A Daytrip to Hvar town, Croatia
If you go to Croatia you can’t escape hearing about the island of Hvar, more specifically Hvar Town. It has become the place to go, mostly among the young partygoers and the international jetset. It’s actually been nicknamed the “St. Tropez of the Adriatic” (it’s also been called “the place of Sodom and Gomorrah”. More on that further below).
The above is not at all our scene. We usually hate that kind of place. But with easy access to Hvar Town from Split (more so in the summer when there are catamarans doing the trip in an hour) we decided to take a daytrip to see it for ourselves.
This post is not a guide (you can click here for that) but rather an ‘impressions’ post. I’ve included some photos as well as our thoughts. Hopefully it’ll help you decide if Hvar is a place you’d want to visit.
Below: First views of Hvar town with the fortress in the background.
Below: Views from the fortress, also known as Fortica (from the Italian ‘fortezza’ – the present fort was built by the Venetians in the late 1200’s) and Španjola (because Spanish military engineers were involved in the construction). Those islands off the coast are the Pakleni islands – a popular activity is to take a tour (or rent a boat) and visit some of their beaches.
.Below: there are a lot of little streets and steps all over Hvar town (it sometimes reminded us of Dubrovnik). Hvar is known for it’s lavender (but the purple plants below are bougainvillea, another flower you’ll see all over town).
.Below: ivy providing shade. It was a scorching hot day in July.
.Below: small church (there are a lot around Hvar town) and views over the harbour.
Below: Hvar town has the largest square (St. Stephen’s square) in Dalmatia. It is 4500 square meters and dates back to the 13th century. Life in town revolves around this square. At the end of the square is St. Stephen’s cathedral.
.Below: more Venetian architecture.
.Below: colourful shop.
.Below: Hvar town generally attracts a younger, party crowd. As of 2017, don’t walk around in a bikini or topless, you could be fined up to 600 Euros! (we’ve noticed all towns in Croatia are cracking down on bad tourist behaviour).
.Below: back at the pier with parting views of the harbour and town.
Thoughts and Impressions
Having read some really horrible stories of Hvar (hence being called “the place of Sodom and Gomorrah”) we were quite certain that we wouldn’t like Hvar town. What we actually found was a very pretty town with some impressive sights. It was clean, there were no drunks or loud music playing, and the locals we talked to were friendly*.
*Note that we arrived in Hvar town at around 10 am and left around 3 pm. It could very well be that all the partygoers were still sleeping during that time.
So our thoughts? Hvar town is totally worth a day trip. Would we stay there longer than that? Probably not – it’s small (you can see everything in a day), the tourists are young, and the party reputation doesn’t interest us (Vis, another island we recently visited, is more our speed). But if you enjoy partying as well as sightseeing then I can see why it might be the perfect place for you.
– Ferry. Check Jarodlinija to plan your ferry to Hvar Town.
– Accommodation. There are some really expensive properties in Hvar Town. I’m sticking with some moderately priced options with these recommendations: Successus Old Town House, Kampanel 10, Apartments Lea. All are located in the old town. Book early because they go fast!
– Organized Tours. There are tons of tours to the islands from Split. Not all of them are good though. This Tour, on a catamaran, is recommended. This tour, on a speedboat, covers various islands and even includes the famous Blue Cave.
Have you been to Hvar town? What did you think of it?
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