Heavenly Hvar, Croatia
If Korcula was the sleepy little sister island, Hvar is the glitzy high-rolling big sister, where the yachting crowd comes to see and be seen.
On Hvar, you might go for a morning stroll and be so mesmerized by the scenery, that you’re still in the same spot at sunset! The Hula Hula Bar offers comfy lounge chairs for a pittance, with a view to die for. I stopped for a breakfast orange juice, stayed for a salad for lunch, and found myself sipping a glass of wine watching the sun sink into the sea several hours later…
…and I wasn’t the only one. I met lots of people from all over the world who were also tethered to their chairs for the day, other than to periodically take a dip in the crystal clear, freezing cold water.
If you prefer to be on the water, rather than in it, there are plenty of opportunities, from ferries to water taxis, power boats to boats powered by wind. Sailing is my preference, so my new friend Roma (from California!) and I headed out for a half-day sail.
They take up to 10 passengers on this 35′ racing boat modified as a cruiser, but we got lucky as it wasn’t peak season, and had the boat and Captain Bronco all to ourselves!
The Gods provided great wind, and at 15 knots we were sailing! It was blowing 30 knots farther out, but Captain B decided to keep it a little less exciting and more comfortable, as it turns out Roma had never sailed before.
We sailed to a nearby tiny island, to Palmizana on San Clemente, for lunch. It’s a gorgeous spot, with a beautiful harbor to protect the yachts, and a few small restaurants. It’s a real life Garden of Eden, where if you look carefully, you might even spot Adam and Eve…
Back on Hvar, we got ambitious and climbed the hill to the fortress for some spectacular views of the harbor and rooftops below. Hvar is a medieval city, with walls started in 1278. There’s a strong Venetian influence in the architecture, as the Venetians ruled here on more than one occasion.
Besides the walled old town and famous harbor, Hvar is also known for it’s vineyards and wines, olive groves, and especially it’s lavender fields, and it’s one of the sunniest islands. With a population of over 11,000, it’s the 4th most populated of the islands of Croatia.
Like all of the water I’ve seen in Croatia, in inland lakes, rivers and waterfalls, as well as the sea, it’s crystal clear and the most breathtaking shades of blues and greens.
You can spend a small fortune staying at one of the fancy hotels, or a very affordable $50 per night for a good sized room that sleeps 3, if you’re willing to stay out of town and walk a bit. I stayed at an “apartman,” a room in a guest house, about a 15 minute walk from the center of town, but I didn’t mind as the walk was along the sea with views the whole way like these…
And this location put me about half-way between the old town in one direction, and another fabulous beach in the other direction…
…also with a scenic walk to get there.
The town itself is filled with great little restaurants and shops, full of enticing things. Other than food, my one souvenir was a couple of little sachets of fragrant dried lavender to tuck into my well-worn hiking boots, a big improvement in their scent.
There are plenty of night clubs and bars if you want a vibrant night-life. And on Hvar, as in all of Croatia, I felt very safe, even walking around alone after dark, with the moon and stars and lamplight to guide me back to my temporary home.