When most people think about the Croatian islands, Hvar is one of the first places that typically comes to mind. This once modest island off the coast of southern Croatia has gained quite the international reputation recently. Not only has Hvar Croatia become a popular tourist destination, but also a favorite for movie stars, musicians, and a playground for the rich and famous. So what will you find in this elite seaside town? Our Hvar travel guide will show you everything from mega yachts in the Port of Hvar to island day parties, and so much more!
Croatia Travel Inspiration
- How to Plan a Trip Anywhere: 10 Step Easy Guide
- 15 Helpful Tips for Your First Visit to Historic Dubrovnik Croatia
- Golden Horn Croatia: Guide to Croatia’s Most Famous Beach
- 16 Fun Tips for Visiting the Island of Mali Losinj Croatia
- Dubrovnik City Walls: Epic Guide to the Best Stops & Viewpoints
Hvar Island Information
Location: Hvar Island, Croatia
Official Language: Croatian
Currency: Croatian Kuna
How Long to Visit: 1+ Days
Airport: Split International Airport SPU
Best Time to Visit: June & September for Swing Season and July & August for High Season
First Impression: Hvar is fancy! That was really our first thought while strolling along the palm tree lined harbor promenade. It felt like we were transported to Monaco or Cannes in the south of France, which have the same upscale feel. We knew it would be more developed than any other Croatian island we visited, but Hvar is on a completely different level.
13 Tips for Visiting Hvar Croatia
1. Arrive by the Sea
Ferry: With no airport on the island the only way to travel to Hvar is by the sea. First, you should know that the ferry is the most popular way to get to any Croatian island. Reasonably priced catamarans leave multiple times a day from Split, and only take a little over an hour to reach Hvar Island and the Port of Hvar. There are also ferries which transport cars if you’re traveling with a vehicle and looking to save a few dollars.
Cruise Ship: The Port of Hvar is a mecca for cruise ships with at least one in town each day during high season. Luckily the island is small enough where you can see most of it even in a short amount of time. Check our our one day in Hvar guide for the ultimate day of exploring.
Personal Boat: Once you visit a Croatian island you’ll see boat rentals is a HUGE industry, and one of the best ways to spend time here. This is common not only during the mega popular boat week, but year round.
2. Stay outside of Hvar Town
The old town of Hvar is quite small and doesn’t have many hotel options directly in it. You can find most of the accommodations spread outside the port of Hvar and into the hills above the city center. If you are staying at a popular hotel they will send a luggage transfer to meet you at the ferry and transport your bags.
However, be aware that once you arrive there is no taxis or cars that can get to many of the hotels. They are only accessible by walking, but since the Port of Hvar is so small this shouldn’t be an issue. If you’re looking for a place to stay check out our recommended accommodations at the bottom of this post!
3. Eat the Fresh Local Seafood
On an island surrounded by some of the cleanest water we’ve seen in the world, it’s an understatement to say that the seafood is fresh in Hvar Croatia. Now you’ve been warned and we will say it again, Hvar Island is expensive.
After traveling through Poland, Germany, Slovenia, and the northern Croatian Islands, the city of Hvar was by far the most expensive to eat and drink… But can you really put a price on dining with the rich and famous?
Hvar Travel Tip: Try the delicious local dish of Squid Ink with Cuttlefish Risotto if you go out to eat.
4. Drink Local Hvar Island Wine & Beer
When visiting what is known as “The Island of Wine” how could you not sample some? Every restaurant and bar features wine from the island, or if you’re feeling a little more adventures you can travel to the source. Not only will you be able to sample some great wines, but you’ll also get to explore more of Hvar Croatia!
5. Get Around Town by Walking
As we already mentioned, Hvar is a walking town. From adventuring around the winding side streets to strolling alone the promenade, you’ll be sure to get your fill of exercise.
Make sure to pack sensible shoes and follow the strict Hvar dress code. Once you enter the port of Hvar there are huge signs on display. Take warning to these or you’ll be slapped with hefty fines. I guess Hvar island is trying to keep up its appearance!
Don’t Break Any Island Rules
- No Walking Around in Bikinis
- Men Must Have Shirts On
- No Drinking in Public
- No Picnics
6. Explore the Backstreets
While on the topic of walking, let’s delve more into the streets! When we arrived at night we were immediately blow away by the port of Hvar town. The sound of music and laughing flowed from each small restaurant to the small tables filling half of the alleyways.
Each twist and turn took us deeper into the streets of Hvar Island and amazed us even more. Now don’t get us wrong, they are not seedy dark allies! These swanky and fashionable small European streets make Hvar unique from any other Croatian island.
7. Hike to the Hvar Fortress
This was hands down our favorite activity that we did in Hvar Croatia! Wandering up from the small back streets of town, continue to climb until you enter the Hvar herb garden. From there you’ll walk up the beautiful manicured garden that has sweeping views of the Port of Hvar to your left.
The view looking out over Hvar is one of the most beautiful on the entire island. Here you’ll see other small islands, the seaside promenade, and boats buzzing around the Port of Hvar. This is also located at (or anywhere along the hike to) the Hvar Fortress, so you can kill two birds with one stone! The 20-30 minute hike is best done in the morning, or late afternoon for sunset.
8. Learn about the Unique History at the Hvar Fortress
While you’re up there you might as well take the time to soak in more than just the Croatian island sun! The castle is set high above the town, and has been watching over the Port of Hvar for centuries.
After surviving many different rulers and battles you’d be hard pressed to find anything more historical on the island. Take a walk through the fortress and enjoy the breathtaking views from the top.
9. Spend the Afternoon at a Hvar Island Party
If you’re looking to have fun and let loose while in town head to one of the small islands off the coast of Hvar. After hearing about Hvar’s reputation as a party island we assumed that the beach clubs would be plentiful throughout the city.
Instead, they have something even better. From the Port of Hvar you can hire a boat taxi for about 10 Euros each way. They will take you directly over to the smaller party islands just off the coast.
10. Take a Swim Just Outside the Port
Is a day on a Croatian island really complete without a swim in the ocean? We didn’t think so! Hvar was actually the only island that we visited in all of Croatia that we had to hunt a little harder for where to swim.
Due to the massive amount of boats and yachts moving in and out of the harbor, swimming is roped off in certain areas. Walk past the town center and outside the port and you’ll start to come across the cut downs to the ocean.
11. Be Careful Of Yacht Week(s) on Hvar Island
What started as one week now spans several different weeks throughout the summer months. Hundreds of boats with thousands of people move from island to island, essentially taking over the towns one at a time.
Now if you happen to be visiting during Yacht Week just be prepared for the massive influx of people docking for the night, and overly packed cafes and restaurants.
12. Don’t Miss The Port of Hvar Harbor Walk
Strolling along the Port of Hvar is one of the best ways to truly take in the beauty of this Croatian island. From the view below (which happens to also be where the ferries arrive) is the middle of the harbor walk. Here you can continue straight or turn around and walk the opposite way.
The path then wraps around both ends of the harbor, and heads out of the town center into the less developed area of Hvar island. Strolling along the harbor you’ll past yacht after yacht as they grow in size and also value. That mixed with the town and fortress in the background makes for a great photo opportunity.
The stunning boats even have the name and country listed on the back of them. Once your done snapping photos in the Port of Hvar we recommend coming back for sunset, and reading where all the different yachts came from!
13. Continue on to Another Croatian Island
Croatia is best explored through its islands. After you travel to Hvar from Split you have the option to continue on to Brac, Vis, or many other islands to the south. The ferry system is affordable and fast. Once leaving Hvar island we headed south by ferry and visited the stunning island of Korcula which quickly became one of our favorites.
- 5 Best Islands in Southern Croatia: Ferry Info, Tips, & Route Guide
- Korcula Croatia Island Guide: Old Town, Best Beaches & Wine Tasting
Have any questions about our Hvar travel guide, or your own tips to share? Please let us know in the comments below!
Brigitte & Jake
Where in the world are we? Follow our daily adventures on Instagram @nothingfamiliar!
Where To Stay In Hvar Island Croatia
Ultra Luxury – Amfora Hvar Grand Beach Resort – This elegant upscale resort sits just outside the center of town, and offers everything from waterfall swimming pools to oceanside cabanas!
Fun Vacation – Pharos Hvar Hotel – Located only a 2 minute walk from the beach and just outside the city center, this hip hotel is perfect for any vacation. This is a decently priced option with a great location for your Hvar travel.
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Croatia Travel Planning
Tours: Check out Get Your Guide for hundreds of activities around the country. You can book a blue cave 5 islands tour from Split, go sea kayaking in Dubrovnik, or take a day trip to the famous Krka National Park.
Rental Car: We use Discover Cars to rent vehicles on our travels. In Croatia, you can even take your car on the ferries so you have wheels for the different islands!
Travel Insurance: Never travel abroad without being covered! We’ve been using SafetyWing for the last few years on the road and they are there when we need them.
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