With our cases packed we jumped on board the Krilo catamaran and waved goodbye to the shores of Dubrovnik. Our next stop was Hvar.
Hvar is probably the trendiest destination in Dalmatia, and as soon as you step off the catamaran you’ll notice the yachts and luxury boats moored up.
It’s where the youth of the rich come to party. And they party hard. People watching is pretty top-notch here because of it.
And while Hvar does throw some amazing all night parties, there is much more to this island if you don’t have an all day hangover, so drink wisely 😉
So here are my 5 things to do in Hvar.
1. Pakleni Islands
You can’t visit Hvar and not visit any of the Pakleni Islands.
The islands are a cluster of five islets and can only be reached by boat. They offer secluded coves, deserted beaches and crystal clear waters.
Because we were short on time in Hvar, we decided to visit the closest island which is called Jerolim.
We decided to get a taxi boat over (instead of hire a boat ourselves) which took us 15 minutes.
We were amongst the first to arrive which afforded us the luxury of enjoying the island pretty much to ourselves.
Although without a doubt you can wander off and find little secluded areas to call home for the day even at the busiest times.
What we didn’t realise until our feet where on terra firm and our taxi man waved us good-bye with promises to pick us up in the afternoon, was that Jerolim is a naturist island.
Oh well, if you can’t beat them join them!
Honestly by the end of the day we were braving full nudity and running in and out of the water. Swimming in the nude and letting the water dry off our bodies in the hot heat, it kind of started to make sense. Why sit in a damp bikini all day when there’s no need?
These nudists are onto something!
The strange thing is that even post baby with all my body insecurities and imperfections, I couldn’t care less. I’ve never felt more free in my skin. No one was judging anybody else on body or size. Who knew removing clothes would do that!
Jerolim is a hippies paradise, it’s organic and relaxing. There’s artwork dotted around the island and little swings made from driftwood.
^^ There were quite a few nude references just in case you missed the big nudists welcome sign.
Hammocks hang on tree branches to snooze in and even the toilets are outdoors under the sun (although very private still).
It’s an island I really suggest visiting, whether you want to go nude or not. It’s a magical place.
2. Walking around Hvar old town
The old town in Hvar is beautiful, some call it the St. Tropez of Croatia.
It just begs to be explored by foot and to get lost in the maze of winding narrow streets that slope off the main square, or take a stroll around the port.
^^ Lavender for sale at the market.
There are a lot of stairs though so be prepared to climb some steps, but once at the top wherever you end up, you are afforded some amazing views.
With loads of cafes, bars and restaurants you can stop off for a glass or two of wine- I particularly enjoyed the Croatian Plavac Mali.
Sunsets in Hvar are pretty spectacular, so make sure you don’t miss them.
And once it’s dark, there’s a whole new side of pretty to Hvar.
3. Lavender fields
Fields of purple are synonymous with Hvar so if you can, try to take a drive to go and see some of the famous lavender fields.
We actually visited Hvar just after the lavender harvest, but we were really lucky and came across some untouched fields just outside of Brusje, a short drive from Hvar town.
It was totally worth it, plus the views were unrivalled.
4. Fortress Napolean
On route to the lavender fields make sure to drive up to the fort built by Napoleon.
When we visited it was deserted, it seems as though people don’t realise it’s there or that the view is free. Or else they prefer the easily accessible vantage point of the Spanish Fortress which you can walk to from the old town.
^^ bottom right is the Spanish Fortress.
But for a real view, put the effort in and leave the old town to make sure you get the best view of Hvar.
You’ll be able to see the Pakleni islands stretch on, and you can even glimpse the island of Vis and mainland Croatia.
You can also see any invading Italians if they so happen to be making their way across the water!
Napoleon knew where to build!
I know, food seems like a cop-out. But trust me, Hvar can be quite difficult to navigate when it comes to restaurants. After all while there are a lot of places to eat the prices can be quite hiked up for the rich yacht owners enjoying their summer holidays.
But you can find some spectacular places to eat on Hvar that don’t cost the world. And I’m going to give you a range of three which should suit all tastes.
The first place I have to mention is Black Pepper, who have a very Mediterranean menu with Croatian specialties.
It’s rated very highly in Hvar, and comes with a lot of recommendations.
Unfortunately everyone seems to know it’s amazing because there is a nightly waiting list to eat there. Either try to have an early dinner, or get your name on the list quickly!
I can’t tell you from experience what it was like, because we couldn’t get a booking there (we found it on our final night) although the waiter really did try to help us out. But I did enviously look on as people were eating on little rustic tables that were outside.
Instead the waiter silently whispered another place to us, so we took his recommendation and went to Roko Luviji.
Tucked just behind the main square, down a little path and up some steps was a lovely looking restaurant, which had a beautiful outside terrace that overlooked the Spanish Fortress and the Hvar rooftops.
The food was very traditional and Croatian. The wine came from their own vineyards and it was exactly what we were looking for. Perfectly homely.
It was lovely and fresh and prices were very fair. We indulged in pickled fish starters and we went for a wood oven cooked risotto. Delicious.
The final place I’m going to recommend is the Fresh Pasta House. Being in such close proximity to Italy, pasta is a big deal in Croatia!
If you like your pasta, and especially your bolognese you will not find a better bolognese than in here. And that’s really quite a statement from me.
I’m very fussy with my bolognese recommendations, because I find most restaurants produce quite an average sauce. But this place has it spot on. In fact rivals Mr London Mum’s and that’s really saying something!
We were only in Hvar for two nights, so we crammed as much as we could into our time there. But it’s an island I would return to for many reasons.
I’d love to explore the other Pakleni islands we didn’t have time to step foot on. I’d also like to visit some vineyards because I was really impressed with the local wine, and if I was visiting later in the year I’d love to see the olive harvest too. The blue and green caves would also be on my list. Enough reasons I think to plan a return visit don’t you think?