travelling from Split, I spent 2 nights on the island. From Split you can take a catamaran which takes about an hour and a half and costs about 700 kuna. Hvar is renowned for many things. During the summer it’s geared up for young people who like to party. There are plenty of clubs and island parties to take advantage of. However, it also caters for couples, cruise ship parties and people who like the finer things in life!

 

As you arrive in Hvar you’ll see the harbour lined with restaurants, the impressive palace and the fort looking down on the island. While many people come to Hvar to sunbathe, dine and relax, it’s also an island which is steeped in history.

 

If you come into the main harbour you’ll notice the architecture straight away but I would definitely recommend making the climb up to the fort. Although it’s a bit of a walk, there is a path which takes you to the top and the views are well worth it. The fort (or Fortica Spanjola) was originally a crucial part of Hvar’s defence as the island was a centre for trade and an important naval base.

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Much of the history of the fort is explained in the small museum which is situated in the fort itself. For 30 kuna you can go in and climb the steps, stand in the turrets and take in the views. It really is the best spot to get a birds-eye view of the town.

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Once you’ve soaked up some culture you might fancy a bite to eat. Seafood is top of the list – you know how fresh it’s going to be. There are some amazing restaurants by the harbour but many come at a premium. If you’re looking for something a little more modestly priced I would recommend ‘Marinero’. Here you can get some delicious dishes including tuna, shark steak, fried squid and mussels. Me and my friend opted for the seafood platter which came with giant prawns, tuna steak, squid and grilled vegetables which was 155 kuna.

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In terms of nightlife, the party season is really between June and September. Unfortunately as I was travelling during September, a lot of hotspots had already closed for the summer. We took advantage of the hostel bar crawl to get to know a few different places – Nautica and Pink Champagne seemed like the places to be.

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One thing to be aware of if you’re visiting Croatia at this time of the year is the weather. The majority of the time the weather was lovely, and swimming in the crystal blue water was heaven. However, on the last day the island was hit by a storm – and when it rains, it REALLY rains. Thunder and lightning, floods…the works. My advice would be to pack an umbrella, just in case!

 

We were particularly unlucky, as Hvar is one of the sunniest parts of Croatia. Chances are you’ll be safe to sunbathe, enjoy a cocktail by the sea and wander around the little winding streets. There are plenty of smaller islands scattered around, so if you fancy a beach which is a bit more secluded, you can just take a taxi boat to a nearby island for a small fare.

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Overall Hvar is a beautiful place to spend a few days. Although the prices are a little higher than other parts of Croatia it’s definitely worth spending a couple of days there.

 

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Emma

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