The island of Hvar in Croatia is known for its nightlife, boating and celeb-sightings, but there is so much more to it than that! Check out my list of the best things to do in Hvar and start planning your trip to this beautiful little slice of paradise.
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When to Go to Hvar?
The peak season is May-August, with July-August being the “peak of the peak” crowd-wise. I recommend visiting April-June or September-October when there’s slightly less crowds, but when it’s still warm enough to enjoy swimming.
Best Place to Stay in Hvar
There are plenty of great hotel and VRBO options in Hvar Town. Two hotel options that I’ve heard good things about:
- Palace Elisabeth – this 5-star hotel is actually the oldest hotel in Hvar, set in a historic building (but it’s nice and there’s a/c in the rooms) and located central to town. Our boat driver said that this is the hotel he would want to stay at if he were visiting Hvar for the first time (and I’ve also read great reviews about it).
- Adriana Spa Hotel – this 4-star hotel is in a great spot on the edge of town and has a nice rooftop bar that we visited for happy hour during our stay (more on that later!)
If you are traveling with a bigger group, VRBO might be your best option. Our group of 5 stayed in this great VRBO with a beautiful view from the back deck. It’s tucked away from the hustle and bustle of Hvar Town, but still only a 10 minute walk there. It’s also close to my favorite beach bar on the island (Falko – more on that later!).
How to Get to Hvar from Split
The best way to get to Hvar is to fly into Split (SPU) and then take a ferry to Hvar. The ferry from Split to Hvar is about 1 hour long, and costs around $18 USD.
If your flight arrives late at night, past when the ferries depart, another option is to hire a private boat transfer (this is what we did). This private boat transfer from Split to Hvar is a great option!
How to get to Hvar from Dubrovnik
It’s also possible to get to Hvar from Dubrovnik, but it’s a much longer ferry ride (about 3.5 hours).
10 Best Things to Do in Hvar
1. Admire the Views from the Top of Fortica
One of the best things to do in Hvar is to walk up to the fort overlooking the center of town. This Venetian fort built in 16th century is not only historical, but also has the best view of the town of Hvar. It takes about 20 minutes to walk there from the middle of town. The walk is uphill, but the trail to get up there is scenic with long, meandering switchbacks, so it’s actually quite pleasant. It costs 30 Kuna to enter (but well worth it!).
If the heat is unbearable and you don’t have the energy, it is possible to also take a taxi to the top if you don’t want to walk up the hill.
2. Wander the Cobblestone Streets
I know everyone always says this, but it’s true – one of the best ways to get to know a city is to just get lost wandering. This is also true in Hvar. Wandering around the little cobblestone streets and alleyways, you’re likely to serendipitously stumble upon your next favorite shop, bar, restaurant, or viewpoint. Soak in the culture around you, the unique architecture, and the good vibes.
3. Go for a Drink and a Swim at Hula Hula Beach Bar
One of the most popular spots on the island (for good reason!) is Hula Hula Beach Bar. Go here midday for a drink and a refreshing dip in the Adriatic Sea, while listening to a DJ spinning some lo-fi electronic beats. We enjoyed sitting at a table over the water, and jumping in off the edge of the boardwalk. You could also pay for a beach chair and umbrella if you want to relax in a quieter spot. It can get pretty rowdy here as it gets closer to the evening.
4. Go on a Boat Tour to Pakleni Islands + More
One of the best things to do in Hvar is to get out on the water via private boat! We spent a full week in Croatia at a few different spots, and this boat tour we did in Hvar was the highlight of our trip. It’s simply amazing!
There are quite a few private boat drivers you can hire for the day. My friend recommended the guide she had used on her trip – Nikola. We had the absolute best day with him! The day started when he picked us up at the boat dock near our VRBO at 10am. We returned around 6pm. Nikola took us to a few of his favorite spots around the Pakleni Islands, which are the nearby rocky islands surrounding Hvar. He even brought us to a little cliff-jumping spot that he used to jump off with his friends! Of course, most of our group climbed up and jumped off. So much fun!
He then brought us to an amazing lunch spot on the nearby island of Vis. This is actually one of the filming locations of Mamma Mia. The restaurant sits over the water, and is in a semi-circle surrounding a section of the ocean where they have a lobster trap. They pick a lobster right out of this trap for your lunch!
He then brought us to one of the beaches/swimming spots from the Mamma Mia movie, which was beautiful, as well as a spot where you can take a natural mud bath.
You might notice that I did NOT mention the Blue Cave. This is listed as one of the top things to see in Hvar on a boat tour (you’ll see signs all around town advertising it). Our boat driver, Nikola, recommended that he take us to a different cave instead. Apparently the Blue Cave is super crowded, and sometimes you’ll have to wait in line in your boat for up to an hour just to see it. Not worth it!
The whole day is customizable to whatever you want to do & see. It was $960 total for the full day, which we thought was absolutely worth it. To book him, you can either:
- DM him at @miniyachts.hvar Instagram
- Whatsapp him at +385 97 61 27 72 6
- Email him at email@example.com
Alternatively, if you are on a budget, you are able to rent a small boat on your own from the marina in Hvar Town for a fraction of the cost. We considered this option, but ultimately were so glad to book our private guide because then we were able to sit back & relax and make the most of our time.
There are so many restaurants to choose from that you will see dotted along the alleyways. Most of them serve traditional Dalmatian cuisine. Two great options for this are:
- Konoba Menego – set in an old-school wine cellar along one of the alleyways
- Macando – traditional Dalmatian seafood dishes with a pleasant outdoor patio
One of our favorite meals during our 2 days in Hvar was at Fig. If you are looking for a break from the traditional Dalmatian cuisine – this is the place to go! They have healthy options with a Mexican flair, located on a charming side alley away from the hustle and bustle. It was delicious!
6. Visit Stari Grad
Not only is Stari Grad the oldest town in Hvar, it is one of oldest towns in all of Europe! This UNESCO World Heritage Site is just a 20 minute taxi ride away from Old Town Hvar. If you find that you have the time, it’s definitely worth a quick visit. We met a local lady near the fortress who recommended an honest taxi driver named Matko who has great prices. We hired him to take us from there to Stari Grad, and to stop at the lavender fields along the way (more on that next!). He was great, especially if you are interested in learning more about the surroundings. He was basically like a private tour guide! You can call him on Whatsapp at: +385 95 883 8952.
It’s a scenic, 20-minute drive to Stari Grad (and if you hire the Matko to take you there, you’ll take a few fun stops along the way). Once you get there, wander around this super historic and scenic old town. Go through the narrow alleyways and cobblestone streets, all set along the beautiful blue bay. Stop for lunch and a drink at one of the restaurants that catch your eye. Get some gelato (my favorite gelato we had during our whole one week in Croatia was in Stari Grad!).
7. Check out the Lavender Fields
Hvar is known for their lavender fields around the island, which bloom around June-July. You can’t see them from Hvar Town, so you’ll need to take a short taxi ride. If you’re planning to go to Stari Grad, there are lavender fields you can stop at on the way! This is what we did, and it worked out perfectly. Matko, our taxi driver I mentioned above, actually has some of his own land where he grows lavender. He brought us to his own private field off the side of the main road and he picked us some fresh lavender to take home!
8. Sunset Cocktails
Whenever I travel, I always find myself seeking out a rooftop bar to have a happy hour cocktail with a view. It’s such a pleasant way to soak in the scenery and reflect on your day of adventures! In Hvar, we went to the top of Adriana Hotel near town and were able to walk in and get a spot on the balcony overlooking the view of the harbor below. Sipping an Espresso Martini while watching the boats come & go as the sun was setting was just amazing!
Falko was hands-down my favorite bar on the island of Hvar. Situated right along the ocean (just a 5 minute walk past Hula Hula Beach Bar), this bar is the perfect spot to watch the sun go down over the horizon. It’s a very tranquil, idyllic outdoor atmosphere. You feel like you are in someone’s private garden overlooking the water. The cocktails are some of the best I’ve ever had in my life (definitely order the Hugo!). All the ingredients taste so fresh. The vibes here are just immaculate. I wish I was there right now!
9. Check out the Hvar Public Theater
The public theater is a cultural and historic icon located right in the middle of the town square. It’s the third-oldest public theatre in all of Europe! You can get a discount on a ticket to tour the inside when you buy your Fortress ticket (about 30 Kuna). There’s a lovely bar on the outside terrace overlooking the town, which is a great spot to stop for a drink (and take pictures!)
10. Enjoy the Nightlife
Hvar is known for its nightlife scene. Walking around the town at night, I felt like I was surrounded by a bunch of lively study abroad students. While that might be a turn-off for some, we decided to lean into it and take a night out on the town. When in Rome, right?
- Central Park Club – this is a great spot to start your night out! It’s a classy old town vibe cocktail joint that has live jazz music. They serve food here too
- Kiva Bar – this is a fun divey joint that is always packed with people having a blast
- Carpe Diem – probably the most iconic bar/club in Hvar. To get there, you take a short 10-min free ferry ride from town to an island right across the way. Once you get there, there’s a cover charge of about $30/person. If you’re in for an epic night, it’s worth it. The space is awesome – disco balls, a main stage with a DJ, trees with hammocks, several bars. It’s open until 5am! Most people come here late-night after the other bars close in Hvar Town.
What to Pack for Hvar
Besides the obvious clothes & essentials, make sure to not leave without packing the following items:
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- Outlet Converter – so you can charge your phone! This is the one that I used
- Portable charger – so you will have enough juice to take pictures throughout the day and use your maps
- Travel Backpack– This is the one I have, and I absolutely love it!
- Mini Fan: something I wish that I had when I was there
- Water Shoes: the shoreline is rocky. These are a life saver!
Hvar to Korcula Island
After your time in Hvar, I definitely recommend checking out the island of Korcula. This island is way more laid back than Hvar, and super scenic! I absolutely loved it there. Take one of the many ferries that run daily from Hvar to Korcula. It’s about a 1-hour journey.